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Voices of Europe Milton mair American author and broadcaster lecturer and professor in the Institute of Social Research from Frankfurt University today interviews Don Minetti a Catholic priest in a Catholic country Italy. He teaches religion in the Lucero Dante one of the public high schools in Florence. He and Milton Maier had an extended audience with His Eminence Cardinal Eagan Del Acosta. The 80 year old archbishop of Florence who became world famous for having saved Florence from destruction by the retreating German army in 1944 at the conclusion of the audience in the Curia arch of Esko VLA the Archbishop of palace of Florence cardinal Del Acosta authorized Don Minetti to express the views of the Catholic Church. Here is Milton Mayer. Don't Minetti is the strength of the Catholic Church in Italy as great today as it ever has been. Listening to the Catholic Church YOU NEED TO DAY is just around as you Trevor who was a very People
follows Carter G early. I'm the master of the Colossus. Anita Lee Farrow great influence. They are life. And is the struggle against communism. Do you feel that this struggle is being won or lost in Italy. I think of the struggle of the communists against the Catholic faith is going to lose its strength. They have it tried to every means to shake the faith of people especially all the law classes. But they have not been able to get to the purpose. In your view then the church is holding the people of Italy and also the very poor people
of South Italy for example against the appeal of the Communist materialism. I think on the very much because also the poor people. Generally in a monster like this a shaken by it. But again there are some crazies but very few sporadic Ok this. But you know most of the cases you know and maybe also demonstrated by the municipal elections of ninety fifty two and in the struggle in this struggle and Italy against communism. What is the what is the basis of the strength of the of the fight against communism.
Is it is it do you feel that the church is able to bring to the people a better solution to their problems or offer them something more than communism can give them. I think you know it's years because there are many many organizations you need to be blasted off by the charities to help poor people in need in their struggle in their struggle against communism and like Catholic organizations every day for this purpose. And out of many now who are among
peasants and is the. Do you feel that faith. Of people even of the poorest people whose needs are so great in a country like Italy can this faith stand up against the appeal of communism you see don't Minetti we. We get the impression in America that communism makes great progress in poor countries because it offers the people an easy solution to their problems. It offers them more than what they have and that here is perhaps one of the reasons why Communism does get more strength in many poor countries. Can the church. Actually in your opinion give
people a kind of strength. Is it now giving the people of Italy a kind of strength and the kind of help which enables them to resist this appeal which is so strong it seems for poor people. Here is the commies. The march to shake up the clock loss especially among poor people and research is remarkable especially among persons who are really in need not poor people but as they think it one million rate or the other conditions which are good enough to say that sometimes me fala give the pianist to follow their communist Dr you but this is only because. Materially increasing because of their interest
but there really only and they do not abandon the case after six years of continuous and progressive propaganda. They have not been able I mean the communists they have not been able to shake their faith because the faction that they are for it is a deep deep feeling of the Catholic faith. Don't Minetti you spoke of the condition of the peasants in the. Do I understand you correctly that the condition of the peasants in Italy is now pretty well what is it. Is it better than it was. Yes much better than before. Yes much better than before. Conditions so the government has made it very much of the condition of the peasants better now than it was under fascism.
Thanks I think yes because many problems many problems. Beam. We discussed the result of this and of course the distributions. Well the earth the distribution of the land. Yes I like how you speak of you should land reform lend us your money for me yesterday have progressed much. And yes and still you have of course there is the problem of unemployment which is still a very serious serious and Andris over Europe and is not this the fact that communism makes so headway makes progress where there is great unemployment is one place where communism makes you know about practically many promises made. Also it is implied by the communities have been the most relate to the vein so the people who
have embraced us over hoopy much in them now is losing losing they are because they see that communities may do what you do then the communist movement in L.A. is in you're a few losing ground. I think yes and in much of this you can bury some of. Last year and the year before last and so on. When was it strongest when was communism strongest in Italy just after the war. Immediately after the war I think immediately after the war immediately after the war he was because of the better conditions maybe of the people and because of for many people who we can know their philosophical person was like a new thing.
