In his book, Constantine's Sword, author James P. Carroll approvingly cites the Vatican II declaration Nostra Aetate, which states in part that Christ's death "cannot be charged against all the Jews without distinction then alive, nor against Jews of today," and that the Catholic Church "decries hatred, persecutions, displays of anti-Semitism, directed against Jews at any time and by anyone." The declaration goes on to say that "Christ underwent His passion and death freely" and that it is "the burden of the Church's preaching to proclaim the cross of Christ as the sign of God's all embracing love."

Although Carroll laments that Nostra Aetate is not better known in the Church today, the notion of proclaiming "the cross of Christ as the sign of God's all-embracing love" is not one embraced by Carroll.

Constantine's Sword is also the title of a new documentary based on Carroll's book, and the film doesn't go quite as far as its source material in deconstructing the cross and the faith it represents. Subtitled The Church and the Jews—A History, Carroll's book effectively contends that "proclaiming the cross of Christ" and "God's all-embracing love" are mutually exclusive. The cross, Carroll writes, is "the symbol of all that Christians must repent in relation to the Jewish people."

In his book, Carroll, an ex-priest, offers a modest proposal for Christian "repentance": The Catholic Church must (a)convene VaticanIII, (b)flag and confess anti-Jewish distortions in the New Testament, (c)reject the Nicene Creed in favor of something more Unitarian, (d)dismantle the hierarchy and embrace "holy" democracy, and (e)to show that we really mean it and we're really sorry for the last 2000 years, dismantle the cross at Auschwitz—a ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Tags:
Posted: