“Vatican blocked reform of anti-Semitic prayer”: The Tablet

There is an interesting piece by Robert Mickens in the lefty The Tablet about the controversial Good Friday prayer for the Jews in its older form before the phrase pro perfideis Judaeis was removed.

Some of the points made here are old chestnuts, but others are interesting.

My emphases.

Vatican blocked reform of anti-Semitic prayer

Robert Mickens

AN ITALIAN historian has raised new questions over the Vatican’s culpability in fomenting an anti-Semitic mentality in Catholic Europe that may have helped pave the way for the Holocaust. Emma Fattorini, a university professor and author of several books on nineteenth- and twentieth- century history, recently said German studies showed that in 1928 the Vatican emphatically blocked efforts to removed references to the “perfidious Jews” that were for centuries part of the Good Friday liturgy.

In an article late last month in the newspaper Il Sole-24 Ore, Professor Fattorini cited a work by the historian Hubert Wolf (in Historische Zeitschrift in 2004) showing that the future Cardinal Idelfonso Schuster OSB was sharply reprimanded by the Holy Office in January 1928 for requesting the change. The Benedictine, who became Archbishop of Milan a year after the incident and was beatified in 1996, made the request on behalf of a shortlived Catholic association called “Amici di Israele” (Friends of Israel). The group was founded in 1926 to combat theological anti-Semitism and included some 19 cardinals (including the Vatican Secretary of State), 279 bishops and 3,000 priests. To underline Vatican opposition to the proposed change in the Good Friday prayer, the Secretary of the Holy Office – Cardinal Rafael Merry del Val – ordered “Amici di Israele” to be disbanded in March 1928, saying it promoted “interconfessionalism” and “religious indifferentism”.

An article last Sunday in Il Corriere della Sera cited other recent historical studies showing that Pope Pius VII blocked efforts to eliminate liturgical references to the “perfidious Jews” in 1808. The article cited an essay by Msgr Giuseppe Croce, an archivist in the Vatican Archives, which chronicled the little-known episode. After conquering Tuscany in the spring of 1808, Napoleon ordered all the churches in the region to make two changes in the Good Friday prayers: to substitute the “prayer for the emperor” with a prayer for Napoleon; and, because he believed it “injurious”, to substitute the prayer for the “perfidious Jews” with one for the “blinded Jews”. Pius VII allowed the first change, but strongly refused the second. “If we were to change [the prayer] it would appear that the Church had erred up to now,” the Pope said.

 

 Whatever else this might be, this is really interesting!

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38 Responses to “Vatican blocked reform of anti-Semitic prayer”: The Tablet

  1. Pius VII says:

    What are people implying with the charges they level against calling the Jews “perfidi”? Are they saying that this was…a somewhat unwise thing to say? A false thing? An immoral thing?(!) A SIN?!?!?!

    Father, I know that the main defense for the validity of the Novus Ordo is the fact that it was put forward by the Church, and that if it is not truly a Mass (and therefore superstition or some other sort of sin) or if it is inherently evil, then the Church has failed in her mission. The Church’s indefectibility prevents the Church from promoting things which are inherently sinful in her official practice. Would not the Church’s indefectibility mean that this expression is NOT sinful, and that it has to be interpreted with a hermeneutic of continuity with the rest of Catholic teaching such that it is not unjustly calling Jews wicked or perfidious, but rather merely just calling them “faithless” (the primary definition of the Latin “perfidus”; it means that they do not have faith in Christ)? It seems to me that an orthodox Catholic can say nothing worse of this expression than that it is politically incorrect. Are my instincts correct on this one, Fr. Z? I don’t want to say anything incorrect, so I would openly invite people who know more about theology to correct me if I’m not right on this one.

    What I said then HAS come to pass. The current public opinion is that the Church erred up until the time that they changed the prayer (As an aside, for a supposedly Catholic publication, the Tablet certainly doesn’t seem to be doing much to dispel that idea in this article.).

