Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Aux Frontieres De la Paix: Bons Offices, Mediations, Arbitrages Du Saint-Siege (1878-1922)

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Aux Frontieres De la Paix: Bons Offices, Mediations, Arbitrages Du Saint-Siege (1878-1922)

Article excerpt

Aux Frontieres de la Paix: Bons Offices, Mediations, Arbitrages du Saint-Siege (1878-1922). By Jean-Marc Ticchi. [Collection de I'Ecole Francaise de Rome, 294.] (Rome: Ecole Francaise de Rome. 2002. Pp. ix, 483. Paperback.)

This is a study of the development of the papacy's role as arbitrator, mediator, and 'honest broker' in international disputes, in the reigns of Leo XIII (1878-1903), Pius X (1903-1914), and Benedict XV (1914-1922). Most of the disputes in which Vatican diplomacy involved itself were between Latin American nations, but some involved the large and small European powers, and the United States of America.

The study is original because relatively little attention has been focused on this important aspect of the diplomacy of the modern papacy, and it has been carried out with meticulous scholarship, providing the reader with an exhaustive historiographical contextualization and an elaborate scholarly apparatus, including a complete list of all the disputes in which the papal diplomacy was involved and a full itemization of the archival sources consulted. In this regard it's a pity that there is not a subject as well as a name index.

Ticchi presents Leo XIII's 'active' diplomacy within the context of the ongoing struggle with the Kingdom of Italy over the "Roman Question." A high diplomatic profile certainly was a very effective way of asserting the pope's continued claim to the status of "sovereign pontiff" despite the loss of the Papal States in 1870, and of re-establishing the moral authority of the papacy in the world. He gives us a very detailed examination of Leo's most famous diplomatic intervention, the Spanish-German dispute over the Caroline Islands, mediation in other disputes between Latin American states, and also the Vatican's failed attempts to prevent war between Spain and the United States over Cuba in 1898.

Leo also had his diplomatic failures, and the most notable was the exclusion of the Holy See from the Hague Peace of 1899. …

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