Catholic activism in the Irish Republican Army led Italian Catholicism to adopt a variety of stances, shifting from open support to condemnation. These positions intersected with the Papacy’s official line. The issue of the moral legitimacy of armed struggle for the cause of the nation was intertwined with its justification of fighting the capitalist system. The 1981 Irish hunger strike, with its world-wide echo, raised new questions, in particular whether that kind of struggle was in reality a form of suicide The article investigates the different political stances these events engendered among Italian Catholics, and focuses in particular on the Papacy’s view of the nexus Catholicism/political violence/nation/transnational action.
Keywords: Political Violence, Religion, Catholic Church, Northern Ireland