Book Announcement: "How the Church under Pius XII Addressed Decolonization" (New York: Routledge 2023)

Marialuisa Lucia Sergio Discussion

Dear colleagues,

I would like to let you know that my book How the Church under Pius XII Addressed Decolonization. The Issue of Algerian Independence (New York: Routledge 2023), with a preface written by Étienne Fouilloux, will be released on March 6:

On the basis of a vast amount of unpublished documentary material available to scholars after the opening in March 2020 of the Vatican archives of Pius XII,  this book reconstructs, by paying attention to Algerian independence, the action of the Catholic Church regarding the issues of the spread of Islam in colonies, to Arab nationalism, Marxist propaganda in non-European countries, nd the effects of the Algerian crisis upon the French political system.

I hope that the book will be of interest to you and that we will have opportunities to further explore and discuss together the topics of this research on decolonisation and post-colonial transition from a religious, political and social diplomatic perspective.

Kindest regards,

Marialuisa Lucia Sergio,
Roma Tre University




            1. The Roman Catholic Church and colonialism on the eve of the decolonisation processes: a historiographical assessment

            2. Colonial nationality and the Islamic question: introductory elements            

CHAPTER 1. The Catholic Church and colonialism in French Africa from the Second World War to liberation: The beginning of the Algerian question (1939–1945)

            1.         The Vatican, Vichy government, and colonial regime: Pétain, a new French Salazar?

            2.         The Catholic Church and France libre in North Africa: a problematic relationship   

CHAPTER 2. How the Holy See and the Fourth Republic dealt with colonial transition (1945–1949)

            1.         The constituent debate and attempts to reform the colonial order: the role of the MRP and the Algerian Episcopate, and the problem of the 1947 Statute

            2.         The establishment of the Apostolic Delegation of French Africa: Holy See, colonialism, and missionary experience suspended between continuity and renewal

CHAPTER 3. The Holy See and the start of the independence processes in North Africa: The Evangelii praecones encyclical put to the test by decolonisation (1950–1953)

            1.         The Vatican and the Tunisian question

            2.         Catholic mobilisation following the Casablanca uprising and the Moroccan question

CHAPTER 4. The handling of the Algerian crisis by the Holy See and the Faure government (1954–1955)

            1.         The Vatican and the Catholic world in the aftermath of the Toussaint rouge: cries and whispers

            2.         The ecclesiastical hierarchies and the mirage of a “third way”

CHAPTER 5. The Holy See and the Mollet government: Distrust and adaptation strategy. The Fidei donum encyclical (1956–1957)

            1.         The degeneration of the Algerian conflict and the discovery of oil. The strategic importance of the diocese of Laghouat

            2.         Relations between the Holy See, the Algerian Episcopate and the Apostolic Delegation in Dakar: the origins of the Fidei donum

CHAPTER 6. The Vatican, the Algiers Putsch, and the advent of the Fifth Republic

            1.         French Church in crisis over the torture issue and tensions between the Algerian Episcopate and the army

            2.         The Vatican from the coup d'état of 13th May to the Evian Accords: Ralliement to the Fifth Republic and the humanitarian emergency