Pope: Jews not to blame for crucifixion

March 2, 2011 at 2:51 PM
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VATICAN CITY, March 2 (UPI) -- Pope Benedict XVI, in a new book on the last days of Jesus Christ, says the Gospels should not be interpreted as blaming the Jewish people for his crucifixion.

Excerpts from "Jesus of Nazareth. Holy Week: From the Entrance Into Jerusalem to the Resurrection" were released Wednesday, the Catholic News Service reported. The book is to be released next week.

The pope said the cry of the mob at the crucifixion, reported as "His blood be on us and on our children," does not mean there is a blood curse against the Jews. Instead, he said, the words are a call for reconciliation.

"It means that we all stand in need of the purifying power of love which is his blood. These words are not a curse, but rather redemption, salvation," he wrote.

Benedict in the book examines Jesus's passion and death as reported by the different Gospels and the interpretations of other biblical scholars. He draws a modern lesson from Pontius Pilate's question "What is truth?"

Rejection of truth, the pope says, is a rejection of freedom.

"As a result the rule of pragmatism is imposed, by which the strong arm of the powerful becomes the god of this world," he said.

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