In 1984, the Concordat between the Italian State and the Catholic Church was revised to adapt it to the principles of the Constitution. This significant moment in Italy’s religious and political history was led by Prime Minister Bettino Craxi, a socialist who entrusted the dossier on revising the Concordat to Catholic-socialist Gennaro Acquaviva. The document was signed twenty days later at Villa Madama by the Vatican Secretary of State Agostino Casaroli and Craxi himself.
The main objective of this revision was to ensure that the relationship between the Italian State and the Catholic Church reflected the principles of secularism, with religion no longer being the state religion and the state renouncing any claim to control over internal life of the church. Direct financial support for priests from the state was abolished, and an eight per thousand financing system was introduced, allowing Irpef donations to be directed towards various faiths or used by other organizations.
The changes also included acceptance by the Church that religious teaching in schools would not be compulsory and that its activities would be subject to ordinary taxation. These changes marked a significant shift in Italy’s religious and political landscape, reflecting a new understanding between faith and state that prioritized individual freedom while still respecting traditions deeply rooted in Italian culture.