Catechism of the Catholic Church

The Profession of Faith 153 Paragraph 2. Jesus Died Crucified I. T he T rial of J esus Divisions among the Jewish authorities concerning Jesus 595 Among the religious authorities of Jerusalem, not only were the Pharisee Nicodemus and the prominent Joseph of Arimathea both secret disciples of Jesus, but there was also long-standing dissension about him, so much so that St. John says of these authorities on the very eve of Christ’s Passion, “many . . . believed in him,” though very imperfectly. 378 This is not surprising, if one recalls that on the day after Pentecost “a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith” and “some believers . . . belonged to the party of the Pharisees,” to the point that St. James could tell St. Paul, “How many thousands there are among the Jews of those who have believed; and they are all zealous for the Law.” 379 596 The religious authorities in Jerusalemwere not unanimous about what stance to take toward Jesus. 380 The Pharisees threatened to excom- municate his followers. 381 To those who feared that “everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and destroy both our holy place and our nation,” the high priest Caiaphas replied by prophesying: “It is expe- dient for you that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation should not perish.” 382 The Sanhedrin, having declared Jesus de- serving of death as a blasphemer but having lost the right to put anyone to death, hands him over to the Romans, accusing him of political revolt, a charge that puts him in the same category as Barabbas who had been accused of sedition. 383 The high priests also threatened Pilate politically so that he would condemn Jesus to death. 384 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 re- proaches contained in the apostles’ calls to conversion after Pente­ cost. 385 Jesus himself, in forgiving them on the cross, and Peter in 378 Jn 12:42; cf. 7:50; 9:16-17; 10:19-21; 19:38-39. 379 Acts 6:7; 15:5; 21:20. 380 Cf. Jn 9:16; Jn 10:19. 381 Cf. Jn 9:22. 382 Jn 11:48-50. 383 Cf. Mt 26:66; Jn 18:31; Lk 23:2, 19. 384 Cf. Jn 19:12, 15, 21. 385 Cf. Mk 15:11; Acts 2:23, 36; 3:13-14; 4:10; 5:30; 7:52; 10:39; 13:27-28; 1 Thess 2:14-15. 1753 1735