The earliest, semi-legendary popes, Peter and his immediate successors, were of Jewish birth, yet nothing specific is known of their relations with the Jews. The first pope reported historically to have entered into direct relations with Jews was sylvester i (314–335), who is said to have discussed religious matters with a Jew named Noah and to have conducted a triumphant disputation with a number of Jews, headed by Zambri the magician, in the presence of Emperor Constantine. leo i (the Great; 440–461) composed some polemical sermons nominally (though not really) directed against Jews. Nothing further is known of papal-Jewish relations until the time of *Gelasius i (492–496), who had in his service, perhaps as physician, a Jew named Telesinus, whom he called vir clarissimus, recommending one of his relatives, Antonius, in a letter to Bishop Quingesius. He also ordered an inquiry (496) into the complaint of a Christian slave who claimed he had been circumcised by his Jewish master.
By far the most important medieval pope as regards relations with Jews, as in other respects, was *Gregory i (the Great; 590–604), whose letters are replete with information on the subject. He may be regarded as the founder of the accepted papal Jewish policy in both its positive and its negative aspects. On the one hand Pope Gregory ordered that the Jews should not be molested, that they should be protected from violence and permitted the free exercise of their religion, and on the other hand he said the Jews should be restrained from exercising any semblance of authority over Christians, or from enjoying equal status with Christians, or any privileges beyond those guaranteed them by existing law (i.e., the laws of the Roman Empire after the triumph of Christianity). A letter he wrote to the bishop of Palermo opened, "In the same way as the Jews should not have license to practice in their synagogues anything more than is allowed them by the law, so they should not suffer any disability in that which is conceded to them." This position summed up papal policy and set the example for all later papal legislation on the matter. The statement was reproduced as a fixed rubric, Sicut Judaeis, in bulls of protection issued by popes of the later Middle Ages on at least 22 occasions. It is with Gregory I, moreover, that the papacy came to be recognized as the supreme authority of the Western Church and accordingly Jews outside *Rome, and even outside Italy, began to address appeals for protection to the various popes, primarily through the mediation of the Jews of Rome.
Succeeding popes carried out the policy laid down by Gregory i without, however, extending it. At times of danger to the Church and consequent internal reformation, the tendency was to emphasize the negative rather than the positive side of that policy. Thus stephen iii (768–772), protested against the privileged position of the Jews of *Narbonne, their possession of landed property, and their mingling with their Christian neighbors on equal terms. nicholas i (858–867) prohibited the wearing of "Jewish vestments" (i.e., those based on Old Testament prescriptions) by Christian priests. *Leo vii (936–939), departing from the tolerant policy of his immediate predecessors, authorized the archbishop of *Mainz to offer the Jews of his diocese the alternatives of expulsion or apostasy. So far as is known, in the persecutions which took place throughout most of Europe early in the 11th century (in the wake of a report that the Jews had persuaded the Muslims to destroy the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem) the popes took no part. Although a spurious document connected with the event is ascribed to sergius iv (1009–12) a very old Hebrew account tells how on the occasion of a persecution at Rouen the Jews appealed to the pope for protection. If the extant report is reliable, Pope *Benedictviii (1012–24) must have condoned the persecution of the Jews of Rome (1020–21) on a charge of blasphemy which was supposed to have brought about an earthquake. On the other hand, *Alexander ii (1061–73) admonished the Christian warriors setting out to fight the Muslims in Spain (1063) not to molest Jews, and in 1065 he reproved the ruler of *Benevento, in Italy, for forcibly converting the Jews of that city to Christianity. The reformist popes who succeeded Alexander, and who reverted to strict Church discipline, inevitably emphasized the repressive aspect of papal policy. In 1078 gregory vii (1073–85) renewed the canon laws against placing Jews in positions of trust, with a particular view to their employment as taxfarmers or mintmasters; he renewed the prohibition in a brief to *Alfonso vi of Castile in 1081. (The suggestion that this pope and his kinsman Gregory vi (1045–46) were of Jewish extraction is based on error: see G.B. Picotti, in Archivio Storico Italiano, 1942.)
