Card. Kasper: No more changes to Good Friday prayer

This just in… to which WDTPRS reponds, "Duh!"

Vatican, Mar. 10, 2008 (CWNews.com) – Despite the disappointment expressed by some Jewish leaders at the revised text of a Good Friday prayer, Pope Benedict XVI does not plan to make any alterations in the text, Cardinal Walter Kasper has disclosed.

Speaking to a German ARD television audience, Cardinal Kasper – who heads the Vatican commission for relations with Jews – said that no further change in the Good Friday prayer is necessary because "it is entirely correct from a theological perspectieve."

The German cardinal is scheduled to meet this week with Jewish leaders who will make a last effort to persuade the Vatican that a second change in the prayer is necessary. [... ho hum...] Cardinal Kasper made it clear that the chances of such a change are extremely remote. He added that he hoped relations between Catholics and Jews could be renewed on a friendly footing despite any "irritation" caused by the disagreement.

In February, Pope Benedict released the text of a revised prayer for Jews, to be used in the Good Friday service celebrated according to the 1962 Roman Missal. The revised text – which will be used only in traditional liturgies celebrated in Latin – eliminated a reference to the "blindness" of Jews but retains a prayer for their conversion.

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25 Responses to Card. Kasper: No more changes to Good Friday prayer

  1. Michael says:

    “said that no further change in the Good Friday prayer is necessary because “it is entirely correct from a theological perspectieve.”

    If this is what justifies the change, was the last prayer NOT theologically incorrect?

  2. Michael says:

    “said that no further change in the Good Friday prayer is necessary because “it is entirely correct from a theological perspectieve.”

    Was the last prayer theologically incorrect? It seems the same argument could have been used against the first change, unless there are other factors that need to be considered.

  3. Theodorus says:

    The prayer was “entirely correct from a theological perspective” in the first place! Apparently the revision has not solved anything, but creating more trouble.

  4. TomG says:

    My daughter put it exactly right the other day: sometimes you defend the Jews simply as a matter of principle (gritting your teeth all the way?)

  5. schoolman says:

    No! Please don’t write that Your Holiness!

    “What I have written, I have written.”

  6. TNCath says:

    I wonder what kind of prayer they would prefer? It would be interesting to see what they would find acceptable.

  7. D.S. says:

    They would find acceptable the NOM-prayer, I think. So horrible thing, that His Holyness did not channge this prayer, because it is seen as “theological correct” (Means supporting heresy), but changed instead of it the old. Real horrible.
    And now Card. Kasper tries to show that the revised old prayer is also “theological correct”… O dear, what a mess. Implicating that the old prayer was not…
    Shows, like Theodorus says, that the changing has caused more troubles and confusion than solved…

    And: Please, Holy Father, correct the NOM-prayer – which is clearly supporting heresy (or the more:implicit heretic) and therfor inacceptable from the catholic point of view (it´s “theological correct” for a modernist…)!

    From Germany
    D.S.

  8. Bob K. says:

    I still say that it is none of the Jews business on how we Catholic Christians pray. Glad the Pope is not giving in. He shouldn’t. We don’t tell the Jews how they should pray in their Synagogues.

  9. I don’t think Cardinal Kasper meant that the old prayer wasn’t theologically correct. I think that he was just refering to the new prayer and that one only. That it’s theologically correct. There’s no need to change it. The old prayer is obviously Theologically correct.

  10. Elise B. says:

    I am wondering about the source of this sudden interest by the Anti-Defamation League and other Jewish institutions for the Catholic liturgy. It seems to me that this source must be Catholic – someone who has found that way to fight the Motu Proprio.

  11. Elise B. says:

    I am wondering what is the source of this sudden interest for the Catholic liturgy on the part of the Anti-Defamation League and other Jewish institutions. Could it be a Catholic “liturgist” who has found this backhanded way of fighting the Motu proprio?

