Archbp. Gianfranco Ravasi, President of P.C. for Culture, defends the new Good Friday prayer for Jews

Sandro Magister has an interesting piece today.  He presents defenses of the Holy Father’s changes to the Good Friday prayer for Jews in the 1962 Missale Romanum by the Jesuit publication Civiltà Cattolica, Prof. Jacob Neusner and by Archbp. Gianfranco Ravasi, President of the Pontifical Council for Culture.  Magister is bringing together various threads so that we can think about the Good Friday prayer through their lenses. 

In other words, a particular "Benedictine hermeneutic" is developing.

Remember: Ravasi is an up and coming Vatican star.  I translate his whole piece below.

First, to Magister.

Magister mentions that there is a defense in the last number of Civiltà Cattolica, published by the Jesuits under the close scrutiny of the Secretariat of State.

We will get to the defense by Ravasi, below, but first let’s look at what Magister says in in Civiltà Cattolica (my translation):

In the present climate of dialogue and friendship between the Catholic Church and the Jewish people it seemed to the Pope to be just and opportune [to make this change], to avoid any expression that could have also the smallest appearance of office or, in any case, displeasure to the Jews."

"Dog bites man" point: that didn’t stop some Jews from continuing to gripe about Catholic forms of prayer.

Civiltà Cattolica continued:

"It has nothing offensive for Jews, because in it the Church asks God that which St. Paul was asking for Christians: that, namely, ‘the God of our Lord Jesus Christ […]might illuminate the eyes of the mind of the Christians at Ephesus so that they could comprehend the gift of salvation that they have in Jesus Christ (cf. Ephesians 1:18023).  The Church, in fact, believe that salvation is from Jesus Christ alone, as it is said in the Acts of the Apostles (4:12). And it is clear, on the other hand, that the Christian prayer cannot be anything other than ‘Christian’, founded, that is, on faith – which not all possess – that Jesus is the Savior of all men.  Therefore, the Jews have no reason to be offended if the Church asks God to illuminate them so that they might freely recognize Christ, the sole Savior of all men, and they also might be saved by Him whom the Jew Shalom Ben Chorin calls ‘Brother Jesus’."

In sum: Jews should be offended because that is what St. Paul says in Christian Scriptures and it is what the Church beleives.  Ho hum…. But… no matter…

Magister goes on to point out the content of the prayer for Jews in the Novus Ordo (that Jews should also be faithful to their covenant, etc.) and underscores the fact that the prayer isn’t terribily biblical in its starting points.

Then this:

"With the new formulary, in fact, Pope Ratzinger didn’t attentuate, but very much reinforced the prayer with weightier Christian content.  From this point of view, then, the new prayer for Jews in the liturgy of the old rite doesn’t impoverish, but rather implies an enrichment of the sense of the prayer in use in the modern rite".

Magister got this exactly right.  Elsewhere on this blog I made the argument that now there are actually two authorized ways of praying for Jews in the Roman Rite on Good Friday, and that Benedict didn’t just port the Novus Ordo prayer over into the older form (as Card. Bertone suggested might happen) because he obviously thought the Novus Ordo prayer didn’t say what it ought to say in the context of the older form!

Magister continues:

"Exactly as in other cases it is the modern rite which postulates an enriching evolution of the old rite.  In a liturgy as perennially alive as Catholic liturgy, it is this sense of cohabitation between the old rite and the modern rite which is desired by Benedict XVI with the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum.

A cohabitation not destined to last, but to consist in the future ‘anew in one sole Roman Rite’, taking the best of both.  This he wrote in 2003 still as Cardinal Ratzinger – revealing his inmost thoughts – in a letter to a learned expontent of Lefebvrite traditionalism, the German philologist Heinz-Lothar Barth."

A couple things here.  First, Magister s taking and confirming the WDTPRS line here.  Years ago I gleaned from Card. Ratzinger that he foresaw (and hoped) with a widespread use of the older form of Mass that perhaps a tertium quid would emerge, that the use of the older form would jump start, so to speak, the organic development of liturgy that the Church experienced through history until the artificial imposition of reforms sparked by the Consilium after Sacrosanctum Concilium.  

However, this is the subtle point which is often overlooked.  Papa Ratzinger foresaw that the older form, not the Novus Ordo, would be the starting point for organic development of a tertium quid. In other words, elements of the Novus Ordo which showed themselves to be useful might enrich the older form, rather than integrating elements of the older rite into the newer form.  The development would spring from the form that had itself developed organically, not from the form that is artificial.

So, in a way, it is far more interesting that Benedict XVI change the prayer in the older form of Mass that it would have been had he changed the prayer in the newer Mass, to make it more… traditionally Catholic, so to speak.

But let’s go on with what Magister presented.

Magister presents in Italian what Jacob Neusner brilliantly wrote for Die Tagespost (23 February 2008) and il Foglio (26 febbraio). We had that on this blog.  I urge you to read it.

Here is what Archbp. Ravasi wrote in my translation and emphases:

One day Kafka responded to his friend Gustac Janouch who was questioning him about Jesus of Nazareth: "This is an abyss of light.  You have to close your eyes in order not to get involved."

The relation between the Jews and this their "big brother", as the philosopher Martin Buber curiously called him, was always intense and tormented, reflecting also the far more complex and troubled relationship between Judaism and Christianity.  Perhaps it might be in the simplification of the formula that the joke of Shalom Ben Chorin [there’s that name again] in his work of 1967 with the emblematic title "Brother Jesus" is so striking: "Faith in Jesus unites us with Christians, but faith in Jesus divides us."