The popes were not implicated in the persecutions in Europe at the time of the early Crusades, although urban ii (1088–99) berated Emperor *Henry iv for permitting those Jews who had been baptized by force to return to their faith. Urban's position was based on the doctrine that although compulsion could not properly be used in the baptismal act, once performed the sacrament of baptism was irrevocable, however it had been carried out. In 1120 *Calixtus ii (1119–24) issued the protective bull, or Constitutio pro Judaeis, beginning with Gregory the Great's words Sicut Judaeis, in which any sort of persecution of the Jews was condemned in unqualified terms. Henceforth, for generations, this bull was often renewed by popes shortly after their accession, on the petition of the Jewish communities and presumably accompanied by gifts. In the next three centuries, the bull was reissued 21 times. Although his authority was not recognized elsewhere, anacletus ii, who was of immediate Jewish extraction and who for this reason was inveighed against by his opponents, maintained himself as pope in Rome between 1130 and 1138. It is possible that his career was the source of the medieval Jewish legend of the Jewish pope, Elhanan. Although his enemies lost no opportunity of calling attention to his Jewish origin, this had no lasting ill effects upon the Jews.
On his visit to Rome (c. 1165) Benjamin of Tudela found the Jews enjoying a favorable status. R. Jehiel, grandson of the author of the Arukh Nathan b. Jehiel, was then in the service of the reigning pope, *Alexander iii (1159–81), who on his state entry into Rome (1165) had been greeted by the Jews, headed by their rabbis and bearing embroidered banners. However, this same pope presided over the Third *Lateran Council of 1179, which renewed the conventional canonical restrictions against Jews, forbidding them to exercise any authority over Christians or to live in close associations with them. The council marked the beginning of reform forced on the Church by the danger inherent in the development of the *Albigenses movement of southern France, in which Jewish influences were wrongly suspected
The reform reached its climax with the Fourth Lateran Council of 1215–16, convened under the auspices of Pope *Innocent iii (1198–1216), who may be recognized as at least the systematizer, if not the founder, of medieval clerical antisemitism. He is also the most important figure in the history of relations between the papacy and the Jews after Gregory I. The anti-Jewish canons of the Fourth Lateran Council, while not necessarily enforced or obeyed forthwith, set a standard of policy which afterwards was kept constantly before the eyes of Christian rulers, especially by the *Dominicans, who established their order at about this time to combat heterodoxy and heresy. Even Innocent, however, did not overlook the other aspect of the traditional papal policy and confirmed the Constitutio pro Judaeis in 1199, which protected Jews against violence from the French crusaders. At the same time he contested the claims of the Holy Roman emperor, as the successor to their conqueror, Vespasian, to suzerainty over the Jews throughout Europe.
Although all, or almost all, Innocent's successors confirmed the Constitutio pro Judaeis, they usually attempted to secure the enforcement of the anti-Jewish canons of the Lateran Council. Honorius iii (1216–27) was, however, forced by circumstances to permit the king of Castile to suspend the obligation of wearing the Jewish *badge as prescribed by this council, so as to prevent the Jews from migrating to Muslim realms. Under *Gregory ix (1227–41), who attempted to enforce the wearing of the badge in Navarre (1234), the papal offensive against the Jews was extended to Jewish literature, for it was with his authorization that the attack upon Jewish books and the Talmud was launched. Copies of the latter were sequestered pending an inquiry into its contents (1239; see Nicholas *Donin; *Jehiel b. Joseph of Paris). This was followed by its condemnation and sentence to burning, which apparently took place not only in France but also (under the pope's specific authority) in Rome (see *Talmud, Burning of). *Innocent iv (1243–54) repeated the condemnation of the Talmud in his bull Impia judaeorum perfidia of 1244. In 1253 he approved the archbishop's expulsion of the Jews from *Vienne in France for not obeying the Lateran decrees, and in 1250 he intervened to prevent the erection of a new synagogue in *Córdoba. On the other hand, in two bulls of 1246 he condemned in unqualified terms *blood libels which had begun to arise, and embodied his condemnation in the Constitutio pro Judaeis, which he issued for the second time that year. This condemnation remained an integral part of the text of the Constitutio whenever it was subsequently reissued by his successors. Although *Alexander iv (1254–61) attempted to enforce the Jewish badge and incited further attacks on the Talmud, he recognized also the value of the Jewish merchants for his treasury, and in 1255 relieved a number of them of all tolls throughout the papal possessions.
