(h2Onews, 15/03/2011) The entire Jewish public has enthusiastically embraced the latest work of Joseph Ratzinger: the book on Jesus of Nazareth, which came out last week in bookstores worldwide. It definitively exonerates the Jews from the charge of deicide. Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and many other civil authorities praised the Pope's words. But was it a step forward in the process of dialogue and reconciliation between Jews and Christians? We asked biblical scholar, Father Massimo Pazzini, professor at the Studium Biblicum Franciscum.
Father Massimo Pazzini, OFM, Studium Biblicum Franciscanum (Jerusalem):
“It does not seem like a big step forward to me, we are speaking of dialogue but repeating things already said and re-said. The Pope says nothing new. Rather, he takes up the theory of the Church, the official position of the Church since the Vatican Council, that the Jewish people as such, as a whole, are not directly responsible for the death of Jesus. The Pope says that religious leaders had a part in the condemnation of Jesus, and this is a given fact. It would be nice to see the reaction of the associations that deal with dialogue, but, above all, the reaction of the Rabbis of Jerusalem. It would be nice to see how they react to these words of the Pope, because, in the end, if there is a party that comes out worse than the others, it is, precisely, the Jewish religious world, the aristocracy, that is, those who command and, even today, give directives to the Jews of Israel and the whole world.”
To those who raise the question of Christian anti-Semitism, Fr. Massimo says that it is a chapter of history yet to be studied. “Often there were persecutions perpetrated by the Jews against Christians”—Father Massimo continues—”provoking reactions, but let’s not confuse history with theology.”
Father MASSIMO PAZZINI, OFM, Studium Biblicum Franciscanum (Jerusalem):
“Who condemned Jesus? This remains a mystery. If we speak theologically, we can say: it is the plan of God who willed it so, but if we are following the sources we have, we must say that there were a combination of causes. We say that the Jews without Pilate would not have condemned Jesus, and Pilate without the contribution of the Jews would not have condemned Jesus. I believe, then, that there are various factors that come together, then, in imputing the guilt for this condemnation on someone and then retaliating against him, this is another discussion to be addressed in another place and at another time.”
Above all, however, there remains an indisputable fact: the great desire of this Pope to dialogue with everyone, certain that faith in the one, true God can illumine the path of every man.