The charisma that characterizes him is constituted by his overall vision and understanding of the "signs of the times": the precarious and uncertain condition of Italian Catholics between 1870 and the birth of Don Luigi Sturzo's Italian Popular Party (1919), which took place just one year after his death. Immersed in this historical-political climate, Toniolo develops a moderate and reformist social Catholicism and, at the same time, in an era in which the great masses appear for the first time on the scene, chooses an alternative path to capitalism and socialism, taking that so much so that there is good in both, theorising the culture of the human person in the economy and the relationship that this must have with ethics in order to build a society under the banner of solidarity and subsidiarity.
His figure occupies an important place in the history of thought and organization of the Catholic laity: Toniolo founded the Catholic Union of Social Studies in Padua, collaborated with the Opera dei Congressi, reorganized Catholic Action, promoted the first Social Week of the Italian Catholics, created the "International Review of Social Sciences and Auxiliary Disciplines" and, in 1894, formulated the first Christian-democratic political program, the "Program of Catholics in the face of socialism". He was also one of the founders of the FUCI and we owe the first idea of what would become the Catholic University to him. On the other hand, the series of his publications is also long and important, reflecting the exceptional breadth and fruitfulness of his research and reflection work.
This agile biographical profile edited by Oreste Bazzichi effectively delineates the parable of a man who knew how to combine faith and professional life, religious participation and lay activity, scientific rigor and solidarity, social commitment and spiritual life.