Was Memoir of Jewish Boy Kidnapped by Pope Doctored?

Was Memoir of Jewish Boy Kidnapped by Pope Doctored?
Stefano Rellandino/Pool Photo via AP

The story of Edgardo Mortara, a Jewish boy seized from his family and raised as a Catholic — after Pope Blessed Pius IX learned he had been secretly baptized by a nursemaid — prompted an immediate outcry in 1858.

A century and a half later, the story has sparked a fresh burst of controversy, amid reports that a translation of Mortara's memoir, written after he grew up to become a Catholic priest and often expressed “gratitude” for the Pope's intervention, had been “doctored” to place Pius' decision in a more “sympathetic” light.

Father Mortara's complex story is now the subject of an upcoming Steven Spielberg film, and a 2017 English-language translation of his “doctored” memoir has renewed debate over the Pope's actions.

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