Denouncing Pope Pius IX


Has the Catholic Church denounced Pope Pius IX for orchestrating a kidnapping through state authority? Can the Catholic Church denounce him for this? If they can but have not, will the Catholic Church do so in the future?


If the allegations are true and indefensible, then sure. Popes are not impeccable.

Will the Catholic church denounce him? Probably not. It was 129 years ago, and they probably have better things to worry about.


By the way, what are you talking about?


I don’t believe it is true. It’s the first I heard of it. The OP probably got his/her information from an Anti-Catholic source.

I don’t believe the Catholic Church endorses kidnapping nor does she teaches it.


Who can say? One needs to consider in looking to the past that the actions of some people that absolutely appall us today were not so politically incorrect in the past. Pius IX can only be judged by the norms of his times. I personally think it was a terrible thing to do, but that was then and this is now. There are eternal standards for example one must at all times be modest, but what constitutes modesty is certainly different than it was in 1909 when my mother was born.

I have read of this accusation before but an vague on the details. Somehow Pius XI had control of a.young Jewish boy who ended up being baptized in the Catholic Church. Pius would not allow the boy to return to his parents as they would not have raised him Catholic. This occurred I believe before Pius lost the Papal States so he would have also been the temporal monarch.


How reliable is this information anyways?


By the way, what are you talking about?

Don’t worry about it. I found the information.

Yep. I’d say his actions were well intentioned, but totally off side by any standard of legality. God is his judge.

Does anyone have any information that can explain or defend his actions?



This was posted by FCEGM a while back.

The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara

In recent years, no event more surprised Catholics than the story of a young Jewish boy taken from the home of his parents during the papacy of Pius IX to be raised as a Catholic. Though it caused an international furor in its time, the story had been generally forgotten until resurrected in David Kertzer’s, “The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara” published in 1997.20 Kertzer theorizes that the story had disappeared because Jews were embarrassed that the young boy would eventually become a priest, and Catholics were simply embarrassed by the whole affair.21

Kertzer, however, makes the additional argument that the Mortara affair was also a sign of the roots of racial anti-Semitism that would emerge in Italian Fascism, and as such the Church played a role in establishing the framework for the Italian racial laws of 1938.22 This misunderstands the motivations involved in the Mortara affair at the time, and forgets that it was the Church that protested vehemently the 1938 laws and was the single greatest protector of Italian Jews during the war years.23

Pius IX was considered a friend and protector of the Jews during the early years of his pontificate. Rome had its own Jewish ghetto in 1846, established in the late 16th century. (Most other cities in Europe with Jewish populations had similar ghettos.) The ghettos existed both to “protect” Christians from possible apostasy in contact with Jews, and to protect Jews from mob attack. Jews were allowed outside the ghetto during the day, but were expected to return in the evening. Four synagogues existed within the Jewish ghetto in Rome, the only non-Catholic religious facilities allowed to function within the city. Upon becoming Pope, Pius IX ordered the end to various insulting traditions aimed at the Jewish community in Rome: anti-Jewish comedies, parading of rabbis in costume during Carnival, and the necessity that representatives of the community be forced to hear sermons once a year exhorting them to conversion. The walls enclosing the ghetto were torn down. To the Jews, “the liberal regime of Pius IX felt to them like a miracle.”24

More of this event and the life of Pope Pius IX can be read here:


Actually, there is lots of good stuff in this thread including a statement by the child that he never wanted to return to his family in the first place.



No, they have not.

One thing that you seem not to have considered is that this may have actually been some kind of rescue, though I am by no means any kind of authority on this incident. That’s just conjecture on my part, but I can think of many “interventions” since then by people and groups seeking to regain and deprogram kids.

Can the Catholic Church denounce him for this?

I suppose so. Little late though don’tcha think?

If they can but have not, will the Catholic Church do so in the future?

Who knows? Why does this matter to you so much?

Get a grip on one thing though…

The Catholic Church has nothing anywhere that ever says that kidnapping is okay. There is nothing in the Church that teaches that this is either right or acceptable.

Yeah, I saw the other threads where some other folks told you that it was, but that’s a load of raging garbage.

So…my question to you is…why do you have such a case about this? Is this the only thing about the Catholic Church that is of importance to you? Since the sinful behavior of any one member of any group is no indictment of that entire group’s morality then why are you so hung up on this?

It happened. No one denies it. The boy in question is now a priest who feels that that particular pope is a saint for what he did. It’s a little late to do much of anything about it now. What would you have us do? Disband the church? :shrug:


Get out yer Catholic Guilt!

I denounce thee, o impious pope!


Haven’t you been banned yet?



The boy in question is dead now.

I just looked up some more information on Pope Pius IX. Not only has the Catholic Church not denounced him, they have declared him venerable. This means that he is “heroic in virtue”. Do you think that someone who kidnaps a boy away from his parents is heroic in virtue? Why does the Catholic Church say that Pope Pius IX was venerable instead of an evil kidnapper if kidnapping is never justified?


Why should I be banned? I just want to understand this kidnapping issue.


That’s out of line. He asked a legitimate question.



This is the fourth time you have posted in violation of forum rules. Your previous three threads on this exact topic have been removed already.


How can the Catholic Church hold the postion that kidnapping is always wrong and the position that a man who was in charge of the Catholic Church and who orchestrated a kidnapping using the power of the Catholic Church is heroic in virtue? Are these positions in conflict?


This is on a different topic. Those threads were on whether kidnapping is acceptable. I have been informed by Michael Francis that the Catholic Church’s position is that it is never acceptable.

This thread is about whether Pope Pius IX should be denounced by the Catholic Church since he orchestrated a kidnapping which is never acceptable.

And I was told the previous threads were removed because I was not “getting accurate answers from the Catholics that posted.” It was not because of the topic and the topic of this thread is different.


This topic is indeed acceptable and not in violation of any Forum Rule or Banned Topics Policy.

Speculation on the public forums about Moderator activities is a violation of the rules. Questions concerning any aspect of moderation can be addressed to the forum moderator, (in this case, me) via Private Message.

So, please deal with the thread topic and focus on that.
God bless.


There’s already been several threads on this I’m sure, and I believe on of the latest was actually by Ammonius Saccus, but I’ll give some info that might not have been given.

The Papal States had a law at the time preventing Christians from working in Jewish homes as maids or servants. The family violated this law when they hired the maid that baptised the infant. If they hadn’t violated it the child wouldn’t’ve been baptised and there would have been no controversy. Also the Papal States didn’t just go from home to home kidnapping Jewish children. If they did within a few generations there wouldn’t’ve been any Jews. This was this one case, in which a child was baptised, thereby becoming a member of the Body of Christ. The Pope did what he thought was best - and I still agree with him. He was bringing the child up in the Church into which he’d been baptised.


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