APPENDIX *
*Appendix supplied by the editor.E.N.S.

 

HOW THE POPES TREATED THE JEWS

Pope Innocent III decreed as follows:

"As Cain was a wanderer and an outcast, not to be killed by anyone but marked with the sign of fear on his forehead, so the Jews . . . against whom the voice of the blood of Christ cries out . . . although they are not to be killed they must always be dispersed as wanderers upon the face of the earth."1

"Although Christian piety tolerates the Jews . . . whose own fault commits them to perpetual slavery . . . and allows them to continue with us (even though the Moors will not tolerate them), they must not be allowed to remain ungrateful to us in such a way as to repay us with contumely for favors and contempt for our familiarity. They are admitted to our familiarity only through our mercy; but they are to us dangerous as the insect in the apple, as the serpent in the breast * * * Since, therefore, they have already begun to gnaw like the rat, and to stink like the serpent, it is to our shame that the fire in our breast which is being eaten into by them, does not consume them * * * As they are reprobate slaves of the Lord, in whose death they evilly conspired (at least by the effect of the deed), let them acknowledge themselves as slaves of those whom the death of Christ has made free."2

Under this same Pope, Innocent III, the Fourth Lateran Council, in 1215, adopted canons Nos. 67-70, decreeing the Roman Catholic attitude towards the Jews:3

The first is financial, containing protective measures for Christians against the rapacity of Jews as usurers. Only Jews were permitted to lend money at interest.

The second decrees that all Jews be distinguished for all time from Christians by color of dress and distinctive badge.

The third forbids Jews to have Christians as nurses, tutors, and domestic servants and forbids Christians to cohabit with Jews and Jewesses. Legal marriage with them was impossible.

The fourth forbids the acceptance of legal testimony of Jews against Christians and orders preference for the testimony of a Christian against a Jew. An order is also added that all in authority in Church and State must watch continually lest converted and baptized Jews continue to practice the rites of their former faith.

A few years later Pope Innocent III reiterates and confirms these edicts of the Lateran Council as follows:

"TO THE KING OF FRANCE THAT HE MUST CRUSH THE INSOLENCE OF THE JEWS RESIDING IN HIS KINGDOM,

"Although it be not displeasing to the Lord, but rather acceptable to Him, that the Jewish Dispersion should live and serve under Christian princes * * * they greatly offend in the sight of God's Divine Majesty who prefer the offspring of the Crucifiers before those who are the heirs of Christ. * * * It has come to our knowledge that in the kingdom of France Jews have so much liberty that, under a species of usury by which they not only extort interest, but interest from interest they obtain control of the goods of the churches and the possessions of the Christians. * * * Furthermore, although it was decreed in the Lateran Council that Jews be not permitted to have Christian servants in their homes, either as tutors for their children or for domestic service, or for any reason whatsoever, they still persist in having Christians as servants and nurses, with whom they commit abominations of a kind which it rather becomes you to punish than us to explain. And again, although the same Council laid it down that the testimony of Christians against Jews is to be admitted, even when the former use Jewish witnesses against Christians, and decreed that in a case of this kind anyone who would prefer Jews before Christians is to be condemned as anathema, yet up to the present time things are so carried on in the kingdom of France that the testimony of Christians against Jews is not believed, whereas Jews are admitted as witnesses against Christians. And at times, when they to whom Jews have loaned money with usury produce Christian witnesses about the facts of payment, THE DEED WHICH THE CHRISTIAN DEBTOR THROUGH NEGLIGENCE INDISCREETLY LEFT WITH THEM IS BELIEVED RATHER THAN THE WITNESSES WHOM THEY BRING FORWARD. On Good Friday also, contrary to the law of old, they walk through the streets and public squares, and meeting Christians who everywhere according to custom go to adore the Crucifix, they deride them and strive to prevent them from this duty of adoration. We warn and exhort Your Serene Majesty in the Lord (adding the remission of your sins) that you force the Jews from their presumption * * * and see to it that due punishment be meted out to all such blasphemers, and that an easy pardon be not given to delinquents.4

In 1567, Pope Pius V revoked the small concession, granted to Jews by Pius IV, enabling them to possess immovable property up to the value of 1,500 gold ducats. He ordered the Jews to sell all their properties to Christians. Two years later he ordered all Jews expelled from the States of the Church:

"By authority of these present Letters, We order that each and every Jew of both sexes in Our Temporal Dominions, and in all the cities, lands, places and baronies subject to them, shall depart completely out of the confines thereof within the space of three months after the present Letters shall have been made public. They shall be despoiled of all their goods, and be prosecuted according to the due process of law. They shall become bondsmen of the Roman Church, and shall be subjected to perpetual servitude. And the said Church shall claim the same right over them as other dominions over their slaves and bondsmen.5

In 1244, Pope Innocent IV also ordered the burning of Jewish books. He exhorted the King of France as follows:

