Inquisitors Debate 3 Jewish Families Living in Foligno, Italy, Contrary to Papal Law

Inquisitors Debate 3 Jewish Families Living in Foligno, Italy, Contrary to Papal Law

Pope Leo XII

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A meeting of inquisitors addresses the case of three Jewish families living in Foligno, Italy. Because there is no ghetto in Foligno, their presence is contrary to papal law, but the bishop of Foligno defends them by pointing out that they own a textile factory that employs many people.

The Holy Office doesn't care about any of this and orders the Jewish families to move out. According to the Inquisition, it is God's will that Jews not live among Christians, much less employ them.

The position of the Inquisition on Jews has been shaped by the reaction and anti-Semitic attitudes of Pope Leo XII. Even though he died a few months ago, his influence is still being felt: he reestablished Jewish ghettos and forced Jews to quickly sell property so they wouldn't be living close to Christians.

This has created serious economic problems because so many Jews have emigrated out of the Papal States and to cities around Italy where they are at least tolerated, if not welcomed.

Many bishops have a better understanding of the consequences of forcing Jews into ghettos, even if they aren't supporters of emancipation, so they haven't all been enforcing the previous pope's orders — including the bishop of Foligno. He explains to the Inquisition:

"Conscious of the damage that the departure of the above-mentioned families would cause the population, [I beg] your Most Reverend Eminences that, in your prudence, you take this plea into consideration."

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