The Long Defeat: Christendom and Its Defenders, 1789 to the Present. Part 5: Italy

When the French Revolution broke out, the Italian Peninsula was divided among several rulers. Piedmont and Sardinia were the domain of the ancient House of Savoy, as a Kingdom named after the large island. But Sardinia was not the Savoys’ only title; they claimed to be Kings of Jerusalem as well, and after the death of Cardinal York (Henry IX) in 1807, Charles Emmanuel IV would become heir to the claims of the House of Stuart. Moreover, the head of the House of Savoy was also “Perpetual Vicar of the [Holy Roman] Empire in Italy.” This was ironic, because the Habsburg Emperor himself was Duke of Milan, and in that capacity ruled all Lombardy, and had charge of the ancient Iron Crown of Lombardy — symbol of the old and long-gone Kingdom of Italy of Charlemagne’s time. Two other branches of the Habsburgs ruled the Grand Duchy of Tuscany and the Duchy of Modena, while Bourbons were Dukes of Parma and Kings of the Two Sicilies. The Papal States encompassed central Italy, while the two ancient oligarchic republics of Venice and Genoa still functioned according to their ancient constitutions. Between 1789 and 1815, all of these would collapse under French assault and — with the exceptions of Genoa and Venice — be reborn at the Congress of Vienna. Nevertheless, French rule brought forth all sorts of Catholic Counter-Revolutionary movements: the Massa Cristiana in Piedmont, the Veronese Easter, the “Viva Maria” rising in Tuscany, the Sanfedisti in Naples, and various other examples of Insorgense as required.

As in the rest of Europe, the Restoration era in Italy brought a number of important Counter Revolutionary writers to public notice: in Sardinia (in addition to Joseph de Maistre, who despite writing in French was a subject of the Savoys) was the eminent political theorist, Clemente Solaro, Count Della Margherita (1792-1869), whose political career was prematurely cut short for reasons we shall examine shortly; Monaldo Count Leopardi (1776-1849), who despite being layman was from the Papal States; and Antonio Capece Minutolo, Prince di Canosa, from the Two Sicilies. All three argued for the traditional religious and political arrangements their respective countries had developed over the centuries. But in 1831, Charles Felix, King of Sardinia, died. Having only daughters, the throne of Sardinia went to his distant cousin, Charles Albert, Prince of Carignano. His oldest brother, Victor Emmanuel I, had abdicated the Sardinian throne in 1821 in Charles Felix’s favour, but retained the inherited the Stuart claims to the thrones of England, Scotland, and Ireland that had passed to the House of Savoy when Henry IX died in 1807. These were passed on to Victor Emmanuel’s eldest daughter, Maria Beatrizia, who married Francis IV, Duke of Modena.

Where Charles Felix had been a supporter of the arrangements of the Congress of Vienna and an ally of Austria, Charles Albert was a liberalizer, and joined the revolutionaries in the revolutions of 1848. Forced to abdicate in favour of his son, Victor Emmanuel II, the following year, he nevertheless left a terrible legacy to his heir. Victor Emmanuel II in turn was soon captivated by his new Prime Minister, Camillo Count Cavour, who would play the role of Bismarck in Italy. Early in his tenure, he convinced the King that conscription and heavy taxation were necessary, if Sardinia was ever to able to play the unitive role he had in mind for it. Cavour began a rash of anti-Catholic legislation in 1850, which culminated in the suppression of the monasteries five years later. In the meantime, he had brought Sardinia into the Crimean War on the side of Britain and France — this ensured that the two powers would be either neutral or favourable to whatever adventures he had in mind. Cavour was able to prevail upon Napoleon III to declare war on Austria in 1859.

