The Kidnapping Of Edgardo Mortara Analysis

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?? Joshua Waldoch Professor Laid Boswell
History 120
9 October 2017
Public Opinion and the Papacy The Catholic Church has had a lasting impression on the European Landscape throughout history, and for the most part, the general public went along with the Catholic Church and the Pope because, that was all the people of Europe knew. However, that began to change, as the thoughts and ideals that were formed during the Enlightenment came to prominence. In David Kertzer’s book The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara, Kertzer argues that the Pope is losing the battle of public opinion due to his opposition to the Italian Unification, the push to modernize, and the push to secularize the governments of Europe. Kertzer argues that the Pope lost the
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Among the ideas that the Enlightenment brought was the idea of a secular government. The hierarchy of the Church was not in favor of this at all, the Austria was one of the first countries to push secularization. It happened when “Joseph II denounced the existing concordat and moved energetically to restrict the rights of the church, seeking to build a modern, secular state … similar attacks on Church authority put the hierarchy on the defensive, and the prestige of the papacy suffered” (130). Because of Europe’s social changes, and its changing ideals of the role of the Church in government, from an overarching, imposing role, to a nonexistent role, the Church found itself under attack, and Pius IX saw his power diminished. The idea that the Church was to lose its power did not bode well with those at the highest levels within the Catholic Church. They thoroughly enjoyed the influence they yielded, and thought that “it was the Church’s responsibility to block these moves toward secularization” (76). Because of the tendencies of the more liberal thinkers to move toward a more secular government, the church was left behind, longing for the days where it had large influence over the governments of Europe. Europeans as a whole demographic were leaving the Church due to a mix of the Enlightenment as Industrial revolution, and the idea that the government would not be a way for the Church to continue to have say in people’s lives was not good in their eyes. MORE STUFF

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