- I. The Roman Catholic Church.
- Modern Status in the State (§ 1).
- Position of the Pope (§ 2).
- Organization (§ 3).
- The Old Catholics (§ 4).
II. Protestant Bodies
- The Waldensian Church (§ 1).
- The Evangelical Italian Church (§ 2).
- Foreign Missionary Congregations and Churches (§ 3).
- Benevolent Institutions (§ 4).
- Bible and Tract Societies (§ 5).
- Periodicals (§ 6).
The present kingdom of Italy, comprising besides the main peninsula the islands of Sicily and Sardinia, and a number of smaller islands, was formed in Mar., 1861. The total area is 110,659 square miles; population (1901), 32,475,253, of whom 31,539,863 (99.7 per cent.) are Roman Catholics, 65,595 Protestants (including 20,538 foreigners), and 35,617 Jews. The capital is Rome. Religious liberty prevails, and adherents of all faiths enjoy equal civil and political rights.
I. The Roman Catholic Church: (§ 1). Modern Status in the State. Until 1848 the Roman Catholic clergy, including the religious orders, occupied an exceptional position in Italy. They were exempt from taxation and from temporal jurisdiction, and had the public educational and charitable institutions entirely in their hands. The kingdom of Sardinia took the lead in bringing about the new order. By law of Aug. 25, 1848, the Jesuits were excluded, as also the Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and a law of Mar. 1, 1850, placed all ecclesiastical institutions of a beneficent character under state supervision. Other statutes put an end to exemption from temporal jurisdiction and taxation, forbade religious institutions to receive gifts without royal sanction, and levied an annual tax on the receipts of the "dead hand" (see MORTMAIN). By the law of May 29, 1855, all religious orders in Sardinia not engaged in preaching, teaching, or nursing the sick, were dissolved and their property alienated by the State. On the basis of this law 274 monasteries, with 3,733 monks, and sixty-one convents, with 1,756 inmates, were closed, and 2,722 chapters and private benefices were disestablished. In 1861 the same principles were carried out in Umbria, in the Marches, and in Naples. These principles were applied to the entire kingdom of Italy by the laws of July 7, 1866, Aug. 15, 1867, and June 19, 1873. The property thus acquired by the State was formed into an ecclesiastical fund (Fondo per il culto) for the support of religious worship and public education, and for the payment of pensions to monks and nuns of closed. monasteries. Since the suppressed orders might continue to exist as private associations, there are still about 40,000 monks in Italy. Up to June 30, 1898, 44,376 ecclesiastical foundations had come into the possession of the State. The annual income from this property is about 33,000,000 lire. All chapels and churches used for public worship are exempt from confiscation, as also episcopal residences, together with the official buildings connected with them, clerical seminaries, and such cloisters as were turned over to the provinces or communes for public purposes, educational or charitable. All the Roman Catholic theological faculties in the seventeen state universities were abolished by law in 1873.
(§ 2). Position of the Pope. The temporal power of the pope was quietly brought to an end Sept. 20, 1870, but on May 13, 1871, a law was passed guaranteeing his independence, and making his person sacred and inviolable, like that of the king. The honors of sovereignty are due to him, and he is allowed to keep a bodyguard. The State grants him annually a pension of 3,225,000 lire, which, however, he has hitherto declined to receive; and the palaces of the Vatican and the Lateran, and the villa of Castel Gandolfo (near Albano), with their libraries and collections, are declared to be the property of the holy see, inalienable, free of taxation, and exempted from expropriation. The Italian Government furthermore guarantees the freedom and independence of the conclave, and of all ecclesiastical officers in the execution of their official functions. In the city of Rome, all seminaries, academies, and colleges for the education of the clergy remain under the special authority of the pope; and the State has renounced its right of appointment and nomination to the higher ecclesiastical benefices. No Italian bishop is compelled to take the oath to the king, and no royal placet is necessary to the execution of a purely ecclesiastical act. Meanwhile the pope resides in the Vatican, keeping a court of about 1,800 persons, and maintaining the Curia (q.v.) for the government of the Roman Catholic Church at large. Foreign countries represented at the Vatican are: Austria-Hungary, Bavaria, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Monaco, Nicaragua, Peru, Portugal, Prussia, Russia, San Domingo, and Spain.
