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The Case of Edgaro Mortara

Controversies in Church History

04/29/20 • 66 min

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In 1858, a scandal rocked Europe. The Vatican removed an eight year old Jewish boy from his family and pope Pius IX raised him as a Catholic. The boy's name was Edgaro Mortara, and he would eventually become a Catholic priest. The Vatican based its decision on the claims that the boy's nurse had baptized him during a serious illness when he was one year old, and that therefore he had a right to a Christian upbringing. In an era of revolutionary change throughout Europe and the world, non-Catholics were incensed, Jewish organizations mounted a campaign in the press to have the boy returned to his family, and even Catholic governments in France, Italy and Austria issued protests for Pius IX to relent, but he refused. In this episode, we delve into why Pius IX refused to return the child Edgaro Mortara to his parents, and its lasting impact on the Church today.

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