And I wanted to try it out just to try not to adhere completely to it. Is the is the influence of communism and the young people in Italy a very strong one because in so many countries it seems this is another great source of communist strength. How is the church fighting the communists fighting against Communism for the faith of the young people. You see my point of view you know this question on race. You young people you need to find the hours before commies to tell you the truth. The communists all of us. The young people here is very likely they
say a very yes. Problems. If they admit to these inconvenient for these the most elites that few people would give that very few young people a spiritual vision for the communist gas industry I think I understand your point that the communists themselves complain that there is too little enthusiasm for communists among the young people among young people when you see the truth of the way young people young people in general and especially stupid students. The last I could see of people cigar Muni is losing force every day more. Is there any danger of the young people going to the other
extreme to the other side to fascism. Could could that happen. Do you think in Italy again. Again I don't think so because he's of a fascist. Yeah many of them do not they all fascist because the boys who are now 20 years older. Yeah and I've been able to fascism and it was anybody but them goals for the new Flash which was either you fascist the new you know we can call it not officially in any of our shoes if you request. They neglected they know they neglected their you know some of them impossible in every you know every class there are some difference but
here I am a mom. Young people especially school Yast have experienced it. Like you say that the young people he says not to use any force used and you find that in as a teacher in a public high school in a state high school your students are resisting the appeal of both fascism and communism. Most of them yes. Milton Mayer next interviews Professor Giovanni Pioli in the middle years of the 1930s. There were only 12 professors in all of Italy who refused to sign the loyalty oath to the fascist government. Professor Giovanni Ali was not one of these 12 because he had already long since been dismissed from his professorship. This was in 1034 and he had been the only professor in the leech am in which he taught who refused to have any connection with fascism. For 11 years
Professor Pioli was one of Italy's unemployed. Not however because he lacked skill. Far from it he was and he is the holder of four doctors degrees. The papal doctorates of theology canon law and civil law and the doctorate of philosophy from his University in Milan. He is 75 now of white bearded man who is one of Italy's most famous religious liberals. Perhaps it's necessary to say that in view of the fact that Professor Pioli is critical in some respects of the Roman Catholic Church that when he was arrested and thrown into prison in 1939 after four months of solitary confinement he was suddenly released from prison by the fascists. It was long afterward that he learned that his old classmate the pope of the Roman Catholic Church had interceded on his behalf with the fascist dictator muscle Leni. Here is Milton Mayer professor of PR only to what mission would use say
that you have devoted your life. When my airily evolution for America in our education the Roman Catholicism but I was an early leaders humanism having been the outcome not that of outside intellectual influences but over deep an enormous perience of the divine constitution of human nature. It was natural that I should feel impale them when people realize I used the words of individual readers the experience and morals and the commu neep unsatisfied the human needs are as they are the ultimate cursors of social unrest and a peoples and international conflicts. Hence two main aims and ranters of divinity.
Freedom from religious narrow onus and be brutally and their assistance to act on a conscience or a non-zero shown by humans especially to war as means to solve the human social and political problems. First is psychological proximity stick in the application although that in orthodox Christianity is presented as well as to be accepted of ledgers myths symbols or sacraments although sort of supernaturalism. But it is clearly in charge of politics to its original source their divine in man and society will be their excuse away any personal belief granted Larry Geller cast director
by God. Told this line about the beauty Rivera's my 50 years a collaboration pommy Canyon and for him religious and educational reviews and a number of publications. Sure is a psychic researchers then in a recent period well after the Second World War their council legal authorities immediately around to gather the grim heritage left there by fasting is their right should be operable in blind obedience to their dictatorial authority and Italy's stance or spiritual totalitarianism and especially the status quo. Making wheat an organization for recruiting the
youths who tried to escape the Roman Catholic influence right then Christian democratic government the educational authorities proceeded you illegally. To extend the religious instruction imposed the bite will dictate or will through the Concord to our elementary and secondary schools by cruelty in it acts only told prayers or worship. Our systems to mass and the reception of sacraments etc. making the school a dependence of their bodies attract. Then we felt it our duty to run to the rescue of spiritual liberty and the problemi of status of sincerity of religious professions.