This was the beginning of the Risorgimento. It would see the French drive Austria from Lombardy in 1859, and their surrender of it to Sardinia; the following year, with Cavour dead, his King and Country would continue their rampage, annexing Tuscany, Modena, and Parma (thus expelling the future father of SG Empress Zita, Duke Robert of Bourbon-Parma) from their respective rulers, and the Romagna from the Papal States. This latter move resulted in the Pope creating an armed force to defend the rest of the Papal States — the Pontifical Zouaves, recruited from all over Europe and Latina America. These were initially defeated, and most of the remaining Papal States seized by the Sardinians. That same year, at Sardinian urging, Garibaldi invaded the Two Sicilies; although they fell quickly, the Bourbon King’s loyal subjects fought a years’ long resistance against the invader, dubbed the Brigantaggio by its opponents. In 1866, the laws oppressing the Church in Sardinia were extended to the areas the Sardinians had conquered; in that year also, the Sardinians went to war as Prussian allies against Austria. Despite being defeated themselves by the Austrian, their victorious Prussian allies ensured that they received Venetia at the peace table. At last, in 1870, following the withdrawal of French troops to fight in the Franco-Prussian War, the Sardinians were able to seize Lazio and Rome itself. Victor Emmanuel II took up residence in the Papal Palace of the Quirinale, and a centralised state established that managed to drive millions of Italians overseas, to the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Argentina, Chile, and Brazil.

But apart from the unsuccessful military resistance to the Sardinian expansion, there had been defenders of the Faith in the world of journalism and letters. Such as Giulio Cesare Fangarezzi, Marcellino Venturoli, Giambattista Casoni, and Giovanni Acquaderni had kept up the battle in the press. After 1870, although the Pope forbade Catholics to engage in political activity per se (the famous non expedit), such folk were far from idle. In 1874, the various lay groups came together in the Opera dei congressi e dei comitati cattolici. As Bl. Pius IX had ordered “Catholic Action, not Catholic politics,” they worked to penetrate Italian society in non-political ways. As the decades wore on, however, the Opera’s membership began to split along two lines; a Modernist wing, and an orthodox one, led by Filippo Meda, Bl. Giuseppe Toniolo, and the priest, Don Luigi Sturzo. In 1904, St. Pius X would order the Opera dissolved, and replaced by sounder structures. He also allowed Catholics to compete in local elections.

Victor Emmanuel II had died in 1878; excommunicated by Bl. Pius IX for his theft of the Papal States, he was nevertheless reconciled to the Church on his deathbed due to the personal intervention of his old adversary. The Pope would outlive him by only a few months. Victor Emmanuel’s successor was his son, Umberto I; Pius’ was Leo XIII. Although the continuance of the “Roman Question” — as the legal situation of the usurped Papal States was called after 1870 — meant that the new Monarch was excommunicated, he was personally devout. Moreover, since the nascent Kingdom of Italy was very definitely a Constitutional Monarchy, Umberto was not in a position to solve the issue on his own. The solution to the dilemma was rather bizarre. He remained excommunicate as King of Italy; but Leo reconciled him to the Church as the private individual, Umberto di Savoia. So it was that there were no Solemn Masses accompanying the great occasions of State in the Kingdom, but Umberto assisted daily at a Low Mass. Beloved by his subjects, he was universally mourned when he was murdered by an anarchist in 1900. His Queen, Margherita, wrote a prayer as a result which was widely distributed through the country.

The new King, Victor Emmanuel III, was not particularly devout; but his wife Elena, a Montenegrin Princess who converted to Catholicism from Orthodoxy, most decidedly was. Her piety she would pass on to their children — most especially the young Crown Prince, Umberto. Her cause for beatification is underway. Despite his diminutive size, the new King was an avid hunter; his personal bravery was demonstrated time and again after “his” government turned on its peacetime allies Germany and Austria-Hungary and entered World War I on the side of the British, French, and Russians in 1915. They did so out of a bald-face desire to snatch the Italian-speaking sectors of the Habsburg realms. But shifty as his ministers might have been, Victor Emmanuel’s bravery at the front led his subjects to call him the “Soldier-King.” There were certainly devout Catholics in his army, such as Giosuè Borsi — and the Italian government revived the military chaplain corps, abolished when Sardinia had first attached the Papal States back in 1860.

