I’ve been reading the Catholic Catechism in daily emailed chunkettes. I don’t recall ever hearing this bit articulated quite this way:
Jews are not collectively responsible for Jesus’ death
597 The historical complexity of Jesus’ trial is apparent in the Gospel accounts. The personal sin of the participants (Judas, the Sanhedrin, Pilate) is known to God alone. Hence we cannot lay responsibility for the trial on the Jews in Jerusalem as a whole, despite the outcry of a manipulated crowd and the global reproaches contained in the apostles’ calls to conversion after Pentecost. Jesus himself, in forgiving them on the cross, and Peter in following suit, both accept “the ignorance” of the Jews of Jerusalem and even of their leaders. Still less can we extend responsibility to other Jews of different times and places, based merely on the crowd’s cry: “His blood be on us and on our children!”, a formula for ratifying a judicial sentence. As the Church declared at the Second Vatican Council:
… [N]either all Jews indiscriminately at that time, nor Jews today, can be charged with the crimes committed during his Passion… [T]he Jews should not be spoken of as rejected or accursed as if this followed from holy Scripture.
Above: White Crucifixion by Marc Chagall, a Jew, who imagines Jesus’ crucifixion here in light of the European anti-Semitism of the 1930s.
All sinners were the authors of Christ’s Passion
598 In her Magisterial teaching of the faith and in the witness of her saints, the Church has never forgotten that “sinners were the authors and the ministers of all the sufferings that the divine Redeemer endured.” Taking into account the fact that our sins affect Christ himself, the Church does not hesitate to impute to Christians the gravest responsibility for the torments inflicted upon Jesus, a responsibility with which they have all too often burdened the Jews alone:
We must regard as guilty all those who continue to relapse into their sins. Since our sins made the Lord Christ suffer the torment of the cross, those who plunge themselves into disorders and crimes crucify the Son of God anew in their hearts (for he is in them) and hold him up to contempt. And it can be seen that our crime in this case is greater in us than in the Jews. As for them, according to the witness of the Apostle, “None of the rulers of this age understood this; for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” We, however, profess to know him. And when we deny him by our deeds, we in some way seem to lay violent hands on him.
Nor did demons crucify him; it is you who have crucified him and crucify him still, when you delight in your vices and sins.
The Catholic Catechism is available online @ http://www.scborromeo.org/ccc.htm
The bigger section from which the above was taken is @ http://www.scborromeo.org/ccc/p122a4p2.htm#I