Wednesday’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling that hateful, hurtful, homophobic speech by a church that oddly enough calls itself “Christian” is protected as a First Amendment right seems to have eclipsed other really big church news: Pope Benedict XVI has exonerated Jews for Jesus’s death.

Pope Benedict's new bookAccording to the Associated Press, the revelation was unveiled in excerpts from Benedict’s upcoming book, “Jesus of Nazareth-Part II.” If this declaration had been reported by The Onion, rather than the AP, I would be able to wrap my head around it. But this was not satire; it was just…well, sad.

Reportedly, the Pope’s new book explains biblically and theologically why there is no basis for “claims that the Jewish people as a whole were responsible for Jesus’ death.” Wait a minute!

As a whole? Hmmm, is that like: Saudis, “as a whole,” were not responsible for the September 11 terrorist attacks? (Fifteen of the 19 suicide terrorists were Saudis.) Or is more akin to: Iraqis, “as a whole,” were not responsible for 9/11? (Not even one terrorist was Iraqi.)  There’s a big difference.

Methinks the Pope hath forgiven too much; he has actually perpetuated the un-Christlike myth that the Jewish people killed Jesus. Anyone who’s read the New Testament or has seen a movie about the crucifixion knows that the Jews did not commit the crime, just as the Iraqis had absolutely nothing to do with 9/11. By dismissing the facts, the Pope’s grandiose forgiveness of the Jews is as much an attack on an innocent people as America’s violent invasion of Iraq to “free” its people.

Centuries before Benedict put pen to paper, it was an indisputable fact that the rabbi we know as Jesus was tried in a Roman court and suffered an inhumane execution at the hands of Roman military torturers because the declaration that he was the King of the Jews was a threat to the Roman empire.

So why isn’t the Pope forgiving, oh I don’t know, the Romans who conveniently live in the city surrounding his walled compound? That loving gesture would be such a warm and fuzzy highlight to this year’s Lenten season. Forgiving the innocent, not so much.

But here’s the beauty of his declaration of forgiveness: What Benedict unwittingly has highlighted are the impossible-to-connect dots that form the foundation of our beliefs as Christians—and the gaps that simply cannot support us, except through blind unquestioning faith:Connect the Dots puzzle

Dot #1: Jesus’s life purpose. For centuries, the Church has taught that God sent Jesus to Earth to do a couple of really important things. One was to spread the good news that God is Love, and does not do things that Love would not do—i.e., is not intolerant, violent, punitive, unforgiving, condemning and judgmental. Jesus also taught that the kingdom of God is within. We don’t have to go anywhere to find God, and we are not an abomination, filthy rags or unacceptable to be in God’s presence. Wherever we are, God is—truly good news.

Dot #2: Jesus’s fulfillment of his mission. What theologians tell us is that Jesus’s Good News ministry lasted all of three years. With today’s technology and air travel, the good rabbi could have spread the word to everyone in the entire world in that time. But he didn’t get very far on foot and donkey before it was time to complete his other important task: Be brutally slaughtered for crimes that he didn’t commit.

Dot #3: Barbaric live sacrifice demonstrates God’s love. This is a critical dot. The premise here is that God loved us, His guilty children, so much that He sadistically forced our innocent brother to die a protracted and excruciatingly painful death so that we wouldn’t have to. Christians generally protest unfairness, particularly an innocent person being executed; but we’re glad as hell that it happened to Jesus because…

Dot #4: Jesus died to save us from eternal damnation. We Christians rejoice that we are “washed in the blood of Jesus,” a satanic concept, to be sure. But more damning, we believe that contrary to Jesus’s famous parable in which a faithful father excitedly rolled out the red carpet upon his sinning child’s return, God’s forgiveness has strings attached: Only sinners who believe that God inhumanely subjected Jesus to a slow and tortuous death will be spared worse treatment throughout all eternity.

Those who believe that God is Love—and believe that Love would not do something so barbaric and satanic—will regret that mistake throughout a God-awfully painful eternity. Which brings us to…

Dot #5: God’s orders should be obeyed. So many dots, so little time. Let me simply cut to the chase: If the Pope believes what Scripture tells us to believe, exonerating the Jews is utterly oxymoronic. What is he forgiving them for exactly: Following God’s orders?