(§ 3). Organization. The Roman Catholic Church in Italy numbers 49 archbishoprics, 221 bishoprics, and some 25.000 parishes. Hierarchically, the Church in Italy is divided into (1) the diocese of Rome, with the six suburban cardinal-bishoprics of Albano. Frascati, Ostia-Velletri, Palestrina, Porto, and Sabina; (2) exempt bishoprics and archbishoprics, i.e., those that are immediately under the pope; and (3) metropolitan bishoprics, with their suffragen bishoprics. The exempt archbishoprics and bishoprics are as follows: in Liguria, the bishopric of Luni-Sarzana; in Venice, the archbishopric of Udine; in the former Papal States, the archbishoprics of Camerino, Ferrara, Perugia, and Spoleto, and the bishoprics of Aquapendente, Alatri, Amelia, Anagni, Ancona, Ascoli, Assisi, Bagnorea, Citta di Castello, Citta delia Pieve, Civita Castellana, Corneto, Fabriano, Fano, Ferentino, Foligno, Gubbio, Jesi, Montefiascone, Narni, Nocera, Norcia, Orvieto, Osimo, Poggio Mirteto, Recanati, Rieti, Segni, Sutri-Nepi, Terni, Terracina, Tivoli, Todi, Treja, Veroli, and Viterbo; in Tuscany, the archbishopric of Lucca and the bishoprics of Arezzo, Cortona, Montalcino, and Montepulciano; in Emilia, in the bishoprics of Borgo San Donnino, Parma, and Piacenza; in the province of Naples, the archbishoprics of Amalfi, Aquila, Cosenza Gaeta, and Rossano, and the bishoprics of Aquino, Aversa, Cava-Sarno, Foggia, Gravina, San Marco, Marsi, Melfi, Mileto, Molfetta, Monopoli, Nardò, Penne-Atri, Teramo, Trivento, Troja, and Sulmona; in Sicily, the archbishopric of Catania, and the bishopric of Acireale. The metropolitan seats with their suffragens are: Acerenza-Matera (suffragens: Anglona-Tursi, Potenza, Tricarico, Venosa); Bari-Canosa (Conversano Ruvo-Bitonto); Benevent (Alife, Ariano, Ascoli-Cerignola, Avellino, Bojano, Bovino, Larino, Lucera, San Severo, Sant' Agata de' Goti, Telese, Termoli); Bologna (Faenza, Imola); Brindisi (Ostuni); Cagliari (Galtelli-Nuovo, Iglesias, Ogliastra); Capua (Cajazzo, Calvi-Teano, Caserta, Isernia-Venafro, Sessa); Chieti (Vasto); Conza-Campagna (Lacedonia, Muro, Sant' Angelo de' Lombardi); Fermo (Macerata-Tolentino, Montalto, Ripatransone, San Severino); Florence (San Sepolero, Colle, Fiesole, Modigliana, Pistoja-Prato, San Miniato); Genoa (Albenga, Bobbio, Brugnato, Savona-Noli, Tortona, Ventimiglia); Lanciano (Ortona); Manfredonia (Viesti); Messina (Lipari, Nicosia, Patti); Milan (Bergamo, Brescia, Como, Crema, Cremona, Lodi, Mantua, Pavia); Modena (Carpi, Guastalla, Massa di Carrara, Reggio Emilia); Monreale (Caltanisetta, Girgenti); Naples (Acera, Ischia, Nola, Pozzuoli); Oristano (Ales-Terralba); Otranto (Gallipoli, Lecce, Ugento); Palermo (Cefalu, Mazzara, Trapani); Piza (Livorno, Pescia, Pontremoli, Volterra); Ravenna (Bertinoro, Cervia, Cesena, Comacchio, Forli, Rimini, Sarsina); Reggio di Calabria (Bova, Cassano, Catanzaro, Cotrone, Gerace, Nicastro, Nicotera, Oppido, Squillace); Salerno-Acerno (Capaccio-Vallo, Diano, Marsico, Nocera dei Pagani, Nusco, Policastro); Santa Severina (Cariati); Sassari (Alghero, Ampurias, Bisarchio, Bosa); Siena (Chiusi, Grosseto, Massa Marittima, Savana-Pitigliano); Syracuse (Caltagirone, Noto, Piazza); Sorrent (Castellamare); Taranto (Castellaneta, Oria); Turin (Acqui, Alba, Aosta, Asti, Cuneo, Fossano, Ivrea, Mondovi, Pinerolo, Saluzzo, Susa); Trani (Andria, Bisceglie); Urbino (Cagli, Fossombrone, Montefeltro, Pesaro, Sinigaglia, Urbania-Sant' Angelo in Vado); Venice (Adria, Belluno, Ceneda, Chioggia, Concordia, Padua, Treviso, Verona, Vicenza); and Vercelli (Alessandria della Paglia, Biella, Casale, Novara, Vigevano). There are also eleven abbeys and prelatures without dioceses, viz.: Altamura, Monte Cassino, Monte Oliveto Maggiore, Monte Vergine, Nonantola, Santa Lucia del Mela, San Martino al Monte Cimino, San Paolo fuori le Mura di Roma, Sanctissima Trinita della Cave dei Tirreni, SS. Vicenzo ed Anastasio alle tre Fontane (near Rome), and Subiaco. There are Uniat Greek congregations in Naples, Messina, and Barletta.
