When Pope Benedict XVI decided to usurp the authority of the Lord by stating the obvious (that not all Jews conspired to murder Jesus Christ, the Son of God), he went the extra mile of saying, according to Huffington Post: “That only a few Temple leaders and a small group of supporters were primarily responsible for Christ’s crucifixion.” His deliberate attempt at minimalizing the enormity of the conspiracy by the Pharisee system against Jesus is quite telling of the spirit of anti-Christ in Him, for Jesus essentially warns us about trying to gain friendship with the world. The divinely inspired Word of God presented exactly the words that needed to be said about the plot to kill Jesus. All astute readers of the Bible know that if Revelation speaks of God setting aside 12,000 Jews of the 144,000 Israelite virgins, then clearly not 100% of Jews were involved in the plot.
But the oppressive Pharisee-dominated system, led by the Sanhedrin, had a hold over Jewish life at the time such that the common Jews feared going against the leaders. It took a majority of the Sanhedrin to seek the death penalty against Jesus Christ, and it took the threat of an unruly Jewish mob to pressure Pontius Pilate, fearing the MAJORITY of the Jewish popular sentiment in his jurisdiction, to hand Jesus over to the Jews to crucify – even despite his own wife’s vision and warning regarding Pontius having his hand in the plot against Jesus. Pontius was thus a smart man who weighed many variables, and he would not have given in to the pressure if he thought only a few Jewish leaders and a “small” band of their supporters was all that the opposition consisted of.
Nevertheless, here’s what Huffington Post reported in March 2011:
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.
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.
- The Vatican just deleted all of Pope Benedict XVI’s tweets (venturebeat.com)
- Courageous Pope Benedict XVI’s New Book: “Violence Never in G-d’s Name” (atlasshrugs2000.typepad.com)
- Maddow: Jewish leaders ‘infuriated’ by Bush speech at ‘Jews for Jesus’ fundraiser (rawstory.com)