Jews did not kill Jesus, pope writes in new book
Pope Benedict XVI on March 2, 2011.
March 2nd, 2011
12:47 PM ET

Jews did not kill Jesus, pope writes in new book

The Jewish people are not collectively responsible for the death of Jesus, Pope Benedict XVI writes a book to be published next week.

Many Catholics and other Christians blamed Jews for Jesus' death for hundreds of years, but the Catholic Church formally repudiated that assertion in the 1960s.

Benedict underlines the new position in his book "Jesus of Nazareth."

"Who has insisted on the condemnation of Jesus to death?" he asks in the book, referring to scenes in the Gospels where the people of Jerusalem demand that Roman governor Pontius Pilate have Jesus crucified.

The Gospel of John says the people in question were "the Judeans," but the pope says the term "does not refer to - unlike the modern reader may tend to interpret - the people of Israel as such, and it doesn't even have a 'racist' connotation."

Far from meaning all Jewish people, Benedict writes, "the circle of prosecutors pursuing the death of Jesus" is the "aristocracy of the Temple," or the priesthood.

"Even that is not without exception," he adds in the book, excerpts of which were obtained by CNN.

Benedict has had a difficult relationship with Jews during his six-year papacy.

He infuriated many by welcoming back into the church a rebel bishop who is on record as saying that Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler did not have a systematic plan to murder Europe's Jews. The rebel bishop also minimized the role of the Auschwitz death camp in the Holocaust.

Benedict later ordered the bishop, Richard Williamson, to recant his views, saying the Vatican was not aware of them when it decided to lift his excommunication.

Benedict also put his predecessor, Pius XII, on the path to sainthood, further antagonizing many Jews, who believe the World War II-era pope did little to save Jews from Hitler.

But Benedict also last year became the first pope to visit Rome's main synagogue since 1986, trying to smooth feathers on an annual "Day of Dialogue" with the Jewish community.

The Jewish community "believes that Benedict's desire to continue dialogue is sincere," said Lisa Palmieri-Billig, the American Jewish Committee's liaison to the Holy See, just before the January 2010 meeting. "They believe the dialogue and the relationship are very important."

CNN's Gisella Deputato contributed to this report.

- Newsdesk editor, The CNN Wire

Filed under: Catholic Church • Judaism • Pope Benedict XVI

soundoff (1,434 Responses)
  1. dulohtov

    i think we have to check is it Bible we read today written by Jesus supervision or by some one else far after Jesus death? if the first alternative means God involved in the content and all premises none will be inconsistence to each other. i believe the second, that^s to many phrase in the Bible irrelevant with science many times.

    November 23, 2012 at 6:37 am |
  2. david chow

    Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, please read Revelation chapter 17(whole page) , let's keep out faith to our Lord Savior Jesus Christ and only focus on the bible.

    November 22, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
  3. Wait I'm confused

    Hold on a sec. Didn't Jesus plainly say to love thy neighbor even if he is your enemy. All you Jew badgers don't sound very loving and I'm pretty sure that was his biggest point. You're supposed to love people, even if they don't believe in Jesus, and leave the judging and punishing to god. You people disparaging gods children (Jews, Muslims....um everyone was created by god) sound like you are stamping a one way ticket to hell. But I don't know, I'll let the almighty decide your everlasting fate. That being said if we're going by Jesus teachings I'd have to guess you won't have a good shot at heaven disparaging people as you do. But I'm sure you are all without sin so you know, cast those stones

    November 22, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
    • Call me Bwana

      I guess you can wash your hands of the whole thing, just like Herod did.

      November 22, 2012 at 8:31 pm |
    • Wait I'm confused

      Are you comparing me to a false king who tried to kill Jesus? Is it because isaid love people as Jesus did? Hahahhahahhahahahhahahahahahahahhahahahahhahahahahahahahaha

      November 23, 2012 at 12:01 am |
    • Wait I'm confused

      actually the good book answers you disparaging the Jews on this forum best. It's hard to read the book and not think it is evil to be blaming and persecuting Jews. yet most of the people claiming Christ here are saying terrible things about the Jews. Is it your job to avenge Jesus or is it the providence of the almighty alone? If you believe the Jew to be unrighteous it is not your job to stop him. It's your job to lead by example and lead a righteous life an love him no matter what he does. Love him even if he is the most evil in the world. Who are you to decide who is your brother?

