In the second book in his series Jesus of Nazareth, set for release on March 10, Pope Benedict XVI says that the Jews are not collectively responsible for the death of Jesus Christ, reports the Associated Press.
Though it is not the first time the Church has made that argument — in 1965, the Vatican’s Nostra Aetate stated that Jesus’ death could not be collectively be attributed to either the Jews of the era or those alive today — scholars believe that the reminder in a more accessible media form could assist in combating modern-day anti-Semitism.
It’s not the first time in recent months that the Pope, widely considered the conservative choice after the death of John Paul II, has made waves for stances considered progressive for the modern Catholic Church.
In November 2010, the Pope issued qualified support for condom use in Africa, stating that male prostitutes using condoms to protect clients from HIV transmission was “a first step toward moralization,” indicating an acknowledgment by the Vatican that those knowingly infected with HIV could use condoms to reduce the chances of spreading the disease without running completely afoul of the Church.
[Photo via M.Mazur/www.thepapalvisit.org.uk, Flickr Creative Commons licensed]