JJEESSUUSS OOFF NNAAZZAARREETTHH AN EXTRACT FROM THE POPE’S NEW BOOOK
March 4 2011 £1.50 (Republic of Ireland €1.80)
Pope: Jewish people must never again be blamed for Crucifixion
BY SIMON CALDWELL
BENEDICT XVI is to make a major new contribution to Catholic-Jewish relations with a gripping theological assessment of who was culpable for the death of Jesus Christ.
The Pope takes a significant step forward in furthering the cause of inter-religious dialogue by explicitly exonerating the Jewish people from all blame for the Crucifixion and death of Jesus.
In his forthcoming book on Jesus, the Pope dedicates three pages to the famous passage in St Matthew’s Gospel in which “the Jews” demand the execution of Christ and shout to Pontius Pilate: “Let his blood be on us and on our children.”
He uses both scholarship and faith to explain that the mob does not represent the Jewish people, but sinful humanity in general.
Furthermore, he offers theological insights to say that the blood of Jesus is not used in the purposes of vengeance but is poured out to reconcile mankind to God.
It was not “poured out against anyone, it is poured out for many, for all”, the Pope writes in Jesus of Nazareth – Holy Week: From Entrance into Jerusalem to the Resurrection, which will be published on Thursday by the Catholic Truth Society.
He adds that St Matthew’s reference to the blood of Our Lord does not represent “a curse, but rather redemption, salvation”.
The passage in St Matthew’s Gospel is particularly contentious because it has been used down the centuries to try to justify the anti-Semitism of some Chrisagainst the Jews by providing scriptural depth to our understanding of it. We have to see this in the context of the tragic history of such a charge, which has provided a rallying cry for anti-Semites over the centuries and whose effects still linger today.”
She added: “Pope Benedict has continued the genuine desire of his predecessors, Pope John XXIII, Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul II, for dialogue and encounter with the Jewish people.
“He has visited synagogues, significantly the Cologne synagogue early in his pontificate, as well as the Rome Synagogue. He has visited Auschwitz and Yad Vashem in Israel. He sent warm greetings to the president of the state of Israel on the occasion of the state’s 60th anniversary. [And] he has met with a number of chief rabbis,” including Britain’s Chief Rabbi, Lord Sacks.
Pope Benedict XVI visits the Rome Synagogue in January 2010. In his new book he seeks to deepen Catholic-Jewish dialogue CNS photo/L’Osservatore Romano via Reuters tians, which, the Pope laments, had often resulted in “grave consequences”, an allusion to the persecution of European Jews.
The passage generates such strong feelings that Mel Gibson was forced to drop it from the subtitles of his 2004 film The Passion of the Christ, although he did not cut the comments in their Aramaic form from the script.
In 1965 the Vatican rejected the idea of the collective culpability of Jewish people for the death of Christ in the Second Vatican Council document Nostra Aetate, a move which angered some Catholics.
By his remarks Pope Benedict is re-stating and consolidating the now accepted teaching of the Church in continuity with the attempts of his predecessors to build bridges with the Jewish people. Commentators who have seen extracts from the book released by the Vatican this week, however, say that the Pope, a respected scholar and theologian in his own right, is also offering a unique theological insight into the New Testament texts.
Sister Margaret Shepherd, secretary of the committee for Catholic-Jewish relations of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, said: “Pope Benedict offers original insights into the death of Jesus and the question of responsibility for it. Pope Benedict takes further Nostra Aetate’s rejection of the deicide charge
Emeritus Archbishop Kevin McDonald of Southwark, the chairman of the bishops’ committee for CatholicJewish relations, said: “Pope Benedict’s new book offers a profound reflection on the meaning of the death of Jesus Christ.
“It goes to the heart of the Christian mystery and his writing is bold and revealing. It is very appropriate that it is being released as we approach the season of Lent since it provides a very fertile preparation for the celebration of Holy Week.”
The new book is the longawaited sequel to Jesus of Nazareth: From Baptism in the Jordan to the Transfiguration, which became a bestseller when it was published in 2007.
Volume Two of the International Bestseller
P O P E B E N E D I C T X V I JESUS OF NAZARETH
Volume Two of the revolutionary new study by Pope Benedict
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Available from 10 March 2011
Catholic Minister who opposed blasphemy law is killed in his car BY ED WEST
PAKISTAN’S leading Catholic politician has been murdered in the capital Islamabad.
Minorities minister Shahbaz Bhatti died on Wednesday morning after gunmen opened fire on his car while he was travelling to work through a residential district.
Mr Bhatti, 42, a leader of the ruling Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), had just left his home when at least two gunmen ambushed his car,
police official Mohammad Iqbal said. He was rushed to the nearby Shifa hospital, but was dead on arrival.
Mr Bhatti had received numerous death threats after calling for changes to the country’s controversial blasphemy law, which carries a death sentence for anyone who insults Islam, and which criticis say has been used to persecute minority faiths. In January, Punjab Governor Salman Taseer, who had also opposed the law, was murdered by one of his bodyguards. The first Christian to hold a cabinet post in Pakistan, Mr Bhatti spoke about the threat facing him last month, during a visit to Canada to raise awareness about his country’s blasphemy law.
He said: “I have been told by pro-Taliban religious extremists that if I will continue to speak against the blasphemy law, I will be beheaded.
“As a Christian, I believe Jesus is my strength. He has given me a power and wisdom and motivation to serve suffering humanity. I follow the principles of my conscience, and I am ready to die and sacrifice my life for the principles I believe.”
No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but leaflets issued by Tehrik-iTaliban Punjab, a branch of the Taliban in Pakistan’s most populous province, were found at the ambush site, according to the private television channel Express 24/7.
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Don’t rub off your ashes, urges bishop BY ANNA ARCO
CATHOLICS should try not to rub the ashes off their forehead after Ash Wednesday Mass, a bishop has said.
Bishop Kieran Conry of Arundel and Brighton, who leads the department of evangelisation and catechesis of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, urged Catholics across Britain to wear “the outward sign of our inward sorrow for our sins and for our commitment to Jesus as Our Lord and Saviour”.
He said: “The wearing of the ashes provides us with a wonderful opportunity to share with people how important our faith is to us and to point them to the Cross of Christ... Please try not to rub off your ashes as soon as you leave church.”
Vatican paper praises The King’s Speech BY ED WEST
THE OSCAR triumph of The King’s Speech could signal a “return to the best tradition of English cinema”, according to the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano.
The film about George VI and his struggle to overcome a stammer won four awards at the Oscars on Sunday, including Best Picture.
L’Osservatore Romano contributor Emilio Ranzato called the film “beautiful” in an article published just before the ceremony. The film, he said, demonstrates how a film can be great by “happily” combining at a very high level “all of the ingredients of popular cinema”. The film stars Colin Firth as George VI . Charterhouse: Page 20
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