      “The children of God and the children of the Devil are evident by this fact: Everyone who does not carry on righteousness does not originate with God, neither does he who does not love his brother. Everyone who hates his brother is a manslayer, and you know that no manslayer has everlasting life remaining in him. If anyone makes the statement: ‘I love God,’ and yet is hating his brother, he is a liar. For he who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot be loving God, whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him, that the one who loves God should be loving his brother also.”—1 John 3:10, 15; 4:20, 21.n

      November 23, 2012 at 2:01 am |
  4. ronjayaz

    C(ensored) Noodle News. Pleze see my FACEBOOK.

    November 22, 2012 at 7:01 pm |
  5. Fladabosco

    I have problems with this: first the arrogance of man, pretending to know what god is and what wants. Next comes the wealth issue. You can't deny the pope lives in a palace (heck, he has his own country!), he wears bejeweled hats and probably gets the finest of everything. He sure has a heck of an art collection. Then there's this little matter of Matthew 19. Ow!

    I don't care if there's biblical proof that angels sang and that there were animals. It makes a nice story.

    November 22, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • objecttothis

      Yes, it would be arrogant for man to claim this and that about God, except if God himself has made it clear who he is. In the same way that it would be arrogant for me to claim to know anything about you, except if you wrote me a letter and explained yourself... then I would have some knowledge of you. With that, I'm guessing, perhaps incorrectly, that you don't believe that God has done that. I'm just trying to make a rational argument to it being reasonably possible to say something about God.

      November 22, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
  6. barbarianofgor

    When I was a child I remember being dragged into a church and briefly taking part in an Easter play.
    I got to be Pilate. White pillow with purple stripes. Wreath from Christmas that was scratchy.

    Another kid who played "The Jews" got a cooler costume. Patchwork robe. Groucho Marx glasses. Felt Yakama. Two plastic suction cup "Devil" horns from Halloween.

    "Slay him! Crucify him!"

    "I see no reason he deserves to die. He has broken no Roman law, for he has told the masses to Render unto Caesar and Caesar is pleased."

    "If you do not slay him, we will make you into an Enemy of Caesar! A tumult is brewing and you cannot prevail!"

    Wash my hands in a bowl.

    "I am INNOCENT the BLOOD of this Just Man! You see to it!" ("See ye to it" the preacher man corrected...)

    Lights dim, red spotlight on "The Jews"

    "His BLOOD be upon us, and our Children's Children's Children, until the END of TIME!"

    Now, these are pre-school memories, fading a bit. My Dad, being a hippie, had issues with the Preacher man. He indeed brought up the "That's used to hate Jews, Jesus forgave them, etc." the Preacher man said "Deny the Blood Curse? Just look at history, my son, is that not proof?"

    Now, considering there used to be at least a few rocks thrown through windows and a beating or two, and earlier a few deaths or a pogrom right after every Easter, well I could almost understand the Jews buying up the media to try to cover up this stuff. Almost. Except it helps them justify their denial of him.

    The focus should really be that he came as their savior but instead saved all humanity. If you look at the whole picture of the Bible it's an Omnipotent/Omniscient (or very very very close) being creating stuff, then having his creations fall from him and trying to understand and reconcile. First it's with wrath, floods, scourges, then that doesn't work. Then he sends prophets to tell the word, arming them with miracles, that doesn't work. Finally he incarnates as a man himself, lives and then dies. But the miracle is that he truly loved his creation even at that point and as living limited for a brief period he understood us at last, so when the Devil used none other than his chosen people as the vehicle to murder him, he still loved mankind enough to forgive us all instead of just wiping everything out in rage and despair, which was what the Devil had wanted.

    The only "Revenge" Jesus got was that the Jewish temple was shattered. The holy of holies laid bare for all to see. In short there was to be no more religion, no more authority of priests as being able to directly interject for man. "This is between you and me". Now mankind really hasn't understood that message, for there's been one religion after another often fighting. And the Jews still cling to their culture and their religious leaders, for all the suffering and expulsions and pogroms they've faced, that's all they had left.

    November 22, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
  7. lol??

    "Hbr 12:24 And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than [that of] Abel."

    November 22, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
  8. *The Wrath of Horvath

    Sainthood for Pius VIi ??
    Oh that's rich.. The former Hitler Youth elevating the orchestrator of an underground railroad of catholic churches helping SS officers avoid war crimes tribunals.
    Par for the course..