  12. Peter Karl T. Perkins says:

    What is really disturbing about Cardinal Kasper’s statement is that he deemed it necessary to make it public. He is acting as if our Sacred Liturgy is now ‘up for grabs’ but that, this time, after careful reflection, and after having given the matter full consideration, the Church has finally decided not to make another change. Notice the change in *attitude* here. The natural and obvious assumption should be that considering any changes to our Sacred Liturgy to appease infidels or heretics is completely unthinkable. Just imagine the impact it would have if Cardinal Kasper announced that, after having conducted detailed studies and investigations, the Church had decided to retain the Sacrament of Confirmation. The primary effect of such a statement would be to make it at least conceivable that the Church might consider reducing the number of Sacraments. (I realise that such a change would be far more unthinkable than changing the liturgy. But I am using overstatement to make the point emphatic.)

    Cardinal Kasper will reach the age of 75 in only two months or so. Let us all pray that he will retire as soon as possible and that his health and happiness will be complete in retirement.

    P.K.T.P.

  13. Michael says:

    Joe,

    Yes, but what I’m saying is that if he can say “The prayer is theologically correct, therefore, it should not be changed,” the same should have applied to the old prayer. It too was theologically correct, but it was changed nevertheless. Why not do it again?

    It seems now that changing the prayer hasn’t made the fight any easier than if it had just been left alone. The Pope would have had the same oppurtunity to reaffirm the Church’s traditional teaching on the Jews when the matter came to a head on Good Friday. We’d probably be hearing Kasper give the same line about the traditional prayer:

    “no change in the Good Friday prayer is necessary because “it is entirely correct from a theological perspectieve.”

    The Vatican chose to write a new prayer rather take a stand on the words of St. Paul in 2 Corinthians. But the opposition to the new prayer is as fierce as it would have been if there were no change.

  14. Peter Karl T. Perkins says:

    The Pope might consider forming a committee which would include Cardinal Kasper, the two chief rabbis of Palestine, two ayatollahs from Persia, Pastors Paisley from Ireland and Hagee from America, and the Panchen Lama. It’s task would be to vet our Sacred Liturgy for political correctness, both the Missal and the Office. It would recommend changes and then announce the details to the international press. Then the press would put pressure on the Holy Father to make the changes. It worked the last time. Now all we need is a committee to make the process more thorough. If we can just purge the 1962 Liturgy of all political incorrectness, all the religions of the world, torn asunder by the wound of, well, disagreement, can converge into one new superfaith in this New World Order. Charity and Hypocrisy can meet together; Truth and Error can kiss.

  15. D. S. says:

    Good – and funny, but accurate – comment of P.K.T.P.

    And my point was to state: If H.Em.Card. Kasper states that a prayer “is entirely correct from a theological perspectieve” then it is the best sign for it not beeing theological correct (in a traditional sense)! It´s only correct in a semimodernistical way, interpretated in the Kaperian way we all know. And like all semi-modernistical attitudes do: they can´t satisfy a real catholic but also not a real modernisit (or Jewish leader…). That´s the mess and the pity!

    Sill from Germany (sorry for my English)
    D.S.

  16. schoolman says:

    Cardinal Kaspar does not speak in the clearest terms. Of course the orthodoxy of the new prayer does not imply that the older version was somehow contrary to faith. The only “defect” of the old prayer is purely an “accident” of history insofar as it can (today — rather than in the times of St. Paul) easily be understood in a “pejorative” manner.

  17. Peter Karl T. Perkins says:

    Sill makes a good point, one which I had not considered.

    If Cardinal Kasper states that a certain prayer is orthodox, then we should assume that it is heterodox, given the source of the claim.

    How fortunate it is that the bad Cardinal will soon be 75 years old. If he will agree to retire within one week of his birthday, I’ll send him some good German beer and a few of those huge pretzels from Oktoberfest.

    The anti-spam word this time ’round is “Te Deum”. That’s certainly what I’ll be singing the day he leaves office.

    P.K.T.P.