I wanted to set up this backdrop, in reality far vaster and varied, to situated in a more concrete way the new "Oremus et pro Iudaeis" for the liturgy of Good Friday.

There is no need to repeat that we are dealing with an intervention with a text already codified for a specific use, regarding the liturgy of Good Friday according to the Missale Romanum in the form promulgated in 1962 by Bl. John XXIII, just before the liturgical reform of the Second Vatican Council.  A text, therefore, already crystallized in its version and circumscribed in its present use, according the already known dispositions contained in the Motu Proprio of Benedict XVI Summorum Pontificum of July 2007.

As so within the link that intimately unites the Israel of God and the Church we seek to individuate the theological characteristics of this prayer, in dialogue also with the severe reactions which it roused up in Jewish circles.

***

The first consideration is "textual" in the strict sense: remember that the word "textus" brings us to the concept of "textile", that is composed with different threads.  So, the thirty or so Latin substantive words of the Oremus are entirely the fruit of a "weaving" of New Testament expressions.  We are dealing, therefore, with a language that comes from Sacred Scripture, the pole star of faith and Christian prayer.

We are invited, above all, to prayer that God "illuminates the hearts", so that the Jews might also "recognize Jesus Christ as the Savior of all men".  Now, that God the Father and Christ can "illuminate the eyes and mind", is a hope St. Paul already directed to same Christians of Ephesus of both Jewish and pagan origin (Ephesus 1: 18; 5:14).  The great profession of faith in "Jesus Christ Savior of all men" is set into the first letter to Timothy (4:10), but is also insisted on in analogous forms by other New Testament authors, as, for example, Luke of the Acts of the Apostles who puts in the mouth of Peter this testimony before the Sanhedrin: "And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12).

At this point we see the horizon line that this prayer truly delineates: we ask God, who "desires that all men be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth", to see to it "that, with the entrance of the fullness of the gentiles into the Church, also all Israel will be saved".  The solemn epiphany of God Almighty and eternal whose love is like a mantle that extends around all humanity is raised on high: He, indeed we read again in the first Letter to Timothy (2:4), "desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth".  At the feet of God, on the other hand, it is in motion like a grand planetary procession, composed of every nation and culture and which sees Israel as it were in a privileged row, with a necessary presence.

A prayer, therefore, which corresponds to the classical method of composition in Christianity: "to weave" together the invocations on the basis of the Bible so as intimately to plait together both believing and praying, the lex orandi and the lex credendi.

***

At this point we can propose a second reflection focusing more on content.  The Church prays to have at her side in the unique community of believers in Christ also the faithful Israel.  This is what St. Paul in chapter 9-11 of the Letter to the Romans, which I mentioned above, awaited with great eschatological hope, namely, as the harbor of all history.  And this is what the Second Vatican Council proclaimed when, in its constitution on the Church, it affirmed that "those who have not yet received the Gospel are related in various ways to the people of God. In the first place we must recall the people to whom the testament and the promises were given and from whom Christ was born according to the flesh. On account of their fathers this people remains most dear to God, for God does not repent of the gifts He makes nor of the calls He issues" (Lumen gentium 16).

This intense hope obviously belongs to the Church and has at its heart, as a spring of salvation, Jesus Christ.  For the Christian He is the Son of God and He is the visible and efficacious sign of divine love, because as Jesus said on that night to "one of the leaders of the Jews" Nicodemus, "God has so loved the world that He gave His only Son, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him." (cf. John 3:16-17).  It is, therefore, from Jesus Christ, Son of God and Son of Israel, that there flows out the purifying and fecund wave of salvation, for which one could also say in the final analysis, as the Christ of John does, that "salvation comes from the Jews" (4,22).  The estuary of history hoped for by the Church is, therefore, rooted in that spring.

Let us repeat: this is the Christian vision and it is the hope of the Church that prays.  This is not a programmatic proposition of theoretical adhesion nor a missionary strategy of conversion.  It is the characteristic attitude of the praying invocation according to which one hopes also for people considered to be close, dear, significant, a reality that is held to be precious and saving.  Julien Green, an important exponent of French culture if the 20th century, wrote that "it is always beautiful and legitimate to wish for another than which is a good or a joy for yourself: if you are thinking about offering a true gift, do not draw back your hand."  Certainly, this must always happen in respect for the freedom and the different paths the other adopts.  But it is an expression of affection to wish also to your brother that which you consider to be a horizon of light and of life. [The most compelling bit in the piece, IMO.]

From this point of view also the Oremus in question, recognizing its limitations of use and its specificity, can and must confirm our bond and dialogue with "that people with whom God deigned bind up the Old Covenant", nourishing us "from the root of that well-cultivated olive tree onto which have been grafted the wild shoots, the Gentiles (Nostra aetate 4). And as the Church prays on the next Good Friday according the liturgy of the Missal of Paul VI, the common and final hope is that "the firstborn people of the covenant with God can reach the fullness of redemption".

 

A couple point as an afterward.

First, Ravasi can really turn a phrase.  Take note of his imagery of water, the destination of a harbor.  This is a classical topos.

Second, Ravasi is saying that the fact that the Church prays for Jews on Good Friday does not mean there by (that is, because of that prayer in that specific context) that the Church is saying that we must have a prgroam of converting Jews.  I add that it may in fact be our Christian duty out of love to help people to fuller understanding of truth and make their salvation easier if possible, but Ravasi’s point is that this prayer doesn’t lay down any program.

