I guess the theological elites really have decided that Joe Six-Pack in the pew is one move short of becoming a Palestinian suicide bomber. How else to view the decision by the US bishops’ conference’s decision to issue a pamphlet instructing Catholics not to blame Jews for the death of Jesus before the release of The Passion? Again I ask, were Catholics running into the streets on Palm Sunday and Good Friday looking for Jews to stone after reading the Gospel accounts of the crucifixion?
Official Vatican policy for nearly 40 years has been that the Jews were not collectively culpable for Christ’s death, despite some depictions in the Gospels.
Gibson has said the script of his film is based on the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Those Gospels place part of the blame for the crucifixion on the Jews, both those living at the time and future generations.
Wrong and wrong! The article assumes that the Gospels themselves are anti-Semitic. They are not. The Jews and the Romans in the Gospels stand in for all people, whose individual sins present the need for a universal sacrificial atonement that can only be provided by the Son of God, Jesus Christ.
It seems to me that the response of many theologians and Church literati is more focused on not offending Jewish representatives with whom they are engaged in dialogue than in teaching and understanding the authentic message of the Gospels. It’s almost as if they are embarrassed by the Gospels and just “simplistic” notions as accepting them as they are written.
Thus all of us mouth-breathing Neanderthals can’t be trusted not to run out of the theater looking for the nearest pitchfork-and-torch vendor so we can start attacking the Jews. Reminds me of a scene from Mel Brooks’ History of the World, Part 1: “Sire, the peasants are revolting!” “Yeah, they stink on ice.”
Update: A friend reminds me of a good point. I haven’t seen the bishops’ conference or certain Vatican officials issue any warnings about anti-Semitism in reaction to the propaganda produced by Palestinians (i.e. that Jews eat babies and other disgusting lies) or in reaction to propaganda (i.e. a Jewish business conspiracy) spread by the anti-globalization forces that have demonstrated throughout the US, sometimes on Catholic college campuses or abetted by Catholic social justice organizations. It seems that this stuff has a greater opportunity to end in violence (and more often does). Instead they worry about a devotional movie.