Giuseppe Toniolo

Last updated
Giuseppe Toniolo
Born7 March 1845
Treviso, Kingdom of Lombardy-Venetia
Died7 October 1918(1918-10-07) (aged 73)
Pisa, Kingdom of Italy
Venerated in Roman Catholic Church
Beatified 29 April 2012, Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls by Cardinal Salvatore De Giorgi
Feast 7 October

Giuseppe Toniolo (7 March 1845 – 7 October 1918) was an Italian Roman Catholic economist and sociologist. [1] [2] Toniolo served as a professor for most of his life and was a leading political and social economist who railed against Capitalism and Communism. [3] He favored religious values in both economics and politics to create a harmonious situation in which both sectors work for all rather than a select few. Toniolo also supported the work of unions and opposed worker exploitation deeming unions a step forward in preventing this. [2] [4]


Toniolo's cause for beatification opened in 1934 though the formal decree for introduction did not come until 1951. He later became titled as Venerable in 1975 and was beatified later on 29 April 2012 in Rome. [1]


Education and marriage

Giuseppe Toniolo was born in Treviso on 7 March 1845 as the first of four children to Antonio Toniolo and Isabella Alessandrini; he lived in the Sant'Andrea parish area. [1] His maternal uncle was Alessandro. [4]

During his childhood the Toniolo's moved several times since his father (an engineer) took different jobs at various places in the Veneto region. Toniolo attended high school at Saint Catherine's school in Venice before entering the college in Padua. [2] It was there that he studied jurisprudence and took courses that Fedele Lampertico and Angelo Messedaglia led before graduating on 21 June 1867. But his father's sudden death caused an interruption of his studies though he later resumed his education prior to his graduation. [2] [1]

Toniolo married Maria Schiratti in the morning on 4 September 1878 (the couple met after Maria's brothers Gaetano and Renato facilitated the union); the couple had seven children together with three who died in their childhoods. [1] Four of those seven children were:


Rather than pursue a legal career he taught economics for more than four decades and was named as an assistant to the chair in juridical-political studies at his alma mater in 1868 before teaching in Venice at the Istituto Tecnico di Venezia from 1874 to 1878. This was interrupted once due to a short stint back in Padua. In 1878 he became a professor at the Modena and Reggio Emilia college. [4] Toniolo was named as a professor at the Pisa college in 1883 and held the chair of political economics there until his death in 1918.

Toniolo defended the importance of religious values in politics and economics despite some Christians shunning politics due to the masonic and anti-clerical elements who had helped for Italian unification in 1860. [4] Toniolo developed theories of social teaching which formed a middle path between the laissez-faire economics (the Adam Smith proposal; one that Camillo Benso advocated as did Vilfredo Pareto) and the state-centered socialism that followers of Karl Marx proposed and advocated.

In 1889 he founded the Catholic Union for Social Studies and later founded the International Review of Social Sciences in 1893. [2] The Germanic historical economic thought - that of Gustav von Schmoller and later Joseph Schumpeter - served as influences on Italian intellectuals of the time. Toniolo advocated worker protection and in 1889 founded a union to fight for worker rights and also worked to limit the work week while striving to protect women and children. Toniolo believed in institutions which could mediate between individuals and the state from the household to unions and professional associations. [4] He led the Christian social action movement after 1900 which became somewhat similar to social activism in the United States. Toniolo's ideas in particular influenced Popes Leo XIII (including Rerum novarum ) and Pius X. He said that economics "is an integral part of the operative design of God" which is considered to be an "obligation of justice" that should serve as an essential service to all people rather than a select few. [2] Toniolo also knew Monsignor Georg Ratzinger - the granduncle of Pope Benedict XVI. [4]

In September 1918 he urged Agostino Gemelli to establish a college in Milan after the war ended and Gemelli founded the "Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore" in 1921 with it growing to become one of the world's largest universities with branches in Milan (the main one) as well as in Piacenza and Brescia with its medical school located in Rome (the Gemelli Institute). [1] [4] Toniolo was also a friend to Bartolo Longo and the likes of Cardinal Andrea Carlo Ferrari and Bishop Giacomo Radini-Tedeschi lauded his thought and activism. [2]