    November 22, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
    • TC

      Most saints are surroundded in controversy – you don't really become a saint without ruffling feathers and making mistakes.

      November 22, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
    • lol??

      occurs 96 times in 95 verses in the KJV "

      November 22, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
    • lol??

      "Psa 30:4 Sing unto the LORD, O ye saints of his, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness."...... Can they get enough together to form a choir?

      November 22, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
  9. dsangiovanni

    He was Jew living with his people, Jews...they prosecuted him and they killed him..

    November 22, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
  10. Andrew Von Hoensbroeck

    Man, you people are brainwashed. The anti-semitism of modern day had largely been started by Martin Luther during the Reformation. It existed beforehand very virulently but was not so mythologized until Luther spat out his hate onto paper. You people will not be accepted into Heaven because you spit on other people of faith and call them something that they never were. That's a sin: lying. You know damn well that the Romans were in control of Judea and that it was a territory under martial law. You know damn well that Judea was dissolved 50 years later after the second uprising. You know damn well half of the anti-semitic religious beliefs do not make sense when it was a Jewish vessel that God decided to inhabit in God's time on Earth. You know damn well you are hypocrites who are going to burn in hellfire for all of eternity. I will being smiling down from Heaven as you hateful demons scream in agony. The end.

    August 12, 2012 at 12:09 am |
    • dsangiovanni

      Seriously, you have to take your medication, and slowly crawl back under the rock again...you'll be safe there

      November 22, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
    • Wait I'm confused

      minus the profanity, Yo make some very good pouts. And Jesus never told man he disagreed with to go back under a rock. He didn't even say that to the people who crucified him. Did he hate those people or in fact love them? Before reading these comments I would have said that we all know the answer to that but now I fear perhaps not

      November 23, 2012 at 2:07 am |
  11. Peadar

    The idea that Jesus died for all is bunk. Certainly not for the Synagogue of Satan. No-one in his right mind would listen to Ben the Pedophile Pope who is a usurper heretic illegally elected by Fifth Column Jews installed in the Vatican, and who is not a real Pope.

    October 24, 2011 at 4:32 am |
  12. 3rd Clay

    The Pope Benedict was playing politics among religions. In Acts 2:22-23, it says: Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by G-d to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which G-d did among you through him, as you yourselves know. This man was handed over to you by G-d's set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the Cross." If the pope argued whether the whole nation of Jews shall bear this shame, then let us have a look at the whole Jewish nation, the majority of them denied that Jesus was the Savior up to now. Has the history of denying that Jesus is their Savior changed? Not. The pope was wicked as well since he denied the facts recorded in the Bible even he himself has one in his hands.
    The true light can not be mixed with darkness. ANything with darkness is not the true light. Do not follow the pope who is playing with the religions but to follow the One who called and calls and will call you.

    April 16, 2011 at 3:35 pm |
    • weebee91

      That's right.
      Acts 2: 29-42 makes it clear Paul was speaking to his Jewhish brothers, the nation of jews (not just the priesthood). Many of them were cut at the heart and repented.

      November 22, 2012 at 6:59 pm |
    • Wait I'm confused

      how can the Jews not be your brother if Jesus himself was a Jew? You have the book too and yet you do not see it. I will pray for you.

      “The children of God and the children of the Devil are evident by this fact: Everyone who does not carry on righteousness does not originate with God, neither does he who does not love his brother. Everyone who hates his brother is a manslayer, and you know that no manslayer has everlasting life remaining in him. If anyone makes the statement: ‘I love God,’ and yet is hating his brother, he is a liar. For he who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot be loving God, whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him, that the one who loves God should be loving his brother also.”—1 John 3:10, 15; 4:20, 21.

      November 23, 2012 at 2:11 am |
  13. Conspiracy

    Looks like the Pope is under the influence of the Jews where he is now creating a new conspiracy to change old belief against the Jews, haha it isn't going to work, I always knew the pope was a politician used to influence the minds of many, to create hatred and all.

    March 22, 2011 at 10:44 am |
    • 3rd Clay

      I agree well that the pope is a religious politician.

      April 16, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
    • Josh

      IF you see Jews everywhere, you may need glasses...

      October 30, 2012 at 11:02 am |
  14. Hartley Anderson

    Christians who condemn the Jews for Jesus' death aren't real Christians. Real Christians understand that unless God the Father had sent Jesus to earth to die for sins of all (for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God [Rom. 3:23]), there would have been no salvation for anyone. So everyone is responsible for Jesus' death, whether they take advantage of God's offer or not.