Third, I think Ravasi’s piece begs us to ask whether or not the same argument Ravasi presents in defense of the newest Good Friday prayer couldn’t also be applied to the older Good Friday prayer.  I don’t know.  I haven’t tried that yet.  I suspect that the new prayer really says something different from what the older prayer says.  But does the older prayer also say what Ravasi thinks the newer prayer says?

Finally, Ravasi’s argument about extending in love to others what you truly treasure is really the important point Jews ought to take away from Benedict’s decision.  Read this last point in relation to what Neusner said.

 

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42 Responses to Archbp. Gianfranco Ravasi, President of P.C. for Culture, defends the new Good Friday prayer for Jews

  1. D.S. says:

    Laudetur JS CHS!

    As I said before (on other comments/postings – see there!) to this theme, I also think, like Rev. F. Z., that “the new prayer really says something different from what the old prayer says”.

    But that [in opposite to Rev. F.s thoughts the days before] is the negative thing: it prays only for saving the “whole of Israel” at the end of time, not anymore for the actually living Jews.

    And note: Archb. Ravasi uses also the term “eschatological” [“…with a great eschatological hope…”, s. above].

    Well, you might object: “eschatological” in a wider sense means the time since CHrist´s first appearance. – But, in answer, the context of Rm 11 and the traditional interpretation of it makes it clear, that “eschatological” here is used in a narrow sense, so means the very end of time before CHrist Our Lord´s second appearance. The converting of Whole of Israel is exspected to be at a distinct point of time just before this very end of time and means the Jews as a nation and “whole” at a distinct point of time (and not the summing up of individual conversions over the years and years).

    So therefore also Card. Kaspars interpretation is fully justified, other interpretations are not convincing (f. e. taking “eschatologivcal” in a wide sense or that the prayer is not at all eschatologic – it´s not what the text/prayer [in its context] really says!). – No, it´s clearly eschatologic in a narrow sense – and therefor the new prayer lacks of a very essential point: to pray for the Jews before that point of time!

    As I stated: why do You close Your eyes not to see that – what is so very clear?! – And: Therefore the reaction of SSPX is fully justified to reject the new prayer: it lacks of an essential point, leeds to interpretations like those of H.Em. Card. Kasper!

    From Germany (sorry for my English! – and by the way, I know Dr. Barth well, see his good and outhweighted analysis to our theme in the “Kirchlische Umschau”!)
    D.S.

  2. Michael says:

    I used to be very much in favor of the tertium quid proposition, but I really don’t think there’s anything in the Novus Ordo that the old rite needs, and probably nothing that could truly enrich it. All the traditional elements of the Novus Ordo are found in the old rite, and the novelties that make it what it is (the four year lectionary, restructuring of the rite, and countless rationalizations to be found all over the missal, even in the “traditional” chants) could only impoverish the old rite. Nevertheless, I think this is the only way out of the current mess. The old rite has to be drastically modified, brought in line with the philosophy the NO represents, if the “Tridentine Mass” is ever going to become the normative rite for the Church.

    But even if that is necessary, it would be nice to have some stability first so that the Church can re-establish the principles of liturgical development for good before she starts a new project. Even just a few years. A few months was not enough. We have to distance ourselves from the Novus Ordo mentality, and even us traditionalists need to realize that there was a liturgy before the twentieth century. Your average tridy will point to the way Mass was celebrated in the 1950s as the ideal, as if the dialogue High Mass at a free standing altar near the people represented the only acceptable option. Maybe the ideal is not to be found in the twentieth century liturgical movement, but in an earlier time period, where liturgy was first and foremost about glorifying God to the best of our abilities, through music, art and ritual. In these respects, I think the traditionalist movement is stuck in the 1950s, trying to reinstate the same liturgical mentality that gradually brought us to the Novus Ordo in 1969. The Novus Ordo was the fruit of a project that had been underway for decades. It wasn’t the beginning of a new movement but the close of an old one. Are we going to try and recreate the world that gave birth to this mess, or try to get at the root of the problem.

    On the question of the prayer for the Jews, I agree with Magister that from the perspective of those who attend the impoverished modern holy week, this change has indeed enabled a more traditional interpretation of the Novus Ordo Good Friday prayer.

    But even if that is necessary, it would be nice to have some stability first so that the Church can re-establish the principles of liturgical development for good before she starts a new project. We have to distance outselves from the Novus Ordo mentality, and even us traditionalists need to realize that there was a liturgy before the twentieth century. Mayeb the ideals are not to be found in the twentieth century liturgical movement, but in an earlier time period, where liturgy was first and foremost about glorifying God to the best of our abilities, through music, art and ritual. In these respects, I think the traditionalist movement is stuck in teh 1950s, trying to reinstate the same liturgical mentality that gradually brought us to the Novus Ordo in 1969.

    On the question of the prayer for the Jews, I agree with Magister that from the perspective of those who attend the modern holy week, this change has enabled a more traditional interpretation of the Novus Ordo Good Friday prayer.

  3. schoolman says:

    “Let us repeat: this is the Christian vision and it is the hope of the Church that prays. This is not a programmatic proposition of theoretical adhesion nor a *missionary strategy* of conversion.”

