The Concordat between the Italian State and the Catholic Church was signed 40 years ago, on 18 February 1984. This historic event came after Prime Minister Bettino Craxi gathered two of his colleagues at Palazzo Chigi the night before, including Giuliano Amato and Gennaro Acquaviva. After reading the final draft of the text, Craxi stood up, walked around the table, and said, “I ask your forgiveness!”
As President of the Council on 4 August 1983, Craxi entrusted the dossier on revising the Concordat to Catholic-socialist Acquaviva. On 28 January 1984, the motion giving the Prime Minister the mandate to close the agreement was approved in the Chamber with 338 yes votes, 67 no votes, and 30 abstentions. The document was signed twenty days later at Villa Madama by Vatican Secretary of State Agostino Casaroli and Craxi himself.
The main objective of this revision was to adapt the agreement between Italy’s state and Catholic church to align with its Constitution’s principles. Under this new agreement, Catholicism is no longer Italy’s official religion, and the government renounced any claim to control over Catholic church internal life. The direct financial support from state for priests was abolished; instead an eight per thousand financing system was introduced. Through this system, Irpef percentage can be donated to Catholic Church or other confessions as per their choice. For its part, Catholic Church accepted that religious teaching in schools is not compulsory and that its activities are subject to ordinary taxation.
This shift in relationship between Italy’s state and Catholic Church marked a significant moment in country’s religious and political history.