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In 1858, church authorities kidnapped a six-year-old Jewish boy, Edgar Mortara, from his parents in Bologna, Italy. This became an international incident, and emperors Franz Joseph of Austria and Napoleon III of France sent personal messages to Pope Pius IX pleading that the child be returned to his parents. Their requests and all other protests were rejected, and Edgar Mortara was raised as a Catholic. The Church argued that Edgar’s Catholic nurse had him secretly baptized when he was two years old, and baptism was irrevocable. The child was never given back to his parents, and when he grew up he entered the Church as a priest.

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