Jews, who have not had a great week, will be heartened to learn that at least someone thinks they're okay: The Pope! Yes, Benedict has let Jews off the hook for the whole "Jesus' death" thing (you know, the thing where for centuries the Catholic church held Jews collectively responsible for the death of Christ, inspiring countless acts of violence, bigotry and discrimination?) in his new book:
In a book to be published next week, he concludes that those responsible for the crucifixion were the "Temple aristocracy" and supporters of the rebel Barabbas.
Dismissing the centuries-old interpretation of St John's assertion that it was "the Jews" who demanded Barabbas's release and Jesus's execution, the pontiff asks: "How could the whole people have been present at this moment to clamour for Jesus's death?"
How could they, indeed? This seems like a question that might have occurred to any number of the hundreds of Popes who have endorsed, explicitly or implicitly, the idea of collective guilt. But, sometimes, it takes a former member of the Hitler youth to really think things through when it comes to Jews. Now, let's go find ourselves some Temple aristocrats to drive out of town!