In the course of his brief papacy (1265–68) *Clement iv professed anxiety over the conversion of Christians to Judaism and authorized the *Inquisition to take measures against it, thus bringing Jews and the Inquisition into official contact for the first time (1267). A further extension of the Dominican offensive against Jews was approved by *Nicholas iii (1277–80); in his bull Vineam Soreth (1279) he ordered that the Jews be compelled to listen to conversionist sermons. (There is, however, no evidence that this was enforced in Rome until much later.) This was the pope from whom the mystic Abraham b. Samuel *Abulafia sought to demand in person the release of the Jews from captivity, and was saved from the stake, according to his own account, only by the death of the pope at his summer residence at Soriano on the very night before Abraham entered the city to interview him. Boniface viii (1294–1303) was the first pope recorded to have treated disdainfully the Jewish deputation who regularly came to congratulate the pope on his accession; he returned over his left shoulder the Torah Scroll presented to him with the scornful remark that they could not comprehend it. Under his pontificate, moreover, R. Elijah de *Pomis was put to death by the Holy Office in Rome, apparently for allegedly having helped the Colonna family in their rebellion. This instance opened up serious possibilities of blackmail, and in 1299 a bull was procured which excluded the Jews, regardless of their material means, from the category of "powerful persons" who could be denounced anonymously to the inquisitors. On the other hand, it was at this time, notwithstanding the canonical prohibition, that popes are first recorded as having Jews regularly in their employment as personal physicians. The first known case is that of the philosopher and translator, Isaac b. Mordecai ("Master Gaio"), who was in the service either of Boniface or his predecessor, Nicholas iv.
On the death of Boniface, there began the "Babylonian Exile" of the papacy at *Avignon (1309–77) which, along with the adjacent *Comtat Venaissin, had at that time finally become a papal possession by purchase. From this time onward, these papal territories in France were treated in much the same way as those in Italy, and Jews were consequently permitted to remain there when they were expelled from the rest of Provence. Not much is recorded about the policy toward the Jews of the first Avignonese pope, clement v (1305–14). His successor, *John xxii (1316–34), however, adopted a singularly antagonistic attitude toward Jews, although he did attempt to protect them at the time of the *Pastoureaux disturbances in 1320. John expelled Jews from certain places in the French papal dominions and temporarily (1321) from Rome itself. He converted former synagogues into churches, enforced the wearing of the Jewish badge (1317), encouraged conversion by permitting apostates to retain their property (1320), instituted special surveillance over converts to prevent backsliding (1317), and once more stirred up the French bishops against the Talmud (1320). John's successors proved themselves more favorably disposed toward the Jews. With them, there are records of Jews acting as tailors and parchment makers to the papal court in Avignon. *Benedict xii (1334–42) actively protected the Jews of Germany from a wave of massacres which broke out after a charge of the desecration of the *Host, by refusing to give credence to the charge without proper inquiry. *Clement vi (1342–52) was among the most benevolent of all medieval popes. Besides reconfirming the Constitutio pro Judaeis (as almost all other popes of the period had done), he condemned forcible baptism, and in 1348 he issued a benevolent edict protecting Jews in the widest terms from the fantastic accusations and brutal massacres which followed the *Black Death.
During the period of the great schism (1378–1417) the papacy was so absorbed in its own problems that it had little opportunity to occupy itself with the Jews. Hoping to score an impressive victory by having the Jews acknowledge the truth of Christianity, thereby to reinforce his personal status, the Spanish antipope *Benedict xiii established an almost frenetic anti-Jewish policy. It was he who was responsible for and presided over the disputation of *Tortosa (1413–14) and who instigated the persecutory movement, including condemning the Talmud and imposing wide-sweeping restrictions upon the Jews, which followed also in the Spanish Peninsula.
