Skip to Content
Search Icon
Issue 04 – Septuagesima 2021


On Being A Cop

Life on the beat in 1990s Italy.


Here in America, the sight of a patrol car and the thought of a traffic stop arouse a mixture of feelings in me: on the one hand, the fear of inadvertently doing something wrong that could trigger an armed reaction; on the other hand, the feeling of camaraderie with someone who is doing what I did for one year in Italy in the mid-Nineties.

Between 1992 and 1993 I was in my third year at the University of Bologna, trying to decide what to do about my military service, which back then was still obligatory. At that point I had received a deferment until the completion of my undergraduate degree. I was very involved (not to say very absorbed) by my ministry in the Italian Catholic Boy and Girl Scouts Association, the largest youth Catholic organization in Italy, and many of my older friends had chosen some alternative to military service; I too had considered that option for a long time. I had grown up in the pacifist culture of post-Vatican II Italian Catholicism, especially in the 1980s of the “Euromissiles” and anti-nuclear demonstrations.

You must or subscribe to read the rest of the article.

About the author

Massimo Faggioli

Massimo Faggioli is a professor of theology and religious studies at Villanova University and a contributor to Commonweal and La Croix International. His most recent book is Joe Biden and Catholicism in the United States.