Why is it I have heard claims of Bl. Pius IX being anti-semetic? I mean what is the real truth of Bl. Pius IX and the Jews and Judaism in his time?
POPE PIUS IX AND THE JEWS
When Pope Pius IX was beatified on September 10, 2000, there were a
number of articles in the liberal press that seemed to be smearing his
reputation, claiming that he was "anti-Semitic." Here is the report given in
Inside the Vatican, August-September 2000, giving the Catholic understanding
of the situation at the time.
"Edgardo Mortara was the son of Italian Jewish parents. In 1852,
when he was just two, he was thought to be fatally ill. Doctors reportedly
declared he would not live. His young Catholic nursemaid, on hearing this
and fearing for his soul, baptized him. The doctor called the boy's
subsequent recovery "surprising." Several years later, when civil
authorities were told of the secret baptism, Pius IX faced a dilemma. The
law in the Papal States at that time required baptized children to be given
Christian religious instruction in order to ensure their eternal salvation.
Could the baptized child be left with his parents if they refused to give
"Pius was not just the Pope; he was also the civil ruler of the Papal
States. Moreover, might not Edgardo have been saved from death by a divine
act? Pius felt obligated as Pope, as civil ruler of the land, and by the
strange circumstances of the baptism, to see to it that Edgardo would be
educated as a Catholic. He appealed to the child's parents. Would they see
to it that the boy would be so educated? Understandably, they refused.
"The civil authorities took their decision. Edgardo was removed from
his parents' home at the age of seven and brought to Rome. There Pius IX
personally directed Edgardo's education, and was like a father to him.... A
"Edgardo returned to his parents' home at the age of 18, was
reconciled with his mother and father, and had the choice of what religion to
follow. He decided to stay with his parents only for a month. He remained a
Catholic, then chose to enter a seminary. He was ordained a priest in 1873,
and remained one his entire life. When Pius IX's cause opened, the elderly
Edgardo appeared as one of the first witnesses, and testified to Pius IX's
kindness, virtue, and holiness....
"It seems clear from the historical record, in fact, that Pius had no
hatred of Jews. Upon his election in 1846, he was hailed by Jews as their
best friend in Italy. In 1847, Mose Israel Kazzan, Chief Rabbi at the
Israeli University in Rome, dedicated a psalm and prayer to the "glorious and
"On the night of April 17-18, 1848, Pius IX ordered that the doors of
the Jewish ghetto be knocked down. He abrogated the undignified and
humiliating tasks the Jews were forced to carry out. He declared that "they
were not foreigners," and had their streets patrolled to protect them from a
popular uprising that had broken out against the ghetto's emancipation.