After the War ended, Communism came to Italy in a big way. To combat it, Benedict XV lifted the prohibition on Catholics in Italian politics in 1919. Fr. Luigi Sturzo formed the Popolari or People’s Party — a professedly Catholic party that year. As a Catholic Party, it embraced the several — sometimes contradictory — political currents among Catholics, including the Legitimism of Alessandro Monti della Corte. Fr. Sturzo’s Party Secretary was a young Tyrolean named Alcide De Gasperi. But despite their participation in various cabinets, the Popolari were no more able to stem Italy’s slide into political chaos than were any other group. When Mussolini came to power in 1922, he invited the party to join his coalition. Unhappy with the Duce’s policies. Fr. Sturzo ordered the party to leave the coalition with the Fascist — the handful of deputies and one cabinet member who refused were expelled from the party. In 1926, Mussolini dissolved all parties other than the Fascist, including the Popolari. Fr. Sturzo left the country. Three years later, Mussolini signed the Lateran Agreement. This ended the dispute between the Holy See and the Kingdom of Italy, establishing the Vatican City State for the Pope, and making Catholicism the State Religion of Italy.

It is important to understand the role that Mussolini played. In upbringing Socialist (he was named “Benito” — the Spanish for Benedict, rather than the Italian “Benedetto” — after Juarez), he had stayed with the party until they called for neutrality when Italy declared war on Austria. His Fascist Party was initially both Republican and Anti-Clerical; they only ceased to be when the Duce found that rapprochement with both institutions (“throne” and “altar”) was required to take and maintain power. Nevertheless, despite the Lateran Treaty, Mussolini’s regime began encroaching on the Church in areas such as education, youth groups, and freedom of organisation. In 1931, Pius XI issued a blistering encyclical against Fascism, Non abbiamo bisogno. Relations between the Duce and the Holy See were rocky until Mussolini brought Italy into World War II on Hitler’s side.

In 1943, with Sicily and Southernmost Italy in Allied hands, Victor Emmanuel III dismissed Mussolini from office and had him imprisoned; the King then switched from the Axis to the Allies. Hitler did not take kindly to that gesture; the Germans immediately attacked the Italian Royal Army and seized control of all of Italy not occupied by the Allies — including Rome. Mussolini headed a puppet “Italian Social Republic” under German control. A resistance emerged to fight both Germans and Fascists, made up of competing factions — amongst whom the Communists and Socialists were dominant. The Catholics were divided into republican and Monarchist factions, and the Monarchists similarly divided between Catholics and Liberals. This confusing epoch ended with the war; tainted by his connection with Mussolini, Victor Emmanuel III abdicated in 1946. His son, Umberto II, reigned only a month before a rigged referendum called for a republic. Aware of the massive fraud, the military chiefs offered to defend their King’s right to rule. But to avoid bleeding the country white by the civil conflict that the Communists would surely launch should he stay, Umberto chose to go into exile.

Most of the leading Catholic figures — including De Gasperi — embraced the republic and formed the Christian Democratic Party (which would eventually accept abortion in 1978 and collapse completely in 1994); many Monarchists, by contrast, were Liberal and often Masonic — as had been the Monarchy they supported, more or less, from 1860 to 1929. Nevertheless, the immediate postwar era saw the emergence of Catholic Monarchist figures, who had much to say to their own time and ours. One of the most influential of these was Attilio Mordini; devoutly Catholic, he described himself as a Ghibelline — an early devotee of Bl. Emperor Charles, he was not only a lover of the pre-Risorgimento Italian States but of the Holy Roman Empire and the Habsburg tradition. Moreover, he worked to recuse what there was of value in Perennialism while rejecting the anti-Catholic views of such as Evola and Guenon. Mordini worked with a large number of Italian Catholic Monarchist Intellectuals, most of whom are also unknown in the United States, but well worth encountering: Silvio Vitale, Giovanni Allegra, Fausto Belfiori, Primo Siena, Giovanni Cantoni, Adolfo Oxilia, Silvano Panunzio, and Sergio Quinzio. But Umberto II was a devout Catholic; although exiled until his death he remained deeply concerned with his country — and donated the Shroud of Turin (which he owned as heir to the Dukes of Savoy) to the Church. As a result, despite the origins of the Monarchy he represented, he had deeply Catholic supporters, such as Giovannino Guareschi (author of the Don Camillo books) and Francesco Carnelutti.