  18. Jordan Potter says:

    I know theory that Peter Karl T. Perkins repeats over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again is pretty popular with many traditionalists, but might there not be another explanation. Given what we know of the basic stance that Benedict XVI favors in matters of the faith, namely, proposing truths positively rather than negatively, and given that he has previously affirmed that yes, the Church wants even the Jews to accept Christ, it seems that Benedict XVI could have been quite at peace that so many bishops and non-Catholics expressed concern about the pre-Vatican II prayer for the Jews, as it would give him an occasion to reformulate the prayer positively. Recall that he once described Gaudium et Spes as a “counter-Syllabus,” meaning the Syllabus of Errors listed many of the things that were wrong with the modern world while GS focused on things that were right with the modern world.

    Yeah, I haven’t got any proof of my theory, but then neither is there any proof that the Pope caved in to Jewish pressure and media pressure.

  19. Michael says:

    schoolman,

    I’m reminded of the Canon at the Fourth Lateran Council requiring Jews to wear distinctive dress in public. What today evokes images of Jewish families being loaded on to cattle cars to be taken to the death camps, the 1917 Encyclopedia describes as “obnoxious.” The medieval Church knew nothing of the horrors of the 20th century. Neither did the author of that article. When we’re able to read those canons and know that the story doesn’t end at Auschwitz, having to wear a pointy hat is just a humiliating inconvenience.

    There will always be Christians who are angry at the Jews for what their fathers did to Christ. The Church can try to change their feelings, but she can’t change history. To excise problematic scriptural passages from the liturgical books is to blame the liturgy for what Jews have suffered in the past. But could something as sacred as the liturgy ever be responsible for something as evil as the Holocaust? The Jews seem to think so, and by dropping the old prayer, the Pope shows that he does too.

    Of course, the Pope can remove those less than therapeutic scriptural passages from the Church’s prayer life, but they will always be divinely inspired. We must remember that everything contained in the old prayer is as true today as it was a month ago, even if the Church is afraid to say so. Jewish hearts are still veiled, and the Jewish people suffer from a blindness that keeps them from seeing the light of Christ. Many Christians only accept those parts of the Bible that don’t pose a threat to modern sensibilities. When Paul talks about love, he’s speaking the truth. When he talks about head coverings, homosexuality and subjegation, he’s just a product of his time.

  20. Jordan Potter says:

    Michael asked: But could something as sacred as the liturgy ever be responsible for something as evil as the Holocaust?

    Not directly, and even the indirect route is pretty tortuous. Still, Easter and Christmas used to be the times of the year that Jews in Europe were most afraid, times when they were very likely to encounter boorishness and worse from Christians. Of course Jews have mistreated Christians too, but God holds Christians to a higher standard.

  21. Matt Q says:

    TNCath wrote:

    “I wonder what kind of prayer they would prefer? It would be interesting to see what they would find acceptable.”

    ()

    I know what kind. The kind which makes no reference to them at all. Heh-heh. Not a chance!

    ==========

    Jordan Potter wrote:

    “Yeah, I haven’t got any proof of my theory, but then neither is there any proof that the Pope caved in to Jewish pressure and media pressure.”

    ()

    I believe the evidence is there although anecdotal. When it was first announced there was rumor the Tridentine Mass would be liberated, there were already grumblings from the Jews about the Good Friday prayer, and then when it finally came to pass, that’s when the gripes became manifest and Rome was being flooded with calls and faxes and emails. Meanwhile there were comments from Rome about the prayer being changed, and it then it actually was. Why did it need to be changed at all? Why no change to the Novus Ordo prayer so that it is fully inline with the other? So, yes, Jordan, I believe there were some considerations why the Pope did change the GF prayer. What those considerations were, we may never know.

    ==========

    Michael wrote:

    “There will always be Christians who are angry at the Jews for what their fathers did to Christ. The Church can try to change their feelings, but she can’t change history. To excise problematic scriptural passages from the liturgical books is to blame the liturgy for what Jews have suffered in the past. But could something as sacred as the liturgy ever be responsible for something as evil as the Holocaust? The Jews seem to think so, and by dropping the old prayer, the Pope shows that he does too.”

