Pope Pius IXs Controversial Beatification
(September 3, 2000)
Pope John Paul II beatified Pope Pius IX, an ultra-conservative 19th-century Pope, a move that displeased the Jewish community because he was the last pope to confine Jews to the ghetto. Also, he condoned the kidnapping of a six-year old Jewish boy, Edgardo Mortara. Mortara was baptized by an illiterate Catholic housemaid, thereby justifying his seizure by the Papal police under the law that does not allow non-Catholics to raise a baptized child. Pius IX also insulted Jews by calling the Jews of Rome "dogs."
Pius IX reigned from 1846 to 1878, the longest tenure in the churchs history. He presided over the first Vatican Council, which supported his decision to declare papal infallibility. From then on, all papal utterances dealing with the issues of faith and morality were considered infallible. He also supported the concept of the immaculate conception of the Virgin Mary.
In Roman Catholicism, beatification is the last step before sainthood. Pope John Paul II felt that "beatifying a son of the church does not celebrate particular historic choices that he has made, but rather points him out for imitation and for veneration for his virtue." Supporters of the decision argue that Piuss actions should not be judged through the lens of the 21st century. Traditionalists in the Catholic movement believe that Pius IX strengthened the Papal legacy.
Source: Various news reports.