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Mortara, Edgardo (Edgar Mortara)

Born: 1852 AD
Died: 1940 AD, at 87 years of age.

Nationality: Italian
Categories: Commoner

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1851 - Born on the 27th of August.

1858 - On the evening of 23rd June, in the northern Italian city of Bologna, police of the Papal States, of which Bologna was then part, arrived at the home of a Jewish couple, Salomone and Marianna Padovani Mortara, to seize one of their eight children, six-year-old Edgardo, and transport him to Rome to be raised by the Catholic Church.

1859 - When a delegation of prominent Jews saw him, he told them, "I couldn't care less what the world thinks." At another meeting, he brought Edgardo with him to show that the boy was happy in his care.

1859 - It helped persuade opinion in both Britain and France to allow Piedmont to go to war with the Papal States and annex most of the Pope's territories, effectively leaving him with only the city of Rome in the end.

         - After Bologna had been annexed to Piedmont, the Mortara parents made another effort to recover their son, but he had been taken to Rome.

1870 - When the French garrison was withdrawn, Rome too was annexed by the new, unified, liberal Kingdom of Italy.

         - When Rome was captured from the Pope, they tried again, but Edgardo was then 19 and therefore legally an adult, and had declared his firm intention of remaining a Catholic. In that year, he moved his residence to France.

1895 - He attended his mother's funeral. His nieces and nephews, as adults, sadly recalled the frequent visits from the priest. It is not clear whether they knew him as a relative or "family friend."

1897 - He preached in New York, but the Archbishop of New York told the Vatican that he opposed Mortara's efforts to evangelise the Jews on the grounds that such efforts embarrassed the Church in the view of the United States government.

1912 - His written statement in favor of the beatification of Pius IX, Mortara recalled his own feelings about the abduction.

1940 - Died on the 11th of March in Belgium, after spending some years in a monastery.



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Page last updated: 4:22pm, 29th May '07