    ()

    That’s a unique interpretation, but as I said above, we may never know why the Pope changed the GF prayer and left the Novus Ordo prayer intact.

    Yes, there will always be hateful people who continue to the hold Jews perpetually responsible for the Our Lord’s condemnation but would think it totally absurd if someone told them they believed the same way towards the descendants of Charles Manson’s family for the deaths of his victims. There is no logic in that, of course.

    The present-day Jew bears no more responsibility for Jesus’ Death than does the present-day German bear any responsibility for the Holocaust, nor the present-day Japanese is responsible for Pearl Harbor, etc. Every group has bragging rights about something awful in its history. Where does it end?

  22. Peter Karl T. Perkins says:

    Jordan Potter keeps the pot boiling with this:

    “Yeah, I haven’t got any proof of my theory, but then neither is there any proof that the Pope caved in to Jewish pressure and media pressure.”

    We don’t need absolute proof to make inferences which do not accuse anyone of sin or of any unlawful act; we only need reasonable evidence, which I have supplied in spades, especially when one considers that one must also *appear* not to cave in to infidels.

    If your explanation were correct, I can only say that the Pope’s efforts failed miserably. Just look at the reaction of most of the Jewish leaders.

    A fortiori, just look how Kasper has used the change to suggest, whether logically or not, that the Pope is at least composing a formulation which is open to Kasper’s insane and heretical convergence theory.

    Anyway, your explanation and mine are really not incompatible, since I never pointed to the Pope’s motive. Only God knows his motive. I merely claimed that he made a very grave prudential error. But no matter. I am willing to ‘move on’ but the problem is that nobody else is. It is the defenders of the papal action who have, in Fr. Z.’s term, the spittle on their faces. They seem to have a fanatical need to deny the most plausible explanation no matter what. It is a need not so much to lie to others (I won’t accuse them of that) but to lie to themselves or, at least, to be determined not to face up to the facts. It all suggests papolatry to me. This Pope would be the first to admit that he can make mistakes, even serious mistakes. The one with spittle on his face is the one who demands and demands and demands and demands and demands (to borrow Potter’s repetitio) that everybody else agree that everything a Pope does or says must be just splendid.

    P.K.T.P.

  23. Peter Karl T. Perkins says:

    Once again on the causal relation between the outcry and the Pope’s alteration of the prayer.

    We must keep in mind first of all the status of the two chief rabbis of Palestine. They are alone among all the rabbis in the world in having legal and judicial power in a sovereign state. Secondly, they have very cordial relations with the Holy Father. Already in this short pontificate, they have met with him both publicly and privately, and they have exchanged gifts with him. They do not have the lack of status or standing of someone such as Mr. Abraham Flotsam. They are respected by the Pope.

    Secondly, they sent the Pope a joint official letter asking him to alter our Good Friday Prayer. This was bad enough, since it is none of their business. But the really sick part was how they then alerted the international press in order to put pressure on the Holy Father. A gentleman does not act that way. This was a completely uncivilised procedure. You do not use a third party to put pressure on a friend to do something for you: you rely on your cordial relations with that friend. Moreover, it really does insult the Pope to suggest to the world that he should do the bidding of the press.

    While the rabbis did not release the text of the letter to the press, they did reveal its essential purpose–and for a reason. A fortnight later, the Pope caved in. He may have had the best of intentions and he may have wanted to make it easier to convert masortes to the Catholic Faith, for we are the real Jews, since Jesus fulfilled the covenant (which is why I use the term ‘masortes’: I do not intend anything derogatory by it).

    Whatever the Pope’s desire may have been, changing the Sacred Liturgy, the Work of God the Holy Ghost, specifically at the request or behest of infidels or heretics has two negative effects. First, it dishonours God and His Holy Church because Error and those who adhere to it should not be the source of change to the Liturgy which is the first and most immediate catechism of Truth. The Liturgy can change to guard against error but should never change to appease heretics. Secondly, this risks setting a very bad precedent for the future. Indeed, there are a number of other passages in our Liturgy which are just as controversial to the press, the secular culture, and the Jews.

