Reactionary RadicalsrnRADICAL REACTIONARIESrnA Politically Incorrect BeatificationrnThe Saga of Pope Pius IXrnby Alberto CarosarnFew people have been so hated tliat their enemies have chsruptedrntheir hineral processions in an attempt to throwrntheir eofBns into a river, but that is preeiseK’ what happened tornPope Pins IX on the night of Jnly 12, 1881.’rnAmid the heated debate snrrounding Pio Nono’s bcahfieationrnthis past September 3, a few articles mentioned thisrnepisode. Bnt with the notable exception oi Inside the Vaticanrn(March 2000), no one indicated that this attempt was not an isolatedrnattack during an otherwise peaceful tvvo-hour march fromrnthe Vatican, where Pius IX had been temporarih’ buried afterrnhis death, to the Basilica of San Lorenzo Outside the Walls,rnwhich the Pope had chosen as his final burial place. Indeed, itrnwas only one of die highlights of an incredibly stormy procession,rnwhich turned into a real road to Calar’ for the immenserncrowd of Roman faithful determined to pa}’ a final tribute torntheir beloved Pope. The funeral cortege had to make its wa’rnthrough horrible blasphemies, insults, curses, obscene songs,rnstonc-dirowing, and clubbings. Many mourners were seriouslyrninjured.rnThe attacks were carried out by a few hundred freemasonsrnand liberals with the virtual connivance of the police force, whornshowed no respect whatsoever for die Catholic faithful andrntheir senhments. Rome had been “liberated” from the Pope’srntemporal authority 11 years earlier, and the police were scniiigrna prime minister, Agosfino Depretis, who was known for hisrnhostilit}’ toward Catholics.rnAlmost 120 years later, the harassment confinues. ‘The spiritualrnheirs of the anfi-Chrisfian hecklers may resort to more sophishcatedrntools, including the media, but their intenhon is thernsame; to disparage die figure who, more forcefulh’ than anyonernelse, denounced their errors, which are the root cause of diernprofound crisis in contemporary societ}’. Pius IX repcatcdh andrnforcefully condemned socialism and communism beginning inrn1846, two years before Marx and Engcls published the CommunistrnManifesto. Had his appeals been heeded, mankindrnwould have been spared die mass murder of tens of millions ofrnpeople during die 20th century.rnMsgr. Cado Liberati, an official at die Vahcan’s Congregationrnfor the Causes of Saints, argued in Corriere della Sera {]\yrn13) that the major American media arc in the forefront of thisrnsmear campaign, particularly the New York Times and thernWashington Post. While these newspapers have alleged thatrnPius IX was antisemitic, Msgr. I .iberad claims diat the eontrar-rnAlberto Carosa, the eci/tor of Faiiiiglia Doniani Flash, writesrnfrom Rome.rnis true: Pius IX promoted true freedom for Rome’s Jews. Therngates of Rome’s Jewish ghetto were pulled down under his instructions,rnand Pius deployed patrols in the area to protect diernJews from those in the Roman populace who were upset byrndieir emancipahon.rnThe American media made much of die case of EdgardornLevi-Mortara, a Jew from Bologna who, when he was 17rnmonths old, was secretly baptized by his Catholic nanny becausernhe seemed about to die. Mortara survived, but his parents,rnwhen informed of his baptism, refused to bring him up inrnthe Catholic faith. In accordance with canon law, on June 24,rn1858, the child (then six years old) was brought to Rome, wherernhe was educated under the personal protection of the Pope.rnEight days later, his parents arrived in Rome, where dicy stayedrnfor a niondi and pled for his return. Although he met with hisrnfamily on a daily basis, Mortara never showed die slightest desirernto rejoin them, as he himself later attested. In his teens,rnMortara returned for a iiiondi to his parents, but he ulfimatclyrndecided to settle in Rome and become a Catholic priest. Hernwas one of die first witnesses to give testimony in ftivor of PiusrnIX’s beatifieafion.rnWhen Piedmontcsc troops entered Rome in 1870, diey hurriedrnto die convent where ftiey diought die 19-ycar-old Mortararnwas being held captive. To their surprise, he not only categoricallyrnrefused to be “liberated” but made it clear that he had decidedrnto take religious vows and to join the Lateran CanonrnRegulars. Wliile ehurehes and monasteries in Rome were beingrnturned into stables, prisons, and army barracks by the vcr’rn”liberals” who had come to “free” and “protect” FJdgardo Mortara,rnhe wanted to become a priest. In the end, he chose to expatriaternrather than to serve the Pope’s enemies. He became arnwell-known itinerant preacher, able to deliver sermons in ninerndifferent languages.rnWhy “was such a scandal raised for one child,” Msgr. Liberatirnasked the Washington Post, “when thousands of Polish childrenrnwere deported to Russia [in the same period] and forced to becomernOrthodox, and nobody protested?” Forced conversionsrnarc sfill die order of die day in Muslim-dominated areas; unlikernChristians who are unwillingly inducted into Islam, however,rnEdgardo Mortara could have returned to his family’s faith, hadrnhe wanted to, without fearing for his life.rnCanon law has always condemned forced conversion andrnbaphsni against the will of a child’s parents. Popes imprisonedrnChristians who violated this canon; and in the Papal States, arnfine of 1,000 gold ducats (a huge sum) was imposed on anyonernfound bv the courts to have done so. Jewish families in die Pa-rn22/C;HRONICLESrnrnrn