[7] Given my own special interest in Jewish-Christian relations, I am especially sensitive to how anti-Jewish sentiments circulating among Catholics were used to interpret a few texts in the Gospels (especially, "his blood be upon us and upon our children" Matt. 27:25) in order to prove (a) that God held all Jews accountable for the killing of Jesus and (b) that God, as a result of this crime, had rejected all Jews in all times and in all places as his chosen people, and, in their place, God embraced Catholics with his love and protection and enduring covenant. In the wake of this "anti-Jewish gospel," Christians routinely interpreted natural and deliberate disasters (beginning with the destruction of the temple by the Romans in 68-70 CE) as the divine retribution inflicted upon Jews for their crime of killing Jesus, the Son of God.

Not until after the Holocaust did the Christian churches finally come to their senses and begin to sort out what the Scriptures did and did not say about the Jews. As a result, biblical interpretations held for more than sixteen hundred years were uprooted over the course of a few decades (1948-1968). Meanwhile, biblical interpretations that had been ignored or obscured were brought forward, more especially, (a) that God's election of the Jewish people was permanent and irrevocable and (b) that Jesus himself lived and died as a faithful Jew.

This case of anti-Jewish prejudice poisoning the true meaning of the Scriptures is important for a number of reasons. First, it demonstrates that, once an error inserts itself, it can persist from generation to generation undetected because the false interpretation itself feeds upon the anti-Jewish prejudice that stimulated its origination. Secondly, it demonstrates that, saints and sinners, bishops and scholars all were mutually supportive in maintaining and promoting these false biblical interpretations. Only the massive and unthinkable Holocaust had enough shock value to inspire a critical reassessment of those anti-Jewish interpretations that had become firmly entrenched within the Catholic tradition. For further details, see James Carroll, Constantine's Sword: The Church and the Jews (New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2001) & Aaron Milavec, Salvation Is from the Jews: Reflections on Saving Grace within Judaism and on Messianic Hope within Christianity (Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 2007).