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PostITALY: Cavour and the Pope (Ronald Hilton, USA, 05/22/03 2:44 am)
Again we are indebted to John Gehl for reminding us of an important historical figure, the Piedmontese statesman Camillo Benso, Conte di Cavour (1810-1861), who was largely responsible for unifying Italy under the House of Savoy, with Victor Emmanuel II as king and himself as prime minister of the new kingdom of Italy. Born in Turin, the son of a prominent family, Cavour attended the Military Academy of Turin, receiving the training that later qualified him for a commission in the corps of engineers. In 1824 he became a page to Prince Charles Albert of Sardinia-Piedmont, but two years later because of his liberal tendencies he was banished from the conservative Turin court and prevented from taking part in official political life for almost two decades. In 1830 he went to Genoa as a military engineer, where he became involved in radical politics. He visited England and France before returning home in 1835 to become a financier and industrialist. In 1847 he founded the liberal newspaper, Il Risorgimento, and in 1848 he was elected to parliament. Two years later he was made minister of agriculture, industry, and commerce, and then in 1852 named premier by the new king of Sardinia-Piedmont, Victor Emmanuel II.
In 1859 he won the support of Napoleon III of France for the liberation of northern Italy by a joint war against Austria. In the drive for Italian unification, the diplomacy of Cavour was matched by the military exploits of the revolutionary hero, Garibaldi. Cavour sent an army under Victor Emmanuel o take possession of the Papal States, thereby removing the last obstacle to the unification of Italy. Convinced that only Rome could be the capital of the new state, Cavour had to decide the position to be assigned to the Pope, Pius IX, who had voluntarily imprisoned himself in the Vatican. Cavour's proposal was for "a free church in a free state," but he died before any action could be taken. The status of the Pope and the confiscated Papal States remained unresolved until the Lateran Treaty concluded under Benito Mussolini in 1929. see The Life and Times of Cavour by William Roscoe Thayer (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/1410202615/newsscancom/ref=nosim)
Do not dismiss this as history, which is not toast. It is in the minds of present-day Italians, and explains why the Pope's recent address to the Italian parliament was such a historic event. It represented the final reconciliation of church and state.