Italy: A Popular Account of the Country, Its People, and Its Institutions (Including Malta and Sardinia)

By W. Deecke; H. A. Nesbitt | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XIV
The Church and Public Worship

NOMINALLY the population of Italy belongs in largely preponderating numbers to the Roman Catholic Church. Protestants, Waldenses, and Jews are only represented in small numbers, as in the earlier days of strictly Catholic States heretics were oppressed or barely tolerated. At present religious liberty prevails, and there is no State Church ( Chiesa libera in libero stato).1

Rome, and Italy with it, is the centre of the Roman Catholic world. Over the tombs of the Apostles Peter and Paul rises the splendid edifice of St. Peter's, and beside it in the Palace of the Vatican dwells the Pope, the Supreme Head of the Church.

After a contest which lasted fully a thousand years, the Pope lost his temporal authority in September, 1870, and had to look on while sacred Rome was declared the capital of the kingdom of Italy. Under protest and reservation of all rights, he retired to his palace on the hill of the Vatican (called shortly the Vatican), considered himself a prisoner, renewed his ancient claims to the lands of the Church from time to time, and is greeted as the Papa-re (Pope-King) during the solemn procession at the Cathedral of St. Peter.

On the incorporation of the States of the Church with the new kingdom a great number of rights were reserved to the Pope, and large revenues allotted to him by special guaranteeing laws ( Legge delle guarantigie pontificie) passed on May 31, 1781, that he may not be impeded in the exercise of his spiritual office as Head of the Church.

The Pope's person is inviolable, and he enjoys the same protection and the same rights in this respect as the King of Italy. He is a sovereign and has the right to the marks of honour connected with that position; he can maintain a guard (from 600 to 1000 men) in his district who are subject to himself alone, and over whom he has complete jurisdiction. Foreign powers accredit ambassadors and chargés d'affaires to him. Italy also undertakes the duty of watching over the external safety of the conclaves and Œcumenical Councils, it permits the Pope to forward letters and telegrams free of charge, stamped with the Papal stamp, and to receive merchandize free of duty. For the confiscated goods of the Church a "Perpetual Rente" of £129,000 is entered in the Budget, which was the sum allotted to the personal expenses of the Pope and his court as well as to the keeping up of the palace and museums under the former States of the Church. To render these concessions acceptable, exterritoriality has been

____________________
1
Cavour's Maxim. (Trans.)

-298-

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Italy: A Popular Account of the Country, Its People, and Its Institutions (Including Malta and Sardinia)
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Translator's Preface v
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations ix
  • Chapter I - Boundaries Extent and Contour 1
  • Chapter II - The Surrounding Seas 7
  • Chapter III - History of Discovery 14
  • Chapter IV - Relief of the Country 19
  • Chapter V - Geological Construction 35
  • Chapter VI - Climate 73
  • Chapter VII - Hydrography 85
  • Chapter VIII - Plants and Animals 112
  • Chapter IX - Population 126
  • Chapter X - History 152
  • Chapter XI - Products 168
  • Chapter XII - Commerce, Traffic and Manufactures 229
  • Chapter XIII - Political Institutions 245
  • Chapter XIV - The Church and Public Worship 298
  • Chapter XV - Art, Language and Science 312
  • Chapter XVI - Topography 340
  • Appendix I 467
  • Appendix II 469
  • Index 471
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