The Italian popes, however, influenced by the spirit of the Renaissance, reverted (with some exceptions) to a more tolerant policy. *Boniface ix (1389–1403), for example, had a succession of Jews in his employ as physicians and was responsible for a number of protective edicts, including one in 1402 which recognized the citizen rights of the Roman Jews. *Martin v (1417–31), with whose election the great schism ended, followed the example of Boniface, owing in part possibly to the influence of his Jewish physician, Elijah b. Shabbetai *Be'er. Martin greatly favored the Jews of Rome, prohibited forcible baptism, and even abolished the clerical prohibition on employing Jewish physicians. There is extant a drawing showing him greeting a deputation of Jews from Constance who came to welcome him to that city. This, however, was the period of intensified agitation against the Jews by the friars, led by John of *Capistrano, which could not fail to influence the papacy. In 1422 the alarmed Jews obtained a further edict of protection from the pope, and the friars were warned not to continue to incite the populace against them. (The edict was actually withdrawn a year later on the grounds that it had been obtained by fraud.) In 1427, as a result of reports that the Franciscan chapel on Mount Zion had been seized, the pope forbade Italian vessels to convey Jews to Palestine. A number of other unfavorable edicts led the Jews of Italy to organize countermeasures, backed by appropriately bestowed monetary gifts. This resulted in a very sweeping edict from the pope in 1429 protecting the Jews from the propaganda of the friars. The two conflicting currents, favorable and unfavorable, appear also in the policy of *Eugenius iv (1431–47) who, though at first renewing the privileges and safeguards of the Jews, was later forced to issue a bull putting into effect the severe decisions of the Council of Basle against Jews, forbidding them to practice handicrafts and moneylending, to engage in intercourse with Christians in any capacity, and even to study the Talmud. Once again there was a conference of Italian Jews and countermeasures (no doubt including bribery) were taken until the pope, persuaded that his policy was economically ruinous, withdrew the prohibitions. Restrictions were, however, renewed though apparently not enforced under the successors to Eugenius, *Nicholasv (1447–55) and & Calixtus iii (1455–58), under whose rule the influence of Capistrano and the Observantine *Franciscans reached its climax. The humanist pius ii (1458–64), who maintained the poet Moses da *Rieti in his service as his physician, was bent on a crusade against the Turks and therefore heavily increased taxation on the Jews.
With *Sixtus iv (1471–84) the Renaissance spirit triumphed in Rome, and for the next three quarters of a century relations between the popes and Jews were particularly close and cordial. Formally, of course, the popes had to conform to the external demands of unbending Christian orthodoxy. Thus Sixtus was nominally responsible for the introduction of the *Inquisition into Spain by his bull of 1478. On the other hand he had close personal relationships with Jews, as did his immediate successors down through the middle of the 16th century. Sixtus was interested to some extent in Hebrew literature and employed Hebrew copyists at the Vatican library. He also employed Jewish physicians, one of whom is said to have attempted a blood transfusion to save him in his last illness. In 1475 Sixtus initially refused to countenance a blood libel associated with the name of Simon of *Trent. The notorious *Alexandervi (1492–1503) permitted refugees from Spain to settle in Rome and had as his body physician Bonet de *Lattes, who dedicated his Annuli… super Astrologiae utilitate to him in 1493. julius ii (1503–13) extended his favor in the same manner to Samuel Sarfatti.
The climax in the favorable relations between the Jews and the Holy See was, however, reached with the popes of the house of Medici. *Leo X (1513–21) was so well disposed in fact that it was said that the Roman Jews considered his pontificate a presage of messianic times. Leo issued a notably benevolent edict in favor of the Jews in 1519, in which he repealed the obligation of wearing the Jewish badge in the papal dominions in France and allowed it to fall into disuse in Italy. He employed the converted Jewish musician, *Giovanni Maria, took a lively interest in Jewish literature, and permitted the printing of the Talmud. It is significant at this time that when Johann *Reuchlin made his appeal to the pope from the sentence of the Dominicans of Cologne, he requested the papal physician Bonet de Lattes, a Jew, to support him, such was the influence and esteem the latter enjoyed at the papal court. A kinsman and successor to Leo, *Clement vii (1523–34), showed even greater benevolence toward the Jews, so much so in fact that he was called "the favorer of Israel." He was especially noted for his close and friendly relations with David *Reuveni and Solomon *Molcho. His outstandingly favorable attitude was continued by his successor, paul iii (1534–49), who invited refugee Marranos from Portugal to settle in Ancona and who employed Jacob *Mantino as his physician. The reluctance of the Medici popes to authorize the Inquisition in Portugal or to permit it to go into effect, although ultimately defeated, typifies the general tolerance of their approach to the Jews.
