An Apology for the Crucifixion?

June 2000

Once in a while Catholics have occasion to attend a parish other than their own, and so they get a chance to hear a homilist they’ve likely never heard before.

And so it was with us recently. The homilist chose to speak on how much the various world religions have in common with Catholicism, and in so doing he stressed that Jews view Jesus as “a great prophet and a very good man.”

Which got us to wondering: If that’s true, why did the Jews have Jesus crucified? An impolitic question, to be sure, but we just couldn’t shake it, and so we posed it to the homilist right after Mass. He gave us a funny look, said “Who knows?,” and moved us along so he could shake hands with the party behind us.

Hmm. Surely, if the priest had more time to think about it, he would have had to say something like, “The Jews of today regard Jesus as a great prophet and a very good man. The Jews have changed their minds about the Crucifixion. It’s like us Catholics: We’ve changed our minds about the Inquisition.”


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New Oxford Notes: June 2000

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