    We are already seeing the bad fruits of this change. Most of the Jewish leaders have denounced the new formula, and liberal Catholics have tried to use it to advance their errors.

    However, the Pope was within his rights to make the change; it is lawful. This means that nobody may now complain when a priest uses the new formula. It does not mean, however, that we need to receive or use the new prayer. I have explained in detail how this can be avoided licitly and why it should be. I will not repeat it here again.

    The S.S.P.X has chosen not to accept the new prayer and is presently considering a rapprochement with the Apostolic See. It would be better to drop this issue now and not allow it to become an impediment in any negotiations to come. Let us think first about achieving that reconciliation.

    A last note. This has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that the infidels in question were Jews. They could just as easily have been Muslims or Buddhists. We should not derail the issue in order to bring in the anti-semitism card.

    P.K.T.P.

  24. Jordan Potter says:

    Peter said: We don’t need absolute proof to make inferences which do not accuse anyone of sin or of any unlawful act

    If there is no sin or unlawful act in what the Pope did, then there is no grounds for rejecting what he did.

    one must also appear not to cave in to infidels.

    That obligation is not an absolute one. After all, there’s only so much that someone can do to prevent others from holding faulty and baseless opinions about one’s actions..

    If your explanation were correct, I can only say that the Pope’s efforts failed miserably.

    I have proposed that he would prefer a positive formulation of the prayer to a negative formulation, and that the objections of Catholics and Jews to the old prayer for the Jews might have given him the opportunity to modify the prayer in that manner. If that is what he wanted to do, well, he obviously did just that, which means his effort would have succeeded spectacularly.

    A fortiori, just look how Kasper has used the change to suggest, whether logically or not, that the Pope is at least composing a formulation which is open to Kasper’s insane and heretical convergence theory.

    What Cardinal Kasper actually said isn’t really all that objectionable (especially considering the source), but his words are open to a construal in favor of “convergence.”

    Anyway, your explanation and mine are really not incompatible, since I never pointed to the Pope’s motive. Only God knows his motive. I merely claimed that he made a very grave prudential error.

    . . . and therefore you will not “receive” the prayer, will not pray it, will do all you can to avoid parishes or chapels that use it, and will not even read it again. Because the Pope gave the appearance of caving in to pressure from non-Catholics, and because people like Cardinal Kasper have the ability to cross their eyes and stand on their head while reading the prayer.

  25. Peter Karl T. Perkins says:

    Jordan Potter wrote:

    “If there is no sin or unlawful act in what the Pope did, then there is no grounds for rejecting what he did.”

    Of course there is. Prudential errors which cause harm to Holy Church are to be deprecated. Paul VI may have acted in good conscience when he wreckovated the Church but it was something to be deplored and even something to be opposed to the extent possible in law.

    When I write that one must also not appear to cave into infidels, I am referring to the principle that justice must not only be done but must also be seen to be done. This means that due consideration is needed so that one does not cause scandal to others. This is elementary ethics. Obviously, a great many people were scandalised when the Pope either caved in to the chief rabbis and the press or else appeared to cave in to them.

    Jordan writes:

    “I proposed that he would prefer a positive formulation of the prayer to a negative formulation, and that the objections of Catholics and Jews to the old prayer for the Jews might have given him the opportunity to modify the prayer in that manner. If that is what he wanted to do, well, he obviously did just that, which means his effort would have succeeded spectacularly.”

    The Pope does not need pressure from the press or from chief rabbis to give him an opportunity to alter a prayer in our Sacred Liturgy or, for that matter, to eat a biscuit. He is free from them with the freedom that is slavery to God the Father. He is the Supreme Legislator of the Church. If he feels a need to make a change, he simply enters the change. He might consult with the curia but he does not wait for rabbis to use the press to make him do something. In the greatest of charity, Mr. Potter, I ask you to stop trying to rationalise everything this Pope does. We do not prove our loyalty to him by agreeing with his actions when we think them to be mistaken. It is quite the reverse: the loyal Cathoic makes his concerns known (it’s the new Code somewhere) in a spirit of charity. I felt that, had I remained silent about this outrage, I would be committing a sin. This alteration of our treasure, our Liturgy, was like a wound to the heart when it immediately followed a demand from a couple of rabbis and from a secular press.