  2. Fabrizio says:

    Not surprising to read the name of Emma Fattorini on the Tablet, they’re perfect for each otther both in terms of accuracy and intellectual honesty. She is one of the leading Catholic defamers of Pius XII in Italy and the author of countless articles, books and essays aiming at showing how evil Eugenio Pacelli was and how the “inherent” anti-semitism of the Church led to Auschwitz and the alleged indulgence towards Hitler. The newspaper Avvenire (owned by the Italian Bishops conference) attacked one of her recent works last may exposing its stunning lack of accuracy and the brazen misuse of sources.

    The aim of these authors is that of giving a “scientific” support to the hermeneutics of rupture applied to the history of the Church and most important to attack the very institution of the papacy, so even Pius XII is just red-herring. As long as the Church remains rooted in her “stiff institutionalism” the “change” brought about by the Second Vatican Council of their fantasies will never be complete. Sandro Magister had great pieces on this.

    See COL Forum:

    http://forum.catholic.org/viewtopic.php?t=25785

  3. Sumiko Matsui says:

    I think it is ridiculous to accomodate Jewish sensibilities and feelings in the Catholic Mass and prayers. After all, are there not many Jewish prayers which are insulting to those who are not Jews? They even have a word (very insulting) to describe people who ate not Jews (Goyim).
    Every religion (with the possible exception of Buddhism), has prayers which are offensive to those not of the same faith. The Muslims have some really chilling references to people not of the faoth.
    It is absurd for the Catholic Church to beat itself to death with guilt over prayers that were/are insulting to Jews. If these prayers were removed from the traditional Tridentine Latin Mass, then the were removed. Case closed.
    But for authors, scholars (many of who are anti-Catholic bigots such as the German protestant who concocted the play called I believe “The Deputy” in 1963 which made horrible false accusations against Pius XII for not saving or speaking up for Jews during WW II, ) to constantly bring these old issues up for the purpose of fanning anti-Catholic bigotry is something the Vatican should not even respond to. We should know these people who who and what they are, and not dignify their causes by responding to them so defensively. It makes the Catholic Church look like it actually WAS/IS guilty of something of grave offense, which any rational and objective person would know is untrue.

  4. Jordan Potter says:

    Sumiko Matsui said: They even have a word (very insulting) to describe people who are not Jews (Goyim).

    The word “Goyim” or “Gentiles” (“Nations”) is no more insulting than the word “Jews” is. It’s a perfectly biblical word, found through Holy Scripture. If you find goyim insulting, then don’t read the Bible or you’re going to be offended a lot.

  5. TJM says:

    This is so tiring, and so typical of leftists. Tom

  6. mark says:

    Look at the maps posted in the following blog that shows where Hitler garnered the most votes in the 1932 election and where Catholics lived at that time: Catholic Church Conservation and then explain how the prayer fermented anti-Semitism…

  7. Xavier says:

    Where is Thomas Aquinas when we need him?

    I can see Pius VII’s thinking in this matter. It appears that those who wanted “perfidious” removed in his day were attacking not a perceived insult to a people, but a known theology; that is, that the Church is the one, true Faith.

    Has anything changed?

  8. Xavier says:

    While we’re on the subject of false ecumenism…

    I just read this in Chronicles (Douglas Wilson, Sept 2007, pg.9):

    “The Reformed preacher Martyn Lloyd-Jones once said this about the ecumenical movement – and it seems pertinent somehow – ‘You cannot bring about a resurrection by putting all the corpses into one graveyard.’

  9. Si fallor, perfidi in Latin simply means faithless. It doesn’t have a pejorative connotation, except in modern vernacular language. Do the Jews believe that our Blessed Lord was truly the Messiah? If not then they are in fact perfidi, the faithless.

  10. Richard says:

    The Holocaust was caused by a man named Hitler. When he started spreading antisemitic propoganda in Germany, there were few civil rights organizations who began complaining about how insensitive or politically incorrect it was to be spreading such propoganda. The fact that such organizations didn’t exist I’m sure had very little to do with how the Good Friday prayer was translated. It may have had something to do with the fact that it was the late 1930′s. The problem with such theories is that they impose the current popular status quo on the social mind which existed back then. It’s an anachronism.

