John Allen’s on the older Good Friday prayers and the Pope’s USA trip

The indefatigible fair-minded and nearly ubiquitous former Rome correspondent of the über-liberal National Catholic Reporter, Mr. John L. Allen, Jr., has a piece on the site of the NCR about the Good Friday Prayer for the Jews in the 1962 Missale Romanum.  Let’s have a look with my emphases and comments:

 Vatican faces ticking clock on prayer for conversion of Jews
By John L Allen Jr
Created Jan 9 2008 – 10:05

By JOHN L. ALLEN JR.
New York

The Vatican notoriously does not like to make decisions down the barrel of a gun, [Perhaps this is a little dramatic, but it captures your attention.] and with good reason – moments of crisis driven by outside pressure rarely make for careful policy. Yet there’s an important choice facing the Vatican these days, accompanied by a ticking clock that could create an unusual sense of urgency.

Here it is in a nutshell: What to do about a Good Friday prayer for the conversion of Jews contained in the old Latin rite, which has been authorized for wider use by Pope Benedict XVI? The ticking clock is created by the liturgical calendar: Good Friday falls this year on March 21, just nine weeks away.

(As a footnote, I refer to the “old rite” rather than “old Mass” because, of course, Mass is not celebrated on Good Friday. [Good for him!   He got this exactly right.] Pre-consecrated hosts are distributed during a liturgical commemoration of the Passion of Christ.)

While this would be of concern under any circumstances, [Well... I think that can be disputed.] the timeline is further complicated by the fact that Benedict XVI will arrive in the United States just three weeks after Good Friday, and will meet with an inter-religious delegation expected to include Jews. The last thing organizers want is a cloud of Jewish/Catholic tension hanging over the event. [Yah... and the endlessly bitchy harping on the issue that is sure to float to the upper layers of the New York Times before the event.] It’s an especially acute sentiment given memories of Joseph Ratzinger’s last visit to New York, in 1988, when a handful of rabbis refused to meet him in protest over comments allegedly suggesting that Christianity is the “fulfillment” of Judaism[And... well... it is.]

If a reminder were needed of Jewish sensitivities about the Good Friday prayer, which among other things asks God to “lift the veil from their hearts,” the Anti-Defamation League included it on a late December list of “Top Ten Issues Affecting Jews in 2007.” The ADL called the possible revival of the prayer “a theological setback to the reforms of Vatican II, and a challenge to Catholic-Jewish relations.”  [Shall we ask the ADL about some of the things in the Jewish tradition that might be a problem for Christians?]

(To be sure, the ADL statement did not go down well in some Catholic circles. Putting Benedict XVI on the same list of anti-Semitic offenders as Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, for example, struck even some Catholics deeply committed to Jewish/Christian dialogue, and who are themselves concerned about the Good Friday prayer, as excessive. Nonetheless, it’s an indicator that the prayer remains a live issue.)

At one level, this may seem an easy fix. Last July, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, said the problem could be solved by substituting the prayer for Jews found in the post-Vatican II liturgy for Good Friday, which no longer refers to conversion but rather asks that Jews “may arrive at the fullness of redemption.” Since the original texts of the new liturgy are in Latin, it would be fairly simple to ask communities celebrating the old rite to use the Latin version of the more recent prayer.  [Simple is a relative term here, I think.   Just because the prayer is in Latin doesn't mean that people are so stupid that they won't know it is a different prayer.]

(In a mid-November consultation between the U.S. bishops’ conference and the National Council of Synagogues, Fr. Dennis McManus, a liturgical expert, also floated the idea of finding another ancient prayer, or creating a new one, but most experts regard these as more complicated and long-term possibilities. Aside from questions of content, the advantage of the prayer in the post-Vatican II rite is that it’s already been approved for liturgical use.)

[QUAERITUR:] So, why not just decree immediately that the Latin version of the more recent prayer be used by everyone, thereby defusing the bomb before it goes off?  [Ehem... the old phrase fluctus in simpulo applies here.  Is this really a "bomb"?  Will this issue really affect many people outside the offices of the ADL or the UN or the NYT?  Really?]

Part of the answer, of course, is simply the normal leisurely course of affairs in the Vatican. More deeply, however, experts say the real problem is fear of a slippery slope: [A well-founded fear, IMO.] If church authorities are willing to revise the Good Friday prayer for the Jews on the grounds that it’s not consistent with the teaching of Vatican II, [?] what about other elements of the old rite that, according to some, raise similar questions? [Doesn't this presuppose that the documents of the Council and the texts of the older Missale are "discontinuous"?  That could be disputed too.]

For example, the Good Friday liturgy also contains prayer for heretics and schismatics (meaning Protestants) and for pagans (meaning non-Christians). Should those prayers too be revised, since they don’t reflect the more sensitive argot of Vatican II? [Interesting chocie of words, and insight here.  "Argot" refers to the terms used by a group or a special vocabulary.] More broadly, some critics charge that much of the symbolism and language of the old Mass is inconsistent with the vision of the council. [THIS, friends, is the real issue.] Should all that be put on the operating table? If so, one might fairly ask, what was the point of Benedict’s ruling in the first place?

Creating a precedent for selective editing of the old rite, in other words, could open the door to death by a thousand cuts[!]

Given that concern, it’s not clear how the uncertainty over the Good Friday prayer might be resolved, and perhaps equally critically, when. Bertone announced this week in an interview with the Italian magazine Famiglia Cristiana that the Vatican is working on a document clarifying implementation of the pope’s ruling, but offered no sense of timing.  [I was told at Ecclesia Dei during my last visit that it would come before Easter.]

Those interested in Jewish/Catholic relations, and in the outcome of Benedict’s trip to the United States, will certainly be watching.

Two other points are in order. I’ve made both before, but since this controversy hasn’t gone away, they bear repeating.

