Pope says Jews not responsible for Christ’s death
2011 03 03

By Nicole Winfield | WinnipegFreePress.com

Pope Benedict XVI has made a sweeping exoneration of the Jewish people for the death of Jesus Christ, tackling one of the most controversial issues in Christianity in a new book.

In "Jesus of Nazareth-Part II" excerpts released Wednesday, Benedict explains biblically and theologically why there is no basis in Scripture for the argument that the Jewish people as a whole were responsible for Jesus’ death.

Interpretations to the contrary have been used for centuries to justify the persecution of Jews.

While the Catholic Church has for five decades taught that Jews weren’t collectively responsible, Jewish scholars said Wednesday the argument laid out by the German-born pontiff, who has had his share of mishaps with Jews, was a landmark statement from a pope that would help fight anti-Semitism today.

"Holocaust survivors know only too well how the centuries-long charge of ’Christ killer’ against the Jews created a poisonous climate of hate that was the foundation of anti-Semitic persecution whose ultimate expression was realized in the Holocaust," said Elan Steinberg of the American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors and their Descendants.

The pope’s book, he said, not only confirms church teaching refuting the deicide charge "but seals it for a new generation of Catholics."

The Catholic Church issued its most authoritative teaching on the issue in its 1965 Second Vatican Council document "Nostra Aetate," which revolutionized the church’s relations with Jews by saying Christ’s death could not be attributed to Jews as a whole at the time or today.

Benedict comes to the same conclusion, but he explains how with a thorough, Gospel-by-Gospel analysis that leaves little doubt that he deeply and personally believes it to be the case: That only a few Temple leaders and a small group of supporters were primarily responsible for Christ’s crucifixion.

That Benedict is a theologian makes "this statement from the Holy See that much more significant for now and for future generations," said Anti-Defamation League national director, Abraham H. Foxman.

Foxman in a statement hailed Benedict for rejecting "the previous teachings and perversions that have helped to foster and reinforce anti-Semitism through the centuries."

The book is the second installment to Benedict’s 2007 "Jesus of Nazareth," his first book as pope, which offered a very personal meditation on the early years of Christ’s life and teachings. This second book, set to be released March 10, concerns the final part of Christ’s life, his death and resurrection.

The Vatican’s publishers provided a few excerpts Wednesday.
In the book, Benedict re-enacts Jesus’ final hours, including his death sentence for blasphemy, then analyzes each Gospel account to explain why Jews as a whole cannot be blamed for it. Rather, Benedict concludes, it was the "Temple aristocracy" and a few supporters of the figure Barabbas who were responsible.

"How could the whole people have been present at this moment to clamour for Jesus’ death?" Benedict asks.

He deconstructs one particular biblical account which has the crowd saying, "His blood be on us and on our children" — a phrase frequently cited as evidence of the collective guilt Jews bore and the curse that they carried as a result.

The phrase, from the Gospel of Matthew, has been so incendiary that director Mel Gibson was reportedly forced to drop it from the subtitles of his 2004 film "The Passion of the Christ," although it remained in the spoken Aramaic.

But Benedict said Jesus’ death wasn’t about punishment, but rather salvation. Jesus’ blood, he said, "does not cry out for vengeance and punishment, it brings reconciliation. It is not poured out against anyone, it is poured out for many, for all."

Benedict, who was forced to join the Hitler Youth as a child in Nazi Germany, has made improving relations with Jews a priority of his pontificate. He has visited the Auschwitz Nazi death camp in Poland and Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial.

But he also has had a few missteps that have drawn the ire of Jewish groups, most notably when in 2009 he lifted the excommunication of a traditionalist Catholic bishop who had denied the extent of the Holocaust by saying no Jews were gassed during World War II.

Benedict has said that had he known Bishop Richard Williamson’s views about Jews he never would have lifted the excommunication, which was imposed in 1988 because Williamson was consecrated without papal consent. Williamson is a member of the traditionalist Society of St. Pius X, which has rejected many Vatican II teachings, including the outreach to Jews contained in Nostra Aetate.

Separately, Jewish groups have been outraged that Benedict is moving Pope Pius XII closer to beatification, the first main hurdle to possible sainthood. Some Jews and historians have argued the World War II-era pope should have done more to prevent the Holocaust.

The Rev. James Martin, a Jesuit who writes frequently about spirituality, said the pope’s new book was a "ringing reaffirmation" of Nostra Aetate, which was passed during the Second Vatican Council, with the pope putting his "personal stamp on it in a way that’s irrefutable."

