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Pope’s New Book Says Jews Aren’t Guilty for Jesus’ Death

Pope’s New Book Says Jews Aren’t Guilty for Jesus’ Death

Pope Benedict just can’t stay out of the news.  He made headlines again this week after the revelation that his new book will personally exonerate the Jews of responsibility for Jesus’ death.  This is despite the fact that the Catholic Church repudiated the notion of collective Jewish guilt in 1965. 

Pope Benedict has, however, had something of a rocky relationship with Judaism.  He was criticized for backing the beatification of Pope Pius X, who has been accused of being indifferent to the Holocaust.  And in 2007, he revived a Good Friday prayer for the conversion of Jews that had been removed from liturgy.

This move, thus, seems more personal than anything else.  Benedict’s scriptural analysis pins the blame for calls for Christ’s death on a Jewish aristocracy than “the Jews” as a whole.  He adds, referencing a passage from the Gospel of Matthew, that Christ’s blood “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.”

Jewish leaders lauded the pope’s stance.  “This is a personal repudiation of the theological underpinning of centuries of anti-Semitism,” said Elan Steinberg of the American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors and their Descendants.  The Anti-Defamation League added that it was an “important and historic moment.”

Why Benedict is choosing to personally engage with this issue now is up for debate.  The fact that he has made a number of controversial statements recently may have inspired him to try to rehabilitate his image, although this is only speculation.

In a recent dialogue on Jewish-Catholic relations, Jewish officials encouraged the Vatican to extend the same spirit of goodwill to Islam.  The focus of the world is no longer specifically on Jewish-Christian amity,” said Rabbi Richard Marker.  We must, for so many reasons, involve the third of our Abrahamic siblings…Islam.”  Whether this sometimes-tense conversation can serve, however, as a model for other interfaith relationships remains to be seen.

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Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

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154 comments

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4:14AM PDT on Jul 20, 2011

All have sinned and come short of Gods' Glory.

12:07PM PDT on Apr 13, 2011

I don't give a damm about this church or catolic church.
I went to the vatican and the Museun there, SO VERY RITCH !
DID YOU STUDY THE INQUISITION ?
I DID , THEY KILLED JESUS ! My bible is " The Gospel of the Holly Twelve" ! Jesus was vegetarian and protected the animals ! So the church at that time killed him for not allow to eat meat or kill animals.
And the church at this time is so wrong too.

5:24PM PDT on Apr 3, 2011

I agree with Tamara and she touches one of the most sacred toughs about "who" was or is the instrument of his death! I think the Jews were participants by default and NOT chosen ones as "they" now claim and the rest of the Christian world think that Israel is a BLESSED land. Israel (the Jews ) have taken advantage of such a situation as feel persecuted, therefore their own persecution of the Arab people in this case the Palestinians. Jews should not be blamed for killing Jesus and THEY also should not take advantage of the rest of the Christian world and pretend they are the "chosen" people.
Gods chosen people do NOT treat bad, take their land of their neighbors, they do not use their army after any excuse to invade and kill woman and children.

1:05PM PDT on Apr 1, 2011

I am a Christian, but I don't blame the Jews or anyone else for the death of Christ. Citing the irrefutably popular John 3:16 - "...For God so loved the world, he gave his only begotten son..." God GAVE his son -- it was his plan. And if almighty God willed it to be so, to blame the vessel through which his plan was carried out is to blame God himself.

5:50PM PST on Mar 9, 2011

Look as far as I am concerned if you were not there to witness, what happened you have no right to an opinion. The whole Judas being Jewish needs to be laid to rest , but it wont be, because it gives a reason to hate, to admonish an entire race of people who personally had nothing to do with it. All Islamics are terrorists, all Jews are responsible for the death of Jesus Christ, no way should religion be blamed for the actions of one or a few people who have done wrong. Get over it.

5:38AM PST on Mar 9, 2011

Yes Jesus was Jewish and the Jewish killed Jesus. I love Jesus and I believe in the Bible. the end

12:02PM PST on Mar 8, 2011

Why are the atheists even on here? Quit annoying us because we believe in god. God did it he sold out his son for us. Hmm I bet Jesus had in interesting conversation with his dad about that.

9:32AM PST on Mar 8, 2011

if jesus existed at all he was no more the son of god than any other man.

5:02PM PST on Mar 7, 2011

oops didn't finish my post. why does it matter who killed Him? it was His choice to take the punishment for our sins because He loved us so much. and He was always meant to die on the cross. so it was meant to happen, no matter who did it.

4:59PM PST on Mar 7, 2011

That's big of him; doesn't it whitewash Rome's execution of Christ, and of thousands of lesser Christians? Scarcely! The Church itself burned to death well over 100,000 innocent people, mostly older women who practiced healing without being licensed as physicians - witches. Numbers of Jews also suffered this particularly horrible death at the Church's hands. Add thereto roughly 40,000 heretics, people who dared to read the Bible and interpret scripture independently (and logically). Do you want to know why the Church had this attitude toward dissidents and women in general? Read the Gospel of Mary Magdalene or the Pistis Sophia (a couple of censored and burned scriptures), and then understand that Saint Peter founded this Roman branch of the Christian Church. He should be known as the sexist Disciple, for his despicable attitude towards women was opposite that of the Savior. Also consider the Roman intolerance of rivalry and of disloyalty, with emphasis on the State Religion (whichever deity or emperor was to be worshiped), and you'll see the Church has a lot of Karma to expiate. This is happening right now. Now must come the real Reformation, the Church itself must make due confession and ask for forgiveness, and change its policy on "celibate" (unmarried) clergy that invited the current scandal.

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