Pope's new book exonerates Jews for Jesus's death

To discuss Jewish topics and issues

Moderator: Moderators

Post Reply
User avatar
Jrosemary
Sage
Posts: 627
Joined: Sun Jul 12, 2009 6:50 pm
Location: New Jersey
Contact:

Pope's new book exonerates Jews for Jesus's death

Post #1

Post by Jrosemary »

Source: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110302/ap_ ... tican_jews

Here's the AP Article:
Associated Press wrote:VATICAN CITY – 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 clamor 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."

User avatar
McCulloch
Site Supporter
Posts: 24068
Joined: Mon May 02, 2005 9:10 pm
Location: Toronto, ON, CA

Post #2

Post by McCulloch »

On 31 October 1992, Pope John Paul II expressed regret for how the Galileo affair was handled, and issued a declaration acknowledging the errors committed by the Catholic Church tribunal that judged the scientific positions of Galileo Galilei, as the result of a study conducted by the Pontifical Council for Culture.

It takes them 382 years to acknowledge their error with regard to science and more than 1900 to acknowledge their error with regard to the Jews. Women and gays are still waiting.
Examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.
First Epistle to the Church of the Thessalonians
The truth will make you free.
Gospel of John

User avatar
JoeyKnothead
Under Probation
Posts: 16718
Joined: Fri Jun 06, 2008 10:59 am
Location: Here

Post #3

Post by JoeyKnothead »

I'm confused. Could someone tell me who I'm supposed to be hating on now?

I think it a bit sad that a large part of the population has to be told that we should not blame folks for the events of their ancestors some two thousand years ago.

Darias
Guru
Posts: 2017
Joined: Sun Jul 18, 2010 10:14 pm

Post #4

Post by Darias »

The world knows that the Romans killed Jesus -- this isn't news.

So my question is, what is the point of the Pope's announcement? Is it an apology? Surely it isn't a realization... I mean... hello?

One thing that's interesting is that he was forced to join the Hitler Youth as a child -- all children living in Germany were -- that's not their fault.

But one thing many German Protestants believed was that the Jews killed Christ and that Christ was an Aryan.

The Catholic Church made a deal with the Nazi Party not to form political parties so that they could preserve themselves from persecution and government interference. However there were some notable voices within the Church which spoke out against Nazi policies of Euthanasia and their policies against Jews -- like Clemens August Graf von Galen.

He was able to rail against Nazis without being bothered -- not only because he was a well known figure but because of the protection of the Reichskonkordat. If not for that he would have been taken under what the Nazis considered "protective custody" aka a concentration camp.

But back to this issue...

I mean... come on...

What's next? "Gays are human beings too?" "Muslims aren't of the devil" ...

I mean common sense people... common sense...

Why is it necessary that a Pope make a declaration of common sense? Is common sense so rare and sparse that it requires a Holy Decree for people to realize "oh yeah, I guess His Holiness is right." ???

The Jews didn't kill Christ and the Jewish people aren't collectively responsible for his death --- NO DUH!


[center]Image
[font=Impact]Jesus Facepalm[/font][/center]

Vanguard
Guru
Posts: 1109
Joined: Fri Mar 23, 2007 1:30 pm
Location: Just moved back to So. Cal.

Re: Pope's new book exonerates Jews for Jesus's death

Post #5

Post by Vanguard »

Jrosemary wrote:Source: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110302/ap_ ... tican_jews

Here's the AP Article:
Associated Press wrote:VATICAN CITY – 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 clamor 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."
Here's one Christian who can still hold on to the notion that many in the Jewish leadership were indeed complicit in the killing of the Christian Savior without the need to perpetuate this notion that therefore all of the Jewish persuasion are "Jesus Killers".

On a more academic note, the article seems to suggest that the mere protestation, "His blood be on us and on our children", from an unknown face in the crowd has given rise to this ridiculous charge that the entire Jewish community bears responsiblity. Is this correct?

User avatar
Jrosemary
Sage
Posts: 627
Joined: Sun Jul 12, 2009 6:50 pm
Location: New Jersey
Contact:

Post #6

Post by Jrosemary »

Answering everyone in one sweeping post. 8-)
McCulloch wrote: It takes them 382 years to acknowledge their error with regard to science and more than 1900 to acknowledge their error with regard to the Jews. Women and gays are still waiting.
My Catholic friends say it'll be a long time before the Church becomes egalitarian or ok with gay marriage, etc. But, to an outsider like me, there sure seem to be plenty of American Catholics who are fine with the idea of women priests, married priests, and gay marriage.

