After decades of negotiations the Italian Government has finally granted the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints official status as a church and partner of the state.
When Italy’s president, Giorgio Napolitano signed the legal agreement officially recognizing the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on July 30, the LDS church became one of only a handful of religions besides the Catholic church to attain such status. The recognition gives the LDS church greater freedom to provide community relief, grants them tax exempt status, and allows for the civil registry of religious marriages. Italian LDS church member Fanny Bagnò says while it’s too early to know the true benefits of the agreement it’s definitely a step in the right direction.
“We feel proud and happy and we also can see the blessings. Because it truly is a blessing that the church finally has a legal power in this country that’s always been a worldwide symbol of the Catholic church,” she says.
The LDS church has more than 24,000 members in Italy and is currently constructing their first temple in the country near Rome.