The Church Kidnaps Edgardo Mortara

June 23, 1858. A knock at the door—it’s the papal police. For the Mortaras, a Jewish family living in Bologna, this is not a good sign. And soon, the officers break the agonizing news: “You have been betrayed.” The Mortaras’ six-year-old son, Edgardo, has been secretly baptized, and the Church has ordered him to be taken away. Why did the Catholic Church order a young Jewish boy to be kidnapped? And how would that decision end up re-making the map of modern Europe?


Special thanks to our guest, David Kertzer, author of The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara and The Pope at War.


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