Canon law was hostile to Jews in wording, but the popes also refused to accept popular violence against Jews. The following letter of Pope Gregory X (1271 -1276) incorporates material from earlier letters of Innocent III (1198-1216) and Innocent IV (1243-1254). Here Gregory X opposes the blood libel – the often repeated claim that Jews killed and ate Christian children.
Gregory, bishop, servant of the servants of God, extends greetings and the apostolic benediction to the beloved sons in Christ, the faithful Christians, to those here now and to those in the future.
Even as it is not allowed to the Jews in their assemblies presumptuously to undertake for themselves more than that which is permitted them by law, even so they ought not to suffer any disadvantage in those [privileges] which have been granted them. [This sentence, first written by Gregory I in 598, embodies the attitude of the…
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