A further step towards the recognition of the Church of England in the Republic of Italy was marked by a ceremony on 30 July 2019. In March this year, it was reported that the Treaty (“Intesa”) between the Republic of Italy and the Associazione Chiesa d’Inghilterra “ACDI” (which represents the Church of England in Italy) had been signed.
Subsequently, at a prestigious ceremony on 30 July held at the Palazzo Chigi in Rome, Giuseppe Conte, Prime Minister of Italy and The Revd. Canon Vickie Sims signed in full the Treaty (“Intesa”) between the Italian Republic and the Association “Chiesa d’Inghilterra” which represents the Church of England in Italy. The Prime Minister has agreed to present to the Italian Parliament the legislation to approve the Intesa. Parliamentary approval will be the final step in the process.
The Treaty ensures the full legal recognition of the chaplaincies and congregations in Italy. All the members of ACDI, i.e. chaplaincies and congregations in Italy of the Archdeaconry of Italy and Malta, Diocese in Europe, Church of England, will benefit from what is agreed in the Treaty (Intesa). Such benefits of the Treaty are numerous and include:
- The full legal recognition by the Republic of Italy of the Confessione Anglicana of the Church of England;
- Anglican Chaplain access to the Italian clergy pension scheme;
- Permitting foreign clergy to apply for a “religious visa” to live in Italy, recognise legally weddings celebrated according to the Anglican rite, consent clergy to visit officially in prisons and hospitals, and other rights for Anglican workers, students, soldiers, charities and cemeteries; and
- The possibility that donations made from Italian resident tax payers to the Associazione Chiesa d’Inghilterra (or to its member churches) may be deducted from the tax payers’ taxes. The Treaty also admits ACDI to become part of the 8 per mille scheme which sees “tax rebates” from Italian resident tax payers apportioned out to the various recognised churches in Italy now including the Church of England.
The ceremony was attended by senior representatives of the Church of England, the British Government and the Italian Government
- H.E. Jill Morris CMG, British Ambassador to the Republic of Italy and the Republic of San Marino and Board Member of ACDI;
- H.E. Sally Axworthy MBE, British Ambassador to the Holy See and Board Member of ACDI;
- Cons. Pietro Benassi, Diplomatic Advisor to Italy’s Prime Minister;
- Dr. Paolo Coniglio, Secretary General and Board Member of ACDI;
- Prof. Francesco Pizzetti, former Chairman of the Interministerial Commission for treaties with the religious confessions;
- Cons. Anna Nardini, Research Officer and Institutional Affairs, Italy’s Prime Minister;
- Prefect Giovanna Iurato, Department for Civil Freedom and Immigration at Italy’s Interior Ministry;
- Dr. Gerardo Kaiser, Senior Political Analyst at the British Embassy in Rome.
The signing ceremony featured in the leading Italian broadsheet Corriere della Sera: The translated article reads:
“Yesterday (30th July 2019) at Palazzo Chigi (the Italian Prime Minister’s headquarters) in Rome, the Treaty between the Church of England in Italy (Associazione Chiesa d’Inghilterra) and the Italian government was signed, granting full legal recognition to the Anglican (Church of England) congregations in Italy. The Treaty was signed by Reverend Canon Vickie Sims, President of the Associazione and Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte. The Italian Prime Minister committed himself to presenting the legislation to the Italian parliament for approval of the Treaty.”
Bishop Robert commented:
“I am delighted that we have now reached this stage with the signing of the Intesa by the Prime Minister of Italy, which is such an important step in deepening relationships between the Church of England and the Italian Republic. I would like to express my sincere thanks to all who have supported getting us to this point, with warmest wishes for our future co-operation.”
I wonder if the CofE and the British state will reciprocate some of this agreement with the Catholic Church in England and Wales? especially round pensions for priests [state pension aside we get nothing currently] and support for our church buildings. I shall not be holding my breath.
There’s not a lot of state support for the buildings of any Church (the C of E included), though they do get relief from business rates. Nor does the state pay clergy pensions of any kind. It’s just different in Italy.