  11. The word “Goyim” or “Gentiles” (“Nations”) is no more insulting than the word “Jews” is. It’s a perfectly biblical word, found through Holy Scripture. If you find goyim insulting, then don’t read the Bible or you’re going to be offended a lot.

    This furthers my overall point on this subject. Goyim is a perfectly acceptable word as Biblical Hebrew goes, and our Lord probably used this word, and perhaps it would be present if the New Testament were written in Hebrew. However, the way it is used in the present vernacular gives the impression of something pejorative. Perfidious sounds like something nasty and smelly, Goyim sounds like something low and sub-human, and one feels such impressions by the use of those words, even though both are perfectly innocent in their own right place. Thus, just as readily as Jewish groups will tell us there is nothing wrong with Goyim, we should tell them there is nothing wrong with perfidi, especially given that the former is more prevalent than the latter, which is said on only one stinking day.

  12. What I find absolutely hilarious, and sad, is how the west universally gives itself a slap on the back for stopping anti-semitism, while in 1935 at the Evian conference in Switzerland they universally agreed not to take in Jewish refugees. A boat of the said refugees made it to Ellis Island and they were turned back, only to die in concentration camps thanks to America’s “tolerance”. Pius XI and Pius XII were the only figures who helped Jews in Europe. The Protestant “Confessing Church”, and the Catholic Church were the only institutions in Germany to oppose Hitler’s courts for genetic purity, but they tell us Pius XII who gave up his summer residence to house and protect Jews was an anti-semite and worked with Hitler. How many liberals gave up one of their summer homes in 1942 for Jews? Zero. Case closed.

  13. Luca says:

    David Dalin, a Jew who defends Pope Pius XII, says in his book that Pope Pius XI disbanded “Friends of Israel” because they were publishing pamphlets which showed hatred against Jewish people.

  14. Tim H says:

    IICC (If I construe Correctly) perfidis does not really correspond to the modern English connotation of the word “faithless”, which would rather be “infidis”, that is, being devoid of faith. Rather “perfidis” seems to connote a faith, that, while existent, is of a defective nature, and there is no word in English for this, perhaps “lacking in faith” or “faulty in faith” might capture the sense better.
    Hmm… “Fawlty in faith”??? Basil enters a monastery!

  15. Jordan Potter says:

    Philip said: Goyim is a perfectly acceptable word as Biblical Hebrew goes, and our Lord probably used this word, and perhaps it would be present if the New Testament were written in Hebrew.

    Without a doubt Jesus used that word and it would have been used in the New Testament if Hebrew had been used to write the New Testament. (Matthew reportedly was written in “Hebrew,” which many claim actually means “Aramaic” but more likely means Hebrew, so St. Matthew would have used the word in his Gospel.) Any noun can be used as an insult, of course, but there’s no reason for Gentiles to take offense when someone points out that they are Gentiles (i.e. not Jewish).

    However, the way it is used in the present vernacular gives the impression of something pejorative.

    Maybe some Jews use it that way. I wouldn’t know. I’ve never been offended by the term “Gentile” or “Goy,” and I don’t think most Jews use it as a pejorative. It’s not the equivalent of “pagan” or “heathen” or “idol worshipper.” It just means one of God’s children who happens not to be a descendant of Jacob.

    Perfidious sounds like something nasty and smelly, Goyim sounds like something low and sub-human, and one feels such impressions by the use of those words, even though both are perfectly innocent in their own right place.

    “Perfidious” is an English word that means “treacherous” or “disloyal.” There is no positive connotation of the word “perfidious.” If someone is perfidious, it’s not a good thing. If someone is a Gentile, it may or may not be a bad thing, because Gentiles can worship the God of Israel without becoming Jews.