First, Catholics have been able to celebrate the pre-Vatican rite with permission from their local bishop since Pope John Paul II authorized it with a special indult in 1984. For the last 24 years, therefore, a handful of Catholics have been reciting the old prayer for the conversion of the Jews each Good Friday – without, in the eyes of most experts, any appreciable impact on Jewish/Catholic relations. Of course, the difference this time around is that Benedict’s motu proprio has raised the profile of the old rite, ensuring that saying the prayer this time would be a cause célèbre. [At least for some of the media.]

Second, a bit of misunderstanding continues to circulate in some quarters about Benedict’s ruling, one which affects the Good Friday controversy. Because the pope decreed that priests should not celebrate private Masses in the old rite during Holy Week, some have concluded that the Good Friday prayer would never be used in any event. In fact, however, the pope made a distinction between private Masses and public celebrations for stable communities. ["stable" is a problematic word here, but you all know that.] Where Catholics routinely worship according to the old rite, they will continue to do so during Holy Week, and therefore would use the old Good Friday prayers – absent any contrary instructions from the Vatican.  [Well.. yes and no.  Here is the situation as I understand it. In those places where the Novus Ordo is the usual Mass and the older Missale is used regulary, but not as the usual liturgy, then there is no problem.  In those places, the Novus Ordo, the ordinary form, must be used for Holy Week.  And since you are to have only one celebration of the Holy Week liturgies in a place, that would eliminate celebrations of the Good Friday service with the 1962 Missale.  However, in those chapels or parishes where the older form of liturgy is used exclusively, and there is no "competition" on the schedule with the Novus Ordo for time slots, then the Holy Week liturgies in the older Missale will be used.   We are talking, therefore, not about every church where the older form is in use alongside the Novus Ordo on Sundays, Holy Days, or even week days, but about a small number of places where only the older form is in use.]

In August, I published a comment that makes the point: “There is no doubt that the motu proprio permits public celebration of the ‘62 Missal during Holy Week in parishes with a stable group [Again, the bad translation.] of faithful,” said Msgr. James Moroney, former executive director of the Secretariat for the Liturgy for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

 

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51 Responses to John Allen’s on the older Good Friday prayers and the Pope’s USA trip

  1. Joshua says:

    The major issue I have with this supposed problem is this: the ADL and others view inter religious dialogue as if it meant that the Church dropped the idea of conversion.

    Hence even the 1965 prayers, which differ from the 1970 insofar as they explicitly mention coming to Christ, would cause hell. Some Catholics seem to think it is only the harsher language, when in reality the objection is to the substance of the prayer. The 1970 prayer CAN and SHOULD be prayed intending the same thing as the 1962 prayer; the only difference is that the 1970 prayer is vague enough to interpret it contrary to the real intent.

    I am sure the ADL would have a fuss if the pope did stick the 1970 prayer in, but interpreted that prayer in an orthodox fashion. It is time we stop letting ourselves be beat in the head for every little offence taken. Christians did do evils to Jews, fine. But, though we should learn from that and reconcile, it does not mean cowering to what another religion dictates.

  2. faustina says:

    I have a book by a Father Klyber, a Jewish convert to Catholism. He is
    emphatic in that book that it is a disservice not to pray for the
    conversion of the Jews. He thought it better to state that Jesus is the
    highest good. It is not an act of disrespec to wish the Highest Good for a
    person.

  3. Pope Evaristus, Martyr says:

    I could not be more outraged or hurt that today’s Jews have the gall to try and dictate our liturgical prayers to us.

    Someone needs to take them to task for this.

    We should NOT let them get away with this, if we are true servants of God.

    It is not only ridiculous, it is a disgrace. When will they stop disgracing themselves? They could not be more wrong with regard to this matter.

  4. danphunter1 says:

    If the liberal loud mouthed branch of Judaism, wants to exclude themslves from eternal salvation, let them, for by their God given gift of free will they cannot be forced or coerced to convert, but by the same token, then,the Church cannot be coerced into dropping those great prayers of charity for the conversion of all that are outside the Mystical Body.
    By the grace of Almighty God, through prayers such as the 1962 Good Friday prayers, we truly show our love for the Jews, heretics and apostates.
    What more could God want?
    God bless you.

  5. Fr. Paul McDonald says:

    But Father !
    But Father !
    The new rite, in the Liturgy of the hours, contains prayers that the Jews would accept our Lord as Messiah. That is, it prays for their conversion. Perhaps this severe editoral work should also go through the Divine Office.

  6. Henry Edwards says:

    For example, the Good Friday liturgy also contains prayer for heretics and schismatics (meaning Protestants) and for pagans (meaning non-Christians). Should those prayers too be revised, since they don’t reflect the more sensitive argot of Vatican II?

    Are there really Catholics who don’t think we should pray for the conversion of heretics, schismatics, and pagans? (In case of an affirmative answer, I’d ask the same question with “real” instead of “really”.)

  7. danphunter1 says:

    Henry:
    No.
    God bless you

  8. Fr Renzo di Lorenzo says:

    John Allen, the sensationalist par excellence.

    Did Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, really say that the problem could be solved by substituting the prayer for Jews found in the post-Vatican II liturgy for Good Friday? The USCCB revised version of the facts provides a more careful if not slicker presentation of the facts, something about Bertone reporting the consideration of others, etc.

    =========================

    John Allen, the heretic.

    Our illustrious reporter claims that the 1970 prayer “no longer refers to conversion but rather asks that Jews “’may arrive at the fullness of redemption.’” He thinks that the fullness of redemption does not include being Catholic. He’s a dispensationalist, which proves the danger of the prayer as it is. Is there ANYONE listening in the Eternal City? Time to wake up.

    =========================

    John Allen, the force-the-conclusion-by-using-the-word-”IF” reporter:

    “If church authorities are willing to revise the Good Friday prayer for the Jews on the grounds that it’s not consistent with the teaching of Vatican II, [?] what about…” etc.?

    That’s one hell of a leap on an “IF” there, John Allen… with hell being the operative word…

    You may belong to a new and improved “church”, John Allen; I’ll remain Catholic.