By now the spirit of the Counter-Reformation was beginning to make itself felt. *Julius iii (1550–55) was personally friendly enough; he employed *Amatus Lusitanus as his physician, confirmed the rights of the Marranos of Ancona, condemned the blood libel, and prohibited the baptism of Jewish children without the consent of their parents. But the reactionary party led by Cardinal Caraffa, the embodiment of the Counter-Reformation, ultimately gained the upper hand. Before long this resulted in the establishment in 1553 of the House of *Catechumens (Casa dei Neofiti) in Rome at the expense of the local Jewish communities, the confiscation and burning of the Talmud (1553), the institution of the Congregation of the Holy Office with the surveillance of the Jews as one of its functions (1553), and the institution of a regular censorship of Hebrew books (1554). After the brief papacy (April 1555) of marcellus ii, Cardinal Caraffa himself became pope as Paul iv (1555–59), and the spirit of the Counter-Reformation triumphed with him and through his personal influence. The reaction against the Jews (especially in Rome and the Papal States, where he was able to carry his policy into effect) began immediately after his accession with the fanatical bull Cum nimis absurdum of 1555, which in effect drove the Jews out of civilized life and began the age of the *ghetto in Italy with all its horrors. Pope Paul iv was, moreover, personally responsible for the treacherous and faithless onslaught on the Marranos of Ancona, as a result of which some 25 were burned at the stake in the spring and summer of 1556. When he died on Aug. 18, 1559, there was a general reaction against his severity and a story is told that his overthrown statue was surmounted by a yellow hat such as he had imposed on the Jews of his dominions.
pius iv (1559–65), Paul's successor, brought a brief respite, and in 1562 he modified the severity of the enactments of his predecessor, even permitting the printing of the Talmud with certain omissions or, without them, under a different name (1564). He also induced the Holy Roman emperor to withdraw an edict of expulsion against the Jews of Bohemia, and eased living conditions in the newly established Roman ghetto by prohibiting the increase of rentals there. He was succeeded by Pius v (1566–72), who, as Cardinal Ghislieri, had formerly been at the head of the Roman Inquisition, in which capacity he led the assault on Jewish literature during the preceding decade. With him the policy of repression triumphed again; the regulations of 1555 were renewed and the concessions made by his predecessor revoked. In 1567/68 he forbade Jews of the Papal States to lend money at interest, and his bull Hebraeorum gens of 1569 expelled Jews from the smaller places in the papal dominions, with the exception of Rome and Ancona in Italy, and Avignon, Carpentras, and two other places in France. His personal zeal, moreover, was responsible for the introduction of the ghetto system into the duchies of Urbino and Tuscany (1570–71).
There were some slight ameliorations under *Gregory xiii (1572–85), but he was responsible for the renewal of the institution of the conversionist sermons which Jews were compelled to attend, and for the stringent prohibition of the practice of medicine by the Jews among Christians. The latter marked the end of the tradition of Jewish medical practitioners in the service of the Vatican, which had been commonplace since the 13th century.
There was again a brief favorable interlude under Sixtus v (1585–90), who made a determined attempt to restore the economic prosperity of the papal states and for that reason reversed the anti-Jewish policy of former popes, although before his election he had shown great severity against the Marranos when he was inquisitor in Venice. He had in his service as his majordomo Joao Lopes, a Marrano who had reverted to Judaism. He also granted Meir *Magino a monopoly for an improved method of silk manufacture, accepted the dedication to himself in David de' Pomis' dictionary, Zemah David, and protected the Jews of the Papal States physically on more than one occasion. His bull Christiana pietas of 1586 revoked the persecutory edicts of his predecessors and permitted the Jews to return to the Papal States, to employ Christian servants as before, and to practice medicine. Moreover, he reversed the policy of former popes in regard to the practice of usury, permitting the opening of loan banks in the Papal States and issuing licenses or "absolutions" for Jewish moneylenders in various parts of Italy, which for the next 100 years provided a considerable income to the papal treasury. This favorable interlude was short-lived, ending soon after the death of Sixtus V. *Clement viii (1592–1605) must at one time have been on friendly terms with Jews, for a ḥannukkah lamp bearing his coat of arms as cardinal is preserved in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Nevertheless, in the year after his accession he issued the bull Caeca et obdurata (1593), which reinforced once more the persecutory policy of Paul iv and Pius V, except for the prohibition on moneylending, which remained permissible for some time longer.
