Il Centro internazionale per la protezione degli interessi cattolici in Palestina

ANNO 54 2013
Paolo Zanini

The International Centre for the defence of Catholic rights in Palestine
During 1932, Luigi Barlassina, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, concerned by the weakness of Catholicism in the Holy Land, proposed creating an International Centre to defend Catholic rights in the region. In his proposal, the Centre would be established in a neutral Catholic country, and would be able not only to influence international public opinion but also to oppose the dangerous innovations being introduced by the mandatory government. Such an idea was received in various different ways by Vatican diplomats, among whom were some that were very sceptical about the possibility of setting up this new institution. These dubious attitudes were, in any case, overridden by the open support that Pius XI showed for Barlassina’s project from the very start. After this approval, Pizzardo, secretary of the Congregation for Extraordinary Ecclesiastical Affairs, contacted Micara, apostolic Nuncio to Brussels, and instructed him regarding the construction of the new Centre. Micara began work immediately, and in a few months was able to create a solid structure, involving many representatives of the
Belgian Catholic establishment in its constitution. Despite this good start, the Centre had very limited activity, due to Barlassina’s authoritarian character and his desire to control all the Centre’s activities, limiting the initiatives of the Belgian supporters. The International Centre for the defence of Catholic rights in Palestine achieved few concrete results: despite this, the constitution of the new institution, and the way in which it occurred, are useful for understanding the Holy See’s attitude towards Zionism and the Palestinian issue during the first half of the 1930s.

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