    For your consideration, John Allen:

    http://wdtprs.com/blog/2008/01/a-curious-point-in-a-usccb-press-release-on-catholic-jewish-relations/

    Check out the last few entries of that post.

  9. Bruce T. says:

    This is so ridiculous!

    How many of us have had a priest try to ridicule the use of Latin in the liturgy by saying that they will say Mass in Latin if we make our confession in Latin? Or, we hear the argument that we cannot have Mass in Latin (even the N.O.) because no one understands it.

    But, wait! I guess that on Good Friday Liturgy these same people think that Catholics all of a sudden can understand Latin! So, now we should use the Latin prayers of the Novus Ordo.
    [If they really see the texts as interchangeable, how wouldthey like if extraordinary form prayers were used at the ordinary form?]

    For the anti-tradition forces it’s all about control – their control. They act like children changing the argument to fit their conclusion. They’re nothing but fascist bullies; and as a wise priest who often offers Sunday Mass in Scarsdale, NY once said, “Scratch a liberal, find a fascist.”

  10. Andrew says:

    “Are there really Catholics who don’t think we should pray for the conversion of heretics, schismatics, and pagans? (In case of an affirmative answer, I’d ask the same question with “real” instead of “really”.)
    Comment by Henry Edwards — 10 January 2008 @ 12:45 pm ”

    My ex-girlfriend is one of those people who think we shouldn’t pray for them. At an Advent Mass, the petitions were for Jews and Muslims celebrating their “holidays.” Afterwards I made the comment to her that, rather than pray for them as they celebrate their “holidays,” we should pray for their conversion to the One, True Faith. And she got upset with that. There are numerous poorly catechized, half-Protestant Catholics out there…

  11. Hugh says:

    One could argue that in the OF, there is still an explicit prayer for the conversion of the Jews, even though the specific prayer for the Jews is rendered ambiguous.

    Since the Jews don’t believe in Christ, they also fall within the scope of the adjacent Good Friday prayer:

    “Let us pray for those who do not believe in Christ, that the light of the Holy Spirit may show them the way of salvation.

    Almighty and eternal God, enable those who do not acknowledge Christ to receive the truth of the Gospel …”

    Should we anticipate the wishes of the ADL and add a qualifier – perhaps, “Let us pray for those who do not believe in Christ – excepting the Jewish people, and especially excepting members of the ADL … ” ?

  12. Deborah says:

    This entire ordeal is a fraudulent scam.

    Those who are offended are mostly lesbian feminists pretending they are Jewish rabbis, and their supporters.

    Practicing orthodox Jews reject women becoming rabbis yet these committee meetings for Jewish/Catholic dialogue are full of these pretend women rabbis.

    This is about dissident Jews forcing their immoral agenda on the Catholic Church. It’s probably also fair to say that the big players in this game are dissident Catholics as well.

    This would be similar to orthodox Jews meeting with Catholic womyn, pretending to be priests, and claiming the meeting is for Jewish/Catholic dialogue.

  13. John F. says:

    When Jewish rabbinical councils submit their prayer texts to the Vatican for approval and follow Vatican directives regarding the public prayers of Judaism then they will have justification for attempting to intervene in Roman Catholic public prayer.

  14. Mark says:

    Creating a precedent for selective editing of the old rite, in other words, could open the door to death by a thousand cuts. [!]

    Isn’t this in fact what Annibale Bugnini and his cohorts had done in effect to the EF with the Novus Ordo as a result, arising from the table as a kind of Frankenstein? :-)

  15. Gleb says:

    The irony would be that this change would be instituted for the purpose of improving relations with an outside group would wound the interior unity of the Church. Just as we are trying to solve our own intra-Catholic challenges with the SSPX, we would assault our chances for healing the division by doing something to placate liberal Jews? Doesn’t make any sense.

  16. Christophorus says:

    Actually, the missal of John XXIII does allow more than one service on Holy Thursday and Good Friday.
    According to the rubrics, you can have a second LOW mass on Holy Thursday and a second Good Friday Service — if it is necessary and the bishop approves.
    We have been doing this at Holy Family (Columbus OH) for the last 5 years.
    Although a noon TLM sung Good Friday service followed by a 3pm modern service gets a bit tight.

  17. Masone says:

    An interesting article, indeed!

    “Creating a precedent for selective editing of the old rite, in other words, could open the door to death by a thousand cuts.”

    Exactly! Here’s one of the reasons why I do hope that the prayer won’t be suppressed or changed.

    The main reason, of course, is that I can’t understand why we should not pray for the conversion of Jews. Because they would be scandalized? But what sort of scandal would that be, a “scandalum pusillorum” or a “scandalum pharisaicum”? I certainly DON’T want to judge anybody, and I’m a great sinner myself, but the question should be asked.

    Another good reason has been given by Gleb:

    “The irony would be that this change would be instituted for the purpose of improving relations with an outside group[, but it] would wound the interior unity of the Church. Just as we are trying to solve our own intra-Catholic challenges with the SSPX, we would assault our chances for healing the division by doing something to placate liberal Jews? Doesn’t make any sense.”

    As a less evil, if it is definitely too difficult to pay a tribute to political correctness, I would prefer a slight editing of the old prayer to the adoption of the new one.
    But, PLEASE, Most Holy Father, do not change the prayer at all!

  18. Tom says:

    Fascinating. The Traditional Latin Mass’ Good Friday prayers were offered throughout the Indult years. At that time, the “other side” did not care a whit about the TLM.

    As long bishops confined the Indult TLM to “out of the way” parishes and chapels (in Dallas, for example…which remains the case, nobody said a word about the prayers in question.

    Suddenly, “the other side” has undertaken monumental interest in the TLM.

    I pray that Pope Benedict XVI does not bow to forces, within and without the Church, who are determined to “reform” the TLM.

