The Church News recently featured how the Church has grown in Italy since missionary work began in 1850. Learn more about how recent legislation made way for the Rome Italy Temple set to be dedicated in March and how the temple is aiding missionary work today.
A pair of governmental legislations in the past quarter-century have aided the Church in Italy. In 1993, the Church received formal legal status — more as a corporate entity than a religious denomination — with a key benefit being the ability to buy and sell properties, build chapels and provide services.
On July 30, 2012, Italy President Giergio Napolitano signed the Intesa con lo Stato — known simply among local leaders and members as the “intesa” — which gave The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints official status as a church and “partner of the state.”
The intesa grants greater freedoms and opportunities to the Church as both a religion and a charitable organization, said Elder Massimo De Feo, a native of Italy and General Authority Seventy who currently serves in the Europe Area presidency. He, too, served as a full-time missionary in the Italy Rome Mission, from 1981 to 1983.
Benefits include bishops and stake presidents being able to perform marriages (without having to seek a single-use authorization that previously took up to a year or two to receive), local leaders being able to minister in public hospitals and prisons, visa processes being streamlined for missionaries and member tithes and offerings being considered as approved tax deductions, said Elder De Feo in a 2017 interview.