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Margotti, Giacomo

MARGOTTI, GIACOMO

Journalist; b. San Remo, May 11, 1823; d. Turin, May 6, 1887. He was ordained in 1846 at Turin, and began working two years later with the Armonia della religione con la civiltà, the first Catholic Italian newspaper (at first biweekly, then triweekly, and finally a daily after 1855). The paper had been founded through the efforts of Bishop Moreno of Ivrea and a group of Piedmontese Catholics that included Antonio Rosmini and Gustavo Benso, elder brother of Camillo Benso di cavour. In those years, Margotti also published several short works against the liberal ministries. In September 1849, he joined the staff of Armonia as editor and substitute for Guglielmo Audisio, whom he succeeded that same year as publisher.

Under Margotti's direction, the paper became increasingly more polemical as it expressed the thinking of the "intransigent" Catholics; its editorial attitude was contrapuntal to the development of the anticlerical, anti-papal, and anti-Catholic impetus of the Italian drive for independence. Margotti, a polished and brilliant writer, also continued the publication of shorter works and books in which he amplified the arguments made in the newspaper, especially in defense of the suppressed religious congregations and of bishops arrested or exiled from their sees. Armonia had the largest circulation in the Piedmont region, but it was also the paper most frequently seized by the police. On Jan. 27, 1856, Margotti was assaulted and injured; in the same year, he stood trial. In 1857, he was elected deputy to the Subalpine Parliament, but his election was predictably annulled by the government under hardly legal pretexts. In 1859 Armonia was under governmental suspension for several months. During the election of 1861, Margotti used the paper to urge Catholics to be "neither elected, nor electors" until free voting and elections were guaranteed, and until a Parliament was chosen that did not seek to take Rome from the pope.

Margotti left Armonia (1863) after feuding with its owners and founded L'Unità cattolica wherein he continued the most uncompromising policy toward the Italian state. From 1870 to 1898, Margotti issued his journal bordered in black to protest the occupation of Rome by Italian troops. Armonia, transferred in 1866 to Florence (then the capital of the Kingdom of Italy), ceased publication in 1870. L'Unità cattolica, which became the property of the Holy See and moved to Florence in 1893, ceased publication in 1929.

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