    Of course, this will prove to be a great stumbling block for some traditionalists. The Remnant has recently advanced some convincing arguments that the Church has never historically had such a “missionary strategy” targeting Jews. I think its important to consider what is implied by “missionary strategy”. It seems to me we should think of this “strategy” as a kind of *human* plan that is deployed to acheive the conversion of Jews. By rejecting the idea of a “missionary strategy” I think Ravasi is simply saying that Jewish conversion primarily and ultimately relies on the direct action of God to lift the veil of blindness and enlighten hearts to the truth. The part that Christians must play is to *pray* for Jewish conversion and preach the gospel primarily by their examples of charity and goodness — leaving the time and place of conversion in the hands of God. Again, this is a specific attitude with regard to the Jews and does not necessarily reflect the same approach relative to the *”mission ad gentes”*, as such.

  4. schoolman says:

    D.S., you are overlooking the Holy Father’s own Catechesis regarding Jewish conversion where he explicity refers to the “eschatological hope in the broad sense — already begun with the establishment of the Church. That is the difinitive and final word on the matter, regardless of Kaspar’s narrow interpretation. I refer you to the Ferrara’s latest article on the Remnant site where he addresses this point in great detail.

  5. schoolman says:

    Michael, the OF has actually restored some traditional practices that have become lost or forgotten through “accidents of history”.
    While these were “artificially” put together in the OF, some of these aspects could yet prove to be an organic enrichment of the EF.

  6. I removed a couple comments. This discussion will not be derailed.

  7. D.V.M. says:

    Seems clear to me that the new prayer focuses attention on the eschatological, and blurs the necessity of individual conversion for salvation by excising the deficiencies (blindness, veiled hearts, faithlessness, darkness).

  8. Brian Day says:

    Remember: Ravasi is an up and coming Vatican star.

    Fr. Z,
    I see from reading through his Wikipedia entry that B16 made him a bishop about 6 months ago just before his 65th birthday. A question about age in the curia and what it means to be “up and coming”. How far could he go? He doesn’t have the 20+ years in the curia that Papa Ratzinger did in the CDF. Or is he so good, that he’ll be papabile in 10 years?

    And to keep this post on-topic, I do agree that +Ravasi can turn a phrase.

  9. Peter Karl T. Perkins says:

    Really, we needn’t worry overmuch about this Good Friday revision. Thanks to post-liturgical legislation, we are now free to attend non-Catholic liturgies except to fulfil the Sunday or holyday obligation. But Good Friday is not a holyday of obligation. Therefore, we can simply go to a S.S.P.X chapel for the full pre-conciliar and pre-1955 Good Friday Service, complete with its inclusion of the term ‘faithless’, which is so apt and so good. Even those of us who have never attended a S.S.P.X liturgy (I am one of those) can now repair to its chapels just for Good Friday, and then fulfil the obligation and generally attend otherwise at regularised Masses. It works for me. In the mean time, we can see how liberals and conservatives in the Church are now battling it out over the eschatological meaning of the revised prayer. Kasper’s interpretation may be mistaken but he does advance an insistent argument which is convincing many, which is yet another reason why it was a mistake to change the formulation. The more colourful wording of the 1962 version made the conversion of the Jews seem to be urgent, even if it too is open to a broader meaning. But the S.S.P.X, as usual, is keeping tradition alive. Without it, we would not have the 1984 Indult, the 1988 motu proprio, the thirty-some traditionalist socieites and institutes, the excellent Campos precedent, or “Summorum Pontificum”.

    P.K.T.P.

  10. Matt Q says:

    Michael wrote:

    “I used to be very much in favor of the tertium quid proposition, but I really don’t think there’s anything in the Novus Ordo that the old rite needs, and probably nothing that could truly enrich it. All the traditional elements of the Novus Ordo are found in the old rite, and the novelties that make it what it is (the four year lectionary, restructuring of the rite, and countless rationalizations to be found all over the missal, even in the “traditional” chants) could only impoverish the old rite.

    ()

    I agree with you on that. Yes, the Novus Ordo could learn from the Tridentine Mass, not the other way around.

    Michael wrote further:

    “Nevertheless, I think this is the only way out of the current mess. The old rite has to be drastically modified, brought in line with the philosophy the NO represents, if the “Tridentine Mass” is ever going to become the normative rite for the Church.”

    ()

    Michael let me disagree with you wholeheartedly on that. The Tridentine Mass is the purest form of Catholic worship by its very form and its prayers. With its rubrics as well, formulated over time down the through the centuries, have coalesced into a synergistic harmony which unites man and God in a most great and significant way.

    There is no such thing found in the Novus Ordo, and it is the Novus Ordo which needs reforming. The Holy Father stated as “Dotrina,” and earlier that the Novus Ordo is theologically erroneous, a hermaneutic rupture with the past, and that it was tinkered together in a most rushed and clumsy way.

    The “philosophy” you say the Novus Ordo represents is a watered-down, nearly secular-humanist form of worship, with documentation that it has Protestant elements in it. The Novus Ordo is still Holy Mass because the Church has declared it be so, but beyond this legalizing of it, the very idea of making the Usus Antiquior like the Novus Ordo would create the very problems besotting the Church for the past forty years. **No, thanks.**

    God bless.

  11. David2 says:

    Peter Karl T Perkins, whilst I do not frequent SSPX chapels, I know people who do. The SSPX uses the 1962 Missale Romanum for the Triduum, not the pre-1955 rite. They even have the Mass of the Presanctified in the afternoon, and the Easter Vigil in the evening. So I guess you’ll get no joy with the Lefebvrists. If you want to turn the Good Friday liturgy into some sort of political protest against the Holy Father, you might have to seek out some sedevacantists, or Feeneyites or some such…

  12. Matt Q: The Tridentine Mass is the purest form of Catholic worship by its very form and its prayers.

    First, whatever it is, it isn’t the “Tridentine” Mass. It was adapted at various points since 1570.