Death and views of contemporaries

Toniolo died on 7 October 1918 and his remains lie buried in the Santa Maria Assunta church at Pieve di Soligo. In a conference that concerned the beatified Toniolo in 2012 came remarks in a sent message from Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone who cited him as a model for activism. Most of his works have not been translated into English as of 2013. His remains were exhumed on 20 September 2011 for canonical inspection and later reinterred that 7 October in the same tomb though in a different marble sarcophagus. [1] [3] The Bishop of Vittorio Veneto Corrado Pizziolo and its bishop emeritus Alfredo Magarotto were present alongside the postulator Sorrentino.

In 1961 the then-Bishop of Vittorio Veneto Albino Luciani - the future Pope John Paul I - gave a talk noting Toniolo's contribution to social teaching and activism. Luciani referred to Toniolo as a "tireless propagator of the ideas of Rerum Novarum". [3]


Lobbies from the F.U.C.I. for the recognition of his holiness began in 1933 leading to the initiation of the beatification process that would see Toniolo raised to the honors of the altar. The informative phase of investigation began in Pisa in 1934 and later concluded in 1941 with an apostolic process later being held also in Pisa from 1951 until 1954. Theologians assessed Toniolo's writings to assess if there was an adherence to doctrine and approved them of possessing no doctrinal errors in a decree issued on 1 June 1947. The formal introduction to the cause came under Pope Pius XII on 7 January 1951 in which Toniolo became titled as a Servant of God. The Congregation for Rites later validated the informative and apostolic processes on 8 July 1955.

The Congregation for the Causes of Saints and their consultants met and approved the cause on 16 February 1971 with the cardinal and bishop members of the C.C.S. alone later granting additional approval a month later on 29 March. Pope Paul VI named Toniolo as Venerable on 14 June 1971 after confirming that the late economist had lived a model life of heroic virtue.

Toniolo's beatification depended upon a single miracle receiving papal approval. Such a miracle needed to be healing that science and medicine could fail to explain. One such case was discovered in Vittorio Veneto and the process to assess this miracle took place there from 24 September 2006 until its closure a month later on 19 October. The investigation moved to Rome where the C.C.S. validated this process on 30 November 2007 before medical experts confirmed the miraculous nature of the healing on 28 February 2008. Theologians confirmed on 29 April 2009 that the miracle came due to the invocation of Toniolo's intercession with the C.C.S. members agreeing with both panels at their meeting on 11 January 2011. Pope Benedict XVI confirmed the findings on 14 January 2011 and granted his pontifical approval for Toniolo's beatification. Giovanni Angelo Becciu informed the then-postulator Sorrentino on 11 November 2011 about the date confirmed for the beatification. [2]

The beatification was celebrated on 29 April 2012 in the Basilica di San Paolo fuori le Mura with Cardinal Salvatore De Giorgi presiding over the celebration on the pope's behalf. The Archbishop of Pisa attended the beatification as did over 40 bishops and archbishops and 5000 people. Cardinal Dionigi Tettamanzi also attended alongside fellow cardinals Angelo Bagnasco and Giuseppe Betori as well as Paolo Sardi. In his Regina Caeli address on the same day Benedict XVI said of Toniolo: "His message is very up to date, especially in these times: Bl. Toniolo points out the way of the primacy of the human person and of solidarity." [5]

The former postulator for this cause was the Bishop Domenico Sorrentino and is now Dr. Silvia Mónica Correale.


The miracle that allowed for Toniolo's beatification was the healing of Francesco Bortolini who was healed from serious injuries after suffering from a fall in 2006 and invoking Toniolo's intercession. [2] [1]

See also

Related Research Articles

Pope John Paul I

Pope John Paul I was head of the Catholic Church and sovereign of the Vatican City from 26 August 1978 to his death 33 days later. He was the first pope to have been born in the 20th century. His reign is among the shortest in papal history, resulting in the most recent year of three popes and the first to occur since 1605. John Paul I remains the most recent Italian-born pope, the last in a succession of such popes that started with Clement VII in 1523.

