The Holy See and the Jews

(from the Special Number - 1939. of the International Review of Secret Societies. Paris, France)


The "Revue International des Societes," which first published this article on "The Holy See and the Jews," is published by the "Ligue Franc-Catholique" (the League of the French Catholic) at 11 bis, rue Portalis, Paris, France. The League is a lay group of Catholics for patriotic and social defense, founded by Monseigneur Jouin, Apostolic Prothonotary, Cure of St. Augustine parish, Paris in 1913. The magazine was founded March 23, 1918, with the approval of the Holy See.

Monseigneur Jouin was a recognized authority on Jewish history and objectives and the necessity for exposing the facts in defense of Christianity. The Vatican formally praised him for this work of enlightenment as far back as June 20, 1919, in a letter signed by Cardinal Gasparri, Papal Secretary of State.

Monseigneur Jouin died in 1932. The work has continued and current problems have been analyzed and exposed in relation to the truth, guided by the spirit and writings of the noble founder of the League.


The Holy See and the Jews.

In the middle ages when the Popes on the day of their coronation received the homage of the delegates of the Roman-Jewish community they traditionally answered: "Legum Probo, sed improbo gentium"("I approve of the law but I disapprove of the race.")

Later, when the custom was established that the Rabbis of Rome offered a magnificent copy of the Pentateuch, they answered: "Confirmamus sed non consentimus."("We ratify but we do not consent.")

These reticent and distant replies are a resume of the attitude of the Popes at the same time pontiffs and temporal sovereigns of Rome. On the one hand they maintain the exigence and traditional homage of the Jews submitted by a special statute to an inferior and subordinate situation, on the other hand they express reprobation for this religion and race which they represent.

Since the code of Justinian the position of the Jews in Rome had always been that of an inferior race held in suspicion and carefully excluded from important functions of the city. They could not expect civil employment and the law declared them forever disqualified to all eternity. Throughout the Christian world ecclesiastical authority severely excluded them from the Christian community. In France the councils were unanimous; it was Vannes 465, Agde 506, Epaone, of the diocese of Vienna 517, which forbade the marriage of Christians with Jews; the second council of Orleans prohibited marriages between Christians and Jews; that of Clermont 535 excluded Jews from the magistracy; that of Macon 581 which deprived them of collecting taxes; that of Paris 615 confirmed at Reims, which declared them disqualified for all civil employment.

Excluded from public office and from owning land, not numerous elsewhere, they took refuge in trade and especially traffic in precious objects, assuming humility to avoid the repression and severity of the edicts and anger of the people. Thus from the sixth to the twelfth century, possessing no real influence in public affairs, and relegated to contemptible positions, they were unable to be dangerous. But the severity principally due to the to the unanimous reprobation of the church for the race of the executioners of Christ diminished in practice, especially in Rome where the popes showed great tolerance towards them.

However, as this tolerance was extended towards them their misdeeds were manifested in the same measure, both in the religious and the civic domain. The popes and the councils were then obliged to take new steps.

From the beginning of the thirteenth century the popes fixed through precise and imperative Bulls the principle measures which will be found later in all the following pontifical acts; on the one hand they were separated from Christians (a distinctive sign, the prohibition from public office, etc.) --but on the other hand no pressure was permitted to force them to enter the Catholic religion.

This legislation was applied very tolerantly during the 13th and 14th centuries. But from the beginning of the 15th century which saw a rising of heresies coming for the most part through the Cabalistic, the popes became anxious about the danger to Christian society through close contact with the "perfidious" race.(This epithet constantly recurs in pontifical documents "impia judaeorum perfidia".)

Eugene IV, by the Bull "Dundum ad nostram audientiam" (Aug 8, 1442) ordered the complete separation of Jews and Christians and, as a matter of fact, imposed the principle of the ghetto. (Article 8: "Inter christianos non habitent sed infra certum viculum seu locum a christianis separati et segregati, extra quem mullatenus mansiones habere valeant, inter se degant.") The troubled circumstances in which this Bull was promulgated explained why it was only partially applied. His successor Calixtus III confirmed it. However it was not until the following century that the principles imposed by Honorius III in 1221 and by Eugene IV in 1442, were fully enforced.

Paul IV received the Tiara on the 26th of May, 1555 and the outburst of reform put the Church and all Christian civilization into the greatest danger. He set himself to conquer heresy. One of his first acts was to publish his constitution:--"Cum nimis absurdam" (July 14, 1555) which was during the following centuries treated as a fixed chart of Roman legislation on this matter.

The articles 1 and 2 were repititions imposed by Eugene IV, of the separation of the Jews and the institution of the ghetto, which were effectively carried out by constructing a high, thick wall with only two doors. The gathering of the Jews into this inclosure was not carried out without many practical difficulties because of the expulsion of Christians who had previously lived there and the conflicts between Christian proprietors and the Jewish tenants in the ghetto. Pius IV, then Clement VIII, and finally Alexander VIII, were obliged to take constant measures to remove these small difficulties.

