In: Jahrbuch für Historische Kommunismusforschung 2010. Berlin: Aufbau Verlag, pp. 109–128
The attention toward the Catholic world was a constant in Togliatti’s thought, but it became more obvious when he tried to move together with the Catholics on the specific issue of peace. Togliatti thought that the Catholic Church’s conception of universalism contained the germs of pacifism, and that these germs could open a breech within the political forces inspired by the Church itself. After Stalin’s death and the first signs of international détente the PCI secretary pointed out the communist and the catholic worlds could work together in order to pursuit the same goal – that of “saving civilization”. Both the issues of struggle against war and dialogue with the Catholics were strictly intertwined in the PCI politics, and particularly in Togliatti’s vision along the Fifties and early Sixties. In his speech about “mankind’s destiny” in Bergamo (20 March 1963) the PCI’s secretary dealt with the same subjects Pope John XXIII would touch a few weeks later in his Encyclical Pacem in Terris. This time the catholic world was more sensitive to Togliatti’s appeal: in a way it can be said that the idea of an “historical compromise” between the Communists and the Christian Democrats launched by Enrico Berlinguer in 1973 had its roots in Togliatti’s peculiar attitude towards the catholic world in the last years of his life.