Forced Baptisms and Freedom of Religion in Habsburg Italy

Author/s Emanuele D’Antonio
Publishing Year 2022 Issue 2022/115
Language Italian Pages 19 P. 142-160 File size 163 KB
DOI 10.3280/PASS2022-115010
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The defense of Italian Jews from forced baptism became a political issue briefly after national Unification. While legally safeguarding their freedom of worship, the liberal State rejected Jewish requests to establish public control on conversions to Catholicism as in the Italian provinces of Habsburg Empire. The Austrian system, inspired by Josephine jurisdic-tionalism and civil tolerance, emerged by a complex of laws highly advanced in terms of principles. The article questions their effectiveness, examining their concrete application to the Jewish conversions promoted by the Church of Verona from 1841 and 1861. The Jews, initially protected by State powers, were targeted by ecclesiastical claims for two forced baptisms in the so-called neo-absolutistic age. This crisis sheds lights on the flaws of Jose-phinism, that did not affect Italian State’s approach to Jewish emancipation and freedom of religion.

Keywords: Forced Baptisms, Jews, Freedom of Religion, Josephinism, Lombardo-Venetian Kingdom, Verona

Emanuele D’Antonio, Battesimi forzati e libertà religiosa nell’Italia asburgica in "PASSATO E PRESENTE" 115/2022, pp 142-160, DOI: 10.3280/PASS2022-115010