These same decrees forbade the Jews to own real estate and required them to sell what they possessed immediately. The article 3 initiated the obligation that the Jews should wear a distinctive badge. This measure was nothing but a repetition of the requirement to wear the rouelle which was created by the Lateran Council in 1215. ("Judoeis indixit sianum circulare in pectoribus bajulare ut inter ipsos et Christianos discretio, seu diviso vestium haberetur.")

The article 4 forbade the Jews to employ nurses or servants of the Christian faith.

The articles 6, 8, 9 and 12, strictly limited the commercial functions of the Jews. The only commerce permitted them was that of second-hand salesman money changers. Usury itself was strictly regulated. The article 10 forbade them to practice medicine. Up to that time many people had Jewish physicians - later on the only Pope to have recourse to a Jewish physician was Pope Sixtus Quintus. Finally the articles 7 and 15 forbade in a general way all social relations between Jews and Christians.

The great severity of this Bull was later on much modified by the interpretations of the Tribunal de la Rota and by the edict of the successors of Paul IV. The Jews might follow certain trades, own shops outside of the ghetto, provided they continued to live in it. These exceptions were necessary so that the four or five thousand Jews in Rome might continue to earn a living. But the fundamental rules remained. From that time on the Christian life in Rome would be preserved from the Jewish influence until the overthrow of Christian society by revolution.

Saint Pius V firmly upheld the decrees of his predecessor. He even went farther for on the 26th of February, 1569, he promulgated a decree of banishment expelling the Jews form the Church States with the exception of those in Rome and in Ancona.

Until the 19th century the rules concerning the Jews of Rome remained strict with occasional alternative relaxations of severity. They were not suppressed until the triumph of the masonic and anti-Catholic Italian revolution of 1859.

The common character of all the measures taken is that of defending Christian communities from the penetration of the Jewish race and Talmudic ideas. They can be grouped in four principle categories:

(a) Measures concerning race.

Interdiction of the employment of Christian nurses by Jews.

Interdiction of mixed marriages (considered as an absolute and universal principle of Christianity.)

(b) Measures assuring protection of the professions from Jewish influence.

Interdiction from public office.

Interdiction from entering certain defined trades.

Interdiction from liberal professions (with partial tolerance to medicine.)

Interdiction from owning real estate.

Protective rules concerning usury.

(c) Measures of direct protection of the faith.

Destruction of the Talmud, and severe interdiction against the reading or teaching of the Talmud. (Order to the French King to burn the Talmud. Bulle Impia judeorum perfidia, 1244.)

Legislation as to neophytes.

There is no doubt that all these measures, even those concerning the race and commerce, were aimed to protect the Christian faith from the destructive Jewish influence. But the popes well understood that it is impossible to dissociate the Faith form the entire social life and it was for this reason that they entered into such detail, legislating not only in religious matters, but in all that touched the life of the family, the professions and civic life. They also acted in Rome as temporal sovereigns, concerned to protect their people from the clever enterprise of those whom they constantly spoke of under the name of "perfidious Jews" -- hence these severe limitations of their economic and financial power.

It is impressive that the magistery of the Church should thus have expressed itself in such a continuous manner during the centuries.

The real social crimes committed by the Jews since they were "emancipated" through successive revolutionary explosions, the disastrous influence which they have exercised, as much in the economic life of the people as upon public morality, their persistent and perfidious activity in the religious domain for the destruction of Catholicism, are startling proofs that the popes acted with great understanding in taking the strictest measures efficiently to protect the Christians. They have known how to combine charitable gentleness with necessary severity. But the sequence of their decrees fixes the principles of a Christian solution of the Jewish question. It needs only to adapt to the special conditions of our times.

P.L. Loyer (signed)

We give below a list of the principle pontifical Bulls of the popes relating to the Jews and their object (purpose). (The Holy See and the Jews - E. Rodocanachi.)

Object: It is forbidden to force the Jews to baptism or molest them.

 Ad nostram noveritis audientiam April 29, 1221

Object: Jews are obliged to carry a distinctive badge. Forbidden to fill public office.

Sufficere debuerat perfidioe judoerum perfidia March 5, 1233

Object: Jews forbidden to employ Christian servants.

Impia judoerum perfidia May 9, 1244

Object: French King ordered to burn the Talmud. Jews forbidden to employ Christian nurses.

Turbato corde July 26, 1267

Object: Christians forbidden to embrace Judaism

Turbato corde March 1, 1274

Object: (Identical to previous.)

Vineam Sorec Aug. 4, 1278

Object: Preaching to the Jews

Turbato corde Sept. 5, 1288

Object: Christians who embrace Judaism

Ex Parte Vestra Aug. 12, 1317

Object: Relapse of converts.

 Cum sit absurdum June 19, 1320

Object: Converted Jews need not be despoiled.

Sicuti judaeis non debet June 7, 1365

Object: Forbidden to molest Jews or to force them to baptism.

