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On February 18, 1984, a historic Concordat was signed between the Italian State and the Catholic Church. This agreement was the result of years of negotiations and came after Prime Minister Bettino Craxi entrusted Gennaro Acquaviva with revising the agreement. The signing took place at Villa Madama with Vatican Secretary of State Agostino Casaroli and Craxi in attendance.

The main objective of the agreement was to adapt it to the principles of Italy’s Constitution, which no longer made Catholicism the state religion. The State renounced its claim to control over the internal life of the Church, and direct financial support for priests was abolished. In its place, an eight per thousand financing system was introduced, allowing citizens to donate a portion of their income tax to any religion or confession they chose.

In return, the Church accepted that religious teaching in schools was not mandatory and that its activities were subject to ordinary taxation. These changes marked a significant shift in Italy’s relationship with its Catholic Church and were a defining moment in both its religious and political history.

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