  19. Richard says:

    What I’d like to know is that if people got so upset about then Cardinal Ratzinger calling the Christianity the “fulfillment” of Judaism, what do they expect him to do or say if it’s not anything short of saying it really doesn’t matter what religion you are, becuase everyone’s going to heaven anyway, or something. This seems to be part of the issue here, which idelology has real reletivistic roots. Do they expect Benedict XVI to cow-tow to such a notion?

    “But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the market places and calling to their playmates, `We piped to you, and you did not dance; we wailed, and you did not mourn.’” (Mt 11:16-17)

  20. Paul says:

    I really don’t understand what the problem is with this prayer. Why should it matter if Jews find it offensive? I’m sure there are Jews who find worship of the Trinity offensive. Perhaps we should expunge any reference to That, too….

    Since when did all the prayers of Catholic liturgy have to be parsed for “offensive” content???

  21. Masone says:

    (In the following sentence, a “not” was obviously missing:

    “As a less evil, if it is definitely too difficult NOT to pay a tribute to political correctness, I would prefer …”

    Sorry.)

  22. Mary says:

    “If church authorities are willing to revise the Good Friday prayer for the Jews on the grounds that it’s not consistent with the teaching of Vatican II…”

    *smacks head * Silly Pope Pius X! What was he thinking, having prayers in the Mass that weren’t consistent with Vatican II?

  23. Fr Renzo di Lorenzo says:

    Of course, there is no progression ticking past Tradition, nor is there any turning the clock back. Instead:

    “Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, every one who pierced him; and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen. “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” (RSV Rev 1,7-8).

  24. Cacciaguida says:

    Commentor Deborah raises an interesting point:

    Practicing orthodox Jews reject women becoming rabbis yet these committee meetings for Jewish/Catholic dialogue are full of these pretend women rabbis.

    I’ve recently spent a lot of time with the Reform Jewish wing of my family (I’m a convert to Catholicism, just so you all know), and I met a lot of rabbis: mostly women, of course, some of them with sob stories about being “unwanted” at “Conservative” seminaries (never mind Orthodox). Yet they’re full of Hebrew, and of Halakah-this and Midrash-that. Reform Judaism is no longer the English-only Unitarian-wannabe sect that it was forty years ago.

    But — and here’s the point — as Catholics, we’re not Jews, at least not in the usual sense of the term, so we’re not in a good position to referee the perennially vexing “who is a Jew” question. We sort of have to take “Jews” as we find them.

    Orthodox Jews may argue that Reform Jews aren’t Jews, and their arguments may have some attraction to those of us in the habit of finding tradition attractive (whether Pius X or Tevye!). But generally speaking it’s not a question that comes within our jurisdiction, and generally speaking, I’m glad about that.

  25. Michael says:

    No one has asked this yet, but what do people think the chances are that the Good Friday prayers will be changed?

  26. Fr Renzo di Lorenzo says:

    Michael,

    If you want to know about the possibility that the Good Friday prayers will be changed, read:

    http://wdtprs.com/blog/2008/01/a-curious-point-in-a-usccb-press-release-on-catholic-jewish-relations/

    especially towards the end. There’s a huge chance…

    Happy reading!

  27. Mark says:

    Pray for the conversion of heretics. Pray for the conversion of Muslims. Pray for the conversion of Protestants. Pray for the conversion of the Orthodox. Pray for the conversion of atheists. Pray for the conversion of all non-Christians. Pray for the conversion of the Jews. Pray for the conversion of liberals.

    This is our sacred duty as Catholics.

  28. Fr Renzo di Lorenzo says:

    So, in reading the little story at the end of…

    http://wdtprs.com/blog/2008/01/a-curious-point-in-a-usccb-press-release-on-catholic-jewish-relations/

    …was no one able to guess who actually said what?

    If no one can guess who said what, I guess that that is a kind of very remote indication that the 1970 prayer will almost certainly be inserted in the 1962MR for Good Friday. People can say what they want and get away with it?

  29. danphunter1 says:

    Over on Rorate Caeli there is a statement from Monsignor Perl of Ecclesis Dei announcing the release of the clarification on Summorum Pontificum.
    which will happen shortly.
    Mons. Perl also said that the Good Friday prayers will not change.
    God bless you.

  30. Dave Deavel says:

    Cacciaguida,

    While Reform Judaism may have more women spouting Hebrew, its numbers are dropping just like e liberal Protestantism which is currently full of “sacraments” and “tradition.” Jack Wertheimer did a piece on this problem in Commentary some months back. Incidentally, Conservative Judiasm doesn’t seem to be growing either. The only place where numbers are staying stable or growing is, according to Wertheimer, in Orthodoxy. In other words, institutional dialogue is, as in the sixties with Liberal Prots, not really forward-looking.

  31. Pleased as Punch says:

    Dear Cacciaguida,

    “But—and here’s the point—as Catholics, we’re not Jews, at least not in the usual sense of the term, so we’re not in a good position to referee the perennially vexing “who is a Jew” question. We sort of have to take “Jews” as we find them.”

    Come on, Caccia, this is just bull. Judging that X is X or Y is Y is a matter
    of applying intellect to knowledge. Do we really have to check our faculties
    at the door on questions like this because we aren\’t members of the
    relevant group? Do Jews have to accept Mormons as Christians because
    the latter claim that’s what they are? Come on.

  32. Fr Renzo di Lorenzo says:

    Sorry, danphunter1, but Perl’s comments over on Petrus (summarized by rorate caeli, amount to: “we will not change the prayer immediately, but we certainly may if and when more are using the 1962 prayer for the Jews”. So from…

    http://wdtprs.com/blog/2008/01/a-curious-point-in-a-usccb-press-release-on-catholic-jewish-relations/

    …I give you this:

    Let’s up the stakes, hiking over to the CDF (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith), leaving behind the Commission (for relations with the Jews [and PCED for that matter] and all sorts of conferences that can be found all over the internet. Now, go into the hallowed courtyard of the Holy Office and hang a right. Chase up the steps until you see the door opening into THE PONTIFICAL BIBLICAL COMMISSION. Knock on the door and this will be given to you whether you want it or not:

    http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/pcb_documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20020212_popolo-ebraico_en.html

    Scroll down to §22. Now, reading that, notice a lot of nice things that really are nice. But then notice the tyranny of relativism, that is, dispensationalism. Then, note who signs the preface to the whole thing in a pre-Benedict XVI epoch.

