Wednesday, September 27, 2006
YOU BETTER WATCH OUT POPE BENEDICT-QUOTING FROM THE NEW TESTAMENT IS A NO NO!
Pope's remarks on Jews risk ire
John Hooper, RomeSeptember 19, 2006
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HAVING just stirred up a global storm by quoting from a text fiercely critical of Islam, it might have been expected that Pope Benedict would avoid anything alluding to another religion that could be open to misinterpretation.
Yet minutes after saying he was "deeply sorry" about the reaction to his earlier remarks, he cited a passage from the New Testament highlighting the gulf between Christian and Jewish attitudes to Jesus' crucifixion.
The pontiff appeared to risk causing fresh controversy during his speech on Sunday when he cited a passage from St Paul that risked being interpreted as hostile — not by Muslims, but by Jews. It described the crucifixion of Jesus as a "scandal for the Jews".
He said he wanted to comment on two recent Roman Catholic festivals relating to the crucifixion. What, the Pope asked, was the point of exalting the cross, a tool of execution?
In reply to his rhetorical question, he quoted a verse from St Paul, the New Testament author most often accused of anti-Semitism. In the Italian translation, used by the Pope, it runs as follows: "We preach the crucified Christ — a scandal for the Jews, a folly for the pagans."
Jewish representatives expressed surprise at the latest incursion into sensitive territory. One said: "It does seem strange to come up with that particular quote at this particular time."
Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain, member of the Council of Christians and Jews, which was set up to oppose prejudice, said: "He's really talking about veneration, not about the Jews. We can't alter the sayings of the past. But we can be careful about how we use them, especially in view of the religious offence that can be taken, even if never intended."