Pope Gregory XVI Orders Inquiry on Jews Employing Christians in Ghettos Hot

Pope Gregory XVI Orders Inquiry on Jews Employing Christians in Ghettos

Pope Gregory XVI

Pope Gregory XVI orders an inquiry into reports that Jews are employing Christians in certain ghettos. The Holy Office finds that papal edicts on the matter are being ignored and offers a "compromise" of "tolerance."

Jews were permitted to employ Christian women, but only women who are over 40 and married. They are still forbidden from employing anyone to light fires for them on the Sabbath, however, and local officials are forbidden from telling anyone that this measure of "tolerance" is coming from the Vatican itself.

Jews have traditionally not been permitted to employ Christians because, according to the Catholic Church, if Jews employ Christians, this sends the message that Jews can have a higher social status than Christians. This suggests that Jews are equal to Christians, which in turn suggests that Judaism is equal to Christianity.

Although restrictions are being eased, the new regulations say a lot about attitudes towards the Jews. Limiting employment to married women over 40 indicates that Christians are worried about Jews sexually seducing or otherwise corrupting Christian women, a theme which will continue to be important through the Nazi era.

The reason why Pope Gregory XVI singles out lighting fires during the sabbath for a special prohibition is precisely to make life as a Jew more difficult. Not only does this ensure that Jews are as uncomfortable as possible during the winter months, but it also leads to many illnesses and deaths. This, however, is of no concern to Pope Gregory XVI nor to any of the other popes who have imposed and maintained this particular rule.

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