    Second, the Second Vatican Council determined that it needed some reform. That means something.

    Third, the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, used by Eastern Catholics, is also “Catholic worship”.

  13. D.V.M. says:

    “Really, we needn’t worry overmuch about this Good Friday revision.” -P.K.T.P.

    You may be right, Mr. Perkins, that this revision is easily avoided. However, it nevertheless causes scandal as it justifies worry that other unfortunate changes will be proposed, and that ultimately, the hoped for return to tradition is not happening.

    “It is a bit pointless for people who adopt this attitude of holocaust denial to pray for the conversion of the Jews.” – Realist

    You’re conflating two very separate issues. If it were not for the SSPX, no one would be praying for the salvation of Jews.

  14. Tom says:

    “It might help the prayers of the faithful if they, the faithful, were clear that the Jews were indeed subject to mass murder by the Nazis, and that attempts to deny that the Shoah took place are actuated by malice and what the last Pope called the sin of anti-semitism. It is a bit pointless for people who adopt this attitude of holocaust denial to pray for the conversion of the Jews. They would appear to be using prayer as a weapon against men rather than a petition to God.”

    It might also help if it were made clear that the Nazis subjected millions of Catholics to mass murder.

    Denial of the Catholic Holocaust is the sin of anti-Catholicism.

  15. Matt Q says:

    Father Z wrote:

    1. “A couple things here. First, Magister s taking and confirming the WDTPRS line here. Years ago I gleaned from Card. Ratzinger that he foresaw (and hoped) with a widespread use of the older form of Mass that perhaps a tertium quid would emerge, that the use of the older form would jump start, so to speak, the organic development of liturgy that the Church experienced through history until the artificial imposition of reforms sparked by the Consilium after Sacrosanctum Concilium.

    2. However, this is the subtle point which is often overlooked. Papa Ratzinger foresaw that the older form, not the Novus Ordo, would be the starting point for organic development of a tertium quid. In other words, elements of the Novus Ordo which showed themselves to be useful might enrich the older form, rather than integrating elements of the older rite into the newer form. The development would spring from the form that had itself developed organically, not from the form that is artificial.

    3. So, in a way, it is far more interesting that Benedict XVI changed the prayer in the older form of Mass than it would have been had he changed the prayer in the newer Mass, to make it more… traditionally Catholic, so to speak.”

    ()

    Dear Father Z:

    I’m a little dubious about this Tertium Quid. These are not about you personally, but the points you happen to raise in conjunction with the article.

    Firstly, Why would one be needed? The Forma Extraordinaria so enriched the lives of the Saints for the past 438 years not to mention untold millions of the Faithful, it’s very difficult to fathom a need for it morph into something else?

    With various members of the clergy at all levels digging in their heels against the Moto Proprio, it’s difficult to see a Tertio anything developing in the near- or far future, let alone the Tridentine Mass being as commonplace as it was.

    On your second point, you stated, “Elements of the Novus Ordo which showed themselves to be useful might enrich the older form.” What is there in the Novus Ordo which could possibly enrich the Tridentine Rite?

    Thirdly, as far changing the GF prayer, it’s done. For me it’s no longer an issue. At the same time, I hope to see changes made to the Novus Ordo just as quickly, the English rewording not necessarily a case in point.

    Thanks, Father.

  16. D.V.M. says:

    “Second, the Second Vatican Council determined that it needed some reform. That means something.” – Fr. Z.

    At this late stage, do you not think, Father, that it can credibly be argued that the call for reform was a mistake? Looking back, what reform, even the most minor, would have the Church in better shape today than she was in the late 1950s?

  17. Jordan Potter says:

    DVM said: You may be right, Mr. Perkins, that this revision is easily avoided. However, it nevertheless causes scandal as it justifies worry that other unfortunate changes will be proposed, and that ultimately, the hoped for return to tradition is not happening.

    Let’s not forget the scandal that is caused by suggestions and encouragement that Catholics reject or avoid the Church’s revised prayer for the Jews.

    If it were not for the SSPX, no one would be praying for the salvation of Jews.

    The SSPX has only existed for less than 40 years. The Church has been praying for the salvation of the Jews for almost 2,000 years.

  18. Matt Q says:

    Father Z wrote:

    “Third, the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, used by Eastern Catholics, is also ‘Catholic worship.'”

    ()

    Just curious, was their liturgy “reformed?” Were they forced into a vernacular-only, ad-populum Mass? Were all of their books rewritten into an amalgam of insipidness ( my opinion )? Are the Eastern Catholics suffering from the same affronting liturgy-fatigue as the rest of us Romans?

  19. Michael says:

    The Great Friday liturgy of Easter Catholic Churches uses the expression “impious and law-breaking people” to reffer to the Jews, And the Great Thursday liturgy speaks of “the swarm of deicides, the lawless people of the Jews”, and, referring to “the gathering of the Jews”, prays: “But give them, Lord, their requital, because they plotted against you in vain.” Wow.

