The Pope and Mussolini is a riveting account of the parallel rise to power of the authoritarian scholarly Vatican librarian who became Pope Pius XI and the narcissistic son of a socialist blacksmith. The unholy alliance between Benito Mussolini and Cardinal Achille Ratti (who later became Pope Pius XI) permanently transformed the role of the Catholic Church in Italy and provided legitimacy to Mussolini's Fascist rule.
The two dissimilar men made their ascent in the same year, 1922.
The intellectual Ratti with three doctorates had taught seminarians in Rome and Padua before rising to become Prefect of the Vatican Library. His predecessor Pope Benedict XV sent him as papal nuncio (diplomatic envoy) to Warsaw and later, named Ratti cardinal, and made him Archbishop of Milan. After Benedict's death, Ratti, the dark horse in the lengthy papal conclave, was elected Pope on...
For more about Popes in fact and fiction, read our blog post.
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