    In the traditional Good Friday liturgy, we rightly pray for the conversion of the Jews, as we should pray for the conversion of all peoples. But the language of the traditional prayer can be taken quite the wrong way, both by Catholics and by Jews. First, perfidi doesn’t necessarily mean “treacherous,” but can be rendered “faithless” or “unbelieving.” Now, that’s a bad thing, but it doesn’t mean that Jews are all congenitally faithless or treacherous or disloyal. Second, the prayer says that God doesn’t withhold His mercy “even to the Jews.” The way that is said, it seems to imply that Jews are of all peoples the least likely to be accessible to God’s grace, as if they are as a race the worst of all, as if Jews today are specially guilty of something certain Jews did long ago, i.e. crucify Christ. The prayer can, however, be taken to mean that although one might mistakenly think God would withhold His mercy from the Jews, nevertheless He shows mercy to all, even to the Jews, no matter what some of their ancestors did 2,000 years ago. So the traditional Good Friday prayer, while capable of misinterpretation (and many Catholics did misinterpret it), is perfectly acceptable when understood in the context of the Catholic faith. But in light of the long, sad history of Catholic anti-Semitism and in the aftermath of the Holocaust, it’s quite understandable and very appropriate that the Church would modify the prayer. I rather think it was modified a bit too much (and is now capable of being misinterpreted to mean Jews have no need to convert to Catholicism and can be saved by observing the Law of Moses, which the Scriptures say cannot save anyone), but it was wise and fitting that something be done about the traditional prayer.

  16. I fail to see how this “paved the way for the holocaust?”
    You’d think liberals would be a bit more subtle with their bitterness towards the Church.

  17. Tim, that’s been my impression of perfidus, too, and it may very well have been the way that it was used in

    Ecclesiastical Latin. The earlier Classical Latin usage is a different story, however, with it bearing quite the

    same connotation as “perfidious” in English.

    Here is the Lewis & Short entry:
    perfÄ­dus , a, um, adj. per-fides,
    I. that breaks his promise, faithless, false, dishonest, treacherous, perfidious.
    I. Lit. (class.; syn. infidus): “vanum et perfidiosum esse,” Cic. Quint. 6, 26: “omnes, aliud agentes,

    aliud simulantes, perfidi, improbi, malitiosi sunt,” id. Off. 3, 14, 60.
    —(β). With gen. (poet.): “gens perfida pacti,” faithless, Sil. 1, 5.
    —b. Of inanim. and abstr. things (poet.): “bella,” Sil. 15, 819: “nex,” effected by treachery, Sen.

    Agam. 887: “arma,” Ov. F. 4, 380: “verba,” id. R. Am. 722.
    —c. Adverb.: perfidum ridens Venus (= maligne ac dolose), Hor. C. 3, 27, 67.
    —As subst.: perfĭdus , i, m., a scoundrel, Juv. 13, 245; 9, 82.
    —II. Transf., treacherous, unsafe, dangerous (poet. and in post-class. prose): “freta,” Sen. Med.

    302: “saxa,” id. Agam. 570: “perfidum glacie flumen,” Flor. 3, 4, 5: “perfida et lubrica via,” Prop. 4 (5), 4, 49:

    “vappa,” wretched wine that has a good appearance, Mart. 12, 48, 14.
    —Sup.: “homo, quoad vixerat, perfidissimus,” Amm. 16, 12, 25.
    —Adv.: perfĭdē , faithlessly, perfidiously, treacherously (post-Aug.): “perfide recuperans,”

    Sen. Contr. 4, 26: “rumpere pactum,” Gell. 20, 1, 54: “agere,” Dig. 26, 7, 55: “quod perfide gestum est,” ib. 44,

    4, 4, § 13.

    That’s kind of messy to read, but the definitions are pretty clear.

  18. Jason says:

    The prayer itself is very Biblical. St. Stephen says in Acts, “You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you.” If that were in the Liturgy today, it would most certainly be labeled “anti-Semitic” even though St. Stephen was a Jew.

