The relations between Church and state in Czechoslovakia in 1947–1949: New archival documents (M.C. Dommarco)

Thanks to the opening of the Vatican archives concerning the pontificate of Pius XII, it is possible to shed light on how between 1947 and 1949 the Secretariat of State of the Holy See faced with the crisis between the Communist government of Czechoslovakia and the Catholic Church. In the context of secularisation after the Second World War, the Catholic Church in Czechoslovakia faced a wave of anti-religious persecution by members of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, which gradually gained prestige in society from 1946 up to the events of February 1948 (the so-called “Victorious February”) when the Communists assumed leading positions in the political system of the country. This study, based on archival data, provides an insight into the following aspects of these critical years: a deeper understanding of the chronological links of events; the reasons and aims of the modi operandi of the Vatican and the local episcopate; the bilateral relations between the Secretariat of State of the Holy See and the bishops of Czechoslovakia and their interaction in opposing the anti-church policies of the state; the reasons why the number of adherence to the so-called “Catholic Action” movement was much lower than that expected of the Communist Party in Czechoslovakia; Pius XII’s closeness to the Catholic clergy and believers in Czechoslovakia.

Jornadas de Estudo «Correntes religiosas diante da descolonização»

In the context of the fiftieth anniversary of the “Capela do Rato case”, there will be, on the 23rd and 24th of February 2023, at the Catholic University of Portugal, the Study Days on “Religious Currents in the Face of Decolonization”, carried out in partnership with Comissão Comemorativa 50 anos 25 de Abril. The goals of the initiative are to promote historiographical debate on the positions of religious groups in dealing with decolonization since the end of World War II. These conferences, which will be held in hybrid mode (in person and online), are part of the research project “25 de Abril: permanências, ruturas e recomposições”, underway at the Centro de Estudos de História Religiosa (UCP-CEHR).

Decolonization will be approached from different angles by the speakers: the singularity of the Portuguese case by Bruno Cardoso Reis (CEI-ISCTE/IUL), gender issues by Isabel Santos (UCP-CEHR) and António Matos Ferreira (UCP-CEHR), the churches of Eastern Europe by Madalena Resende (IPRI-NOVA), and contemporary civic and religious consciousness by António Matos Ferreira. The four panels will bring together about 20 researchers from different universities around topics related to decolonization, international and transnational oppositions and dynamics, women and resistance, and the positions of religious institutions and Christian currents.

For more information (Program & zoom link):

Which West for Which Church? The Time of Pius XII (1939-1958)



The Time of Pius XII (1939-1958)

Launching Seminar of the International Research project “OCCIDENTES. Horizons and Projects of Civilization in the Church of Pius XII”

Introductory remarks

Paolo VALVO (Researcher in Contemporary History, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore)


Philippe NEMO (Director, Ecole Professorale de Paris)

John POLLARD (Emeritus, Trinity Hall, Cambridge)


Pablo PÉREZ LÓPEZ (Director, Department of History, Universidad de Navarra)

Roberto REGOLI (Director, Department of Church History, Pontificia Università Gregoriana)

Final remarks

Paulo FONTES (Director, Centre of Religious History Studies, Universidade Católica Portuguesa)

Friday 10 December 2021

Microsoft Teams Platform, 4 PM – 5:30 PM

Largo A. Gemelli, 1 – Milan


This research blog aims to offer to a wide audience of specialists and non-specialists a presentation of the research project “OCCIDENTES. Horizons and Projects of Civilization in the Church of Pius XII” – jointly promoted by Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Pontificia Università Gregoriana, University of Navarra and Universidade Católica Portuguesa – and its research team, as well as constant updates on the progress of research, including notices and news about conferences and seminars, calls for papers, publications related to the project, collaboration opportunities.

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