Azione Cattolica Italiana

Catholic Action (ACI)
   Founded in January 1908 to coordinate the new social organizations that had been established after the publication of the papal encyclical Il fermo proposito in 1905, Catholic Action is the evangelical arm of the Vatican in Italian society. Its major development came in the 1920s, during the pontificate of Pius XI. Anxious to avoid a clash with Benito Mussolini, Pius abandoned the Partito Popolare Italiano/Popular Party (PPI) to its fate and relied almost entirely on the ACI to promote Christian values. It did so via four main institutions: the Federation of Italian Catholic Men, the Society of Catholic Youth, the Catholic University Federation, and the Catholic Women’s Union of Italy. For the most part, these organizations cooperated with the Fascist state’s initiatives, but the youth organizations, the Boy Scouts in particular, clashed with the totalitarian objectives of the state. One of Pius’s principal goals during the negotiations that led to the signing of the Lateran pacts in 1929 was the preservation of the Church’s right to educate young people. Although Pius succeeded in this goal, the proliferation of ACI activities, in particular the publication of specialist publications for the family and women, and the use of church halls for meetings, film shows, and cultural activities, inevitably brought the ACI into conflict with the authorities. In June 1931, all Catholic youth associations were forbidden by law. Pius responded with the encyclical Non abbiamo bisogno, which criticized certain aspects of Fascist ideology as being incompatible with Christianity. Despite this stand on principle, both Pius XI and his successor, Pius XII, were subsequently obliged to tighten ecclesiastical control over the movement. With the return to democracy, there was a huge proliferation of specialist Catholic associations (for doctors, university and school teachers, jurists, chemists, even artists), and an impressive increase in the ACI’s membership from the already imposing figure of 2.5 million in 1943 to over 3.3 million by 1959. In these years, the ACI— particularly under the leadership of Luigi Gedda (1952–1959)—became one of the Church’s weapons in the ideological battle waged by Pius XII against the Partito Comunista Italiano/Italian Communist Party (PCI). When Pope John XXIII ascended to the Holy
   See in 1958, the ACI’s semipolitical role became less accentuated. The theological innovations of the second Vatican Council (1962–1965) emphasized the essentially religious function of Church-sponsored organizations. This reduction in what may reasonably be termed its propaganda role, and the increasing secularization of society, caused ACI membership to fall sharply in the 1970s and 1980s, but Catholic associations still penetrate every sphere of Italian life and have a formative effect on the lives of many Italians even today.
   See also Catholicism; Papacy.

Historical Dictionary of Modern Italy. . 2007.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Azione Cattolica — The Azione Cattolica Italiana, or Azione Cattolica (Catholic Action) for short, is a widespread lay Roman Catholic association in Italy.HistoryIn Italy in 1924, Azione Cattolica was established as a non political lay organization under the direct …   Wikipedia

  • Federazione Universitaria Cattolici Italiana — Catholic University Graduates’Movement of Italy (FUCI)    Organized in 1896 as a part of Azione Cattolica/Catholic Action (ACI), FUCI provided a useful link between the nascent Christian democracy movement and university students. This… …   Historical Dictionary of modern Italy

  • Giuseppe Toniolo — (* 6. März 1845 in Treviso; † 7. Oktober 1918 in Pisa) gilt als einer der bedeutendsten Wirtschaftshistoriker und Soziologen des Katholizismus. Als Historiker befasste er sich mit der Ökonomie der Toskana und der Entstehung der Sozialen Frage,… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Acción Católica — Siglas AC Fundación Siglo XX Sitio web La Acción Católica es una forma de apostolado en la que los laicos se asocian para el anuncio del Evangelio a todos los hombre …   Wikipedia Español

  • Acronyms and Abbreviations — ACI Azione Cattolica Italiana (Catholic Action) AGCI Associazione Generale delle Cooperative Italiane (General Association of Italian Cooperatives) AGIP Azienda Generale Italiana Petroli (Italian General Petroleum Agency) AN Alleanza Nazionale… …   Historical Dictionary of modern Italy

  • Pier Giorgio Frassati — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Pier Giorgio Frassati Laico católico y montañista italiano (en la foto: en la oficina de su padre 1920) Nacimiento 6 de abril de 1901. Turin, Italia …   Wikipedia Español

  • Mario Agnes — (* 1931 in Serino) ist ein italienischer Journalist. Agnes war Dozent für die Geschichte des Christentums an den Universitäten Cassino und Rom. Von 1973 bis 1980 war er Präsident der Katholischen Aktion in Italien Azione Cattolica Italiana. Von… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • ACI — see Azione Cattolica Italiana …   Historical Dictionary of modern Italy

  • Catholic Action —    See Azione Cattolica Italiana (ACI) …   Historical Dictionary of modern Italy

  • Catholicism —    There can be few countries in which the influence of organized religion is as pervasive as Italy, and although Italians have adopted modern patterns of social behavior (the use of contraception, divorce, and abortion) disapproved of by the… …   Historical Dictionary of modern Italy

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.