    I’m not saying that prayer should not have been reformed for prudential reasons, since we live in a different world than St. Stephen did and Jews today are not in the same situation as Jews then, but it certainly was not an anti-Semitic prayer and there is nothing to be condemned if it had remained or if it is prayed in the Tridentine Liturgy.

  19. Jason says:

    *Just to clarify, the prayer I was referring to that could be reformed was the Liturgical prayer on Good Friday, not the Biblical text from St. Stephen.

  20. Danby says:

    We have found the cause of the Holocaust! One line in one prayer, heard once a year, in a foreign language, which as the liberals will always remind us the people did not understand. That must be it!

    And remember, personal missals date from the 18th century.

  21. Christopher Sarsfield says:

    I think Lewis and Short is correct. I also believe they usually give the late meanings of words (ie ecclesiastical, but not theological or philosophical). In the Jewish Covenant, the Jews promised to accept the Messiah, yet they rejected Him, therefore they had broken their word, so I think the prayer always went beyond just faithless, as the Lewis and Short definition implies. I also think Pius VII had a great point. The prayer for the Jews including the perfidi can not be sinful or evil, and when the Church changed the prayer, they made it seem as if it were wrong. The current Pope pointed out the same with regard to the changes in the Mass.

    Finally, on another note. I thought Pius XII revised the prayer when he revised Holy week, but most references are to John XXIII. Did Pius XII or John XXIII revise the prayer?

  22. Jordan Potter says:

    Christopher Sarsfield said: In the Jewish Covenant, the Jews promised to accept the Messiah, yet they rejected Him, therefore they had broken their word, so I think the prayer always went beyond just faithless, as the Lewis and Short definition implies.

    The historical background of the use of perfidus in this prayer probably takes in more that just the rejection of Jesus as Messiah by most Jews of His day, but also involved an emphasis or a dwelling on the numerous examples of Jewish unfaithfulness to the Covenant throughout their history. Throughout the Church’s history, there has been a tendency in many circles to see historical Jewish moral failings and Jewish refusal to believe in Jesus as the most important thing Christians need to know about Jews. This attitude is perhaps reflected (and in any case was seen as reflected) in the way the traditional Good Friday prayer was composed, and in addressing that tendency it was not possible that the Church would not look at her liturgy.

  23. Hugh says:

    re Jordan Potter:
    “Maybe some Jews use it that way. I wouldn’t know. I’ve never been offended by the term “Gentile” or “Goy,” and I don’t think most Jews use it as a pejorative. It’s not the equivalent of “pagan” or “heathen” or “idol worshipper.” It just means one of God’s children who happens not to be a descendant of Jacob.”

    Not being across all the nuances, but

    according to the American Heritage Dictionary:

    Goy (goi) Pronunciation Key
    n. pl. goy·im (goi’Ä­m) or goys Offensive
    Used as a disparaging term for one who is not a Jew.

    This does line up with my own experience.

  24. Jordan Potter says:

    Okay, so Hugh cites his own experience and a definition in the infallible American Heritage Dictionary. Meanwhile the equally infallible Dictionary.com says “goy” is “Often Disparaging” (citing the Random House Unabridged Dictionary), but in their citations of the Online Rtymology Dictionary and Princeton University’s WordNet the definitions don’t say that it is often or always used as a disparaging term.

    As I said, by my experience I wouldn’t know if the Hebrew and Yiddish word “goy” is usually disparaging. I do know, however, that in the Scriptures it is usually not disparaging. One can see how it would become a disparaging term, however, since throughout history most of us Goyim have been idolaters, and Jews have frequently encountered anti-Semitism in their dealings with the goyim. Apparently the word has even been used to refer to a “Jew ignorant of the Jewish religion,” which would certainly not be a compliment.

  25. DoB says:

    Is it true that these Catholic prayers for the Jews formented hatred?
    Lets take a look
    Nazi support
    Judge for yourself!

  26. Somerset '76 says:

    I’m glad to see other commenters identify this anti-Catholic nonsense for what it is. If you look at all of the constituent groups protected by “political correctness,” you will see that in the major cases, these are constituencies that have one particular thing in common: a malevolent hatred of Christ, His Church, and Christian civilization and moral-cultural sensibilities. And all of them identify Christendom and its social order as the “infamous thing” that must be crushed, a la Voltaire.