And that, dear Thinkers, is the question of the day: If the Pope believes that God ordered Jesus to be brutally tortured to death, and he believes that the Jews obeyed, I’m wondering if Benedict couldn’t have exerted his authority as a spiritual leader more effectively by forgiving Christians for reviling the Jews for centuries.

In the interim, why don’t we simply exonerate the Pope?

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10 Responses to Let’s exonerate Pope Benedict XVI

  1. Natosha Walker says:

    Hi Pat,

    Hope that you are well. I agree with your remarks. Food for thought.

    Natosha

  2. Rev. Bobby says:

    Forgive him for being himself….Not I.

  3. You’re unforgiving, Rev. Bobby? Really?

  4. ChitownNista says:

    #2 is amazing, only 3 years of reigning, do you know what Jesus was doing before that?

  5. Actually, Jesus wasn’t reigning, Ayana. Despite the fears, he wasn’t a monarch; he was a rabbi, a teacher. What he did before that is anyone’s guess. There’s a huge gap in the narrative between age 12 and his reappearance as a rabbi, probably because none of the gospels was written by a scribe who actually knew him. They filled in some of the gaps by taking poetic license and developing their own plots, as evidenced by factual contradictions in Matthew’s and Luke’s narratives of Jesus’s birth and resurrection.

  6. Saint says:

    As a wise woman once said…just say F-it!!! I forgive the Catholic Church for Centuries of persecution, mis-information and corrupting a Spiritual African Religion……God forgive them for they knew not what they did!!!

  7. Chitownnista says:

    @LoudMouth thanks for the information! 🙂 It’s stunning how 3 years of service has held us over to current day, wow!

  8. Danie says:

    I’ve heard enough hatred spewed from the pulpits of ministers, preachers, etc claiming to be Christian to make me ill. I think forgiveness is short in this world. Pope Benedict, like anyone else needs to be forgiven and forgive.

    If we look at this on the practical side ( I should say public relations side) the pontiff is asking us non-thinking Catholics and bible belt Jew hating Christians to give the Jewish people a break. The Catholic church and many other christian churches are trying to heal a very long suppurating wound between Christians and Jews. This proclamation to forgive the Jews is part of that process.

    By definition the people of ancient Rome did not actually reside in Rome for the most part. The Roman Empire was vast and there was no Vatican. So what Romans would the pope forgive? Italians? Germans? French? It is a thorny issue. So why not just forgive everybody and in fact if we really believe God sent his son to be sacrificed, why not forgive Him too.

  9. @Chitownista: Paul of Tarsus is responsible for the spread of Christianity. His work began after his famous conversion.

    @Danie: Gotcha on the historical location of the Empire. But I’m not convinced that forgiving people for something they never did will heal a wound. It seems to add salt to it.
    And talk about a thorny issue: In order to believe that Love really send Its son to be brutally slaughtered for crimes he didn’t commit, we have to believe that Love is diabolically inhumane and unjust, IMHO.

  10. Rabbi Dr. Bernhard Roasenberg says:

    2. POPE
    Author: RABBI DR. BERNHARD ROSENBERG
    Country: USA
    03/03/2011 18:26

    ON BEHALF OF ALL MY DEAD RELATIVES WHO WERE MURDERED BY THE NAZIS BECAUSE ANTI-SEMITISM WAS PREVALENT IN EUROPE BECAUSE THE COUNTRIES HATED THE JEWS FOR BEING CHRIST KILLERS I DO NOT THANK YOU.THE CHURCH MADE HITLERS JOB MUCH EASIER. THE CHURCH SHOULD BEG FORGIVENESS FOR THE LIE THEY PROMULGATED. HOW ABOUT ALL THE JEWS MUREDERED DURING THE CRUSCADES?HOW ABOUT ALL THE FIGHTS I HAD AS A KID AROUND EASTER BECAUSE I WAS CALLED JEW THE CHRIST KILLER. YOU WANT TO HELP. GIVE LARGE SUMS OF MONEY TO HELP THE HOLOCAUST SURVIVORS WHO ARE ELDERLY AND NEED FOOD, CLOTHING AND HEALTH CARE.

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