    That’s just an example.

    Does all this mean that the 1962MR prayer for the Jews on Good Friday will almost certainly be replaced by the 1970MR prayer, that is, if it is given a relativistic, dispensationalistic interpretation? Yes. That’s what it means. [At least when more are using the 1962MR, if I understand Perl correctly. This is only getting worse as the days go by.]

    In other words, we continue to fight the good fight.

  33. Fr Renzo di Lorenzo says:

    THE PONTIFICAL BIBLICAL COMMISSION

    THE JEWISH PEOPLE
    AND THEIR SACRED SCRIPTURES
    IN THE CHRISTIAN BIBLE

    ======
    Preface: Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger
    ======

    [The key text, according to Card. Kasper a few months ago:]

    7. Contribution of Jewish reading of the Bible

    22. The horror in the wake of the extermination of the Jews (the Shoah) during the Second World War has led all the Churches to rethink their relationship with Judaism and, as a result, to reconsider their interpretation of the Jewish Bible, the Old Testament. It may be asked whether Christians should be blamed for having monopolised the Jewish Bible and reading there what no Jew has found. Should not Christians henceforth read the Bible as Jews do, in order to show proper respect for its Jewish origins?

    In answer to the last question, a negative response must be given for hermeneutical reasons. For to read the Bible as Judaism does necessarily involves an implicit acceptance of all its presuppositions, that is, the full acceptance of what Judaism is, in particular, the authority of its writings and rabbinic traditions, which exclude faith in Jesus as Messiah and Son of God.

    As regards the first question, the situation is different, for Christians can and ought to admit that the Jewish reading of the Bible is a possible one, in continuity with the Jewish Sacred Scriptures from the Second Temple period, a reading analogous to the Christian reading which developed in parallel fashion. Both readings are bound up with the vision of their respective faiths, of which the readings are the result and expression. Consequently, both are irreducible.

    On the practical level of exegesis, Christians can, nonetheless, learn much from Jewish exegesis practised for more than two thousand years, and, in fact, they have learned much in the course of history.45 For their part, it is to be hoped that Jews themselves can derive profit from Christian exegetical research.

    Let’s keep praying!

  34. FranzJosf says:

    I knew it. As I predicted on another thread here, I knew they wouldn’t change the prayer.

    via Rorate Caeli:

    http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/

    Ecclesia Dei Secretary:
    Instruction on the Motu Proprio to be released “shortly”

    Monsignor Camille Perl, Secretary of the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei”, in a brief interview to religious news website Petrus, dismissed changes in the Good Friday prayer for the conversion of the Jews (“It is not an urgent problem,” according to Perl). The instruction on the application of the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum was also mentioned:

    Monsignor Perl also explains that the upcoming “Instruction”, announced by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, for the clarification of some aspects of the Motu Proprio [Summorum Pontificum], will not mention the matter of the prayer for the Jews. The “Instruction” will be released “shortly” [prossimamente], even though the exact date has not yet been chosen.
    __________

    The Holy Father is way too smart. He wouldn’t release SP and then set back relationships with Trads even farther than before SP by telling us that Jews don’t need to become Catholic in order to acheive salvation. Thank you, SSPX, and your stand against false ecumenism!!! And he’s not only smart about negotiations and precedent, he knows the Truth: “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man comes to the Father except through me.”
    __________

    (Okay, maybe I’m too jubilant. I do know the sin of pride.)

  35. Fr Renzo di Lorenzo says:

    Analysis of Perl’s statement on roratecaeli:

    “It’s not an urgent problem”… That simply means that if it were an urgent problem, that problem would be tackled. But, it’s ambiguous.

    So, why don’t we go to the Petrus website for the fuller interview?

    Messa tridentina, Monsignor Perl: “Non è una priorità cambiare la preghiera per la conversione degli ebrei”

    CITTA’ DEL VATICANO – Cambiare la cosiddetta preghiera ”per la conversione degli ebrei”, contenuta nella liturgia del venerdi’ Santo della rito tridentino ”non e’ un problema urgente”: a dirlo e’ Monsignor Camille Perl, segretario della Pontificia commissione ”Ecclesia Dei”, incaricata delle relazioni con i cattolici tradizionalisti. A poco meno di due mesi dalla Pasqua, che cade quest’anno il 23 marzo, Monsignor Perl spiega che ”per il momento, niente e’ stato fatto e, probabilmente, non si fara”’. Secondo il prelato quello della preghiera per la conversione degli ebrei e’ un ”problema costruito”. ”Saranno pochissime le comunita’ che decideranno di officiare la liturgia del venerdi’ Santo con il rito straordinario – spiega – perche’ quel giorno si fa una sola celebrazione e con ogni probabilita’ i parroci vorranno offrirla con il rito ordinario”, ovvero quello approvato dopo il Concilio Vaticano II. Il Motu Proprio di Benedetto XVI vieta le celebrazioni private del rito preconciliare durante la Settimana Santa, e permette solo quelle pubbliche, per quelle comunita’ ”stabili” che ne hanno fatto richiesta al proprio parroco, oltre a quegli istituti che hanno avuto l’autorizzazione a celebrare unicamente con quel rito. Monsignor Perl chiarisce anche che la prossima ”Istruzione”, annunciato dal Cardinale Tarcisio Bertone per chiarire alcuni aspetti del Motu Proprio, non riguardera’ il tema della preghiera degli ebrei. L”’Istruzione” uscira’ ”prossimamente”, anche se la data esatta non e’ ancora stata decisa. Alla fine del 2007, la statunitense Anti-Defamation League, la piu’ grande organizzazione che combatte l’antisemitismo nel mondo, aveva inserito anche la questione della preghiera per la conversione degli ebrei nella lista delle dieci vicende che hanno piu’ influenzato la vita degli ebrei nel corso dell’anno appena concluso.