From this period on, for between 200 and 300 years, there was no intermission or change in the policy of the popes who, absorbed with fears for the position of Roman Catholicism in Europe, considered that the repression of the Jewish communities under their control was an essential part of Catholic orthodoxy. Still, they preserved something of traditional balance in protecting the Jews of their dominions from the physical violence and the more fantastic antisemitic allegations common elsewhere. Occasionally, they were successfully appealed to by the Jewish communities of other countries for protection against such violence and allegations. With the extension of the area of Italy politically subject to the pope, the Roman policy was extended to the Jewish communities of the duchy of Ferrara (in 1625) and to Urbino (in 1634) by Urban viii (1623–44), who was responsible also for prohibiting tombstones in Jewish cemeteries. He also legalized forced baptisms in certain circumstances, declaring that the baptism of the head of a family could include, if he so desire, everyone in his household who were under age or dependent on him. Popes Innocent x (1644–55), Alexander vii (1655–67), and Clement ix (1667–69) enforced the policy somewhat less severely, the last named in his brief pontificate abolishing (in 1668) the humiliating race run by the Jews at carnival time. In 1674 *Clement x (1670–76) suspended the activities of the Portuguese Inquisition which were, however, renewed in 1681 by Innocent xi (1676–89). Innocent again (and this time finally) prohibited the practice of moneylending by the Jews of the papal possessions and suppressed their loan banks, a measure so harsh that its execution had to be twice postponed, eventually bringing the Jewish communities to the edge of ruin. At the same time this pope discouraged forced baptisms (which decreased somewhat under his rule) and in 1685 secured the release by the republic of Venice of the Jewish prisoners captured in the Morea.
With the 18th century conditions deteriorated still further. Renewed severity began under *Benedict xiii (1724–30) and *Clement xii (1730–40). The latter commissioned Cardinal Petra in 1733 to draw up a new anti-Jewish code, which introduced various new degradations, e.g., that the Jewish badge was to be worn even while traveling and that rabbis were not to be permitted to have any distinguishing costume. In 1766 this code was renewed and rigorously enforced by *Benedict xiv (1740–58) and the condition of the Jews of the papal dominions reached its nadir. The pope reinstituted rigorous measures against Hebrew literature, and in 1747 he ruled that a Jewish child once baptized, even against Church law, had to be brought up as a Christian. This ruling gave impetus to the scandal of forced baptisms, which from then on assumed tragic prominence in the history of Roman Jewry. Yet even this pontiff did not forget the nobler papal traditions. When in 1758 the Jewish communities of Poland appealed to him, through Jacob Selek, for protection against the wave of blood libels which were becoming a perpetual menace to their lives, he sympathetically referred the matter to the Holy Office of the Inquisition, an act which resulted in the famous report of Cardinal Ganganelli condemning the libel. In 1759 this report was presented to and approved by the next pope, *Clement xiii (1758–69), who communicated the findings to the papal nuncio in Warsaw and instructed him to protect the Jews from violence in this matter. Ten years later, Ganganelli himself became pope, as Clement xiv (1769–74). Profoundly moved by the misery into which the Jewish communities of the Papal States had fallen, he wanted to improve their economic condition. Among other reforms, he accorded Jews some freedom of occupation and released them from the immediate jurisdiction of the Inquisition. He showed marked favor to the Roman Jewish leader, Ezekiel Ambron. This proved to be only a brief interlude, however, for with his successor, Pius vi (1775–98), a complete reaction set in. The Editto sopra gli ebrei (1775) of Pius codified, reinforced, and intensified the whole of former, degrading anti-Jewish legislation, however barbarous it was, and went so far even as to forbid Jews from passing the night outside the ghetto, under pain of death. These were the conditions under which the Jews of the Papal States continued until the armies of the French Revolution overthrew the temporal power of the popes in 1797–98 and as a matter of course abolished all discriminatory legislation. After the overthrow of Napoleon, Pius vii (1800–23) led the way in the reaction which followed throughout Italy. (The papal possessions in the south of France, with control over the Jewish communities of that region, were by now lost.) To an antiquated religious obscurantism was now added the more cogent consideration that Jews were correctly suspected of sympathy with the liberal movement in Italian politics. From this time down to the overthrow of the temporal power of the papacy, the old policy of repression was renewed, from this point of view the Papal States now being the most reactionary area in Europe. Pope Pius vii returned from his long exile determined to reestablish the pre-revolutionary ecclesiastical regime down to the last detail, including the ghetto, conversionist sermons, and so on. Only the wearing of the Jewish badge, though nominally prescribed, was not actually enforced. Pius vii was, however, almost moderate as compared with his successor, Leo xii (1823–29), who revived the most fierce anti-Jewish prejudices, even to the point of having the gates of the ghettos restored and reenacting the Editto sopra gli ebrei of 1775. Pope Pius viii (1829–30) found time in the course of his brief pontificate to forbid the Jews to enter into personal relations with Christians for any purpose except in the course of business. His successor, Gregory xvi (1831–46), even reimposed the carnival tax, which had replaced the old abuse of the Jewish carnival race, with all its degrading associations. In 1836 he expelled the few Jews who had settled "illegally" in Bologna. Pius ix (1846–78) began his pontificate as the hope of the liberal movement, introducing several measures for the amelioration of the position of the Jews of the Papal States. Later, however, he too turned to reaction, and though his personal attitude remained not unfriendly he kept to all of his predecessors' restrictions with an unabated vigor. Under him even the abusive forced baptism of children prevailed, the most notorious (but not the only or the last) instance being the infamous *Mortara case of 1858, in which the pope maintained an absolutely unyielding attitude.