  27. Jordan Potter says:

    Is it true that these Catholic prayers for the Jews formented hatred?

    Those prayers neither “formented” nor “fermented” anti-Jewish hatred, but they undeniably played a role throughout history in “fomenting” anti-Jewish hatred.

    Speaking of things anti-Semitic and alleged anti-Semitic, I was very surprised to see that the late Father John Hardon, SJ, listed the following saints for tomorrow, Aug. 27:

    27 MONICA (MEM)
    Marcellus and Companions, m.; Poemen, abt.; Caesarius of Arles, bp.; Syagrius, bp.; Hugh or Little Hugh of Lincoln; Margaret the Barefooted, wd.; David Lewis, pr., m.

    Little Hugh of Lincoln is one of the old “blood libel saints” who were all removed from the calendar and their cults suppressed, and I was very surprised that Fr. Hardon’s version of the martyrology still included him. (Little Hugh was certainly a murder victim, and is apparently a saint in heaven, but the horrendous allegation that he was killed by the Jews of Lincoln as a human sacrifice at Passover time is not verifiable, to say the least, and is something the Church won’t touch with a ten foot pole.)

  28. fr.franklyn mcafee says:

    Pope JohnXXIII removed the term “perfidious” from the Good Friday rite.It was not Pope Pius XII who I believed removed another Good Friday ritual which was perceived as being “anti-Jewish”,and that was the omission of kneeling at the Prayer for the Jews. I have a relative who is Orthodox Jew,and she uses the term goyim as an insult.

  29. Eufemia Budicin says:

    Il Sole 24 Ore, the employers’ federation newspaper has
    Mrs. Fattorini’s articles.In Italy journalists selfmade
    historians (Augias) or historians only too happy to write on
    newspapers (Melloni) have realized they may
    loose their power on Italian intellectuals – so the catholic
    Church with this pope is always an inspiring source to find a
    scapegoat. But, here, most people never read newspapers. Eufemia Budicin

  30. dcs says:

    Jordan Potter writes:
    Those prayers neither “formented” nor “fermented” anti-Jewish hatred, but they undeniably played a role throughout history in “fomenting” anti-Jewish hatred.

    I deny it. You’re going to have to do better than to bring up the blood libel as evidence for the Good Friday Prayer for the Jews fomenting hatred.

    As far as Little Hugh of Lincoln is concerned, the motive for charging the Jews with ritual murder in his case seems to have been financial rather than religious.

    I don’t know whether Little Hugh’s cultus or that of William of Norwich was ever suppressed (that of Simon of Trent’s was).

  31. I find all this uproar about one prayer that used to occur once a year rather funny in one sense. Nowadays people don’t even really pay attention to the prayers in the vernacular, what makes anyone think this prayer causes anti-Semitism?

  32. RBrown says:

    European Anti-Semitism has been more a consequence of nationalism than of religion.

  33. Jordan Potter says:

    dcs said: You’re going to have to do better than to bring up the blood libel as evidence for the Good Friday Prayer for the Jews fomenting hatred.

    It’s not just the blood libel, and my comments above touch on other considerations besides the blood libel. When seen within the warp and woof of the centuries of harsh anti-Judaism in Catholic theology, and the old canon law and secular law that ghettoised Jews, the traditional Good Friday prayer has to be taken as one of the things that contributed to and helped foster historical Catholic anti-Semitism, for the reasons I mentioned previously (i.e. God showing mercy “even to the Jews,” suggesting the belief that God being merciful to Jewish sinners is less likely or more astonishing than God being merciful to Gentile sinners).

    RBrown said: European Anti-Semitism has been more a consequence of nationalism than of religion.