    My translation:

    Tridentine Mass, Monsignor Perl: “It is not a priority to change the prayer for the conversion of the Hebrews”

    Vatican City – To change the so-called prayer “for the conversion of the Hebrews,” contained in the liturgy of Good Friday, in the Tridentine Rite [sic: the reporter] “is not an urgent problem”: the one saying this being Monsignor Camille Perl, Secretary of the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei”, which is responsible for relations with traditionalist Catholics. Now less than two months from Easter, which falls this year on 23 March, Monsignor Perl explains that “for the moment, nothing has been done and, probably, will not be done.” According to the Prelate, the problem of the prayer for the conversion of the Hebrews is a “fabricated problem.” “The communities who decide to offer the liturgy of Good Friday with the extraordinary rite will be extremely few in number” – he explains – “because that day one offers only one celebration and with every probability the parish priests will want to offer the ordinary rite,” that which was approved after Vatican Council II. The Motu Proprio of Benedict XVI prohibits private celebrations of the preconciliar rite during Holy Week, and permits only those which are public, for which ‘stable’ [sic: the reporter] communities who have made a request to their own [sic: the reporter] parish priest, besides those institutes that have been authorized to celebrate with that rite alone. Monsignor Perl also clarifies that the coming “Instruction”, announced by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone to clarify some aspects of the Motu Proprio, will not be concerned with the theme of the prayer of the Hebrews. The “Instruction” will be issued “soon”, even if the exact date has not yet been decided. At the end of 2007, the United States Anti-Defamation League, the largest organization which combats anti-Semitism in the world, has also inserted even the question of the prayer for the conversion of the Hebrews in the list of the ten events that have most influenced the life of the Hebrews in the course of the year just now concluded.

    Analysis

    N.B.: The use of the word “Hebrews” instead of “Jews” is because, in Italy, to non-Jews, the word “Jews” is understood to be pejorative, which is one of the stupidest things I’ve heard in my life. Having a physical or, as it were, spiritual descendance of the great, highly blessed tribe of Judah is no insult!

    Now, looking at the words of Monsignor Perl, well, what to say. This is, to date, the worst statement that has yet been made concerning the prayer for the Jews. It wont be changed immediately, as far as he knows. But it could very well be changed in the future if there are a larger number of people using that prayer (though he doesn’t think that that will be the case). Oh, right. Thank YOU, Monsignor Perl. Meanwhile, we keep fighting the good fight, and praying, in anguish, that the veil over the hearts of the Jews will be lifted.

  36. Fr Renzo di Lorenzo says:

    Really, Fr Z, I think that Monsignor Perl’s statement is by far the worst to come out of the Holy See to date…

  37. Fr Renzo di Lorenzo says:

    I, for one, Fr Z, would like to see you do an interview with Monsignor Perl. I just can’t believe, don’t want to believe, that this is what he really said. You know him as a close friend…

  38. Deborah says:

    the prayer for “the conversion of the Hebrews….is not an urgent problem….for the moment, nothing has been done and, probably, will not be done….[it is a]fabricated problem.”

    When I read these quotes from Monsignor Perl, I feel very certain that the Holy See has no intention of changing the prayer for the conversion of the Jewish people – ever.

    I read his words and recall telling my children “that is not an urgent problem right now”. It doesn’t mean that what they are bothering about is actually a genuine problem, in fact, it is a way to get them to stop bugging for something trivial at the time. Anyhow, that is how I read it. I think Msgr Perl’s quote that this is a “fabricated problem” proves that he acknowledges the entire issue is made up. Which it is.

    In the end, those who claim to be offended will not be happy until the prayers for anyone to convert are gone. That is their agenda.

    I am confident the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, will not allow any group to damage the bridge he is trying to build for the traditional faithful. Msgr Perl is smart too he would know that a bad move like trying to change the 1962 Missal in anyway would be a disastrous mess.

  39. Fr Renzo di Lorenzo says:

    The problem is, in fact, merely fabricated by those who understand nothing.

    However, that does not mean that it is not a problem to handle should the pressure be great enough from the fabricators because of an increased use of the prayer by those who are not fabricating any problem, but are simply praying. this increase is, significantly, not foreseen as happening by Monsignor Perl. Welcome to Vatican Speak, a language not known to many.

    Anyway, forget about pressure groups of NCR types and the ADL. The real problem is Monsignor Perl’s attitude about future hypothetical pressure groups (to whom John Allen gives more credit), which does not come from any hypothesis, but from Bertone’s comment about other’s concern, from the Papal Preacher, from Cardinals, from any number of those in the Holy See concerned with dialogue, and from, of all people, Cardinal Ratzinger (who may or may not have changed his mind about all this since becoming Pope). See my comment just above (11 January 2008 @ 5:54 pm) about paragraph 22 of the Biblical Commission’s document “THE JEWISH PEOPLE AND THEIR SACRED SCRIPTURES IN THE CHRISTIAN BIBLE”, with a preface by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger. That paragraph was very recently hailed as “the key text” by Cardinal Kaspar. The key text of that key text is:

    Christians can and ought to admit that the Jewish reading of the Bible is a possible one, in continuity with the Jewish Sacred Scriptures from the Second Temple period, a reading analogous to the Christian reading which developed in parallel fashion. Both readings are bound up with the vision of their respective faiths, of which the readings are the result and expression. Consequently, both are irreducible.