Beatification Recognition accorded by the Catholic Church of a deceased persons entrance into heaven

Beatification is a recognition accorded by the Catholic Church of a deceased person's entrance into Heaven and capacity to intercede on behalf of individuals who pray in his or her name. Beati is the plural form, referring to those who have undergone the process of beatification; they possess the title of "Blessed" before their names and are often referred to in English as "a Blessed" or, plurally, "Blesseds".

Léon Dehon

Léon-Gustave Dehon - in religious Jean of the Sacred Heart - was a French Roman Catholic priest and the founder of the Congregation of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Dehon's focus in his ecclesial life was to express his closeness with workers but above all wished to foster and promote a devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. It also became his mission to establish an order that would be dedicated to this task as well as to working in the foreign and diocesan missions in France and abroad. But impediments caused the order's dissolution though was later reformed and reestablished with Dehon assuming its leadership until his death.

Gaetano Catanoso

Gaetano Catanoso was an Italian Catholic priest and the founder of the Suore Veroniche del Santo Volto (1934). Catanoso served as a parish priest in two different parishes for his entire ecclesial life and was an ardent devotee of the Face of Jesus which he promoted to the faithful. He also founded the Poor Clerics to encourage vocations to the priesthood while forming the Confraternita del Santo Volto (1920) to spread devotion to the Face of Jesus. He dedicated his pastoral career to bringing the Gospel message to all people and hiked or rode on a mule to reach distant and surrounding mountain villages in order to evangelize to people.

Ciriaco María Sancha y Hervás

Ciriaco María Sancha y Hervás was a Spanish cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church who served as the Archbishop of Toledo in addition to being the Primate of Spain and the Patriarch of the West Indies. He established the Sisters of Charity in 1869.

Celine Borzecka

Celine Chludzińska Borzęcka was a Roman Catholic professed religious and the co-foundress - along with her daughter Jadwiga Borzęcka - of the Sisters of the Resurrection. Borzęcka desired the religious life but married in obedience to her parents and bore four children; two died as infants. After her husband's death, she chose to follow the spiritual path with her daughter at her side and began a life in community in Rome.

Angelo Paoli

Angelo Paoli – born Francesco – was an Italian Roman Catholic priest and a professed member from the Carmelites. Paoli became known as the "father of the poor" due to his strong charitable outreach towards those who were poor and sick, for which he received praise from a number of cardinals and other prelates while living in Rome. This extended to his friend Cardinal Giuseppe Maria Tomasi and to popes Innocent XII and Clement XI who both offered him the cardinalate, which he refused.

Luigi Guanella

Luigi Guanella was an Italian Roman Catholic priest Fr. Guanella was ordained a priest on May 26, 1866 in Como, and was assigned to a small parish in Savogno. and is the founder of several religious institutes: the Daughters of Saint Mary of Providence (1890) and the Servants of Charity alongside his friends David Albertario and Giuseppe Toniolo. Guanella also founded the Pious Union of Saint Joseph (1914) with his supporter and first member Pope Pius X. These religious communities focused on the relief of the poor throughout the world. The Servants of Charity motto reads "In Omnibus Charitas" which became the cornerstone for Guanella's own life.

José Olallo

José Olallo Valdés was a Cuban professed religious and a professed member from the Brothers Hospitallers of Saint John of God. Olallo was dubbed as the "Poor People's Priest" even though Olallo was not an ordained priest - he was even encouraged to become one but refused. Olallo served as a nurse for his entire life and dedicated himself to the care of the ill and the poor and remained a pivotal figure in the hospital that he worked at.

Beatification of Pope John Paul II

Pope John Paul II reigned as pope of the Roman Catholic Church and sovereign of the Vatican City State for 26 years from October 1978 to his death, on 2 April 2005. Since his death, many thousands of people have been supporting the case for beatifying and canonising Pope John Paul II as a saint. His formal beatification ceremony took place on 1 May 2011.

Giuseppina Nicoli was an Italian Roman Catholic religious sister. Nicoli - aged 20 at the time - became a member of the Vincentians and became a catechist in Sardinia where she was positioned for most of her life despite holding several positions of leadership in Turin and elsewhere for a brief period.

