The Edgardo Mortara Kidnapping Has Lessons For Today

Hardly a day goes by without a news story documenting the ferocious attacks on parental rights in America’s school systems. The worst of it comes from egomaniacal ideologues who seek to sexually indoctrinate schoolchildren by exposing them to sexually explicit material. The former not only have no respect for the human dignity of the child, they have nothing but contempt for the rights of parents to raise their own children according to their religion and values. For such ideologues who have taken hold of much of our nation’s school system, these schoolchildren are their property – the parents are but an obstacle to accessing “their” property.

In 1858 Salomone and Marianna Mortara, Italian Jews living in Bologna, had their six-year-old child, Edgardo, abducted by authorities of the Roman Catholic Church under Pope Pius IX. This Jewish mother and father had their lives ruined, their hearts torn from them, by the political powers of their time who wrote the laws. To this day, in 2023, there are Roman Catholics who will actually defend the abduction of Edgardo Mortara from the arms of his mother and father. Indeed, the late Pope John Paul II beatified Piux IX in 2000, putting him on the path to sainthood in the Roman system.

Whether it comes from right-wing ideologues invoking religious values to subvert the basic human rights of parents and children, or left-wing ideologues invoking secular values for the same subversion, the battle against egomaniacal ideologues who want to control and brainwash children must be fought in every generation.

In this short video, professor of Jewish history Henry Abramson gives a good introduction to the heart-wrenching saga involving Edgardo Mortara and the Roman Catholic Church. May Salomone and Marianna Mortara forever rest in peace, and may all of us contemplate their agony.


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