Gasparri, Benigni et les catholiques intégraux
Autorité du Saint-Siège et opposition intégrale, de Pie X à Pie XI
Abstract: This article examines the conflictual relationships between Pietro Gasparri and Umberto Benigni. Monsignor Benigni, the controversial founder of the anti-modernist network Sodalitium Pianum – La Sapinière under the pontificate of Pius X, durably epitomized the most intransigent trend within the Catholic Church and spearheaded a reactionary opposition to a broad spectrum of more moderate Catholics. This article argues that the personal and ideological animosity between Benigni and Gasparri ought to be deeper historicized and that the transformation of this conflict helps shed light on the shifting position of integralist Catholics toward Church authorities until the pontificate of Pius XI. Despite their different ecclesiastical and political stances, Benigni initially worked under the direction of Gasparri in his quality of under-secretary of the Congregation of Extraordinary Ecclesiastical Affairs in 1906. The conflict came to a head with Benigni’s marginalization after the death of Pius X. With the appeasement of the modernist crisis, the new directions of Benedict XV brought about the disavowal of hardliner positions, thus turning the former leader of the Sapinière into a bitter opponent of the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Gasparri. The constant demonization of Gasparri in integralist apologetics became instrumental in the right-wing internal opposition against the more moderate directions of the Holy See. As Benigni’s network shifted rightward in the aftermath of WWI, Gasparri catalyzed the integralist obsession with an alleged infiltration of modernist, liberal and democratic ideas within the Church itself. Ultimately, Gasparri’s disciplinary responses to these libels played a crucial role in silencing the integralist opposition after 1929.