The Myth of Catholic Italy in Post-Fascist Newsreels
Media History , Volume 24 - Issue 1 p. 71- 85
This article analyzes how Catholicism had a central role in the identity-creation process after the War. The study employs the online archive of the national agency ‘Istituto Luce’ to analyze 261 newsreels about religion released between 1946 and 1965. The article uses (i) Benedict Anderson’s work on imagined communities and (ii) Roland Barthes’ concept of mythology as theoretical frameworks. This study indicates that the majority of newsreels presented Catholicism as intertwined with Italian politics, and as a central element of both tradition and modernity. These findings suggest that the newly formed Italian democracy used the media to emphasize certain aspects of Catholicism, while overlooking others, such as its implications with the Fascist regime. In this way, the media contributed to create a post-war myth where Catholicism represented a moral resource for the country’s leaders and citizens. This historical process contributes to explain the contemporary pervasiveness of Catholicism in Italian media.