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ADL Statement on Beatification of Pope Pius IX

New York, N.Y., September 3, 2000 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today expressed concern at the Vatican’s beatification of Pope Pius IX, who was responsible for the 1858 abduction of a six-year old Jewish child.

Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, issued the following statement:

"The beatification of Pius IX is troubling for the Jewish community. Pius was responsible for the case of Edgardo Mortara, who at the age of six was abducted from his family in Bologna and taken to the Vatican by Papal police after it was reported that the Jewish child has been secretly baptized. Many European heads of state protested the 1858 kidnapping, as did Jewish leadership. As a result, Pius blamed Rome’s Jews for what he believed was a widespread Protestant conspiracy to defeat the papacy and levied medieval restrictions on the community.

While ADL respects the beatification process as a matter for the Catholic Church alone, we find the selection of Pius IX as inappropriate based on policies he pursued as the head of the Church. It is in the context of the many years of positive progress in Catholic-Jewish relations, including the historic visit of Pope John Paul II to Israel and his asking for the forgiveness of the Jewish people, that the beatification of Pius IX, whose role in denying Edgardo Mortara his family and his right to be who he was, is most unfortunate."


The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.



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