Child abduction is a terrible heart wrenching crime, pure and simple. You let the child out of sight for a second and your baby never comes back. At least one thing’s for sure. At home — right there in front of your eyes — they are safe.pope2Well, that’s what Mr and Mrs Mortara thought, until the pope came and stole their son, with logic that would defy Kafka.

Three things counted against the Mortaras. The first mistake was that they lived in Bologna. The second was that it was the year 1858. Nowadays, kidnapping of small boys is not on the papal agenda (despite what parish priests have been doing). At that time though, the law was on the pope’s side. Well, papal law was and that was what worked in Bologna. This was before Italy’s unification and Bologna was situated one of the Papal States.

The third strike…

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