As the years wore on, hope for a restoration waned among Umberto’s followers; at last, he died on March 16, 1983. His son, Victor Emmanuel, and grandson, Emmanuel Filiberto, were still prohibited from entering Italy. They would not be allowed to return until 2002. In the meanwhile, Italian politics went from bad to worse, with the Christian Democrats shattering in 1994, as earlier mentioned. In addition, regional opposition — north and south — to the centralised regime the Savoys had initiated in the 19th century and which was maintained by the republic came under increasing attack by locally-based autonomist parties. Like the country itself, the Catholic and Counter-Revolutionary sphere is extremely divided. But just as with the country itself, it still produces a great many interesting movements. As with every other Western Country, of course, the mainstream is hideously corrupt.

Alleanza Cattolica says of itself that “Alleanza Cattolica is a civic-cultural organism of lay Catholics — independent of any political party — which proposes the positive and apologetic propagation, therefore also polemics, and the realization of the social doctrine of the Church, application of the perennial natural and Christian morality to changing historical circumstances. Its action is situated in the field of the Christian establishment of the temporal order; it is moved by political charity, that is, by love for the common good; aims at the promotion and construction of a society on a human scale and according to God’s plan — in the perspective of his greater glory, even socially — that is, of a civilization that can rightly be called Christian, inasmuch as it respects divine rights and consciously living within the frontiers set by the doctrine and morals of the Church. The hope of the historic establishment of such a civilization is supported by the promise of Our Lady at Fatima: ‘Finally, my Immaculate Heart will triumph’”.

Italia Cristiana proposes to bring Catholic Social teaching to bear against the evils of modern Italy. Militia Christi work specifically for the Social Reign of Christ the King in Italy, and amongst many other things sponsors an annual Mass in the Traditional Rite in honour of the Pontifical Zouaves who fell fighting for Bl. Pius IX on September 20, 1870. Croce Reale stands for a general recovery of all of Italy’s (and Europe’s) Catholic and Monarchical Traditions; they support all three of the Royal Houses who branches between them ruled Italy before 1860: Savoy, Bourbon, and Habsburg. Not too surprisingly, the Cenacolo di studi della civiltà cristiana Attilio Mordini is dedicated to studying Mordini’s work. Radio Spada is a cornucopia of Catholic Counter-revolutionary news and views. The Bicentennial of the French Revolution in 1989 called forth a number of efforts on the part of those who disliked the French Revolution in Italy. One of these was and is the journal and associated efforts called Controrivoluzione.

The House of Savoy and their supporters for a renewed Kingdom of Italy on the pre-1946 model are severely handicapped by a dynastic struggle. As early as 1969, friction developed between Umberto’s son, Victor Emmanuel, Prince of Naples, and his cousin Amedeo, Duke of Aosta. The enmity between the two grew and in 2003 Amedeo for a number of reasons claimed to be Umberto’s rightful heir; in time ideology was added to the split, as the Aosta faction came to be seen by its adherents as the more Catholic of the two. Although Victor Emmanuel’s son Emmanuel Filiberto and the recently deceased Amedeo’s son Aimone look as though they shall carry on the fight, Emmanuel Filiberto has not produced a male heir and Aimone has — a future Umberto III perhaps. Although the former prince has declared his daughter his heiress in violation of the Savoy House laws, this shall probably not gain him followers.

As a result, the adherents of the Savoys have also split with one exception: The Institute of the Guard of Honour of the Royal Tombs. They serve to guard the last resting places of Victor Emmanuel II and Umberto I at the Pantheon in Rome; of Victor Emmanuel III and Elena at the Monastery of Vicoforte in Piedmont; and of Umberto II and Maria Jose in the Abbey of Hautecombe in Savoie, France. Obviously it is the wish of all Italian Monarchists that the last four be brought back to the Pantheon whenever the government is less insane.

