Giovanni Bosco – “Confidential letters to the Pope concerning the political situation (1858-1867, 1873)” in “Salesian Sources 1. Don Bosco and his work. Collected work”

In the years immediately preceding and following Italian Unity (1858-1866), Don Bosco kept constantly in touch with Pius IX by letter. He did this not only for interests directly relating to his work, but also in reference to the worrying situation the Church was going through in Piedmont, to encourage him in his defence of the faith against the enemies of religion, and to pass on to him any likely reserved information in his possession. As already indicated, Don Bosco was with Pius IX and his Secretary of State, Card. Antonelli, on the Roman question. Slowly however, he became convinced that a too vigorous resistance to the “revolution” was becoming ever more pointless, even risked worsening the situation, so after the capture of Rome he chose, also politically, the principle of doing whatever good could be done. Here then, we reproduce ten reserved letters he sent the pontiff over the years of Italian Unity, using people he could trust, not the normal post which Don Bosco knew was controlled by the public authorities. In 1858 he was concerned with the unresolved question of the bishop of Turin, archbishop Fransoni. On his journey to Rome he was involved in this by the brother of the president of the Council, Marquis Gustavo Cavour (no. 54). The following year he informed the pontiff of the possible infiltration of“revolutionaries” into the Papal States and the imminent proposal, by Government, of candidates for vacant Episcopal sees (no. 55). Still in 1859 he communicated his disapproval of the expansionist policy of the Kingdom of Savoy to the detriment of the Papal States and of his constant efforts to defend the faith of the people and the education of his boys (no. 56).


Reference time period: 1858 – 1873

G. Bosco, “Confidential letters to the Pope concerning the political situation (1858-1867, 1873)“, in ” Section three. Don Bosco between the holy see, the kingdom of Italy and the archbishop of Turin” in “Part one. Writings and documents of the history of Don Bosco and salesian work” by Francesco Motto in “Salesian Sources 1. Don Bosco and his work. Collected work“,  LAS – Kristu Jyoti, Rome – Bangalore 2017, 217-237.

Reference institution:
Istituto Storico Salesiano
Istituto Storico Salesiano

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