After the fall of Rome and the end of the Church's temporal power in 1870, up to which time the policy of repression had continued in force almost unmodified, the relationship of the papacy with the Jews inevitably changed. It was no longer a question of political treatment in an area subject to direct papal rule, but of a general attitude toward them on the intellectual and theological plane, political influence being therefore indirect. The papal attitude was inevitably influenced to some extent by the natural sympathy of the Jews in Catholic countries with the secular and anti-clerical party and their natural antagonism to Church influence in education. Although Leo xiii (1878–1903) was guilty in 1895 of the blunder of sending his blessing to the clerical-antisemitic coalition in Austria, he did, on the other hand, try to some extent to moderate passions in France. In 1892 he called on all right-thinking persons in that country, including Protestants and Jews, to unite against the "enemies of religion and society," i.e., the Freemasons and secularists. *Pius x (1903–14), though no less opposed to modernism, was not as interested in political matters as his predecessor. Early in 1904 he received Theodor *Herzl in audience, his secretary of state subsequently expressing mild sympathy with the humanitarian, though not the political objectives of Zionism. Benedict xv (1914–22), on the other hand, though he vaguely endorsed the *Balfour Declaration in an interview with Nahum *Sokolow, afterward expressed grave concern over the control of the holy places in Palestine. *Pius xi (1922–39) was confronted with the problems which arose with the triumph of the Nazi movement in Germany and antisemitism in Italy, and expressed his disapproval of racism in the most outspoken fashion, declaring that "spiritually we are all Semites." In 1935, at the time of the revival of the blood libel in Germany, he formally accepted from Cecil Roth a copy of his new edition of Pope Clement xiv's report condemning the libel, thereby confirming in effect the declaration of his predecessor. His successor, *Pius xii (1939–58), though less outspoken at a period of greater danger and failing even to condemn publicly the deportations and annihilation of European Jewry, nevertheless, on the occupation of Rome by Germans in 1943, received many refugees in the Vatican, and thus set the example for, even if he did not inspire, the protection of the Jews of Italy by the Catholic population. His reaction to the establishment of a Jewish state was unfavorable, since this falsified the Catholic interpretation of prophecy. The personal relations of *John xxiii (1958–63) with individual Jews were cordial both before and after his elevation to the papacy, and as cardinal he showed active sympathy with the victims of Nazi persecution. Jews moreover shared in the atmosphere of tolerance toward non-Catholics which became manifest during his pontificate. Under his successor Paul vi (1963–1978), the Second Vatican Council adopted a schema deploring antisemitism and stating that the blame for Jesus' death must be attributed to some of his contemporaries andnot to the Jewish people as a whole. The declaration was less forthright than had been advocated by John xxiii but its spirit led to important modifications in Catholic textbooks. In 1964 Paul visited Christian holy places in Israel for a day.
Paul vi was followed by John Paul i (1978) whose sudden death, a month after his election, cut short his papacy.