    March 14, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
    • lux

      The death of Jesus was political. He did not have to die if He could have helped it. His death has gotten us nowhere, as you can see by looking at our world.

      March 14, 2011 at 9:59 pm |
  15. iamiwas

    this pope a from the family of the devil

    March 13, 2011 at 12:04 pm |
  16. Muneef

    Hudud (Penalties) in Contemporary Legal Discourse

    March 6, 2011 at 1:31 pm |
  17. Muneef

    Contribution of Islam to Civilization;

    March 6, 2011 at 11:21 am |
  18. Muneef

    [57:16] Is it not time for those who believed to open up their hearts for GOD's message, and the truth that is revealed herein? They should not be like the followers of previous scriptures whose hearts became hardened with time and, consequently, many of them turned wicked.

    [57:20] Know that this worldly life is no more than play and games, and boasting among you, and hoarding of money and children. It is like abundant rain that produces plants and pleases the disbelievers. But then the plants turn into useless hay, and are blown away by the wind. In the Hereafter there is either severe retribution, or forgiveness from GOD and approval. This worldly life is no more than a temporary illusion.

    [57:22] Anything that happens on earth, or to you, has already been recorded, even before the creation. This is easy for GOD to do.

    [57:23] Thus, you should not grieve over anything you miss, nor be proud of anything He has bestowed upon you. GOD does not love those who are boastful, proud.

    [57:25] We sent our messengers supported by clear proofs, and we sent down to them the scripture and the law, that the people may uphold justice. And we sent down the iron, wherein there is strength, and many benefits for the people. All this in order for GOD to distinguish those who would support Him and His messengers, on faith. GOD is Powerful, Almighty.

    To Read the whole very interesting chapter kindly find it at:

    March 5, 2011 at 7:11 pm |
    • Muneef

      And we sent down the iron, wherein there is strength, and many benefits for the people.

      March 5, 2011 at 7:12 pm |
  19. Muneef

    All the buttering and the coming closer is for a purpose being prepared for only God knows what...

    March 5, 2011 at 6:56 pm |
    • Muneef

      They have the same faith and destiny as it seems have both decided that democracy should end any replace it with religious faith...I wonder what that would mean in the long run...


      March 5, 2011 at 7:06 pm |
  20. Muneef

    Three old wise men,   
    A woman came out of her house and saw three old men with long white beards sitting in her front yard. She did not recognize them. She said 'I don't think I know you, but you must be hungry. Please come in and have something to eat.'

    ' Is the man of the house in home ?'  they asked . 
    ' No ', she replied . ' He's out  ' 

    'Then we cannot come in ', they replied . 

    In the evening when her husband came home, she told him what had happened  

    He said: ' Go tell them I am in home and invite them I! N  ' 

    The woman went out and invited the men in . 

    '  We do not go into a House together !' they replied .
    'Why is that ?'  she asked .
    One of the old men explained : 'His name is  Wealth ,' he said as pointing to one of his friends, and said, pointing to another one , 'He is Success, and I am  Love ' Then he added, 'Now go in and discuss with your husband which one of us you want in your home .'

    The woman went in and told her husband what was said. Her husband was overjoyed  . ' How nice !'  he said . ' Since that is the case, let us invite  Wealth . Let him come and fill our home with wealth  !' 

    His wife disagreed . ' My dear, why don't we invite  Success ?' 

    Their daughterinlaw was listening from the other corner of the house. She jumped in with her own suggestion : ' Would it not be better to invite Love  ?Our home will then be filled with love  .'  

    'Let us heed/follow our daughterinlaw' s advice,' said the husband to his wife !   

    'Go out and invite  Love to be our guest.'   

    The woman went out and asked the three old men , 'Which one of you is Love ? Please come in and be our guest .'   

    Love got up and started walking toward the house. The other two also got up and followed him. Surprised, the lady asked Wealth andSuccess : 'I only invited  Love ; Why are you coming in?'   

    The old men replied together : 'If you had invited  Wealth or Success , the other two of us would've stayed out, but since you invitedLove  , wherever He goes, we go with him. Wherever there isLove, there is also...

    March 5, 2011 at 12:14 pm |
    • Ken

      oh hi prosperity gospel

      March 8, 2011 at 2:47 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.