Church History Forum: Ghetto

Ghetto QUESTION from Hugh on August 7, 2002 I have a friend who has told me that the Catholic Church started the jewish ghetto and also required jews to wear a kind of patch to identify them as jewish. This was, according to my friend, an edict issued by the Pope of the Catholic Church and happened much earlier in history then the time of Hitler.
God Speed.
ANSWER by Q & A Staff on August 24, 2002 Dear Hugh,
Your friend is referring to the bull Cum Nimis Absurdum, of Pope Paul IV (1555-59) which required Jews who moved outside the Roman ghetto to wear a special yellow cap. Though perhaps motivated by fear of the Jews, this action was quite wrong.
It would be quite incorrect, however, to assume that the Catholic Church’s view of the Jews can be considered to be similar to that of Paul IV. I recommend the article Catholic Encyclopedia: History of Toleration for a balanced view of the Church’s dealing with the Jews down through the centuries, to the beginning of the 20th century.
As a footnote, I would add that you might like to have a look at the articles on Catholic League for interesting articles on Pope Pius XII’s help of the Jews during the Second World War, in stark contrast to the vitriolic accusations levelled against this saintly Pope in recent years.
Thanks for your question Hugh,
God bless, .
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