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-Pope Exonerates Jews in New Book on Jesus

by Dr. D ~ March 2nd, 2011

Lord have Mercy - Crucifixion of Jesus

( Image by Striking Photography by Bo Insogna via Flickr)

Excerpts of Pope Benedict’s new book -"Jesus of Nazareth"were released on Wednesday and in the new work Benedict made a sweeping exoneration of the Jewish people for the death of Jesus Christ citing numerous biblical and theological reasons for his stand.

For centuries Christians and even the church officially blamed the Jews collectively for the death of Jesus and provided a justification for the persecution of Jews.

All of that changed after WWII as church authorities and Jewish leaders shared in a number dialogues on the causes of the Holocaust. Later came the Vatican II statements and then in 1965 the Vatican issued its most authoritative document on the issue, "Nostra Aetate," which stated that Jews were not to blame for the death of Christ a whole then or now.

Pope Benedict’s latest book covers the last part of the life of Jesus including his death and resurrection.

In responding to the new book, Rabbi David Rosen, head of interreligious affairs at the American Jewish Committee noted that in spite of the previous official documents a book by a sitting Pope tackling this issue is particularly important:

"There’s a natural human tendency to take things for granted, and very often this tends to lead to a lapse in awareness and consciousness"

"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."

Response: The work is timely to say the least. Anti-Semitism has been raising its ugly head once more in Europe and is on the rise. The work and statements on this issue could not come at a better time.             *Top

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