(§ 4). The Old Catholics. The Old Catholics in Italy number about 1,000. They have a bishop, and less than a dozen ministers. Their largest parishes are Arrone, in the province of Perugia; Dovadola, in the province of Florence; Sant' Angelo die' Lombardi, in the province of Avellino; and San Remo, in the Riviera di Ponente. The sect was founded in Italy by Count Enrico de Campello (q.v.).
II. Protestant Bodies: The Protestant cause in Italy is represented by the old and celebrated Church of the Waldenses (q.v.); by the Evangelical Italian Church; and by congregations of Baptists, Wesleyans, and (American) Methodists.
(§ 1). The Waldensian Church. When religious liberty was established in the kingdom of Sardinia by the decree of Feb. 17, 1848, the Waldenses (q.v.) in Italy had eighteen ministers and fifteen congregations, all in the Piedmont region. The congregations of Pinerolo and Turin were established later. The number of Waldenses in Piedmont and the adjacent valleys is about 13,000. In 1898 the Waldensian College established at Torri Pellice in 1835, was placed upon an equal footing with similar state institutions. It has about a dozen teachers and about l00 pupils. The Waldenses also maintain high schools, orphan asylums, and a hospital. Their theological school, founded at Torre Pellice in 1835, was removed to Florence in 1860. The Waldensians, by sixty years of missionary activity, have now established new congregations throughout Italy, some fifty in number, with as many more mission stations, comprehending about 6,000 communicants. The affairs of the entire Church are administered by a board of five members, elected by the synod, which meets yearly at Torre Pellice, in September. Since 1861 the mission field, with the new congregations, has been administered by an Evangelization Committee of eight members, also elected by the synod. The Church maintains elementary and Sunday schools, and employs some two dozen colporteurs for the distribution of Bibles and evangelical writings.
(§ 2). The Evangelical Italian Church. The Evangelical Italian Church was founded at Milan, in 1870, by twenty-three separate congregations that had been formed here and there independently of the Waldensian evangelization. To show clearly its separation from the papacy and the Roman hierarchy this church called itself the "Free Italian Church." [Its most eminent leader was the eloquent Gavazzi.] A general convention in 1870 adopted eight fundamental articles of faith, and the next assembly at Florence in 1871 adopted a constitution of twenty-one articles. By royal decree of July 2, 1891, this church was recognized by the Italian government as a juristic person, under the name "Evangelical Italian Church" (Chiesa Evangelica Italiana), the name by which it has since then been known. The affairs of the church are in the hands of an Evangelization Committee, composed of five members elected by the general convention, which meets annually at Florence. The entire church is divided into ten districts, viz., Piedmont, Liguria, Lombardy, Venice, Emilia, Tuscany, Rome, Naples, Apulia, and Sicily. These embrace, all together, some forty congregations, forty-five stations, and about 2,000 communicants. The church maintains elementary and Sunday schools, and a theological school at Florence. The church also employs a number of colporteurs for the sale of Bibles and evangelical works. In connection with the Evangelical Italian Church may be mentioned the Free Christian Church, which resembles the Plymouth Brethren. [The Evangelical Italian Church and the Free Christian Church are now for the most part allied with the Waldensians and the Methodists.]
