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date: 15 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Relations between the state and religious confessions have always been influenced by Italy’s links to the Catholic Church. In 1848 Catholicism was proclaimed state religion, while other creeds were to be tolerated according to law. This principle was reaffirmed in the Lateran Pacts of 1929. In practice, many denominations other than Catholicism were discriminated against. The republican constitution established religious equality, stipulating that relations between the state and non-Catholic creeds were to be regulated by settlements. The Catholic Church still maintained a special position, with compulsory religious teaching in schools and privileges in penal law and town planning. These privileges have slowly been dismantled from the 1980s, within the context of an essentially secular state. Official arrangements between the state and other religions are not complete: the issue is set to become increasingly important as immigration leads to rising religious differentiation.

Keywords: Catholicism, Catholic Church, Lateran Pacts, state religion, constitution, non-Catholic creeds, religious differentiation

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