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150 years of Italy and the “Osservatore”

· An exhibition in Palazzo Giustiniani ·

A summary of the history of the relationship between Church and State beginning with the Roman Question in 1860, moving on to the Lateran Pacts in 1929 and finishing with the definitive revision of the Concordat in 1984 with its current consequences. This is the subject of the exhibition entitled: “State and Church in Italy from the Risorgimento to our time. 150 years after the Unification of Italy and the founding of L’Osservatore Romano ” sponsored by the Italian Senate Archives, in collaboration with our newspaper.

It features many previously unpublished manuscripts, prints and photographs most of which are from the collections of the Senate Archives and calls visitor’s attention to various issues of L’Osservatore Romano . Beginning with the first and oldest issue from 1 July 1861: our newspaper’s birth which was a direct response to the proclamation of the Kingdom of Italy the previous 17 March. Naturally there are issues from 1929 and 1984. There is also a newspaper from 1919 which opens with news of the election and the ascent of Don Luigi Sturzo’s Popular Party. The exhibition also includes issues from 1947 which show the approval of Article 7 from the era of the Constituent Assembly. Among the other issues, an illustrated one stands out from 1961, marking by the centenary of the Vatican daily under the Pontificate of John XXIII and period of preparation for the Second Vatican Council.

The chief merit of the exhibition is nevertheless a number of priceless originals from the archives of the Secretariat of State of the Holy See, including famous encyclicals such as Ubi nos (1871) in which Pius ix refused the Legge delle Guarentigie , the Rerum novarum (1891) on the social question of Leo XIII and Il Fermo proposito (1905) of Pius x, the encyclical on Catholic action. There are texts of the Second Vatican Council both with the signature of Paul VI: the Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes (1965) on the Church in the modern world and the Declaration Dignitatis humanae (1965) on religious freedom. The crowning work of the exhibition is the original Caritas in Veritate (2009) with Benedict XVI’s signature.

The exhibition follows a linear path outlined by 11 explanatory panels, each focuses on the salient moments in the long process arising from the dramatic conflict which on the one hand brought about the formation of the unified State in the Kingdom of Italy. On the other hand it signaled the setting of the temporal power of Popes which for 1,500 years was the bulwark of Libertas Ecclesiae .

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