"Our dear Son, the Chancellor of Paris, and the Doctors, before the clergy and people, publicly burned by fire the aforesaid books (The Talmud) with all their appendices. We beg and beseech your Celestial Majesty in the Lord Jesus, that, having begun laudably and piously to prosecute those who perpetuate these detestable excesses, that you continue with due severity. And that you command throughout your whole kingdom that the aforesaid books with all their glossaries, already condemned by the Doctors, be committed to the flames. Firmly prohibiting Jews from having Christians as servants and nurses. * * * 6

Pope Gregory IX sent the following to the archbishops of Germany:

"The Jews, who are admitted to our acquaintance only through our mercy, should never forget their yoke of perpetual slavery, which they bear through their own fault. In the Council of Toledo it was decreed that Jews of both sexes, and for all time, should be distinguished from others by their mode of dress. We therefore command that each and every one of you to have all the excesses of the Jews completely repressed, lest they should presume to raise their necks from the yoke of servitude in contumely of the Redeemer; forbidding them to discuss in any way concerning their faith or rites with Christians. In this matter calling to your aid the help of the civil power, inflicting upon Christians, who offer opposition, due ecclesiastical punishment * * * "7

Pope Eugenius IV, in 1442, issued the following decree:

"We decree and order that from now on, and for all time, Christians shall not eat or drink with Jews; nor admit them to feasts, nor cohabit with them, nor bathe with them. Christians shall not allow Jews to hold civil honors over Christians, or to exercise public offices in the State. Jews cannot be merchants, Tax Collectors, or agents in the buying and selling of the produce and goods of Christians, nor their Procurators, Computers or Lawyers in matrimonial matters, nor Obstetricians; nor can they have association or partnership with Christians. No Christian can leave or bequeath anything in his last Will and Testament to Jews or their congregations. Jews are prohibited from erecting new synagogues. They are obliged to pay annually a tenth part of their goods and holdings. Against them Christians can testify, but the testimony of Jews against Christians in no case is of any value. All and every single Jew, of whatever sex and age, must everywhere wear the distinct dress and known marks by which they can be evidently distinguished from Christians. They cannot live among Christians, but in a certain street, separated and segregated from Christians, and outside which they cannot under any pretext have houses * * * "8

In 1555, Pope Paul IV reiterated these restrictions against the Jews and added some new ones. He ordered Jews to pay an annual amount for every synagogue, "even those that have been demolished," and said: "Jews can only engage themselves in the work of street-sweepers and rag-pickers, and cannot be produce merchants or in things necessary for human use.9 For contravening these regulations Jews are to be punished "as rebels and criminals laesae majestatis rei (high treason), held as outlaws by all Christian people, by the judgment of our Vicars, Deputies and Magistrates * * * "

The present attitude of the Roman Catholic Church toward the Jew, as well as that of Mussolini, is of much interest for the latter has revived the age-old disabilities of the Church against the Jews. All Jewish literature is forbidden and no book by a foreign Jew can be translated into Italian. No play by a foreign Jew can be produced. No Jew is allowed to broadcast over the radio. Jewish professors are barred from Italian universities and textbooks of 114 Jewish writers have been withdrawn from the schools. Jews have been expelled from all administrative posts. Marriage is again illegal between Jews and Christians. A third anti-Semitic newspaper, Giornalissinio, has joined forces with the already existing anti-Jewish Regime Fascista and Il Tevere.

The Vatican's semiofficial organ, L'Osservatore Romano, of August 13, 1938, in an article headed "The Jews and the Vatican Council" (1870) speaks of the Catholic Church's PROTECTIVE measures for Jews, and then goes on to say:

"But in order to set things straight by this it was not intended that Jews should be allowed to abuse the hospitality of Christian countries. Along with these protective ordinances, there existed restrictive and precautionary decrees with regard to them. The civil power was in accord with the Church in this, since, as Delassus says, 'they both had the same interest in preventing the nations from being invaded by the Jewish element and thereby losing control of society.' But if Christians were forbidden to force Jews to embrace the Catholic religion, to disturb their synagogues, their Sabbath and their festivals, the Jews, on the other hand, were forbidden to hold public office, civil or military; and this prohibition extended even to the children of converted Jews. The precautionary decrees concerned the professions, education, and business positions."10

(For a fuller treatment of these decrees of the Popes against the Jews, see article in "The Social Frontier," Columbia University, Nov., 1938, entitled: Is Catholicism Anti-Semitic?)

 

1 Migne, Patrologia, CCXV, 1291.
2 Ibid., p. 694.
3 cf. Binius, Concilia Generalia, Vol. II, Tom. 3, p. 695.
4 Migne, op. cit., CCXV, 501.
5 Bull. Rom. Pont.,
VII, 741.
6 Bull. Rom. Pont., IV, 509.
7 Bull. Rom. Pont.,
III, 497.
8 Bull. Rom. Pont., V, 67.
9 Bull. Rom. Pont., VI, 499.
10 cf. Il Messagero, Rome,
August 17, 1938; La Gazzetta del Mezzogiorno, Bari, August 18, 1938; Corriere della Sera and others. All have the same caption: "How the Popes Treated the Jews."