Church Teaching Condemning Jews?

In my AP World History class, my teacher said that the Catholic Church once taught as doctrine that Jews were soley responsible for the death of Jesus. When I asked her if she really meant doctrine, she replied in the affirmative. I know this is false, but has there ever been an official teaching of the Church similar to what she mentioned? One all Catholics were required to believe at one point, but wasn’t infallible? My teacher has a habit of twisting the truth in order to make the Church look bad.

Well, in some active and immediate sense, they were. They were the ones who were trying to get Him crucified that day.

But the Romans then allowed it and carried it out. So they were responsible too.

And it’s really Adam’s fault to begin with that it was necessary for the Christ to die. So he is responsible too, which means that we are as well inasmuch as we were present in him and also inasmuch as we are sinners ourselves.

All that’s kind of obvious. So one has to wonder…

There has been a lot of rhetoric about Jews (even in the liturgy - look at the old Good Friday prayer for the “perfidious Jews”), and transference of the guilt of the Jews who literally called for His death onto their children (“Let his blood be upon us and our children!”), but that does not rise to a doctrine that “the Jews were solely responsible for the crucifixion of Jesus.”

No, that was never Church doctrine. In fact, it has always been contrary to Church doctrine.

As just two examples, here is a passage from St. John Chrysostom, a doctor of the Church, making clear that the Jews were not solely responsible for the death of Jesus:

~398 A.D. - St. John Chrysostom - “[T]he expression, ‘It is not lawful for us to put any man to death’…[perhaps] means that [Jesus] was about to be slain not by the Jews only, but by the Gentiles also.” (Homily 83 on the Gospel of John 18:31-32)

And here is what the Catechism of the Council of Trent said about who is to blame for the death of Christ:

1566 A.D. - The Roman Catechism - “In this guilt are involved all those who fall frequently into sin…[for] our sins consigned Christ the Lord to the death of the cross… This guilt seems more enormous in us than in the Jews, since according to the testimony of the same Apostle: If they had known it, they would never have crucified the Lord of glory; while we, on the contrary, professing to know Him, yet denying Him by our actions, seem in some sort to lay violent hands on him.” (Part 1 Article 4 Section 62)

So, no, the Church has never taught that the Jews were solely responsible for the death of Christ, and in fact that goes directly against the traditional doctrine of the Church, which is: we are all responsible for the death of Christ because it was in reparation for Our sins that He died. If we, all of us, did not sin against God, Christ would not have had to die to redeem us.

Also, it is impossible for the Church to require people to believe an error. Rest assured, the Church cannot and has not ever required anyone to believe anything that is false. That would contradict the Church’s infallibility, its holiness, and its status as the pillar and foundation of the truth.

Ask her to show you evidence of it, like which doctrine; she won’t be able to
I took APWH, and I know that this course is so general in teaching about the church. If you actually confront your instructor, it’ll be very difficult for her since she won’t be able to give proof.
When they get to Christianity in APWH, prepare for a “tone” change. As if historians know everything about civilizations 5000 BC (They’ll say BCE) but know with so much doubt about the first Christians. This ambiguity is to serve an agenda, but over time, that correctness leads to changing what the Church teaches.

Or you could let it go and not risk getting bad grades on papers and other subjectively judged assignments… Is this your hill to die on? Maybe not.

Or give her those quotes dmar presented, along with an apple and a smile, telling her thanks for being helpful and taking the time to answer your questions. :thumbsup:

I probably presented mine in a more militant way against the OP’s teacher. That’s true, but not an apple, that’s oldschool

All the best in your studies

I don’t think anyone “condemned” anyone. The Bible records Jesus as teaching that anyone who doesn’t believe in the only Son of God is already condemned (children of Adam), but that would apply to all humanity. Also the Bible teaches do not condemn and you will not condemn. So it’s definitely not a doctrine that anyone can declare anyone condemned and I’m not aware of and seriously doubt that this was ever related to official Church doctrine.

Catholics and other Christians and Jews are in brotherly dialog today and I think it’s great! :slight_smile:

Typo on prev post: Meant: Do not condemn and you will not be condemned.

