Pope's new book: all sinners share guilt for death of Jesus
March 02, 2011
The Vatican has released excerpts from the forthcoming 2nd volume of Pope Benedict’s book, Jesus of Nazareth, including an extended meditation on how all sinners share the responsibility for the death of Christ.
Pope Benedict reflects at length on the guilt of Judas, and on the Jewish people who shouted, before the Crucifixion, "His blood be on us and on our children!" Carefully analyzing the Gospel text, the Pontiff shows that these individuals represent all of humanity. The Pope challenges readers to see in themselves the same betrayal of Jesus, renewed with every sin.
The Pope’s analysis explicitly refutes the idea that the Jewish people bear a collective guilt for the death of Jesus. Although that misconception was definitively rejected by the Second Vatican Council in Nostra Aetate, the Pope’s explanation helps to underline the proper interpretation of a Gospel passage that has sometimes been exploited by anti-Semites. Jewish leaders welcomed the Pope’s contribution. Rabbi David Rosen of the American Jewish Committee said that although Vatican II had made Church teaching clear, a reminder was always useful. “There’s a natural human tendency to take things for granted,” he observed.
In his thoughts on the Crucifixion, Pope Benedict also argues that the judgment of Christ to the contemporary rejection of fundamental moral principles. In each case, he said, society’s leaders refuse to accept the authority of truth, preferring instead to abide by popular standards, “by which the strong arm of the powerful becomes the god of the world.”
The 2nd volume of the Pope’s work concentrates on the last days of Christ’s life, his death, and the Resurrection. The book will be released on March 10. Jesus of Nazareth: Holy Week: From the Entrance Into Jerusalem To The Resurrection will be simultaneously published in several languages, with the English edition available from Ignatius Press.