Sedes apostolica June 3, 1425

Object: Jews obliged to wear distinctive badge.

Dudum ad nostram audientiam Aug. 4, 1442

Forbidden to live with Christians or fill public functions, etc.

Si ad reprimendos May 28, 1456

Object: Confirmed the preceeding Bull

Cupientes judaeos March 21, 1542

Object: Privileges in favor of neophytes.

Illius, qui pro dominici Feb. 19, 1543

Object: Establishment of a monastery for catechumens and neophytes.

Pastoris aeterni vices Aug. 31, 1554

Object: Tax in favor of neophytes

Cum nimis absurdum July 14, 1555

Object: Jews forbidden to live in common with Christians, to practice any industry, etc.

Dudum postquam March 23, 1556

Object: Tax in favor of neophytes

Cum inter ceteras Jan. 26, 1562

Object: Bull relative to monastery of catechumens.

Dudum e felicis recordationis Feb. 27, 1562

Object: Bull confirming that of Paul IV.

Romanus Pontifex April 19, 1566

Object: Bull confirming that of Paul IV

Sacrosanctae catholicae ecclesiae Nov. 29, 1566

Object: Bull relating to convent of neophytes

Cum nos nuper Jan. 19, 1567

Object: Jews are forbidden to own real estate

Hebraeorum gens Feb. 26, 1569

Object: Expulsion of Jews from Church States except Rome and Ancona.

Vices Ejus nos Sept. 1, 1577

Object: Obligatory preaching. Creation of college of neophytes.

Antiqua judaeorum improbitas July 1, 1581

Object: Against blasphemers.

Sancta Mater Ecclesiae Sept. 1, 1584

Object: Obligatory preaching.

Christiana pietas Oct. 22, 1586

Object: Privileges granted to Jews.

Cum saepe accidere Feb. 28, 1592

Object: Jews of Avignon forbidden to sell new goods.

Caeca et obdurata Feb. 25, 1593

Object: Confirmation of the Bull of Paul III. Jews forbidden to dwell outside of Rome, Ancona, and Avignon.

Cum Haebraeorum malitia Feb. 28, 1593

Object: It is forbidden to read the Talmud.

Apostolicae servitutis July 31, 1610

Object: Regulars (of monks) obliged to learn Hebrew.

Exponi nobis nuper fecistis Aug. 7, 1610

Object: Bull relating to the dowries of Jewish women.

Sedes apostolica April 22, 1625

Object: Jews, heretical, in Portugal.

Injuncti nobis Aug. 20, 1626

Object: Privileges granted to the monastery of catechumens

Cum sicut acceptimus Oct. 18, 1635

Object: Obligation to feed poor Jews imprisoned for debt.

Cum allias piae March 17, 1636

Object: Synagogues of the Duchies of Ferarri and Urban, to pay a tax of 10 ecus.

Verbi aeterni Dec. 1, 1657

Object: Bull relating to rights of neophytes regarding jus gasaga.

Ad ea per quae Nov. 15, 1658

Object: Jus Gasaga

Ad apostolicae dignitatis May 23, 1662

Object: Concordat between the college of neophytes and German college.

Illius, qui illuminat March 6, 1663

Object: Privileges favoring the fraternities of neophytes.

Animarum saluti March 30, 1690

Object: Bull relating to the neophytes in Indies.

Ad radicitus submovendum Aug. 31, 1692

Object: Abolition of special jurisdiction

Propagandae per unicersum March 11, 1704

Object: Confirmation and extention of Paul III regarding neophytes.

Essendoci stato rappresentato Jan. 21, 1705

Object: Powers of Vicar of Rome in jurisdiction of catechumens and neophytes

Salvatoris nostri vices Jan. 2, 1712

Object: Transfer to "Pii Operai" the work of the catechumens.

Ex injuncto nobis Jan. 18, 1724

Object: Prohibits sale of new objects.

Nuper, pro parte dilectorum Jan. 8, 1726

Object: Establishment of doweries for young girl neophytes.

Emanavit nuper Feb. 14, 1727

Object: Necessary conditions for imposing baptism on a Jew.

Alias emanarunt March 21, 1729

Object: Forbidding the sale of new goods.

Postremomens Feb. 28, 1747

Object: The baptism of Jews

Apostolici Ministerii munus Sept. 16, 1747

Object: Right of repudiation of neophytes.

Singulari Nobis consoldtioni Feb. 9, 1749

Object: Marriages between Jews and Christians.

Elapso proxime Anno Feb. 20, 1751

Object: Concerning Jewish heretics.

Probe te meminisse Dec. 15, 1751

Object: Baptism of Jewish children

Beatus Andreas Feb. 22, 1755

Object: Martyrdom of a child by Jews.

After this pope, Benoit XIV, nearly all the Bulls are quite general and relate to questions of doctrines; consequently they are not in this category which has been fixed -- besides the situation of the Jews in Rome is more or less ruled by decrees and ordinances.