I think that till you graduate from school (all levels) you will have to suffer such thoughts. While your teacher is right in the fact that Jews were blamed for the killing of Jesus, she is ignorant (or purposely denying the full truth) of the truth:

Jewish deicide is **a historic belief among some in Christianity **that Jewish people as a whole were responsible for the death of Jesus.[1] The antisemitic slur “Christ-killer” was used by mobs to incite violence against Jews and contributed to many centuries of pogroms, the murder of Jews during the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, and during the Holocaust.[2]

At the Second Vatican Council (1962–1965), the Roman Catholic Church under Pope Paul VI, repudiated belief in collective Jewish guilt for the crucifixion of Jesus.[3] It declared that the charge can be made neither “against all the Jews, without distinction, then alive, nor against the Jews of today”.

…As early as 167 A.D. Melito of Sardis in a tract that may have been designed **to bolster a minor Christian sect’s **presence in Sardis, where Jews had a thriving community with excellent relations with Greeks, made assertions in his Peri Pascha that transformed the charge that Jews had killed their own Messiah into the charge that the Jews had killed God himself. He was the first writer in the Lukan-Pauline tradition to raise unambiguously the calumny of deicide against Jews.[6][7]

Clearly, if I could find the above info in a few minutes, your teacher could very well do some responsible “teaching” by doing a little research before putting forth her arguments; though, her hatred of Catholicism may blind her to such simply truths as the unbiased mentoring of the world’s future!

Maran atha!


There has never been a doctrine (Catholic) blaming the Jews (as a collective) for the crucifixion of Jesus.

Conversely, it was necessary for the prophecies to unfold. Jesus had to be rejected by the Jews so that He could then Go to the Gentile!

Interestingly enough, here’s Apostolic understanding:

8 And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross! (Philippians 2:8)

4 It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age 6 and who have fallen away, to be brought back to repentance. To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace. (Hebrews 6:4-6)

…so the Apostles understood that Christ had to be crucified and they are cognizant that every time a Believer rejects Christ and embraces the world (Satan/sin) he/she is crucifying Christ allover again!

Maran atha!


One wonders what the purpose of any such “doctrine”, if it exists, would be? Why would it be necessary to assent to a statement about who - in a strict historical sense - is solely to “blame”?

The Jewish leaders of Jesus’ day were responsible, yes, and based on their exclamation “let his blood be upon us and upon our children!” it was generally believed that Jewish leaders who reject Christ have inherited indirect guilt. However, there was no doctrine in history where Jews collectively were held to be responsible.

Don’t we all want Jesus’ blood on us …to wash away our sins? I wonder is this a prophetic proclamation that the Jews will in time turn to Christ and we will all be one flock.

Yeah, it seems to be an ironic statement. The Jewish leaders wanted Christ’s blood upon them, because they believed they were doing holy work by condemning someone they believed to be a ‘heretic’ to his death. But at the same time, Christ was actually doing Holy work by going through with His passion, as it’s His blood that will cleanse sin.

Hi, Harry!
…while the high priest did prophecy (“better for one to die for all…”), in this instance it is a rejection of Pilates’ acclamation of Jesus’ Righteousness (‘I find not guilt…"); just as they silenced him with (’…we have no king other than Caesar…’) [Interesting note on this particular passage: this is the second time that Israel rejects God’s Authority.]

Maran atha!


in fact, it was only certain members of the jewish leadership that handed Jesus over to pilate and demanded Jesus’ crucifixion. it is true they instigated bystanders to pilate’s trial of Jesus to shout for His crucifixion. on the other hand, there were literally tens of thousands of members of the jewish faith that did not seek the death of Jesus.

Hi Eddie!
…while it is true that the Jews had to reject Jesus (John 1) Jesus did not hold them accountable; rather, right from the cross He absolves them of their guilt (“Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do.”)

The blame game is two fold: 1) displaced zealousness and, most critically, 2) avarice (when we unfold any instance of hatred we will find that the object of the hate is loathed and envied by those subjecting them to hatred. It is human rationale to a fault!).

Maran atha!


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