Dr. Robert Moynihan: Rather, what Benedict is saying, clearly, is that the blood of Christ will bring about the redemption of the Jews from their sins.

If one goes to Google now and types in “Pope on Jews” you will find that this article is now cited numerous times among the first items, suggesting that this “exoneration” by Benedict of “the Jews” for blame in the execution of Jesus is the central point of Benedict’s teaching on Jews and Judaism. (Don’t think so? Click here.)

But this is not an accurate presentation of what Benedict is saying.

Rather, what Benedict is saying, clearly, is that the blood of Christ will bring about the redemption of the Jews from their sins.

Here again is what the Pope writes: When in Matthew’s account the “whole people” say: “His blood be on us and on our children” (27:25), the Christian will remember that Jesus’ blood speaks a different language from the blood of Abel (Heb 12:24): it does not cry out for vengeance and punishment; it brings reconciliation… These words are not a curse, but rather redemption, salvation.

The Pope certainly does not hold to a theory that all the Jewish people without exception were complicit in and guilty of the decision to execute Jesus (the theory of “deicide”). This is clear.

But, in fact, the teaching that the Jewish people, as a whole (corporately) committed “deicide” has always been a distortion of true Christian teaching, has never been the established doctrine of the Church, and this is why the teaching of Nostra Aetate (drafted and promulgated in 1965 at the close of the Second Vatican Council) — which makes clear this point unambiguously — is not an innovation, as is sometimes alleged, not a “new” teaching of the Church, but a clarification of the Church’s perennial teaching. (At least as clear as any church document written around that time could be. Hence, all the various, subsequent  distortions and misappropriations. – Ed.)

So Benedict does not “exonerate” the “Jews” for “Jesus’ death”; nor is it in his thought to do so.

Editor’s note: So … to Dr. Robert Moynihan … publisher of “Inside the Vatican Magazine” … I say, Amen, brother! Good job … and God speed.”

Link to the book site

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