Amedeo ordered the dynastic orders of the House of Savoy to shut down; but Victor Emmanuel has continued to award them, and their organisations have grown enormously — including to the United States. Umberto II had officially commissioned a group of loyal Senators to look after the Crown’s interests in Italy; there are now two of these bodies claiming to be the legitimate successors of that group — one loyal to Victor Emmanuel and the other to Aimone. So too with Monarchist organisations: to the Prince of Naples accede Tricolore, the Gruppo Savoia, Italia Reale and the Giovani Monarchici (“Young Monarchists”); the Unione Monarchica Italiana and the Monarchici Italiani are loyal to the Duke of Aosta. The Associazione Internazionale Regina Elena is not involved in the dispute, but promoted the cause for beatification of Victor Emmanuel III’s consort, Queen Elena.

But, of course, there are those who smart over the defeat of the other Monarchies in the peninsula by the House of Savoy. Where “Legitimism” in France, Spain, and Portugal means adherence to the senior, Conservative lines of the Royal Family dispossessed by liberal junior ones, in Italy Legitimists are those who remain loyal to the various Sovereign Houses who lost their lands in 1859-60. Nowhere is this truer than in the former Kingdom of the Two Sicilies — whose modern-day proponents pride themselves on their traditional fidelity to both the Catholic Church and the House of Bourbon Two Sicilies. Alas, this dynasty too is afflicted with a split between two branches — one headed by the Duke of Calabria and the other by the Duke of Castro. When their mutual ancestress, Maria Cristina di Savoia (daughter of the last Conservative King of Sardinia who married Ferdinand II of the Two Sicilies) was beatified in 2014, the two Dukes made a pact ending the split — easier to do because Calabria has a son, and Castro does not. But a fairly short while later, Castro declared his daughter to be his heiress, in violation of the family law. Despite this, as with the Savoys, one may hope that the lack of a male heir on one side shall solve the issue. In the Meantime, Calabria has his set of the Orders of Neapolitan Knighthood with an American branch, and Castro has his with its. The Holy See recognises both as valid, assigning a different church in Rome to each. It may be hoped in the meantime that the new cause for beatification of their common ancestor Francis II, last reigning King of the Two Sicilies, may in time bring about a second and more lasting reconciliation.

Regardless of the dynastic squabble, however, there is much of interest in the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies and in those areas of Southern Italy which it encompassed; ironically, they voted overwhelmingly for the retention of the Savoy Monarchy in 1946, as did Piedmont and Sardinia whence that family came. The rigging of the plebiscite was only possible in the more disputed areas of the North. In any case, since the collapse of the Christian Democrats in 1994, many in the South have become interested in their former government — ranging all the way from historical reenactment and sentiment to a full-blown demand for independence from Rome under the Bourbons. Among these are the Rete de Informazione del Regno delle Due Sicilie, the Movimento Neoborbonico, and the Network of Associations of the Two Sicilies.

Skipping over the Papal States for the moment, we come to the former Grand Duchy of Tuscany. Presided over by a cadet branch of the House of Habsburg since the 18th century — and seized in 1859 as were its neighbours Parma and Modena. The current heir, Archduke Sigismund, takes an interest in his former domain, awarding its two knightly orders dedicated to St. Stephen and St. Joseph (the former of which — due to its historical importance — has a separate body dealing with its historic properties). There are also Tuscan autonomists and independence-seekers, all of whom have a greater or less affection for the dynasty.

