Though a Catholic country, Italy has been distinguished by the presence of a deeply-rooted Socialist Party. At the beginning of the twentieth century, encouraged by the economic and social changes taking place as well as by a new and growing awareness, a number of Catholics decided to open up to a dialogue with the socialist world. Some, such as Don Murri, identified Turati's party as a possible political interlocutor, in the conviction that the programmes of the democratic Catholics and those of the left had many elements in common. Others sensitive to modernist issues, particularly in intellectual circles, believed that Christianity at its origins and the early forms of socialism shared the same basic identity. Thus some scholars (including Father Ernesto Buonaiuti) chose to focus on the origins of the church, convinced that examples could be found there of how the world could be changed according to Christian ethics. The response of left-wing culture to these ideas was varied. Some, such as Camillo Prampolini, an exponent of “evangelical socialism,” appeared to be interested in a dialogue, like those socialists who were ready to accept idealist inspiration. The party leadership, instead, barred any suggestion of debate, convinced that Marxism was an alternative to Christianity.