    So my question is, why the Pope hasn’t the Pope done something about it? Sure, no one has noticed these prayers, but the change in the 1962 Missal has nothing to do with pressure from the Jews, remember? What a missed oppurtunity! The Pope could have replaced them with something less harsh to proclaim to the world that doctrine has not changed! Plus, the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom could use a change or two, seeing as how it hasn’t been tampered with in hundreds of years. It must be a dead liturgical tradition in every sense of the word!

  20. Realist says:

    Tom 8,41am Thank you for your agreement with my comment, which seems to have been deleted but is quoted by you, on the necessity of freedom from anti-semitism and denial of the Shoah(Holocaust) in praying for the Jews.

    We should all pray for Catholics and Protestants too who were killedd during the course of World War II. However since there was no denial of Citizenship to Catholics by Nuremberg Laws, no Crystal Night when all Catholic homes were attacked, no Wansee Conference to consider The Final Solution to the Catholic Question, no forcible confiscation of Catholic property, no mass roundups of Catholics, no deportations of Catholics to death camps, then one cannot talk of a Catholic holocaust or mass murder of Catholics. If there had been then there would probably be no Pope Benedict.

  21. Tom says:

    I have found interesting the reactions from various conservatives regarding Pope Benedict XVI’s novel Good Friday prayer.

    A good many conservatives have criticized the Novus Ordo Good Friday prayer for Jews. That prayer was authorized by Pope Paul VI…we could refer to that prayer as “Pope Paul VI’s prayer.”

    Again…criticism of “Pope Paul VI’s” Good Friday prayer for Jews is acceptable to certain conservative Catholics.

    Conversely, various conservative Catholics would have us believe that criticism of Pope Benedict XVI’s Good Friday prayer for Jews is beyond criticism.

    It is (apparently) acceptable to criticize Pope Paul VI’s Good Friday prayer. Therefore, is it acceptable to criticze Pope Benedict XVI’s Good Friday prayer in question?

    Thank you.

  22. Tom says:

    “…no mass roundups of Catholics, no deportations of Catholics to death camps, then one cannot talk of a Catholic holocaust or mass murder of Catholics.”

    I disagree.

    In Poland, for example, mass deportations of Catholics were undertaken by the Nazis. The Nazis were determined to destroy Catholic Poland.

    The Nazis instituted the Catholic Holocaust.

  23. This business of the Catholic Holocaust really doesn’t have much to do with this thread.

  24. Peter Karl T. Perkins says:

    To David2:

    Both Mr. Tofari, the Secretary of the S.S.P.X and Bishop Fellay himself have said that the 2008 revision of the Good Friday Prayer does not affect them, since the Society uses the pre-1955 rites. It may be the case that some Society priests do not but that is not Society policy.

    P.K.T.P.

  25. Peter Karl T. Perkins says:

    To David2:

    I forgot to mention that my local S.S.P.X priest uses the pre-1955 Good Friday prayers as well, according to a gentleman who attends their chapels. There might be differences in the Society from place to place. I have never attended a Society Mass, either to fulfil the obligation or otherwise. I have avoided this as a way to demonstrate my loyalty to the Pope. While I do not question that loyalty on the part of Society members, I prefer to repair to approved Masses whenever possible. However, I would now consider going to a Society chapel for the first time, but only on Good Friday. However, if there is an Eastern Catholic Good Friday avaiable to me, I’d rather go there (and there is).

    P.K.T.P.

  26. Peter Karl T. Perkins says:

    Jordan Potter wrote:
    Jordon Potter wrote:

    “Let’s not forget the scandal that is caused by suggestions and encouragement that Catholics reject or avoid the Church’s revised prayer for the Jews.”

    There is no scandal caused by suggestions and encouragement of this kind. What would be scandalous is for anyone to suggest that the Pope not be obeyed. Concretely, this means (a) we cannot insist that priests used the 1962 formulation in place of the 2008 one and (b) we cannot rightly protest when others insist that the 2008 revision be used.

    But the law does not require that we receive or use the 2008 revision. The Pope does not demand it, and charity does not demand it if we honestly deem it to be a prudential error. Neither Mr. Potter nor anyone else can put himself in place of the Pope and make demands on the faithful which neither the Pope nor the law imposes. We are perfectly at liberty to encourage others to avoid the 2008 revision provided that we do so with respect for the Holy Father.

    P.K.T.P.

  27. Tom says:

    Father Z wrote: “This business of the Catholic Holocaust really doesn’t have much to do with this thread.”

    It does, Father (I could explain…but this your blog and I realize that the case is closed on this thread).

    Pax.

  28. Richard says:

    In the lead article in the March issue of Catholic Family News, John Vennari notes that during the reign of Pope Pius XI, a Catholic group known as Friends of Israel wanted “perfidious” removed from the Good Friday prayer. Cardinal Merry Del Val, with the Pope’s permission, refused the request, explaining that the liturgy of Holy Week goes back to “respectable days of old and thus excludes any reformability. The Holy Office ruled “Nihil esse innovandum.” The “Amici Israel” proposers were obliged to reject their goal and the association was dissolved.
    I think that was an excellent decision on Rome’s part and wonder just what has changed since then to justify reforming the irreformable. ROC

  29. Richard says:

    Sorry. The Cardinal’s quote ends after reformability. ROC

  30. D. S. says:

    To P.K.T.P., 7. march, 5.55:

    You are perfectly right: without the SSPX (or better:FSSPX) there would not have been the indult, the Summorum Pontificum, etc. – the old rite that widespreaded anymore.