I once asked an elderly nun I knew who supported the ordination of women how she felt about being at odds with the pope. She shrugged and said, "Popes come and popes go." :lol:
JoeyKnothead wrote:I'm confused. Could someone tell me who I'm supposed to be hating on now?


:P Not the Jews!

Seriously, the Catholic Church has said this before, in the Nostra Aetate document mentioned in the article. The current pope is just trying to make sure people in the pews get the message. But that document didn't come out until 1965. Until that time, the Catholic Church and Protestant churches freely engaged in what was called "the teaching of contempt." Michael S. Kogan, a Jewish theologian heavily involved in the Jewish-Christian dialogue, explains it this way:
Michael S. Kogan wrote:It's a depressing fact that until the issuance of the Declaration on the Relationship of the Church to Non-Christian Religions (Nostra Aetate) on October 28, 1965, the whole Roman Catholic approach to the Jewish people and their faith could be summed up in Jules Isaac's term the "teaching of contempt." For nearly two milennia, the church had viewed the people and religion of Israel as at best spiritually blind and at worst guilty of the singular crime of deicide. Never before in human history had a people been branded as killers of G-d or been incorporated into another's mythos as the cosmic enemies of all that is true and good. The picture of Jews and Judaism painted by church fathers and reflected in church councils was so extreme and so unique in its malevolance that Christian people could only conclude that no level of persecution was so cruel that it could not be visited on this reprobate people rejected by G-d and marginalized by Christian civilization. Were not the crucifiers of the Lord also poisoners of wells, murderers of children, and followers of their "father the devil" (John 8:44)?

Source: Opening the Covenant: A Jewish Theology of Christianity by Michael S. Kogan (Oxford Press)
The Protestants were no better--just look take a look at Martin Luther's The Jews and Their Lies.
Darias wrote:One thing that's interesting is that he was forced to join the Hitler Youth as a child -- all children living in Germany were -- that's not their fault . . .

But one thing many German Protestants believed was that the Jews killed Christ and that Christ was an Aryan.
I agree about Pope Benedict; I don't hold the fact that he was forced to join the Hitler Youth against him.

There's a larger question of how much the "teachings of contempt" contributed to making the Shoah (Holocaust) possible. That question will probably never be resolved. That these teachings did contribute is, I think, inarguable. But that there were courageous Christians that risked their lives to save Jews and other victims of the Shoah-- showing the best of their religion and human goodness in the process--is also inarguable.
Vanguard wrote:On a more academic note, the article seems to suggest that the mere protestation, "His blood be on us and on our children", from an unknown face in the crowd has given rise to this ridiculous charge that the entire Jewish community bears responsiblity. Is this correct?
Absolutely. That verse was a major part of the "teaching of contempt"--see above--and a way of justifying countless pogroms and persecutions against the Jewish people throughout Christian history. I imagine that's why Pope Benedict decided to tackle it head on in this new book.

Thanks for the thoughtful replies, all. Shabbat Shalom!

User avatar
Sum1sGruj
Banned
Banned
Posts: 96
Joined: Tue Aug 09, 2011 6:29 pm
Location: Virginia, USA

Post #7

Post by Sum1sGruj »

Darias wrote:The world knows that the Romans killed Jesus -- this isn't news.

So my question is, what is the point of the Pope's announcement? Is it an apology? Surely it isn't a realization... I mean...
The Romans were forced to kill Jesus because they were faced with a potential uprising otherwise.

There is no need for Jews to be 'exonerated' because as a whole they didn't kill Jesus. It was only certain Jews and priests that wanted Jesus dead. There was a lot of dispute going on with that, and it has a lot to do with religion at it's core.

You see, the Romans weren't Jewish. What reason would they have had to chastise and crucify Jesus?
The Jews were under military control at the time, and while they were allowed to govern themselves for the most part, they couldn't do certain things such as capitol punishment. That is why the Romans eventually had to take attention to the matter.

Jews, for the most part and most definitely at that time, do not think of Satan as a renegade angel. Rather, they see Satan as simply one charged by God that tempts the will of man and accuses them of any wrongdoing, effectively being a tempter and a prosecutor.
Some believed that Jesus was one of Satan's tricks to deter them away from God. This is actually noted in the Bible, though it's not fully understandable without the backdrop information.
Still, many Jews did not agree with this. Some of them believed He was Christ, but some just plain found the condemnation an outrage.

Hopefully, this will enlighten some on the subject.

Post Reply