    The statistical chance that the Holy Father just happened to be working away at your particular purpose when the outcry in the press erupted is rather small, don’t you think? Obviously, he acted to appease the chief rabbis. Whether or not he also had in mind beforehand a plan to write a positive formulation is beside the point becuause the timing of his action gave at least the appearance of a cave in, one which has very much hurt many faithful traditionalists and one which may set an unfortunate precedent.

    Moreover, the chance that he would have done this right at that time is also reduced by his much clearer and firmer desire to reach an agreement with the S.S.P.X. “Summorum Pontificum” was largely a response to their pre-condition, and Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos, having asserted this directly, has now invited the Society to take the next step towards a rapprochement. Obviously, changing the text of our Liturgy only seven months after declaring that it had never been abrogated is not the best way to instil confidence in that process. Imagine all the Society hardliners who will now say, ‘You see, this Pope cannot be trusted. This is just the beginning of his plan to gut our Mass.’ Hence this change in the Liturgy helps the cause of the Society hardliners rather than that of Society moderates who want to make an arrangement with the Holy See. It helps divide the S.S.P.X, making an agreement with Rome harder for Bsp. Fellay to accomplish.

    “and therefore you will not “receive” the prayer, will not pray it, will do all you can to avoid parishes or chapels that use it, and will not even read it again. Because the Pope gave the appearance of caving in to pressure from non-Catholics, and because people like Cardinal Kasper have the ability to cross their eyes and stand on their head while reading the prayer.”

    The law does not require that I receive or use the prayer (and there could be many prayers in our Liturgy which some of us choose not to use, for one reason or another), only that I not try to prevent others from using it. Cardinal K. has nothing to do with my reason for not receiving it. I only mentioned him to show that the change has had no good fruits. I will not receive it because I think that co-operation with this process undermines the authority of the Holy Father, whom I love very much. Our dear Pope should not cave in to infidels in the formulation of our Sacred Liturgy; nor should he appear to cave in to them. I adhere with all my heart to the Sacred Liturgy of 1962 and do not adhere to any prayers that were changed at the behest of infidels or heretics, no matter how Catholic the new form may be. I do not want anything that comes from them or at their behest; I want only what comes from God and at the initiative of his Vicar. I have every right to use the old form and to encourage others to do so as well. When, and only when, His Holiness gives us a valid order not to use the old form, I will obey (which is not possible in any event, since not even a Pope can prevent us from using holy prayers to God of our own choice). If I had a disobedient mien, I would at least support the S.S.P.X. Instead, I’ve never even attended one of its chapels–ever.

    So my refusal to receieve or use this prayer is, in fact, a loving response to the Church. I feel very deeply offended by this action of the rabbis and the Pope’s response to it. It is as if these rabbis had reached up to the Cross and slapped our Saviour in the face. In fact, we are told that rabbis did stand there and rebuke Him and wag their head at Him as He died on the Cross for them. How dare they suggest even remotely that we should change anything in our Mass to appease them? We do not ask the same of them, even though we have every right, since some of their texts are objectively evil. But we still don’t. Don’t these two characters have any decency at all?

    This entire episode has been very hurtful to me and to others and this is very much an emotional matter. I am not asking that anyone on this blog care about those of us who feel this way. But I do ask that we move on so as not to allow this matter to jeopardise negotiations with the S.S.P.X. Let’s not let the enemies of Christ let this wound fester. It has been twenty years of separation now. A reconciled Society can do much to advance tradition in the Church and to reverse the Age of Aquarius revolution which has decimated her since the 1970s.

    P.K.T.P.

    I like the 1962 formulation because it emphasises how much we should pray in particular for those how have rejected

    one must also appear not to cave in to infidels.