North of Tuscany was the Duchy of Modena. Founded by the House of Este, it had passed to yet another cadet branch of the Habsburgs by marriage (Austria-Este). This in turn became extinct when the last Duke — dispossessed like the others in 1859 — died without a son (although one of his daughters passed on his claim to the Jacobite succession in the British Isles to her own son, the future Crown Prince of Bavaria). His claims to Modena and the properties he possessed he passed on to a cousin — Archduke Franz Ferdinand; hence his name of Austria-Este. When that Archduke died, his heir, the future Bl. Emperor Charles, was Duke of Modena until he inherited the throne of Austria-Hungary in 1916 he in turn made it over to his second son, Archduke Robert. Robert’s rights to Modena were in turn passed on to his son Lorenz who married a Belgian Princess. The latter then is at once an Archduke of Austria, Duke of Modena, and a Belgian Prince. Nevertheless, the Associazione “Legittimismo Estense” continues to fight to keep the memory of the Duchy alive, as does the reenactment group, the Battaglione Estense.

Neighbouring Modena was the old Duchy of Parma. Its youthful Duke, Robert I, was likewise driven out of his lands in 1859. But he remained fabulously wealthy — this was a good thing, because his two Duchesses gave him a total of 24 children; among them was Servant of God Zita of Bourbon-Parma, later consort of Bl. Charles of Austria-Hungary. Her younger brother Xavier would eventually succeed several of her older brothers and one nephew who died without male heirs in succession. But long before that, in 1936, the Senior (Carlist) line to the throne of Spain died out. While the Junior, Alphonsino branch of course survived and was next in succession, many Carlists refused to accept the recently exiled Alfonso XIII as their King. They turned to the next senior branch — the Bourbon Parmas, of whom Xavier was the most senior with a male heir of his own. Xavier would lead the Carlists through the Spanish Civil War and after. When his oldest brother’s son died in 1974, Xavier became de jure Duke of Parma as well. Meanwhile, his eldest son, Carlos Hugo had married a Dutch Princess in 1964 (they would divorce in 1981). After Xavier died in 1977, Carlos Hugo and his brother Sixto Enrique argued over how Carlism should be run — of which more when we get to Spain. Suffice it to say that while his younger brother disputed Carlos Hugo’s leadership of Carlism (especially during a brief period when Carlos Hugo embraced Marxism), he did not argue about the succession to Parma. When Carlos Hugo died in 2010, his oldest son, Carlo Saverio succeeded him as Duke of Parma; in that role he fulfills a number of cultural and chivalric duties. He carries on his father’s dispute with his uncle over headship of the Carlist cause.

The collapse of Tuscany, Parma, and Modena in 1859 was made possible by the defeat of the Austrians by the French earlier in the year, and their expulsion from the Lombard half of their Kingdom of Lombardo-Venetia. Lombardy had been the heartland of the Medieval Kingdom of Italy, with its coronation cities of Milan and Pavia, and the Iron Crown of Lombardy in Monza — where like the Holy Crown of St. Stephen in Hungary, it has its own corps of Guards. Charlemagne and the Holy Roman Emperors were crowned with it, down to Charles V; Napoleon had himself crowned with it when he took control of his short-lived Kingdom of Italy; and Kaiser Ferdinand would do likewise for his Lombardo-Venetian realm. In 1866, although the Austrians defeated the Sardinians militarily, their Prussian allies insisted that Venetia be given up by the Habsburgs. After 1870, the new Savoy Kingdom insisted on it as the symbol of their new nation, although no Savoys ever wore it. Nevertheless, some regionalist fervour in the area looks back to the Habsburgs, and so has produced the Circolo del Regno Lombardo-Veneto whose adherents see Karl von Habsburg, heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, as their King Carlo II. In the Venetian half of the old Kingdom, Verona is host to several allied organisations that treasure the memory of the resistance to the French and Sardinians, and of the Habsburgs. On the one hand, these latter were instrumental in recent years in persuading the Mayor to declare Verona a “pro-life city;” on the other, many of their members are Sedevacantists.

Habsburg loyalty is rife in Trieste, which, after all, was part of Austria until 1918 — and whose history since has been both bleak and anti-climactic. Not too surprisingly, the Institute for Central European History and Culture in that city seeks to keep alive both the memory of and current links with Trieste and Austria and Slovenia. The Movement for a Free Trieste seeks to strengthen those links politically.

