On 9 February 1923, a few days after his first meeting with Gasparri, Mussolini met with an eminent historian of the Society of Jesus, Father Pietro Tacchi-Venturi. This Jesuit priest, described as Mussolini's Great and Good Friend,`would play a future key role as personal intermediary between the Vatican and Mussolini.
Taking a rather different view of the initial overtures between Mussolini and the Vatican is German historian Karlheinz Deschner:*
Deschner's view is supported by a Time Magazine article of May 1928 which stated that:
Another Time Magazine article of September 7 1931, described Father Tachi-Venturi thus:
"Out of the Vatican, across the Ponte Vittorio Emanuele, into the Palazzo Venezia, back to the Vatican hurried a long-skirted Jesuit father last week. As he padded silently by, Vatican attendants and those who watch over Premier Mussolini's household whispered and nodded wisely to each other. "It's the man in black," they said. They further identified him as Father Tacchi-Venturi, a little-known priest without rank or official authority but a trusted confidant of both Pope Pius XI and Il Duce..."
to be continued...
* With God and the Fascists, Karlheinz Deschner, Stuttgart, 1965.