Sunday, September 3, 2000

ROME (AP) -- Descendants of a Jewish-born boy wrenched from his family in the 19th century with the blessing of Pope Pius IX joined hundreds in a candelight protest Saturday on the eve of Pius' beatification.

Pope John Paul II's planned declaration Sunday of Pius as among the Roman Catholic Church's blessed "is the reopening of a wound. There's no doubt about it," said Elena Mortara, the abducted boy's great-great niece.

Rome's Catholic noble families, meanwhile, celebrated the upcoming beatification with a Saturday church vigil, band and shouts of "Viva Pio Nono!," or "Long Live Pius IX!"

Sunday's beatification of Pius IX and the 20th century's John XXIII places the two predecessors of John Paul to the last formal step before possible sainthood.

Italian and international Jewish groups have protested Pius' beatification in large part because of the 1858 taking of 6-year-old Edgardo Mortara by papal guards. Church officials ordered the boy removed from his Jewish family in Bologna after hearing he had been secretly baptized by a Catholic housemaid.

Under Pius' patronage, Edgardo grew up a church ward and later a priest.

"That mother was deprived of her son," Giacomo Saban, an Italian Jewish leader, told the crowd. "The injury is still alive. It's still felt."

Other speakers read from passages of Pius' writing, including one in which he allegedly wrote Jews were not citizens but "dogs."

The church's "glorification" of Pius is a disappointment to those -- like the Mortara family -- who welcomed the dialogue John Paul had fostered among religions, Elena Mortara said.

It is the opinion of The Sabbatarian Network that the Catholic church has always exhibited its true goal to be the conquest and subjugation of Sabbatarians all over the world. Whether it be the taking of a small Jewish boy, the "Crusades" against Sabbath Keepers, the "Inquisition" against Sabbath Keepers, the support of Hitler against Jews (Sabbath Keepers) or her present goal of Ecumenism. The Catholic church hates Seventh Day Sabbath Keepers!

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