Little Bits of History

June 7

Posted in History by patriciahysell on June 7, 2017

1929: The Lateran Treaty is ratified by the Italian parliament. The treaty was signed by Benito Mussolini, Prime Minister under King Victor Emmanuel III and by Pietro Gasparri, Cardinal Secretary of State under Pope Pius XI. The treaty was signed at the Lateran Palace, hence the name. The palace, an ancient Roman Empire building is located on St. John’s Square in Lateran on the Caelian Hill and was the main papal residence for about a thousand years. It now houses the Vatican Historical Museum. The treaty was signed there on February 11, 1929 and settled the “Roman Question”.

On February 9, 1849 the Roman Republic took over the government of the Papal States until the following July when French troops restored the Pope (Pius IX) to power. Ten years later, still in hot debate over who should govern the small parcel of land, the Kingdom of Italy was making an attempt to unite the many different Italianate states under one ruler. Italy was founded in 1861 under King Victor Emmanuel II of Sardinia, who when the new kingdom was formed became King of Italy. Rome was declared the capital of the new kingdom but there was a problem. The French government had a garrison there and had since Napoleon III of France decided to offer protection for the Pope. Turin became the seat of government until it was moved to Florence in 1865.

In December 1869 the First Vatican Council met and it is believed today that part of the reason for the declaration of papal infallibility came from political reasons, not just theological ones. In 1870, with the Franco-Prussian War’s beginning, the Roman garrison was closed and France could no longer protect the Papal States. The Italian army moved in and took over Rome and the Pope’s domain. The Pope tried to ignore the Italian government as they sought to bring the seat of power to Rome. The King refused to move to Quirinal Palace (built by Pope Gregory XIII as a summer residence) and there was dissent about sharing rule between secular and religious entities. When the King finally moved into the Quirinal Palace, it was proof he was in fact as well name, ruler of Italy.

The Treaty created Vatican City, 110 acres within Rome, as an independent State. It is the world’s smallest state by both area and population (862). It is not a sovereign nation since it is held by the Holy See. It is considered to be an absolute monarchy with the Pope as the ruler. The treaty consisted of two to three parts (the Holy See presents it as having two with the second and third parts combined into one). There are 27 articles to the treaty of conciliation, a 3 article financial convention (which was not met), and a 45 article concordat. The treaty has been successfully upheld even with changes in the Italian government around Vatican City.

Whom do these thieves think they are kidding asking for the keys to open the door? Let them knock it down if they, like Bonaparte’s soldiers, when they wanted to seize Pius VI, came through the window, but even they did not have the effrontery to ask for the keys. – Pope Pius IX after being asked for the keys to Quirinal Palace

The Vatican is a dagger in the heart of Italy. – Thomas Paine

Even the most radical Islamic terrorist would not want to see the revered holy city of Medina go up. It would be like losing the Vatican in Rome. – Nelson DeMille

I sincerely hope I can contribute to the progress there has been in relations between Jews and Catholics since the Second Vatican Council in a spirit of renewed collaboration. – Pope Francis

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