Book Series Religion (Outside a Series)

Benedict XV: A Pope in the World of the 'Useless Slaughter' (1914-1918)

Alberto Melloni, Giovanni Cavagnini, Giulia Grossi (eds)

  • Pages:2 vols, 1708 p.
  • Size:156 x 234 mm
  • Language(s):English
  • Publication Year:2021

  • ISBN: 978-2-503-58289-4
  • Hardback
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  • ISBN: 978-2-503-58290-0
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“This collection is outstanding and theological libraries should invest in it” (Ashley Beck, in Church History 91/2, 2022, p. 435)

“(...) for those concerned not just with papal history but also with ecumenism, diplomacy and the Catholic Church’s relations with Judaism, these two volumes are a rich resource.” (Michael J. Walsh, in The Journal of Ecclesiastical History 73/2, 2022, p. 439)


On August 1, 1917 – three years after the outbreak of World War 1 – pope Benedict XV signed his famous peace note, urging the governments of the belligerent Powers to seek a diplomatic solution to their disputes and stop the "useless slaughter". In order to commemorate the event and to define the place of this "forgotten pope" in twentieth-century history, on November 3-5, 2016, the Fondazione per le Scienze Religiose Giovanni XXIII (Fscire) hosted an international conference, entitled "Benedict XV in the world of the useless slaughter", in which more than a hundred historians from all over the world participated. The aim of the initiative, supported by the Historical and Scientific Committee for Italy’s National Anniversaries, is to shed light on the key issues of this pontificate, from Giacomo Della Chiesa’s education in the theological seminary in Genua to his heritage and memory all along the twentieth century. The volume resulting from this conference provides a comprehensive and systematic reference work about a key figure in Church history that has all too often been neglected.



Foreword (Cardinal Pietro Parolin)
Introduction (Alberto Melloni)

Part One: Stages

Origins and Formation
Genoa: A Capital between Savoyard Annexation and the Risorgimento (Nicla Buonasorte)
The Genoese Aristocracy from the Sixteenth to the Nineteenth Centuries: Traces of the Della Chiesa Family (Federica Meloni)
The Migliorati and the Ancestry of Innocent VII (Anna Falcioni)
Giacomo Raggi of Genoa, Capuchin Friar, and the Vocation of Giacomo Della Chiesa (Aldo Gorini)
Formation and Studies at the Archiepiscopal Seminary of Genoa (Nicla Buonasorte)
The Students of the Almo Collegio Capranica at the time of Rector Francesco Vinciguerra (Maurilio Guasco)

A Diplomat of Leo XIII
From Minutante to Sostituto in the Papal Secretariat of State (Klaus Unterburger)
Controversies at the Top: Merry del Val, Della Chiesa, Pius X (1883-1907) (Annibale Zambarbieri)
Rampolla, Della Chiesa, Benedict XV (Jean-Marc Ticchi)

The Bologna Episcopate
Giacomo Della Chiesa's First Pastoral Letter to Bologna (Giovanni Turbanti)
Culture and Catholic Associations in Bologna in the Pre-War Period (1908-14) (Marcello Malpensa)
Archbishop Giacomo Della Chiesa Facing the Italo-Turkish War (1911-12) (Alessandro Santagata)

The Beginning of the Pontificate
The Conclave of Benedict XV (1914) (Alberto Melloni)
The First Encyclical: Ad beatissimi (Caterina Ciriello)

Ideas of War, Ideas of Peace
Churches in War, Faith under Fire (Frédéric Gugelot)
Religion in War and the Legitimization of Violence (Lucia Ceci)
Italian Military Chaplains and the 'Useless Slaughter' (Andrea Crescenzi)
Pope Benedict XV and Pacifism: 'An Invincible Phalanx for Peace'? (Gearóid Barry)

Interventionism and Neutrality in Italy
The Extremist Neutrality of Guido Miglioli (Claudia Baldoli)
Italian Foreign Politics at the Dawn of Benedict XV's Pontificate (Michele Marchi)
'In pro della pace': Benedict XV's Diplomatic Steps to Prevent Italy's Intervention in the Great War (Maurizio Cau)
Catholic Interventionism (Guido Formigoni)

Diplomacy through Aid
Benedict XV: Aid to Belgium (Jan De Volder)
Benedict XV and the Armenian Question (Georges-Henri Ruyssen)
Aid to the Syrians (1916-17): A Failure (Florence Hellot-Bellier)
The International Committee of the Red Cross, the Vatican and Prisoners of War (Mara Dissegna)
Neutral Switzerland: The Hospitalization of the Wounded and the Credit Owed to Carlo Santucci (Stefano Picciaredda)

The Note of 1917
The Papal Peace Note of 1917: Proposals for Armaments, Arbitration, Sanctions and Damages (Alfredo Canavero)
Reshaping Borders: Europe and the Colonies in Pope Benedict XV's 1917 Peace Note (Patrick J. Houlihan)
The Italian and French Bishops Dealing with the Note of 1917 (Giovanni Cavagnini)
The Note of 1 August 1917 and Its Failure (Xavier Boniface)

Part Two: Problems

The Missions
Cardinal Willem Van Rossum, Benedict XV, and the Centralization of the Pontifical Missionary Works in Rome (1918-22) (Vefie Poels & Hans de Valk)
The Roncalli-Drehmanns Mission to the French and German Offices for Missionary Work (1921) (Stefano Trinchese)
Maximum illud, a Missionary Turning Point? (Claude Prudhomme)
The 'Chinese' Missionary Policy of the Holy See before Costantini (Giuseppe Butturini)

