People around the world responded to Pope Benedict XVI and his decision to ‘exonerate the Jews for the death of Jesus.’ Some were aggressively asking, ‘What gives him the right to exonerate anyone?’
As the head of the Roman Catholics, he certainly should lead on topics of theological challenge.
I welcomed his announcement and hoped that it would challenge Christian churches that have not made the same decision. Attitudes that single out the Jewish people for the death of Jesus simply choose to transfer the guilt from themselves.
Jesus chose to die. He did it for sinners and we are told ‘all have sinned’ which leaves no doubt about His love, mercy and grace which was extended for all of us.
But now the Pope has made his important announcement, hopefully he will lead the Catholics through a complete cleansing process. He must lead in the whole area of repentance. There should be no argument that the Jews have suffered horrendously because many church fathers called for their death and denigration. They became the ‘untouchables’ because of ignorant and arrogant church error.
One correspondent suggested the Pope should say something like this: “As head of this blood-stained Roman Catholic Church, I go on my knees before the Jewish people and repent for the hundreds of years of anti-Semitism that emanated from the Vatican; I humbly acknowledge that the Jews are God’s special treasure and the apple of His eye.
“I pledge to, from now on, devote myself to teaching my billion-plus constituents to love the Jews, support the Jews, stand with the Jews and stand with Israel. This is what the Bible teaches; this is what Jesus’ taught, and this is how Jesus lived. And we have been criminally at fault in communicating a twisted version of Christ to His ancient people.”
Those words might sound revolutionary but they really describe what should follow the Pope’s exoneration story.
Racism is a filthy stench permeating people everywhere. History wreaks with horror stories where the them and us forces have resulted in heart-breaking tragedy.
Christians must lead in proclaiming the Truth of the Bible. God created all tribes in His image. Sadly that image has been missing from church attitudes that seem to suggest God created a warped world.
When it comes to reflecting the love of God to the world, we believe He set us apart to reveal His glory. Rectifying the misrepresentation must start with repairing the damage where we can. Silence is not golden or godly. If we choose to be Ambassadors of Christ, we must minister according to His divine nature.
We have the opportunity. Let’s begin.