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Look Inside Money and the Rise of the Modern Papacy

Money and the Rise of the Modern Papacy
Financing the Vatican, 1850–1950


  • Date Published: December 2008
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521092111

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About the Authors
  • This is a pioneering study of the finances and financiers of the Vatican between 1850 and 1950. Dr Pollard, a leading historian of the modern papacy, shows how until 1929 the papacy was largely funded by 'Peter's Pence' collected from the faithful, and from the residue the Vatican made its first capitalistic investments, especially in the ill-fated Banco di Roma. After 1929, the Vatican received much of its income from the investments made by the banker Bernadino Nogara in world markets and commercial enterprises. This process of coming to terms with capitalism was arguably in conflict both with Church law and Catholic social teaching and becoming a major financial power led the Vatican into conflict with the Allies during the Second World War. In broader terms, the ways in which the papacy financed itself helped shape the overall development of the modern papacy.

    • The first scholarly study of Vatican finances in the modern period
    • Contributes to debates about the relationship between the Vatican and fascism during the Second World War
    • Explores the tensions between Vatican financial policies and Catholic social doctrine
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    Reviews & endorsements

    Review of the hardback: 'Money and the Rise of the Modern Papacy is clearly structured and generally lucidly written, with a refreshing absence of academic jargon. John F. Pollard has much of interest to say about the abilities and personalities of the popes concerned, many of whom he astutely reassesses. … this is indeed, as its publishers claim, a 'pioneering study'. The Times Literary Supplement

    Review of the hardback: 'Italian banking scandals of the late 1970s involving the Vatican made the history of its finances a hot topic of enquiry. A genuinely scholarly study in English has hitherto been lacking, however, … John Pollard's work gives the first adequate account of Peter's Pence in English and explores the Vatican's investment strategies to an unprecedented degree. It is prefaced by a thoughtful account of the development of the modern Papacy, which, by virtue of its analytical thrust as well as its incorporation of recent Italian research, is a valuable complement to the more textbook-style accounts of Owen Chadwick … and Frank J. Coppa … Pollard eruditely explores the dichotomy between the Church's social teaching and the financial practices of the Vatican: its avid pursuit of profit and its lack of concern as to where its investments were going.' Journal of Modern Italy

    Review of the hardback: 'Any scholar with an interest in the modern Church or Italian history should read this book, but even fans of Dan Brown might enjoy it.' Journal of Ecclesiastical History

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    Product details

    • Date Published: December 2008
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521092111
    • length: 288 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 17 mm
    • weight: 0.43kg
    • contains: 15 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    2. The reign of Pius IX: Vatican finances before and after the fall of Rome (1850–1878)
    3. The Pontificate of Leo XIII (1878–1903)
    4. Vatican finances under the 'Peasant Pope', Pius X (1903–1914)
    5. 'The great charitable lord'?: Vatican finances under Benedict XV (1914–1922)
    6. 'Economical and prudent bourgeois'?: Pius XI, 1922–1929
    7. The Wall Street crash and Vatican finances in the early 1930s
    8. Vatican finances in an age of global consolidation, 1933–1939
    9. Vatican finances in the reign of Pius XII: the Second World War and the early Cold War, 1939–1950
    10. Conclusion

  • Author

    John F. Pollard, University of Cambridge
    John F. Pollard is a Fellow of Trinity Hall, Cambridge. He is the author of The Vatican and Italian Fascism, 1929-32: A Study in Conflict (1985).

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