The Re-Dimensioning of Anti-Modernism
'A Kind of Freemasonry in the Church': The Dissolution of the Sodalitium Pianum (Alejandro Mario Dieguez)
Transformations of Integralist Catholicism under Benedict XV: Benigni's Network after the Dissolution of La Sapinière (Nina Valbousquet)
Modernism during the Pontificate of Benedict XV: Between Rehabilitation and Condemnation (Giovanni Vian)
Benedict XV and Modernism in Germany (Klaus Unterburger)
Votes for Women and 'Catholic Feminism' during the Pontificate of Benedict XV (Liviana Gazzetta)

The View of the People of Israel
Benedict XV: The 'Children of Israel' and the 'Members of Different Religious Confessions' (Raffaella Perin)
The Birth of Vatican Policy on Palestine and the Holy Sites (Paolo Zanini)

Between Unionism and Ecumenism
An Indecisive Inter-Confessional Situation (1914-1922) (Étienne Fouilloux)
A Parallel Diplomacy? Vladimir Ghika and Catholic-Orthodox Relations in Romania during World War I (Clémence de Rouvray)

Theological Questions and Devotional Practices
Religious Interpretations of War as Reflected in Prayers during World War I (Maria Paiano)
Benedict XV and the Nationalization of the Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus in France and Germany (1914-18) (Claudia Schlager)
'... and yet does not touch us': A Survey of European Theology during the Pontificate of Benedict XV (Gianmaria Zamagni)

Part Three: Relations

'Trop petit'? Benedict XV in Cardinal Alfred Baudrillart's Journals and Writings (Rodolfo Rossi)
A Case of Oriental Wisdom: The second ralliement (Fabrice Bouthillon)
The Doulcet-Gasparri Agreement of 1920 and the Restoration of Diplomatic Relations between France and the Holy See (Audrey Virot)
The Appointment of Ambassador Jonnart and the Issue of Religious Associations (Jean Vavasseur-Desperriers)

The Reform of Catholic Action (Liliana Ferrari)
The Dissolution of the Taparellian Concept of Nationality during the Great War (Cinzia Sulas)
The Role of Gaspare Colosimo and the King in the Rejection of the Gasparri Draft (Piero Doria)
The Agony of the non expedit (Saretta Marotta)
Benedict XV and Proto-Fascism (Alberto Guasco)

Benedict XV and the German Episcopate (Sascha Hinkel)
The German Reception of the Peace Note (Claus Arnold)
The Legacy of Boniface: The Bavarian Episcopate and the In hac tanta Encyclical (December 1918-October 1919) (Patrizio Foresta)
The In hac tanta Encyclical (1919) and Peace in Europe (Letterio Mauro)

Russia and Ukraine
The Holy See's Humanitarian Diplomacy towards the Russian World (1914-22) (Laura Pettinaroli)
Benedict XV in Search of Peace for Ukraine (Athanasius McVay)
Peace in Eastern Europe (Nathalie Renoton-Beine)
Benedict XV and the Caucasus (Simona Merlo)

The Other European Nations
Benedict XV, the Habsburg Empire and the First Republic of Austria (Francesco Ferrari)
Benedict XV and the British Empire (1914-22) (John F. Pollard)
Benedict XV and Czechoslovakia (Ľuboslav Hromják)
Benedict XV and Poland (Roberto Morozzo della Rocca)
The Irish War of Independence (Alberto Belletti)
Benedict XV and Yugoslavia (1914-22) (Igor Salmič)
Finland and the Catholic Church during the Pontificate of Benedict XV (Milla Bergström & Suvy Rytty)

The Non-European Countries
Appeals to Wilson to Avoid the United States' Entry into War (Liliosa Azara)
Benedict XV and the Mexican Revolution (Paolo Valvo)
The Holy See's Relations with Brazil (1917-19) (Italo Domingos Santirocchi)
Japan on the Vatican's Radar (Olivier Sibre)

Part Four: Legacy

Benedict XV's Men
Benedict XV and the Cardinals (Roberto Regoli)
Eugenio Pacelli: Benedict XV's Man of Peace (Philippe Chenaux)
A Papal Envoy on the International Stage: Edmund Aloysius Walsh, SJ (Marisa Patulli Trythall)
Benedict XV, Father Gemelli, and the Foundation of the Università Cattolica (Maria Bocci)
Bonaventura Cerretti and the Impossible Missions (Marialuisa Lucia Sergio)

Europe for Peace and the Aftermath of Versailles
The Failure to Revise the Treaty of London (July 1918) (Sergio Marchisio)
New Diplomatic Relations and New Agreements in Europe (Stefan Samerski)

Post Mortem
The Death of the Pope in the Twentieth Century, Change and Continuity: The Example of Benedict XV (Édouard Coquet)
The 1922 Conclave and the Return of Pope Pius (Lorenza Lullini)
The Statue of Benedict XV in Istanbul: The East's Gratitude to the Charitable Pope (Rinaldo Marmara)
An Image-Building Failure: Biographies in the Era of Pius XI (Giulia Grossi)
From Fernand Hayward's Un Pape méconnu to the Spoleto Congress (1955-63) (Federico Ruozzi)
Benedict XV and the Founding of the Pontifical Oriental Institute (1917): Foresight, Intuition, Hindsight (Edward G. Farrugia)
Continuity and Discontinuity: Pius X, Benedict XV, and Pius XI (Annibale Zambarbieri)

The Benedict XV Moment (Denis Pelletier)

Name Index