Maria Pia Mastena

Blessed Maria Pia Mastena - born Teresa Maria - was an Italian Roman Catholic professed religious and the founder of the Religious Sisters of the Holy Face. Mastena fostered a deep devotion to the Holy Face of Jesus and tried to promote that devotion to others in her religious career as a nun. Mastena first desired the contemplative life but was denied this after she entered the convent since it was not a cloister. Instead she dedicated herself to teaching in several Italian cities after having left another convent and another religious order when she deemed contemplative life was not the life she felt God wanted for her. Her labors were dedicated instead to consolidating her new religious order which began to grow after World War II until her sudden death in 1951.

Beatification of Pope Paul VI

The cause for the canonization of Pope Paul VI, who died in 1978, commenced in 1993 and he was canonized on 14 October 2018. After having been proclaimed a Servant of God and declared Venerable, he was beatified on 19 October 2014, after the recognition of a miracle had been attributed to his intercession, and declared a saint by Pope Francis I on 14 October 2018.

Assunta Marchetti

Assunta Marchetti was an Italian Roman Catholic professed religious and the co-founder of the Missionary Sisters of Saint Charles Borromeo Scalabrinians; she worked in Brazil from 1895 until her death. She has been beatified as a Blessed Mother. Her priest brother Giuseppe is titled as Venerable on the path to sainthood.

Giuseppe Benedetto Dusmet

Giuseppe Benedetto Dusmet - born Giuseppe Dusmet - was an Italian Roman Catholic cardinal who served as the Archbishop of Catania from 1867 until his death. He became professed into the Order of Saint Benedict where he took "Benedetto" as his religious name. He studied under the Benedictines prior to joining them before serving as a professor in addition to prior and abbot. His elevation to the episcopate saw him distinguish himself in cholera epidemics when he tended to the ill while also remaining a strong advocate for the poor of his archdiocese. He remained a Benedictine and was known to continue to don the Benedictine habit instead of the red cardinal's regalia.

Luca Passi was an Italian priest and the founder of the Teaching Sisters of Saint Dorothy. Two brothers of his were priests – following the example of their paternal uncle – and Passi himself moved to Venice in order to dedicate himself to both his preaching and educational missions.

Giuseppe Carraro was an Italian Roman Catholic prelate who served as the Bishop of Verona from 1958 until his retirement in 1978. He also served as the Bishop of Vittorio Veneto until his transferral to the see of Verona.

Lodovico Pavoni

Lodovico Pavoni was an Italian Roman Catholic priest who administered in Brescia where he lived. He paid close attention to the needs of males and was concerned with their education. He was to establish – in 1825 – his own religious congregation to assist in his mission: the Sons of Mary Immaculate which came to be known also as the "Pavoniani".

Armida Barelli was an Italian Roman Catholic who served in the educational field during her life and was also a professed member of the Secular Franciscan Order. Barelli was also the co-founder of the Secular Institute of the Missionaries of the Kingship of Christ. Alongside Father Agostino Gemelli the pair sought to spread the message of the Gospel through their educational facilities and through their congregation that sought also to spread the Franciscan charism.

Maria Scrilli

Blessed Maria Scrilli was an Italian Roman Catholic who was a professed religious who established the Sisters of Our Lady of Mount Carmel - a branch of the Carmelite order. She later assumed the religious name of "Maria Teresa of Jesus" upon making her profession and in dedication to Saint Teresa of Ávila.


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 "Blessed Giuseppe Toniolo". Santi e Beati. Retrieved 1 November 2017.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 "Giuseppe Toniolo: A Possible Saint of Catholic Social Doctrine?". Catholic Online. 5 March 2012. Retrieved 1 November 2017.
  3. 1 2 3 "Blessed Giuseppe Toniolo". On Pilgrimage. 18 January 2011. Retrieved 1 November 2017.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 John L. Allen, Jr. (30 April 2012). "First economist saint packs contemporary punch". National Catholic Reporter.Missing or empty |url= (help)
  5. Pope Benedict XVI Regina Caeli address, 29 April 2012