*John Paul ii (1978–2005) succeeded John Paul I, his pontificate of 27 years becoming the third longest in Church history. The first Polish pope, the former Karol Wojtyla was a political activist who fought for justice and human rights and who vigorously opposed totalitarianism. Known as a defender of the Jewish people, his ideological focus, personal integrity, and lengthy tenure provided a stable platform for growth in Jewish-Catholic relations, as he sought to broaden the ecumenical and interreligious relations of the Church.
As a youth in Wadowice, he had extensive contacts with the Jewish community, a legacy which deeply informed his pontificate. As pope, he worked consistently to improve Jewish-Catholic relations, as well as Vatican-Israel relations. He was the first pope since Peter to visit a synagogue (the Great Synagogue of Rome in1986), a move seen as bridge-building by Jews and Catholics alike. During this visit, he acknowledged the filial ties of Christianity to Judaism, stating, "I am Joseph, your brother!" In June 1994, he established formal diplomatic relations between the Holy See and the State of Israel, a move that publicly acknowledged Israel's centrality for the Jewish people. In March 2000, he convened a Day of Pardon for the sins committed by Church members over the centuries, including all antisemitic actions, which he declared were "a sin against God and humanity."
John Paul ii, the most widely traveled pope in history, made a historic visit to Israel in 2000. He visited Yad Vashem, where he paid homage to the victims of the Holocaust. At the Western Wall, he inserted a written apology to the Jewish people for antisemitic sins by Catholics into a crack in the wall.
John Paul ii authored or commissioned several very important documents on the Churches' relations with the Jews including "We Remember: A Reflection on the Shoah" (1998; Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews). His focus was to affirm the special relationship between Christianity and the Jewish people and the permanent validity of God's on-going covenant with the Jews, as articulated in the groundbreaking work of the Second Vatican Council "Nostra Aetate." He challenged the Catholic Church throughout the world to repent of its past history of antisemitic actions and to strive for a fresh, deeper understanding of the Jews and Judaism within God's plan for salvation history, emphasizing the filial ties between Judaism and Christianity and denouncing supersecessionism. He was unafraid to ask if the Church's own attitudes allowed or encouraged the cataclysm of the Holocaust, and he diligently sought to battle against latent antisemitism in the Church. While affirming the right of the State of Israel to exist, the pope also established official contacts with the Palestine Liberation Organization, beginning in 1994, and culminating with the signing of a formal Basic Agreement in 2000. He opposed the invasion of Iraq in 2003, but welcomed its new government in 2004. Pope John Paul ii also canonized more saints than any other pope in history. Two among them proved disconcerting in some Jewish circles: Edith Stein (d. 1942, canonized 1998), a Jewish convert to Catholicism who died in the Holocaust, and Pius xii (beatified though not yet canonized), who many felt should have done more to protect the Jewish people during the Holocaust.
benedict xvi (2005– ). The former Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, an eminent theologian who served alongside John Paul ii for many years as prefect for the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, began his pontificate with a visit to the Roonstrasse Synagogue in Cologne, the oldest synagogue in northern Europe. During this visit, Benedict xvi, a German by birth, spoke out against "new signs of antisemitism" that are emerging in his home country, Europe, and throughout the world. This action is seen as an affirmation of the course of action and theological outlook begun during the Second Vatican Council, and continued in the ground-breaking work of Benedict's predecessor, John Paul ii. In 2006 he visited Auschwitz, delivering a speech criticized by many for the failure to characterize the Holocaust explicitly as a crime of the German people against the Jews.
See entries on individual popes.
E.A. Synan, Popes and the Jews in the Middle Ages (1965); S. Grayzel, Church and the Jews in the xiiith Century (1933); idem, in: hj, 2 (1940), 1–12; J. Parkes, Conflict of the Church and the Synagogue (1934); idem, Jews in the Medieval Community (1938); E. Rodocanachi, Le Saint-Siège et les Juifs (1891); I. Loeb, in: rej, 1 (1880), 114–18, 293–8; M. Stern, Urkundliche Beitraege ueber die Stellung der Paepste zu den Juden, 2 vols. (1893–95); idem, Die paepstlichen Bullen ueber die Blutbeschuldigung (1893); P. Browe, Juden-mission in Mittelalter und die Paepste (1942); K. Eubel, in: Roemische Quartalschrift, 7 (1903), 183–37.
[Cecil Roth /
Claire Pfann (2nd ed.)]