    I just spoke to a German member of the SSP (or: FSSP – society of St. Peter!) and he admitted a) that without the FSSPX there would not be the FSSP and b) that in the early 90s (after the Ecclesia Dei affl.-indult) without the FSSPX the bishops in Germany (or middle Europe) would not have given places to FSSP-priests to celebrate the old rite.

    So thanks to the SSPX/FSSPX, thanks to H. E. Msgr. Lefebvre!
    (and we all, who love the old latin rite, should be more thankful to FSSPX and be aware of the point me and Mr Perkins made!)

    In CHo per Mam

    D.S.

  31. Jordan Potter says:

    Peter Karl T. Perkins wrote, in response to my words, “Let’s not forget the scandal that is caused by suggestions and encouragement that Catholics reject or avoid the Church’s revised prayer for the Jews”:

    There is no scandal caused by suggestions and encouragement of this kind. What would be scandalous is for anyone to suggest that the Pope not be obeyed.

    No scandal in giving the people the idea that there’s no harm in Catholics rejecting the authorised public prayer of the Church?

    But the law does not require that we receive or use the 2008 revision.

    Wrong. It is the only authorised prayer for the Jews in the Extroardinary Use of the Good Friday liturgy. If an Extraordinary Use Good Friday liturgy is presented, that is the prayer that must be said. Personal opinions of laymembers don’t have any bearing on that. What a layman thinks in his head during that prayer, or what he grumbles to himself, are irrelevant — when the prayer is spoken and the people kneel, the prayer has been received and used.

    Richard said: I think that was an excellent decision on Rome’s part and wonder just what has changed since then to justify reforming the irreformable.

    What changed? About six million Jews were murdered, and more Catholics either participated in their murder or didn’t actively work to save them than helped to save them.

    Also, the Church didn’t say the prayer could never be reformed. If the earlier judgment were permanently binding, subsequent Popes could not have reformed the prayer.

  32. D. S. says:

    To schollman (7.3., 11.30):

    I think it was You who stated at the Transalpine´s blog in answer to me that the new prayer is not to be interpretated in an [narrow/stricter] eschtological sense and You quoted Mr.Sungenis.Now You quote/reference to H.H. Pope Benedikt.

    But neither the first than the second is convincing.

    It can´t be the duty of the faithful to look out what the Holy Father said some time at some place to the theme of converting the Jewes in right understanding the new prayer. the prayer itselfe must be consulted – and the normal/usual/traditional interpretation of Rm 11. So that is WHAT THE PRAYER REALY SAYS (in its own context, so normal and traditional interpretation of the words presupposed): it begs for conversion of the nation of Israel at the very end of time!

    Well, there might be an interpretation, that is not the normal/usual/common one, and the Pope might say so elsewehre, as you refernce to, but that is not an authentical interpretation of the prayer now given (also, I admit, H.Em. Card. Kasper`s one isn´t either).

    We have till now only the text itselfe and no authentical interpretation. If the Holy Father does not give such an interpretation (especially and explicitly) for this prayer, we must take the prayer itselfe and the usual, traditional interpretation.
    (And not an extraordinary, unusual one, the Pope or some other person gives elsewhere, outof the context of the introduction of the new prayer.)

    So as long as if there is no authentic interpretation given from the Pope to especially this prayer you have to take the common, traditional interpretation of the words: and that is eschatologic in a narrow/strict sense!!

    In CHO per Mam
    D.S.

  33. Jordan Potter says:

    D.S. said: So as long as if there is no authentic interpretation given from the Pope to especially this prayer you have to take the common, traditional interpretation of the words: and that is eschatologic in a narrow/strict sense!!

    If that really were the common, traditional interpretation, then Cardinal Kasper wouldn’t have suggested that it is the right interpretation.

    The prayer obviously asks for the conversion of the Jews — first without and limitation on “when,” and then praying for the eventual conversion of the Jews at the end of time. Now, the conversion of the Gentiles will not be complete until the end of time, but does that mean the Church doesn’t pray for all mankind to be converted in the here and now? In the same way, we pray for the Jews to be converted today and at the end of time.

    There’s nothing doctrinally amiss about the revised prayer. Also, we all know how effective grousing and moaning about the revised prayer will be in getting the Holy Father to say, “Oops, sorry about that!”

  34. D. S. says:

    To: Jordan Potter:

    You are right: the new prayer is a real obligation by law – the intetnion of the law giver (H.H. Pope Benedikt) is clear that only the new prayer should be used.

    But the same way it is a real obligative law to use the horrible 1970 prayer in the NOM, the intention of the law giver (H.H.Pope Paul VI) is also clear here. Or the intetion of the same law-giver was as clear as to the point before that the old latin rite (TLM) should be abrogated by the new. With exception of England and Scottland in very special cases (indult) there was no indult, only to old and sick (!! – pah!!) priests, till 1984. And then it was also only an indult – so a proof that the old rite should be seen as generally abrogated by the new.

    So like you was/are justified to reject these unjust laws (the SSPX did so and now even the Pope says so, that the old rite was never abrogated – so you were justified to act against that given law of Pope Paul VI, who realy tried to abrogate the old rite, or better: who realy abrogated it) you are/can be also justified to reject the new law of Pope Benedikt as unjust.

    And, as I posted before, the new law is unjust especially of the reason that it begs only for conversio of the Jews in eschatological time (strict sense) and therefor supports some semi-modernistical error.

    So it is no scandal, but a duty to reject the new law – like it was no scandal, but a duty to reject the law givven by paul VI abrogating the old rite!!

    In CHO per Mam
    D.S.

