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INNOCENT XI. (BENEDETTO ODESCALCHI):

Pope from 1676 to 1689; born at Como in 1611; elected Sept. 21, 1676; died Aug. 12, 1689. That the Jews were not excluded from the results of his keen sense of justice is evidenced in his compelling the city of Venice to release the Jewish prisoners that had been taken by General Morosini in 1685. Still he went so far as to forbid (Oct. 30, 1682) the Jews to engage in banking transactions. However, ultimately convinced that such a measure would cause much misery to the Jews, the enforcement of the edict was twice delayed (Feb. 26, 1683; March 21, 1684). Innocent discouraged compulsory baptisms, which accordingly became less frequent under his pontificate. But he could not abolish altogether the old practise, and on Nov. 12, 1678, the Holy Congregation declared the baptism of a Jewish child, performed by its Christian nurse, to be valid.

Bibliography:
  • Vogelstein and Rieger, Gesch. der Juden in Rom, ii. 223-226.
G. I. Br.
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