Vatican Modifies Prayer for Jews; 'Negative' Language Removed

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), February 6, 2008 | Go to article overview
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Vatican Modifies Prayer for Jews; 'Negative' Language Removed


Byline: Julia Duin, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

A Catholic Good Friday prayer from the pre-Vatican II Tridentine Mass will no longer ask that God "remove the veil from the hearts" of Jews, the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano said yesterday.

It will also drop an allusion to Jewish "blindness" and forgo a passage asking that Jews "be delivered from their darkness." A new prayer, released Monday by the Vatican, still asks that Jews "acknowledge Jesus Christ."

The Rev. James Massa, executive director for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, said Pope Benedict XVI made the changes over Jewish concerns on anti-Semitism. "What is important is that he's chosen to omit any language that's been associated with negative images of Jews," he said.

But the top U.S. Jewish groups were not mollified.

"While we appreciate that the text avoids any derogatory language toward Jews, it's regretful that the prayer explicitly calls for Jews to accept Christianity," said Rabbi David Rosen, international director of interreligious affairs for the American Jewish Committee.

"Alterations of language without change to the 1962 prayer's conversionary intent amount to cosmetic revisions, while retaining the most troubling aspect for Jews, namely the desire to end the distinctive Jewish way of life," said Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League.

Father Massa said the overwhelming majority of Catholics will not hear this new prayer because only communities or parishes that exclusively celebrate the Tridentine Mass can use it in the three days leading up to Easter. Parishes with an occasional Traditional Latin Mass will use either Good Friday prayer.

The revised prayer reads: "Let us also pray for the Jews: That our God and Lord may enlighten their hearts, that they acknowledge Jesus Christ as the Savior of all men.

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