Cattolici e razzismo in Etiopia

Translated title of the contribution: [Autom. eng. transl.] Catholics and racism in Ethiopia

Paolo Borruso*

*Corresponding author

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


The essay deals with the relationship between missionary culture and colonial racism, with particular reference to the turning point of 1938 inherent in the promulgation of racial laws in Italy. The confrontation between missionaries and Africa - perceived as "otherness" - is a long-term story, within which the Horn of Africa, with particular reference to Ethiopia, represents a significant case for political problems- religious who characterize it. In connection with the racial theme, the essay intends to focus some lines of continuity / discontinuity of the Catholic vision and missionary strategies that precede and follow 1938. The nineteenth-century missionary culture, although permeated by a racism typical of the first Italian colonialism, appears distant from biological prejudices. On the other hand, the goal of Catholic missions is also to bring Christian Ethiopia, considered "heretical" and "schismatic", to union with the Roman Catholic Church. It is a line not without contradictions, which developed diplomatically in the 1920s and 1930s during the fascist colonization, but which constitutes an element of contrast with the regime, projected instead to the total submission of Ethiopia and its Church . With the Ethiopian war of 1935-36, supported largely by the ecclesiastical and missionary world because it was considered a propitious occasion for evangelization, the regime imposed a strict racial separation between Italians and Africans, to stem the growing phenomenon of mixed race . In this context, the missionaries show they do not share fascist racial policy and choose to open institutes for the protection of mestizo children, which had not been recognized by the father and abandoned by the mother.
Translated title of the contribution[Autom. eng. transl.] Catholics and racism in Ethiopia
Original languageItalian
Title of host publicationLa svolta del 1938. Fascismo, cattolicesimo e antisemitismo
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - 2020
EventChiesa, fascismo ed ebrei: la svolta del 1938 - Roma
Duration: 19 Nov 201820 Nov 2018


ConferenceChiesa, fascismo ed ebrei: la svolta del 1938


  • Catholicism
  • Cattolicesimo
  • Etiopia
  • Italia
  • Racism
  • Razzismo


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