Black on Black
The "Man in Black"

Mussolini's 'Great & Good Friend'

...continued from Black on Black

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:*

"In Italy the collusion between the Vatican and Fascism began as early as 1922, even before the famous 'March on Rome', and continued into the Second World War via the Lateran Treaties and the brilliantly successful rape of Abyssinia which was facilitated by the Italian bishops and the Vatican itself."

Deschner's view is supported by a Time Magazine article of May 1928 which stated that:

"A friend of Signor Benito Mussolini dating from before his rise to power is the learned Jesuit scholar, Father Tacchi-Venturi of Rome. He persuaded Il Duce some years ago to present a State collection of ancient religious books to the Vatican. Generally it is known that Father Tacchi-Venturi has since been the chief intermediary between his Great & Good Friend and Pope Pius XI in recent attempts to negotiate a settlement of the Roman Question."

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.


Robert A. Maryks

You might be interested to know that Brill Academic Publishers is about to publish my book on the history of Jesuits of Jewish origin, The Jesuit Order as a Synagogue of Jews. Tacchi-Venturi is mentioned in that book. I am currently working on TV's approach to the Jewish question under Mussolini.

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