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Benedict’s New Book Contradicts
Church Teaching on Jews

Mark Stabinski

American Jewish Committee head David Rosen, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin, Anti-Defamation director Abraham Foxman are among those hailing Benedict XVI for writing a book in which he clearly exonerates the Jewish people for the death of Jesus Christ. (1)

Jesus of Nazareth, volume 2

New formation for a seminarian in Rome: Do not convert the Jewish people
In the book, volume two of Jesus of Nazareth which was published March 10, Benedict XVI affirms that those who wanted Jesus to be crucified were the “aristocracy of the Temple” and not “the Jewish people as a whole.” “How could the whole people have been present at this moment to clamor for Jesus' death?” Benedict asks.

He affirms the passage in Scriptures where the Jewish crowd cries out “His blood be on us and on our children" has been wrongly interpreted because Christ’s death wasn't about punishment, but rather salvation. “Jesus' blood,” he said, “does not cry out for vengeance and punishment, it brings reconciliation. It is not poured out against anyone, it is poured out for many, for all.”

He also urges people to leave the Jews to themselves, stating: “Israel is in the hands of God, who will save it ‘as a whole’ at the proper time, when the number of Gentiles is full.” He says that Christians should “wait for the time fixed for this by God” instead of evangelizing to the Jewish people.

It contradicts Scriptures & the past Magisterium

With such statement the Pope flatly contradicts Scriptures itself as well as the past teaching of the Church. It is another affront made to the Catholic Religion and a grave offense that cannot be ignored by Catholics.

Scriptures are very clear that to be saved every man must accept Our Lord Jesus Christ as Savior and His teaching. It is also clear that the Jewish people as a whole would be punished for rejecting Christ. Consider these few examples among many (2):

Pope Benedict at the Synagoge of Rome

Rejoicing with rabbis at the Synagogue of Rome; below, confidences with chief rabbi Riccardo Segni

Benedict XVI confides in rabbi Riccardo Segni

  •  And He said to them: Go ye into the whole world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved: but he that believeth not shall be condemned. (Mk 16: 15-16)

  •  Who is a liar, but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is Antichrist, who denies the Father, and the Son. (1 Jn 2:22)

  •  Jerusalem, Jerusalem, that kills the prophets, and stones them that are sent to thee, how often would I have gathered thy children as the bird doth her brood under her wings, and thou would not? Behold your house shall be left to you desolate. And I say to you, that you shall not see me till the time come, when you shall say: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord. (Lk 13: 34-35)

  •  The Jews, who killed both the Lord Jesus and the prophets and have persecuted us, do not please God, and they have become adversaries to all men, to fill up their sin always; for the wrath of God has come upon them to the end. (I Thess 2:14-16)

Benedict XVI’s statement also contradicts the constant teaching of the Church Fathers. For example, St. Ambrose, one of the four major Western Fathers, does not fear to teach this truth: “The faithlessness of the Synagogue is an insult to the Savior. Therefore He chose the bark of Peter, and deserted that of Moses; that is, He rejected the faithless Synagogue, and adopts the believing Church.” (Sermo 37, The Two Ships).

Pope Ratzinger’s thinking in his new book is not the thinking of past Popes and Councils. At the Council of Florence, Pope Eugene IV made this ex cathedra pronouncement: “The Holy Roman Church firmly believes, professes and preaches that all those who are outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans but also Jews or heretics and schismatics, cannot share in eternal life and will go into the everlasting fire, which was prepared for the Devil and his angels, unless they are joined to the Church before the end of their lives.” (Cantate Domino, 1441).

The same Pope makes no pretence that the Jews can be saved without accepting Christ as Savior: “Whoever wishes to be saved, needs above all to hold the Catholic Faith… It is necessary for eternal salvation that he faithfully believe also in the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ... that the Son of God is God and man.” (Council of Florence, 1439).

Not the first time…

Readers who suppose this is the first time Benedict XVI has proposed this novel thinking are mistaken. This Pope, always a proponent of the modernist historical method of interpreting Scripture, has repeatedly asserted that Jews can be saved without Christ.

In Milestones (1998), then Cardinal Ratzinger said he came to the realization that: “Judaism and the Christian faith described in the New Testament are just two ways of appropriating Israel’s Scriptures, two ways that, in the end, are both determined by the position one assumes with regard to the figure of Jesus of Nazareth. The Scripture we today call Old Testament is in itself open to both ways.” (pp. 53-54)

Pope Benedict  visits the Park East synagogue

A cordial visit to Park East synagogue in New York (April 2008)
In another book God and the World (2000), he stated that it is certainly possible to read the Old Testament so that it is not directed toward Christ. He continues: “And if Jews cannot see the promises as being fulfilled in him, this is not ill will on their part, but genuinely because of the obscurity of the texts. … There are perfectly good reasons, then, for denying that the Old Testament refers to Christ and for saying, No, that is not what it said.” (p. 209)

In 2001, the Pontifical Biblical Commission released a book entitled The Jewish People and Their Sacred Scriptures in the Christian Bible. This book rejects the dogma that the Old Covenant was closed by the coming of Our Lord. It teaches that the Old Covenant is still open, and that the Jews’ wait for the coming of their messiah should be accepted by Catholics. It teaches that Jesus does not have to be seen as the prophesied Messiah; it is possible to see Him, as the Jews do, as not the Messiah and not the Son of God.(3) As Prefect of the CDF, Ratzinger gave his approval to the book’s theological correctness, and wrote a preface for it.

In his mentioned book God and the World he states outright that because of their faithfulness to God, the Jews “are not excluded from salvation.” (pp. 150-151)

Painful perplexity

The Holy Ghost divinely reveals through St. Paul that the adherents of Talmudic Judaism (the "natural branches" that were "broken off" from the Vine of Christ and the Tree of Life) can yet be grafted back onto the one salvific tree "if they abide not still in unbelief” (Act 27:31)

Benedict XVI

Exonerating Jews for the death of Christ
How then, can a Vicar of Christ make statements antithetical to the divinely ordained plan of God? How can a Successor of Peter not work with superabundant zeal to do all he can to change present day Talmudic Jews "unbelief" in Our Lord and Savior and convert them to the One True Faith?

What perverse understanding of charity or love of God and neighbor allows Our Lord's Vicars on earth (the Conciliar Church Popes) to repeatedly confirm Talmudic Jews in their errors and further extend this 'spiritual blindness?'

Do these Popes not believe in the sentence decreed by Our Lord for all "unbelievers," and most especially His own race's unbelievers since they were given graces, blessings, lights and truths as His once chosen people that others were never given prior to His first coming?

How can anyone find a "hermeneutic of continuity" in these blatant contradictions between Benedict’s opinions and the perennial Catholic teaching of the Church?

I believe that no ecumenical wizard will ever bring forth some magic potion capable of making these teachings hostile to the previous Magisterium be pleasing to the Ever-Triune God.
1. “Israel hails Pope's 'clarity, courage' on death of Jesus,” AFP, March 4, 2011
2. See also Kgs 9:6-9, Jn 9:41, Mt 23: 31-35, Mt 27:50-61, Heb 7:13, Heb 10: 9-10, 2 Cor 3:13, Rom 11:18-21, Jn 5: 39, 45-47.
3. The Jewish People and their Sacred Scriptures in the Christian Bible, Section II, A5, A7.

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Posted March 16, 2011

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