Today in 1850 the first journal of the restored society was published - La Civilita Cattolica, by the Italian Jesuits. Fr. Carlo Maria Curci, its founder stated that its mission was to bring "The idea and the movement of civilization to that Catholic concept which it seems to have divorced from for about three centuries." In a society which had a very fluid social and civil order this was an attempt to anchor Christian principles in the cultural and intellectual life of the country. Curci was concerned about the influence of freemasons and liberals, which he saw as eroding catholic culture. Interestingly Fr General Roothans was not in favour of its publication, however Curcu had the enthusiastic backing of Pope Pius IX who paid for this first issue.
It was a time of a growing European aspiration towards democracy and political freedom. La Civilita Catolica was excellent in its ability to introduce Catholic teaching into these debates. However, unfortunately, Curci who was an effective polemicist, often gave the impression that the Christian order was identified with the old regime. There was a failure to make a distinction between the legitimate aspirations for political freedom, which many of us take for granted now and the aberrations of revolutionaries and extremists. For example universal freedom of the press and freedom of conscience was held in suspicion, although affirmed in particular cases. The general conservatism of the Italian Jesuits in a time of bewildering change is understandable, but from a modern standpoint looks misplaced.
It is ironic that it was due to a backlash against revolutionary excess and anarchy that the old monarchs whre able to re-establish a grip on power. Those monarchs, who had been the prime reasons for the Supression of the Society, now saw the Jesuits and the wider Church as being important stabilising factors in a time of great civil change. However there were many exceptions amongst the Jesuits to this very conservative standpoint. An outstanding figure was Fr d'Azeglio who became an editor of La Civilta Catolica and desired to see a union between Catholics and a typre or liberalism that was freed from its anti-religious animus. The journal continued its closeness to succesive popes, so much so that it was seen as the unofficial voice of the Holy See - with papal interventions in the sacking and appointing of editors.