"A Vatican Council is the highest teaching authority of the church," Martin said. "Now that you have the pope’s reflections underlining it, I don’t know how much more authoritative you can get."

Rabbi David Rosen, head of interreligious affairs at the American Jewish Committee and a leader of Vatican-Jewish dialogue, said the pope’s book may make a bigger, more lasting mark than Nostra Aetate because the faithful tend to read Scripture and commentary more than church documents, particularly old church documents.

"It may be an obvious thing for Jews to present texts with commentaries, but normally with church magisterium, they present a document," he said. "This is a pedagogical tool that he’s providing, so people will be able to interpret the text in keeping with orthodox Vatican teaching."

Foxman put it another way, saying the pontiff’s book translates Nostra Aetate "down to the pews."


Article from: winnipegfreepress.com



Also tune into:

Kenneth Humphreys - Jesus Never Existed, Judaism & Christianity

Kenneth Humphreys - The Christian Crusades, Dark Ages, Knights Templar, Jesuits, Islam & Zionism

Dennis Price - The Missing Years of Jesus

Craig Hines - Gateway of the Gods

Philip Gardiner - Secret Societies and the Knights of the Temple

Gene Matlock - The Origins of Humanity, Civilization & The Nephilim

Ralph Ellis - Egypt, The Hyksos, Pharaohs and the Bible

Laurence Gardner - The Royal Bloodlines & the Desposyni

Jerry E. Smith - Secrets of the Holy Lance

John Lash - The Discovery of the Eadwine Psalter





Related Articles
Pope’s organ donor card ’invalid’
God was behind Big Bang, universe no accident: Pope
WikiLeaks: Pope wanted Muslim Turkey kept out of EU and ’Christian roots’ enshrined in EU constitution
The Vatican Archive: the Pope’s private library
"Pope Benedict XVI - My Vatican" (Documentary Tour of Vatican state)
"Ordain women," London bus ads will urge Pope
Pope launches team to ’re-evangelise’ the West
Pope sees the Devil Behind Timing of Sex Abuse Crisis ... Exactly!
Voltaire - God Thinks (Video)
Netanyahu thanks pope for exoneration
Pope’s speech stirs Muslim anger (2006)
Jesus Christ Master Mason
Jesus’ baptism site still surrounded by landmines months before opening
Manuscripts Reveal Legend of Jesus’ Great-Grandmother
Jesus is God a Pagan Invention - A different Christ
I love Jesus (but not in a gay way)
6-storey Jesus statue struck by lightning, burned to ground (Zeus sought for questioning ;) )


Latest News from our Front Page

Secret underground tunnels of ancient Mesopotamian cult revealed under Ani ruins
2014 09 01
For the first time in history, the academic world is paying attention to the spectacular underground world of Ani, a 5,000-year-old Armenian city located on the Turkish-Armenian border. Hurriyet Daily News reports that scientists, academics, and researchers have just met at a symposium in Kars titled ‘Underground Secrets of Ani’ to discuss the city’s underground world mentioned in ancient ...
A Government Vision Of The Future That Isn’t That Great
2014 09 01
Here’s a report by the UK Ministry of Defense, a document that they’re not hiding - it’s not classified. In fact, they WANT you to read it: the Global Strategic Trends 2045. For your convenience, they’ve even produced a handy video about their dire predictions: They present a warning call for how things are going to be bad in the future. ...
Bad Memories Turned to Happy Ones in Mice Brains
2014 09 01
Memories are often associated with emotions, and these feelings can change through new experiences and over time. Now, using light, scientists have been able to manipulate mice brain cells and turn the animals’ fearful memories into happy ones, according to a new study. Memories are encoded in groups of neurons that are activated together or in specific patterns, but it is ...
CIA MKULTRA: they intended to use drugs for “everything”
2014 09 01
Drugs to transform individuals…and even, by implication, society. Drug research going far beyond the usual brief descriptions of MKULTRA. The intention is there, in the record. A CIA document was included in the transcript of the 1977 US Senate Hearings on MKULTRA, the CIA’s mind-control program. The document is found in Appendix C, starting on page 166. It’s simply labeled “Draft,” dated 5 May ...
Harmful Compound Found in Many BPA-Free Bottles
2014 09 01
A chemical found in many products labeled “BPA free” may produce many of the same health problems as the original chemical, including hyperactivity and cardiac arrhythmia, according to a pair of studies presented recently at the joint meeting of the International Society of Endocrinology and the Endocrine Society in Chicago. “BPS, termed the safe alternative to BPA, may be equally as ...
More News »