In 1984, the Italian State and the Catholic Church signed a historic agreement known as the Concordat. This marked a significant moment in Italy’s religious and political history, as it represented a shift in the relationship between the two institutions. The signing of the Concordat took place on 18 February 1984, and was preceded by Prime Minister Bettino Craxi gathering two of his colleagues at Palazzo Chigi the night before. After reading the final draft of the text, Craxi stood up, walked around the table, and said “I ask your forgiveness!”
Craxi entrusted the dossier on revising the Concordat to Catholic-socialist Gennaro Acquaviva after he became President of the Council on 4 August 1983. On 28 January 1984, a motion giving Craxi 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 agreement was to adapt it to the principles of Italy’s Constitution. Under this new arrangement, Catholicism is no longer Italy’s state religion and there is an end to direct financial support from