The article outlines the doctrinal references of Catholic anti-communism and its role in the political drives brought on in Italy, soon after 1945, by the Church hierachies and the dependent lay organizations. The author regards the 1937 Encyclical letter Divini Redemptoris, together with the intense intellectual reflection originating it, as a milestone in the foundation of the doctrinal and theological definition of communism as materialistic "anti-religion". In this light, the post-war anti-communist commitment of the Catholic movement may be interpreted as a continuation of previous cultural trends. Provided with such a consistent and deep-rooted criticism against "godless Communism", Catholic culture could appear the only safe barrier against the Soviet menace, as suggested by the success of the Civic Committees campaign in view of the 1948 general elections. Yet both the hierarchies and the lay leaders of the confessional front would fail to turn this triumph into the preliminary step for a "re-christianization" of Italian society, having the emergent trends of secularization to reckon with.
Keywords: Anti-communism; Catholic Church; Divini Redemptoris; Italian Catholic Action; Civic Committees; secularization