As archbishop, della Chiesa spoke of the church's need for neutrality and to promote peace and ease suffering, but his role as a peacemaker and conciliator came up against several obstacles that predated the war The conflict ("the Roman question
") between Italian state and church, which had existed since 1870, was unresolved.
If you think about it the answer to the Roman question
has to be a categorical no as the raw material for crisps (potatoes) were not introduced to Europe until the 1 500s.
The settlement of the Roman Question
seemed far off, yet it was still pressing on the minds of Catholics.
French writer Edmond About spent some time observing the curious workings of the Papal States for his 1859 book The Roman Question
. He described a pope who, though "not an evil-disposed man," presided over a territory where the educational system was poor; the force of law practically dysfunctional; the tax system in disarray; and whose inhabitants were "all crying out loudly against him." About traced this situation to the odd social structure where "the legislative, executive, and judicial powers are united, confounded and jumbled together in one and the same hand, contrary to the practice of civilized states."
D'Agostino, assistant professor of history and Catholic studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago, presents a well written and comprehensively documented study of the ideological influence of the Roman Question
(i.e., the loss of the papal states and the temporal sovereignty of the pope) upon Catholicism within its European and American contexts.
This conflict between Italy and the Vatican became known as "The Roman Question
" and remained unsettled through the pontificates of Pius IX, Leo XIII, Plus X, and Benedict XV, each choosing to be a highly symbolic but historically inaccurate "prisoner in the Vatican." Not one of them even ventured out to the papal spa, the Castle of Gandolfo in the nearby Alban mountains.
At the same time, with Gasparri, he saw the value of concluding concordats with secular states, especially Mussolini's Italy, where it became possible to resolve the continuing Roman Question
. Once the Lateran Pacts were concluded, Mussolini sought to save face by anticlerical bombasts, and Gasparri urged the pope not to reply in kind but to preserve good relations with the Italian government.
* There is no one obvious issue looming over the conclave, as in 1878 with the "Roman question
," meaning whether the Vatican should make peace with the new Italian Republic, or 1963, with the question of whether the Second Vatican Council should go forward.
For six decades the Vatican and the Kingdom of Italy entered into stalemate until the "Roman Question
" was legally resolved by the Lateran Treaty in 1929.