Rabu, 2 Mac 2011

The Malaysian Insider :: World

The Malaysian Insider :: World

Pope book says Jews not guilty of Jesus Christ’s death

Posted: 02 Mar 2011 04:44 PM PST

Pope Benedict at his Wednesday general audience in Paul VI hall at the Vatican, March 2, 2011. — Reuters pic

VATICAN CITY, March 3 — Pope Benedict, in a new book, has personally exonerated Jews of allegations they were responsible for Jesus Christ's death, repudiating the concept of collective guilt that has haunted Christian-Jewish relations for centuries.

Jewish groups applauded the move. The Anti-Defamation League called it "an important and historic moment" and hoped that it would help complicated theology "translate down to the pews" to improve grass roots inter-religious dialogue.

The pope makes his complex theological and biblical evaluation in a section of the second volume of his book "Jesus of Nazareth", which will be published next week. The Vatican released brief excerpts yesterday.

The Roman Catholic Church officially repudiated the idea of collective Jewish guilt for Christ's death in a major document by the Second Vatican Council in 1965.

It was believed to be the first time a pope had made such a detailed dissection and close comparison of various New Testament accounts of Jesus's condemnation to death by the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate.

"Now we must ask: Who exactly were Jesus' accusers?" the pope asks, adding that the gospel of St John simply says it was "the Jews".

"But John's use of this expression does not in any way indicate — as the modern reader might suppose — the people of Israel in general, even less is it 'racist' in character," he writes.

"After all John himself was ethnically a Jew, as were Jesus and all his followers. The entire early Christian community was made up of Jews," he writes.

Benedict says the reference was to the "Temple aristocracy", who wanted Jesus condemned to death because he had declared himself king of the Jews and had violated Jewish religious law.

He concludes that the "real group of accusers" were the Temple authorities and not all Jews of the time.

'Major step forward'

Elan Steinberg, vice-president of the American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors and their Descendants, welcomed the pope's words.

"This is a major step forward," he told Reuters. "This is a personal repudiation of the theological underpinning of centuries of anti-Semitism.

"This pope has categorically stated that the canard that Jews were Christ killers is a gross theological lie and this is most welcome in view of the setbacks that we have seen in the past few years."

The question of Jewish responsibility for Christ's death has haunted Christian-Jewish relations for nearly 2,000 years.

Benedict, elected in 2005, has had his share of problems in Christian-Jewish relations.

In 2009, he decided to advance wartime Pope Pius XII on the path towards sainthood by recognising his "heroic virtues".

Many Jews accuse Pius, who reigned from 1939 to 1958, of having turned a blind eye to the Holocaust. The Vatican says he worked quietly behind the scenes because speaking out would have led to Nazi reprisals against Catholics and Jews in Europe.

Jews responded angrily last year when the pope said in another book that Pius was "one of the great righteous men and that he saved more Jews than anyone else".

Jews have asked that the process that could lead to making Pius a saint be frozen until after all the Vatican archives from the period are opened and studied.

Earlier in 2009, many Jews and others were outraged when Benedict lifted the excommunication of traditionalist Bishop Richard, who caused an international uproar by denying the full extent of the Holocaust and claiming that no Jews were killed in gas chambers. — Reuters


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Gunman kills two US soldiers at Frankfurt airport

Posted: 02 Mar 2011 03:10 PM PST

The US Army bus at Frankfurt Airport, March 2, 2011. — Reuters pic

Police on the scene at Frankfurt Airport. — Reuters pic

FRANKFURT, March 3 — A gunman shot dead two US soldiers and injured two people seriously in a US Army bus at Frankfurt airport yesterday, said Boris Rhein, interior minister for the state of Hesse.

The gunman was apparently a Kosovo national, he said.

Security around the airport had been tightened and an investigation was under way, Rhein said.

"Whether the incident was linked to terrorism I cannot say at this stage," he told journalists.

A spokesman for Frankfurt airport operator Fraport said the shooting took place in a US Army bus in front of Terminal 2.

Chancellor Angela Merkel, speaking in Berlin, confirmed the deaths.

"We don't know the details but I would like to express how upset I am," she said at a joint news conference with Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates. "We have to do everything we can to find out what happened."

The US Army and Air Force and German police at the airport were not immediately available for comment. — Reuters


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