    I think that this sort of dispensationalism, especially inasmuch as it is backed by a Cardinal who is now the reigning Pope, is indicative of how things are in the Holy See. It doesn’t matter that the Pontifical Biblical Commission has, after Paul VI’s reshuffling of the Roman curia, no more magisterial authority than the Vatican Sewer Works. The point, again, is that the document was backed by the one who is now the reigning Pope. This side of the problem is not a fabrication in the least.

    The way I read this is that there are those in the Holy See who will not rest until the 1962MR prayer for the Jews on Good Friday is replaced by the prayer of the 1970MR (with a dispensationalistic interpretation). Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think for a second that Monsignor Perl has any personal initiative about any of this at all.

    That doesn’t mean that those who are agitators for illegitimate change will succeed! But we must fight the good fight, and not give up thinking that everyone is as nice as mommy!

    Yes, we fight, not getting overwhelmed, not getting depressed, forging ahead with observations (hopefully given with more humility than I have shown), even fraternal corrections (given in a spirit of obedience), all in charity and truth, please God.

    About Monsignor Perl being smart. Of course he is. Which is why I, for one, want Fr Z to do an extensive interview with him.

  40. danphunter1 says:

    Again, the Good Friday prayers are not changin’
    God bless you.

  41. Deborah says:

    “That doesn’t mean that those who are agitators for illegitimate change will succeed! But we must fight the good fight..

    Fr Renzo di Lorenzo,

    You are right. We still have to “fight the good fight” against this. The agitators with their agendas will not let this go easily.

    My suggestion is for Catholics to write or fax a calm and respectful note to Ecclesia Dei encouraging them to hold fast to not changing the prayer and perhaps state why you could see changing it would cause harm to the unity within the Church.

    Here is the mailing address and fax #:

    Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei,
    Monsignor Camille Perl,
    Piazza del Sant’ Uffizio 11,
    00120 Vatican City, Italy

    Fax: 06.69.88.34.12

    I guarantee Ecclesia Dei is receiving alot of letters from the agitators, including both liberal Jews and liberal Catholics. We need to make our voice heard as well. (remember calm and rational)

  42. Deborah says:

    Fr. Renzo di Lorenzo, Sorry, I didn’t intend for my entire last comment to be directed toward you rather to everyone reading the blog. I simply wished to convey to you that I think you are right. God bless.

  43. Fr Renzo di Lorenzo says:

    Thanks, Deborah. Yes.

    I’m reminded of Fr Z having some excellent rules for writing more formally than one does on blogs! Anyone have that link handy?

  44. Tom says:

    I take it people will by now have seen, through Rorate Caeli, the Petrus report that, according to Mgr Perl, re the 1962 prayer,
    “for the moment, nothing has been done, and probably, nothing will be done”, and that the issue is “a contrived problem”.

    http://www.papanews.it/news.asp?IdNews=4975#a

    One factor everyone seems to ignore is the role of the CDF. It plainly does not favour the 1970 prayer replacing that of 1962. As Archbishop Amato said in an official interview in Avvenire in July:

    Q: Your Excellency, there are those who accuse the motu proprio “Summorum Pontificum” of being anti-conciliar, because it offers full citizenship to a missal in which there is a prayer for the conversion of the Jews. Is it truly contrary to the letter and spirit of the Council to formulate this prayer?

    A: Certainly not. In the Mass, we Catholics pray always and in the first place for our conversion. And we strike our breasts for our sins. And then we pray for the conversion of all Christians and all non-Christians. The Gospel is for all.”

    Q: But the objection is raised that the prayer for the conversion of the Jews was definitively surpassed by the one in which the Lord is asked to help them to progress in fidelity to his covenant.

    A: Jesus himself affirms, in the Gospel of Saint Mark: “Repent, and believe in the Gospel,” and his first interlocutors were his Jewish confreres. We Christians can do nothing other than re-propose what Jesus taught us. In freedom and without imposition, obviously, but also without self-censorship.

    But if this is the CDF view, do you suppose the feared ‘dispensationalising’ change would be made, under a CDF Pope, against its wishes and advice? If this is Amato’s view, do you think that that of Pope Benedict’s would be any different? Do you think the CDF had nothing to with Summorum Pontificum in the first place? Barring reference to a rather hasty comment from Cardinal Bertone in a pressured news conference over the summer, all the noise for change is being made now by the US Bishops’ conference. But on this one the US Bishops’ conference have no more power to decide than any blogger. In fact I suspect that John Allen is wittingly or unwittingly spinning this one in consort with parts of the US church. But this is spin, not the news that Allen purports it to be – a journalist who clearly sees the whole issue in terms of US ethnic politics, and not theologically. But that will not be how the Pope and the CDF view it. My advice – change would only come if the CDF supported it, and they are the key player in this that Allen neglects to mention.

  45. Tom says:

    My apologies – Fr Renzo di Lorenzo already spotted the Petrus report and gave his rather different interpretation. I missed his earlier comment in the long line of comments. But I don’t think that what Perl says is as bad as Fr Renzo di Lorenzo thinks. Mgr Perl is plainly trying to quiet the pressure, that’s all. But I stand by what I say about the CDF. Consider again what Amato said in July. The CDF is a key player. And they won’t favour change to 1970. And to foster dispensationalism on Pope Benedict is not a plausible reading of his views and policies.

    Incidentally, Berolinensis on The New liturgical Movement points out the the 1970 Liturgy of the Hours is not short on prayers for the conversion of the Jews. Here’s what he has dug up so far:

    .:??- Preces for Lauds of December 31st: “Christus, Deus et homo, qui Dominus es David et filius ejus, prophetias adimplens, te rogamus, ut Israel te Messiam agnoscat.” (Christ, God and man, who art the Lord of David and his son and fulfillest the prophecies, we beg thee, that Israel accept thee as the Messiah.) ?

    ?- Preces for II Vespers of Christmas: “Qui, a saeculis exspectatus, in plenitudine temporis venisti, manifesta praesentiam tuam iis, qui adhuc te exspectant.” (Thou, who hast been expected through the ages, and hast come in the fulness of time, manifest thy presence to those, who still look out for thee.) ??

