Keywords: Catholic church - Workers' associations - Industrial relations.
In the 1940s and 1950s, the Catholic church rallied millions of its followers in Italy around «the working class question», setting up associations with branches in all dioceses and using all the instruments available to church leaders, from papal encyclicals to sermons. The fear of the spread of Communism and the desire to assert the role of Catholicism in Italian society manifested themselves in a series of projects aimed at factory workers which were however put at risk by the country's rapid modernisation process. This article provides an overview of the progress made by Christian workers' associations in Italy. Through their answers to the «working class question» in the years of the «economic miracle», Catholic institutions tried to make their presence felt in those cities swept by the economic boom and to construct defences to halt the spread of Communist movements, as well as to stop the clamour for change in Catholicism itself.