South Tyrol is divided linguistically between a German-speaking northern section closely linked to Austrian Tyrol, and an Italian-speaking southern region. This latter, Trentino, has “Habsburg Carnivals;” various journals remind the Italian speakers of the better times under the Habsburgs. There is of course even more of this quiet loyalty in the German-speaking area, not least through the companies of Schuetzen or Riflemen — always deeply loyal to the Kaisers, and found throughout Tyrol.

Now we may look again at the Papal States. As temporal rulers, the Popes had fought to keep their territories intact for centuries — usually through politics, sometimes through war. When Victor Emmanuel II called on Bl. Pius IX to surrender the Romagna, he refused. Instead, he sent out a call to Catholics all over the world to come and defend him. The result was the formation of the Papal Zouaves and ten years of on again, off again conflict. When Rome at last fell to the Sardinians in 1870, Pius withdrew into the Vatican. Those nobility who rallied to the new regime were called Whites; those that remained loyal took the name Blacks. These latter made up both the bulk of the many lay offices in the Papal Court and were the soldiers of Noble Guard. Local Romans staffed the Palatine Guards of Honour, while the Swiss Guard and the Gendarmerie remain what they had always been. Successive Popes refused to recognize the new regime as we have seen, until the Lateran Treaty of 1929. Four decades later, Paul VI abolished the Noble and Palatine Guards, most of the hereditary offices of the Papal Court, and the Vatican citizenship of the Black Noble families — given in 1929 at the formation of the Vatican State. Wanting to shed as much as they could of the remnants of their temporal power, the Popes after Paul abandoned the Coronation.

But there are a few remnants left. Although the title of “Papal Chamberlain” and their Renaissance uniforms were taken from the laymen who served at the Papal Court, they remain as “Gentlemen of His Holiness.” The disbanded Palatine Guards joined a new “Association of Ss. Peter and Paul” which continues to exist. Of course, given the manner in which the current Holy Father runs the Holy See and the Church at large, some might be grateful that his temporal power extends no further than the Vatican Walls. Certainly, since 1929 Catholic writers have inevitably said that the loss of the Papal States was a blessing for the spiritual side of the Papacy; but one wonders if that is really true. Certainly a Pope who was forced to deal with administering a nation might be more realistic in some ways. At any rate, one great irony is that one of the groups advocating restoration of the Papal States is Sedevacantist — the Centro Studi Giuseppe Federici. That aside, they do have interesting historical pieces on their website. In a completely different manner, in Ascoli Piceno is the remarkable publication Das Andere (“The Other”), which covers a wide range of Catholic Counter-Revolutionary topics.

Of course, there are many other Tradition-minded activities across Italy — for all that the Traditional Mass is under attack there at the moment. There is the Templar revival, which claims no continuity with the old order, but has been approved by the Church and lives under the old rule. The Coordinamento Nazionale Summorum Pontificum and Messa in Latino soldier on, uniting adherents of the Traditional Mass throughout the Country. The Institute of Christ the King and the Fraternity of St. Peter are present, of course. Despite their wildly diverse origins, the Italian Nobility have a unified organisation: the Corpo della nobiltà italiana — “Body of the Italian Nobility.” For particularly militant Catholic nobles, there is Vivant. Connected to both of the them is the Collegio Araldico, the “Heraldic College,” which is the major authority for family heraldry in Italy. Many of these are members of the Federazione Nazionale della Proprietà Fondiaria, the national landowners federation and of the Italian Historic Houses Association. Catholic principles like subsidiarity and solidarity are enshrined in a pact of organizations all dedicated to preserving local traditions, Unione Nazionale Pro Loco d’Italia. Every village, town, city, province, and region has its festivals and folklore — and bodies devoted to keeping them alive. As divided as Italy itself, the adherents of these and various other movements nevertheless share a great deal with each other, as with their opposite numbers outside the country. Certainly the land that was both the centre of the Church and the Empire ought to have a happier present than she does.

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