With the publication of Pope Benedict XVI's new book Jesus of Nazareth - Part II, he reinforces the Vatican II teaching that the Jewish people were not collectively responsible for the death of Jesus. The book has been praised, worldwide, by people of good will and reinforces what John Paul II began (the implementation of Nostra Aetate). The Anti-Defamation League put out a statement on the book last Wednesday.
This issue begs the question. With this sea-change in teaching, how do we put into context previous church teachings on the role of the Jews in the death of Jesus. It is clear previous teachings were flawed and had dire consequences for the Jewish people. How do we as Christians explain this to people?
To me it is an example of Church's continued growth in understanding of divine revelation. Divine truths do not change, but our understanding of them do if our underlying assumptions are flawed. The Church must be able to reflect its teachings through the lens of total freedom; free from all of the influence that originates from man (culture, etc.) and focus on those from God. It brings me joy to know that when Church leaders recognize the truth, they express this truth to the people of God. I think Pope Benedict did just that.