Let me give just one or two instances. In Hooters I was personally involved or pleased though one was the legal imposition in Miller and the other towns of compulsory examination in the subject of religion to secondary school pupils making their promotion dependent on the good marks reported and examination violating the law of doom and 1970 in a publication of the carpet at the never modifying their regular press campaign there. After a difficult inquiry the public demonstrations was required to stop the abuse from becoming a tolerated the custom complacently allow the clerks stay little the holy deli
before being sanctioned by an official circular. When did this happen. Professor Pioli in what years. Week two or three years after the war. Only if our sister regulation on 1928 are allowed over supplement our religious teaching to Balliol us in elementary schools. Come Theron there by the East and the more Catholic government there after the Bellas are longer. See Is that where the system was used as a pretext to drill before the Easter £100 of Belize and God was a million alone. At daily by their teacher to characters to his real instruction and by priests before a scepter and all sacraments and then to be taken by rotation to confess and communicate with the known communist newspaper
when money tile concluded that a long commenter on this that this passion this world's abstainers Obadiah is marching at a booster step at expressing the opinion that the maidens are playing into this state school was bound to fast anti-clericalism and the pharmacy in the moment where I'm to color oneself that secular would be considered a crime. This moment is a steadily advancing in March 1950 Senate or drew a Mike Dean arms to be far this area as circular on the head of education in the grades are province ordering all secondary school students are paid by their teachers to attend only two ceremonies for preparation in school hours to
receive the sacraments in a given day. A teacher who refused that what they were straightened would a demonstration to superior or thought these episodes are likely these have now become a group. We can s last them a demonstration collaboration by a group of maiden teachers of the transformation of the SNC region of the state school with information would inform informative Karratha into an occasion for the citalopram for political propaganda and abusing the communists for recruiting the masses to receive the sacraments. The other part is the tactics behind these a staid illegal demolition of the liberty of conscience is to fail or even suggest lockable violations or
regulations then and lesser to stronger reaction. The surveys the by teachers families and their place to show a Pearson's further to consider their traditions to be respected there has to be in the spirit of the state after not too contradicted by positive law and doubted early and more subtle crafty thought or a policy then that a board should be authorities. But the wine and history teacher conferences. There's that we don't even get a reduced sentence at its root. The Minister of Education proclaimed that lately at a gathering of elementary school teachers. The reason most who we allow today got most of the
original sin and incarnation. Even the alphabet messed the beat all through catechism at quite recent. The proposal by the Ministry of Education. Limiting tonight I selected the Three Laws of zat made of them that clearly colors there were arcs allowed to be read in secondary schools or frightens or in their words or Billy did talk grocer dead total destruction of the teaching of the loss of every pretense of motives is discredited be presumed to be a crock to y the other to democratic if unions and they lose. But deputies of state at a private school are us to war. Reason hunting
and no learning by heart. Thou shall not love your enemies. Concord the good mood. Is not this education leading to skepticism and reason. That's OK Ali. My last question do you see any possible change in Italy in the character of the present regime. Leading to the advancement of your ideas of religious and conscientious liberty. Well about the same question I asked 20 years ago. Oh feely people too ratty the talian
socialist leader then and examining parties. Then I asked him Who are the reasons which were on almost his last message and will learn. Now for the first time that related may do for my answer to all. Fire season will eventually fall and that another regiment will succeed. What will it profit if we talons which will form a new origin. Will be the same. And for me to their own images. Welcome all you need is not that unity but as moral conversion of the nation of work not of years but of centuries or millenniums perhaps
a change or nothing short of that. May I yet Professor that in my guess is earthly leaders humanity is equally respectful nor all their different approaches to this will you shall know the mysteries of life and death may perhaps if sooner be their issue of the evolution of an agnostic communistic regime and marring to him the gravity of the rights of only human beings are provided it announces violence as a means at all actually made success. Then by your religious imperialism it based it on a custom claiming to be a monopoly look truth right there. Starting from a pessimistic view of human
nature can a being to control the surface and canards all Mansor reaction from outside and they're finding in a barbaric a pattern of the well the taking revenge of his creatures for being learned behavior what they were made to behave. And their excuse and courage for approving go well are that CDs are all that is in humans. Who are needed as they were around when needed to be fed to the highest spiritual values of civilization. Thank you very much Professor Paoli. The program you have just heard has been made possible under a grant from the fund for adult education an independent organization established by the Ford Foundation. These programs are prepared and distributed by the National Association of educational broadcasters. This
program was introduced by Norman McKeon This is the end E.B. tape network.
Voices of Europe
Don Manetti and Giovanni Pioli
Producing Organization
National Association of Educational Broadcasters
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
Interviews with Don Manetti and Professor Giovanni Pioli about Catholicism and fascism in Italy.
Series Description
Interviews with noted Europeans on a variety of subjects, conducted by Milton Mayer, American author and broadcaster, lecturer and professor in the Institute of Social Research at Frankfurt University.
Broadcast Date
Global Affairs
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Interviewee: Pioli, Giovanni
Interviewer: Mayer, Milton, 1908-1986
Producing Organization: National Association of Educational Broadcasters
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 52-37-45 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:21
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Chicago: “Voices of Europe; Don Manetti and Giovanni Pioli,” 1953-01-01, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed May 29, 2023,
MLA: “Voices of Europe; Don Manetti and Giovanni Pioli.” 1953-01-01. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. May 29, 2023. <>.
APA: Voices of Europe; Don Manetti and Giovanni Pioli. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from