(§ 3). Foreign Missionary Congregations and Churches. The English Wesleyans, who have been represented in Italy since 1861, have in their northern district twenty-five churches and stations, and in their southern district twenty-five churches and stations, numbering all together some 2,000 communicants. They maintain elementary schools, and an orphan asylum at Intra. The Methodist Episcopal Church (of America) began missionary work in Italy in 1873. It now numbers twelve churches, forty mission stations, and about 1,500 communicants. It has day and evening schools employing upward of forty teachers, and also a theological school at Rome. The United Baptists, American and English, have been in Italy since 1870 and 1871. All together. they have eighty-one stations, some forty ministers, five colporteurs, and about 1,500 communicants. [George B. Taylor (d. at Rome in 1906) was for forty years at the head of the American Baptist Mission.] An independent missionary work is carried on by the Englishman Clarke in Spezia, Arcola, Belluno, Levanto, Marola, Pordenone, and Seren.
There are English churches in Florence, Genoa, Milan, Naples, Rome, and Venice, American Protestant churches in Florence and Rome, and Scotch Presbyterian churches in Genoa, Naples, Rome, and Venice. The Germans in Italy have formed a number of congregations at various places. They maintain schools in Florence, Genoa, Messina, Milan, Naples, Palermo, and Rome, and hospitals in Florence, Genoa, Milan, Naples, and Rome. Since 1880 the German ministers in Italy have had their annual conference.
Perhaps the most flourishing Evangelical congregation in Italy is the Evangelical Military Association in Rome, which was founded by L. Capellini (d. 1898).
(§ 4). Benevolent Institutions. Of other educational and charitable institutions under Evangelical control may be mentioned the high schools for girls in Florence and Naples; the Anglo-American Institute at Rome; the elementary schools of Miss Caruthers at Pisa, S. Michele degli Scalzi, and Cisanello di Ghezzano; Dr. Comandi's orphan asylum for boys at Florence; the Feretti orphan asylum for girls at Florence; the Gould Institute at Rome, an educational institution for boys and girls; the work-school for women at Turin; the Boyce Memorial Home at Vallecrosia, an asylum for orphans, both boys and girls; and the Evangelical Rescue-Mission of Mrs. Hammond in Venice.
(§ 5). Bible and Tract Societies. There are three Bible societies working in Italy, viz., the Italian Bible Society, which was founded in Rome in 1871, the British and Foreign Bible Society, and the National Bible Society of Scotland. Since 1860 the British and Foreign Bible Society has distributed in Italy more than 3,000,000 Bibles and New Testaments. The Italian Tract Society, founded at Florence in 1855, has a printing-establishment at Florence and salesrooms in a dozen Italian cities. To this tract society the entire Protestant Church in Italy is indebted for the great bulk of its polemical and educational literature. This society also publishes L'Italia Evangelica, an illustrated family weekly; L'Amico dei fanciulli, an illustrated monthly for children; and L'Amico di casa, a popular calendar (annual edition, 35,000). Of less importance is the Baptist Tract Society in Turin.
(§ 6). Periodicals. Other Evangelical periodicals are La Rivista Christiana,, a scholarly monthly; Le Témoin, the weekly organ of the French-speaking Waldensians; La Luce, a Waldensian weekly; Il Christiano, the monthly organ of the Free Christian Church; La Civiltà Evangelica, a monthly published by the Wesleyans; Il Piccolo Messaggiere, the monthly of the Evangelical Italian Church; L' Evangelista, a weekly issued by the Methodists; Il Testimonio, a Baptist monthly; and Il Labaro, a monthly published by the Old Catholics.