LEO °, name of 13 popes.
leo vii (936–39) the only pope who openly advocated forcible measures for the conversion of the Jews. He advised Frederick, archbishop of Mainz from 937 and the pope's vicar in all the regions of Germany, to deliver to the Jews sermons on the Incarnation and the Trinity. If they refused to adopt the Christian faith, the pope authorized the bishop to banish them, "to avoid all contact with the enemies of God." It is true that Leo did not regard expulsion as a forcible measure, for he ended his letter by saying that, at all events, the Jews must not be compelled to accept baptism. It is also true that the initiative once more lay with the archbishop, and perhaps served as one of the weapons in his battle with the emperor Otto the Great, who had never denied his partiality for the Jews.
leo x (Giovanni de' Medici), pope, 1513–21, one of the most tolerant of popes, whose reign was a happy one for the Jews. Intervening in the *Reuchlin-*Pfefferkorn controversy, he ensured an outcome of the dispute favorable for the Jews. His personal physician, Jacob b. Emanuel (Bonet *Lattes), was so well regarded that Reuchlin approached him for a recommendation to the pope. In 1514 Leo reconfirmed the privileges of the Jews in *Comtat Venaissin in opposition to the new measures which the bishop of *Carpentras wished to impose. He authorized the establishment of a Hebrew press in Rome and approved the printing of the Talmud. It is also true that the establishment of a chair of Hebrew in the University of Rome (1514) was aimed at promoting conversion, and Leo also granted considerable advantages to converts.
leo xiii (Vincenzo Gioacchino Pecci), pope, 1878–1903. Archbishop of Perugia from 1846 to 1878, he fought against the anticlerical laws passed in Italy after 1860. While he declared the Church receptive to cultural progress, he considered liberalism its archenemy and Judaism, which he saw as alienated from its own traditions, its driving force. As pope, his attitude toward Jews remained the same and during his pontificate the publication of a series of antisemitic articles in the Italian Jesuit organ, La *Civiltà Cattolica, did not meet with any papal interference. The *Dreyfus case found his sympathies on the side of the anti-Dreyfusards, who included the French Catholics, though in principle he wanted to see justice rendered to Dreyfus. The antisemitic policy of La *Croix, a French Catholic daily, did not apparently contradict the pope's own attitude. In 1892 Leo xiii admitted that there was a Jewish problem, but he saw it mainly as economic. Herzl tried to establish contact with Leo xiii but failed. On the other hand, the report that the pope had issued a protest against Zionism (also quoted in Herzl's Diaries) was officially denied.
[Willehad Paul Eckert]
leo vii: P. Browe, Judenmission im Mittelalter (1942), 243; B. Blumenkranz, Auteurs chrétiens latins… (1963), 219f. leo x: Vogelstein-Rieger, 2 (1895), 32ff.; Milano, Italia, 238f.; P. Browe, op. cit., 155, 215. leo xiii: P. Sorlin, La Croix et les Juifs, 1880–1899 (1967), index; T. Herzl, Complete Diaries (1960), index.
"Leo°." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . Encyclopedia.com. (May 19, 2019). https://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/leodeg
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