The Jews Did Not Do It!

The Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI
Image by Catholic Church (England and Wales) via Flickr

The Jews Did Not Do It!

That is the essential take away from a new book by Pope Benedict XVI parts of which were leaked to the press in Rome.  In the book entitled Jesus of Nazareth-Part 2, the second in a series written by Pope Benedict scheduled to be published March 10, 2011, says that Benedict finds no biblical or theological basis in Scripture for blaming the Jewish people as a whole for Jesus’ death—and to prove it he takes the reader through a passage by passage journey to prove his point.

This isn’t really new news since the Roman Catholic Church has “taught” for more than half a century that it was not fair to collectively blame the Jewish people for the persecution of Jesus.  But that sentiment was often used in anti-Semitic statements and actions targeting the Jews themselves.

The Second Vatican Council document “Nostra Aetate,” published in 1965 fundamentally altered the Roman Catholic Church teaching by pronouncing unambiguously that Christ’s death could not be attributed to Jews as a whole at the time or today.

The Pope’s new book reinforces the same conclusion as Nostra Aetate, but Benedict goes through a Gospel-by-Gospel analysis to make sure the faithful get the message that he “really means it.” Benedict says that the truth is that only a few Temple leaders and a small group of supporters were primarily responsible for Christ’s crucifixion, and whole Catholic Church owes the whole Jewish population a clean an unambiguous pronouncement that the Jews did not do it.

 

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