Pope Benedict revises Tridentine Good Friday prayer

 Pope Benedict XVI has revised the prayer for the conversion of Jews in the traditional Latin form of the Good Friday liturgy. Yesterday's edition of L'Osservatore Romano carries an announcement from the Secretariat of State, saying that the Holy Father has ordered a change in the text of the 1962 Roman Missal. The change applies to the "extraordinary form" of the liturgy; it does not alter the Good Friday prayers of the Novus Ordo. Some Jewish leaders had urged the Pope to revise the text of the Good Friday prayer in the traditional liturgy, which had referred to the "blindness" of the Jewish people-- a reference that many Jews considered offensive. Some critics of the traditional prayer also called for the removal of an intercession for the conversion of the Jews. The newly revised text eliminates the reference to blindness, but retains the prayer for the conversion of the Jews. The prayer amended by Pope Benedict had previously been changed by Pope Pius XII and again by Pope John XXIII; the version approved by the latter Pontiff was still in use in Catholic churches using the 1962 Roman Missal. The new version, published in L'Osservatore Romano, reads: Oremus et pro Iudaeis. Ut Deus et Dominus noster illuminet corda eorum, ut agnoscant Iesum Christum salvatorem omnium hominum. Oremus. Flectamus genua. Levate. Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui vis ut omnes homines salvi fiant et ad agnitionem veritatis veniant, concede propitius, ut plenitudine gentium in Ecclesiam Tuam intrante omnis Israel salvus fiat. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen. This prayer is only for use in the Latin language, in the extraordinary form of the Latin liturgy. In translation it reads: Let us also pray for the Jews: that God our Lord might enlighten their hearts, so that they might know Jesus Christ as the Savior of all mankind. Let us pray. Let us kneel. Please rise. Almighty and eternal God, whose desire it is that all men might be saved and come to the knowledge of truth, grant in your mercy that as the fullness of mankind enters into your Church, all Israel may be saved, through Christ our Lord. Amen. Some Jewish leaders have expressed disappointment at the new version of the prayer. Rabbi David Rosen, director of the American Jewish Committee's international director of interreligious affairs said in a statement: "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....This differs greatly from the text in the current universal liturgy that prays for the salvation of the Jews in general terms." Bishop Richard J Sklba, Chairman, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs said: "The Holy Father has heard with appreciation the concerns of the Jewish community that the prayers of Good Friday should reflect the relationship between Jews and the Church put forward in Nostra Aetate, and implemented by the late Pope John Paul II." "Pope Benedict XVI has chosen to present the relationship of the Church and the Jews within the mystery of salvation as found in Saint Paul's Letter to the Romans (cf. Rom 11:11-32). Central to the concerns of the Holy Father is the clear articulation that salvation comes through faith in Jesus Christ and his Church. It is a faith that must never be imposed but always freely chosen. "The Catholic Church in the United States remains steadfastly committed to deepening its bonds of friendship and mutual understanding with the Jewish community." Source: L'Osservatore Romano/AJC/USCCB

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