  35. D. S. says:

    laudetur JS ChS!

    I think it´s a realy interesting point a stated before and want to stress here: the intention of the law giver Paul VI was clear to abrogate the old rite or better old form of the rite and replace it by/reform it into the new form (NOM). The new or better renewed rite should substitute the old one and the old one therefore was abrogated without need to do it explicitly(see c. 20, CIC).

    And therefore at the 70s and early 80s you were not allowed to use the old (pre-reformated, “TLM”) form!! And after 1984 only with special indult!!

    But now even the Holy Father says that the old rite/form would never have been abrogated!!

    So the only interpretation to this is (if you do not want to say that Pope Benedikt is just wrong here – what is also possible, but then you should think farther ….) that the intended and by law promulgated abrogation was unjust and you were therefor allowed to reject such a law.

    The SSPX and other comunities and priests, most of them connected to the SSPX, did so – great thanks to them!!

    Now the Pope shows that they were right to do so, that a law can be unjust (what is also clear by the traditional teaching of the church, by the teaching of St. Thomas, of Cajetan, Bellarmin etc.).

    Thanks to the Pope! Thanks to the SSPX and all the othr priests who rejected the abgrogation of the old rite as an unjust law!

    In cHO per Mam
    D.S.

  36. D. S. says:

    Laudetur JS CHS!

    And like you were justified to reject the abrogation of the old rite (clearly intended by Paul VI) as an unjust law (unjust by different reasons, but especially because of beeing dangerous for the faith…!),

    you are justified to reject the new Pope-Benedikt-prayer as unjust (also because of different reasons, but especially again because of beeing dangerous for the faith supporting a semi-modernistical teaching/error by praying only for conversion/salvation of the Jews in eschatological times (sensu stricto) and not the actual living Jews – supporting such interpretations like those of H.Em.Card Kasper!).

    laudetur JS & Ma
    D.S.

  37. D. S. says:

    To Jordan Potter (7.36):

    You wrote “The prayer obiously asks for the conversion of the Jews – first without and limitation on “when” and then…”

    But this is a great mistake you seem to share also with the German philologist Dr. Barth (see “Kirchlische Umschau” 3/2008), who is in general very critic to the prayer and known as sympathising with the SSPX, but like you also thinks that the fisrt part prays for the conversion without limitation:

    But that´s wrong, because the first part is not a prayer, so asks not directly for anything, but says only: “let us pray for…”. Indeed without any limitation. But then the only prayer itselfe has this limitation – so the indtroduction, wich is no first and independent prayer, is clearly determinated and so limitated by the words of the prayer itselfe.

    In realy surch for only the truth (I try to recognice every good argument, believe me, only truth searching)
    and in CHo per Mam
    D.S.

  38. D. S. says:

    P.S. (to Potter):

    Why can H.Em. Card Kasper not use a traditional interpretation? Also a modernist or semi-modernist can use a traditional interpretation (if it is in benefit for his teaching). So that was no good argument!

    Still from Germany and in CHrist, our Lord, through Mary
    D.S.

  39. Habemus Papam says:

    This may be off topic but Fr.Finigan at Hermenutic Of Continuity has intersting reviews of the continuation of Christian liturgy from Temple worship.

  40. Jordan Potter says:

    D.S. said But that´s wrong, because the first part is not a prayer, so asks not directly for anything, but says only: “let us pray for…”. Indeed without any limitation.

    Ah, so it’s not a prayer even though it says, “Let us pray for,” and even though it prays that the hearts of Jews may be enlightened and that they may accept Jesus, Savior of the world.

    I’m afraid my brain is not capable of the gymnastics and contortions required in order to reach the conclusion that a prayer is not a prayer.

    Also, the revised prayer is based on Romans 9-11, which does not just speak of Jewish conversion at the end of time, but also in the here and now. Therefore the revised prayer asks for their conversion today AND eschatologically.

    Finally, I don’t think the law promulgating the revised prayer for the Jews in the Ordinary Use/Pauline Missal was unjust. I think it is seriously deficient, but not overtly heretical and in fact biblical. It’s ambiguous, and the reform of the Roman Rite was riddled with imprudence in my opinion (for what my opinion is worth, which is very little), but I don’t think it was unjust of the Church to promulgate that prayer, nor do I reject it.

  41. D.S. says:

    Laudetur JS CHS!

    To J. Potter:

    No brain-gym is to be done but only to read carefully. Then you will recognice, that the first part is an introduction and demand or invitation to pray, but not a prayer (in the strict sense) – because it is adressed not to GOD but to us – the invitation to us to pray for the Jews, that they will recognice CHrist, our Lord. That´s it.

    In Cho per Mam
    D.S.

  42. D.S. says:

    P.S. to Potter:

    And it is not only no direct (directly to god adressed prayer)(” Almighty… God, please/propitiously…grant that”), but also no indirect, deprecativ prayer (f.e. ” God might/shall grant that” “the Jews shall be…”).

    The formula “let us pray, that…” is cleraly only an invitation (adressed to us (!)) to pray, but neither a direct nor an indirect/deprecativ prayer.

    But well, perhaps you can see it as very, very indirect prayer or better: in the silence after “flectamus genua” before the official prayer itselfe we are commanded to pray with the intentions given in the invitation. Well, the invitation then itselfe is still no prayer, but it shows how to pray and we all have to pray in silence then in this intention…

    So in itselfe the invitation is only an invitation to pray(showing some intentions), not a prayer.