Friday night’s basketball game in Massachusetts between Catholic Memorial High School in West Roxbury and Newton North High School went to the Catholic hosts (ha, hosts — see what I inadvertently did there?). But despite winning the match 77-73, the Catholic team can be said to have lost, too.
That’s because the home team fans jeered “You killed Jesus” at the visiting students. Newton North High School has many pupils who are Jewish.
I guess the chanters didn’t know or care that even the Second Vatican Council stated definitively half a century ago that (despite the antisemitism in the gospels of Matthew and John and elsewhere in the New Testament) the Jews as a people cannot be blamed for Christ’s death.
The president of the Catholic school, Peter Folan,
… called the chanting “unacceptable” and said that the offending students had to personally apologize to Newton’s interim principal after the game. Newton Superintendent David Fleishman told Wicked Local that the incident was “upsetting and troubling and highly insensitive” for him and his students.
The chant is reported to have been more or less provoked by Newton supporters who, in a chant of their own, called the all-boys Catholic school a “sausage fest.”
For my money, the you-killed-Jesus response is considerably nastier than the run-of-the-mill trash-talking taunt from the Newton contingent, but maybe that’s just me.
The Daily Beast reminds us that
In the medieval period, when the death of Jesus was publicly performed in passion plays at Easter time, riled-up audience members would spill out onto the streets and attack Jewish members of their communities. Such pogroms may lie in the past, but unsympathetic portraits of Jesus’s Jewish contemporaries persist in simplistic TV adaptations of the Easter story and in Mel Gibson’s drunken rants.
According to a 2013 poll, about a quarter of all Americans still believe that “the Jews” killed Jesus, with higher-educated respondents less likely to have negative opinions of Jews. It seems that Mr. Folan, the educator, has his work cut out for him.
(Screenshot via the Denver Channel. It shows a 2004 message on the sign of the Lovingway — funny, that — United Pentecostal Church sign in East Denver)