    In more recent centuries that is true, but European anti-Semitism existed for many centuries before the evolution of nationalism in Europe (mainly a late medieval and post-medieval phenomenon), and indeed apparently predates Christianity.

    dcs said: As far as Little Hugh of Lincoln is concerned, the motive for charging the Jews with ritual murder in his case seems to have been financial rather than religious.

    Even so, the charge of ritual murder is itself an essentially religious one, as it involves an accusation regarding the alleged religious practices of Jews, and arose in the cultural context of fear and antipathy towards Jews, often superstititious fear.

    I don’t know whether Little Hugh’s cultus or that of William of Norwich was ever suppressed (that of Simon of Trent’s was).

    You may be right. At some websites I’d seen Little Hugh’s cult described as suppressed, but this one says it and other blood libel saints’ cults (including William of Norwich) are still approved:

    http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/rinn.html

    There also seems to be a discrepancy on the date of Little Hugh’s day: I find some saying Aug. 27 and others saying July 27.

  34. dcs says:

    Mr. Potter,

    That still doesn’t prove causation. What was the status of the Jews in, say, Russia, where the Byzantine Rite was used?

    God showing mercy “even to the Jews,” suggesting the belief that God being merciful to Jewish sinners is less likely or more astonishing than God being merciful to Gentile sinners

    I take it to mean that God shows mercy even on those who have rejected His Son. Yes, that kind of mercy is quite astonishing.

  35. Jordan Potter says:

    dcs said: That still doesn’t prove causation.

    I’m not sure how one could go about proving that a thing that is one of a hundred elements that contributes to a result is in fact one of the causes. All we know is that the traditional Good Friday prayer for the Jews describes “Jews” as “treacherous” or “disloyal” or “perfidious” (whereas it is only those Jews who rejected and crucified Jesus who could deserve such opprobrium: if the prayer is referring to all Jews, then the prayer is inaccurate and unfair), and seems to imply that the guilt for Christ’s death is uniquely the inheritance of all non-Christian Jews. We also know that anti-Semitic Catholics have had their unworthy attitudes towards Jews reinforced by the liturgy, among other things.

    What was the status of the Jews in, say, Russia, where the Byzantine Rite was used?

    Not very good. And as I understand it, the liturgies of the Eastern churches also have certainly elements that have, whether rightly or wrongly, raised red flags as allegedly anti-Semitic (but I don’t know that much about Eastern liturgy, so I could judge if what I’ve read about these things is accurate or not). But again, it isn’t going to be easy to establish that such-and-such prayer caused anti-Semitism, since the prayer is in part a reflection and expression of a culture in which anti-Semitism was common. It reasonable to say, however, that a particular prayer helped to foment anti-Semitism, or helped to foster a culture in which anti-Semitism could readily take root and flourish.

    I take it to mean that God shows mercy even on those who have rejected His Son. Yes, that kind of mercy is quite astonishing.

    As I have said, the prayer is capable of being interpreted in a way that avoids anti-Semitism or implied anti-Semitism. But it is also easily misinterpreted, especially in light of the history of Catholic anti-Semitism, and most of all in the aftermath of the anti-Christian Nazi Holocaust, so it was only fitting that the prayer be modified in some way. At the very least, we ought to be praying not only for the conversion of “perfidious” Jews, but for any non-Christian Jew, whether they have knowingly and intentionally rejected their Messiah or not.

  36. RBrown says:

    RBrown said: European Anti-Semitism has been more a consequence of nationalism than of religion.

    In more recent centuries that is true, but European anti-Semitism existed for many centuries before the evolution of nationalism in Europe (mainly a late medieval and post-medieval phenomenon), and indeed apparently predates Christianity.

    That’s true, but before nationalism there was tribalism–the Germanic peoples East of the Rhine, the Franks (West of it), the Slavs, the Longobards, the Italics, et al. The practice of Judaism reminded those from European tribes that the Jews were from somewhere else.

  37. Jordan Potter says:

    RBrown said: “the Slavs, the Longobards, the Italics, et al.”

    You sure you didn’t mean “the Slavs, the Longobards, the Italics, et al.”

    Just kidding!!!!