    - Preces for Lauds on January 2nd: “Christe, quem ab angelis glorificatum et a pastoribus annuntiatum, Simeon et Anna confessi sunt et praedicaverunt, te rogamus, ut Evangelium tuum a populo promissionis recipiatur.” (Christ, whom the Angels glorified and the shepherds announced, and Simeon and Hannah professed and proclaimed, we beg thee, that thy Gospel be accepted by the people of thy promise.)?

    Would the US Bishops’ conference want to change the 1970 liturgy too?

  46. Fr Renzo di Lorenzo says:

    Tom,

    I guess you didn’t read any of the entries above. Too bad. If you want something related to the CDF that is more substantial than an interview with Amato, note this:

    Part of the CDF is the Pontifical Biblical Commission (the latter having no magisterial capacity). It’s overseer is the Prefect of the CDF. Its document — “THE JEWISH PEOPLE AND THEIR SACRED SCRIPTURES IN THE CHRISTIAN BIBLE” — sported a preface by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger. That paragraph was very recently hailed as “the key text” by Cardinal Kaspar. The key text of that key text is:

    Christians can and ought to admit that the Jewish reading of the Bible is a possible one, in continuity with the Jewish Sacred Scriptures from the Second Temple period, a reading analogous to the Christian reading which developed in parallel fashion. Both readings are bound up with the vision of their respective faiths, of which the readings are the result and expression. Consequently, both are irreducible.

    Now, after having waded through that dispensationalism, tell us who’s the reigning Pope today? And who is more influential in decisions that are made, the prefect for the CDF, or the reigning Pope? Ratzinger/Benedict has demonstrated remarkable consistency with his own theological thought, rarely changing his mind, but rather deepening his perspective. Maybe he has changed his mind on this topic. I don’t know. Let’s pray.

  47. Fr Renzo di Lorenzo says:

    A bit of overlapping! Yet, I think one must consider that pesky article 22, and who wrote its preface.

  48. Franciscus says:

    It is ironic that they attack the TLM Good Friday prayers for calling for the conversion of the Jews, while the 1970 version still calls for their conversion, albeit in a less blunt manner.

    Either way, it’s not going to happen with this Pope, it’s not going to happen with the next Pope, and it’s not going to happen with any Pope.

  49. Tom says:

    Fr Renzo di Lorenzo

    Yes, we were overlapping! Actually I don’t understand that article 22 which says the Jewish reading is possible as meaning that Christians can accept as true or equally true the Jewish view of Judaism’s continuing validity and of the Bible’s meaning. We are told in the same document that Christians _cannot_ accept or endorse the Jewish reading of the Bible:

    “Should not Christians henceforth read the Bible as Jews do, in order to show proper respect for its Jewish origins? In answer to the last question, a negative response must be given for hermeneutical reasons. For to read the Bible as Judaism does necessarily involves an implicit acceptance of all its presuppositions, that is, the full acceptance of what Judaism is, in particular, the authority of its writings and rabbinic traditions, which exclude faith in Jesus as Messiah and Son of God.”

    Rather article 22 simply means that we have to acknowledge that it really is possible for the Jews to read the Bible in a way that is fundamentally different from us, such that that neither of our very different readings (only one of which can be true) can be explained away as just an equivalent version of the other. (“Both are irreducible.”) Possible in the sense that it really has happened that the Jews have developed such a different reading.

    By contrast what Amato said in the July interview is explicitly antidispensationalist, and that view was not – I am fairly sure, and I am fairly sure for a number of reasons – his personal eccentricity. He was speaking as CDF secretary. In which case any speculations about the 1962 prayers that neglect this interview are importantly incomplete in their foundation.

    It might be interesting for us to swap some thoughts and views in a more direct way. I very much share your beliefs and concerns, if perhaps not all your immediate worries.

  50. Fr Renzo di Lorenzo says:

    Tom,

    Instead, this is dispensationalism. YOU, as a Catholic, are forbidden to read the Scriptures according to the Jewish hermeneutic. But, YOU, as a Catholic, must say that their contradictory reading is correct, i.e., for them.

    “Both readings are bound up with the vision of their respective faiths, of which the readings are the result and expression. Consequently, both are irreducible.”

    To claim two separate faiths (THE hermeneutic of discontinuity) is to be a heretic. Jews and Catholics have been given the same faith, the Jews just have a veil over their hearts so that they cannot assent to that which they have already been given:

    Namely: the Sonship, the Glory, the Covenants, the Law, the Worship, the Promises, the Patriarchs and, according to the flesh, the very Christ of God (see Romans 9,4-5).

    RSV Matthew 13:16-17 16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear. 17 Truly, I say to you, many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.

    RSV John 8:56-58 56 Your father Abraham rejoiced that he was to see my day; he saw it and was glad.” 57 The Jews then said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?” 58 Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.”

    We cannot pray for any veil to be lifted if it is thought that there is no veil, or that, in fact, their God given faith, contradictory to ours, is just as good as ours.

    It is for the reason that the same faith has been given to both that we pray that the veil may be lifted for them so that they can assent to the faith we have, which is the faith they had already been given.

    In the end, dispensationalism it is an utter rejection of the faith.

    Again, not all is at a loss. The Pontifical Biblical Commission has no magisterial authority whatsoever. Yet, it is important to notice the personages involved with the document, i.e., who wrote the preface, name, the presently reigning bishop of Rome. All of these comments are meant not to depress, but to be an incentive to fight the good fight. We have great reason for hope, even in the worst of circumstances. While Christ was crucified, He drew all to Himself. Deo Gratias!

  51. Fr Renzo di Lorenzo says:

    Tom,

    you might also want to read the very extensive comments about all of this here:

    http://wdtprs.com/blog/2008/01/a-curious-point-in-a-usccb-press-release-on-catholic-jewish-relations/#comments

    Cheers!