UPDATE: Bishops of England, Wales v. SSPX? Request for review of Good Friday Prayer for Jews

UPDATE 24 Nov:

Fr. H has updated his post about the attack on Pope Benedict’s prayer for the Jews on Good Friday waged by the bishops in England and Wales.  Fr. H asked me to update you.

The BC [bishops conference] has now published a Note (see the thread) which does considerable discredit to whoever drafted it. He or she, indeed, appears to be unaware that the Prayer concerned was written by the Sovereign Pontiff himself … or else wishes the fact not to be known. The Note gives no information about what it is in the text composed by Pope Benedict that contradicts Nostra aetate. It claims that “the Prayer produced in 2008 [written by Benedict XVI!] reverted to being a prayer for the conversion of Jews to Christianity”, but fails to indicate which phrases in the text of the Prayer it deems objectionable. Whoever drafted it is clearly someone who believes, at all costs, in avoiding honest, or precise, dialogue.

At one point only does it come clean. “The Bishops of England and Wales have now added their voice to that of the German Bishops who have asked for the Prayer in the Extraordinary Form to be changed”. [So the Germans are attacking Benedict’s prayer, too.]

So now we know what is going on. Kasper’s belated revenge on Ratzinger, now that he can’t answer back.

____ Original Post Published on: Nov 23, 2015 @ 10:15 CT

Fr. John Hunwicke has at his excellent blog Mutual Enrichment an interesting bit of news.  Perpend:

“The Bishops’ Conference [of England and Wales] … ”

” … requests that the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei review the prayer Pro Conversione Iudaeorum in the Solemn Liturgy of Good Friday in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, in the light of the understanding in Nostra Aetate of the relationship between the Catholic Church and Judaism”.

There appears to be no indication whether this resolution, passed last week by the English and Welsh Bishops, was unanimous.
Assuming that the bishops did not all wake up one morning with one identical thought in every head, it would be interesting to know where this concern originated; particularly, whether with one of the bishops or in some Liturgy Committee. Such information is always available with regard to the deliberations of the American Episcopal Conference. [But not with the bishops of England and Wales?]

I find it extraordinary that whoever originated this move is unaware that the current form of that Prayer comes directly from the pen of Benedict XVI himself, who was at the Council as a peritus and, it has always seemed to me, gives the impression of knowing some of the Conciliar documents really quite well. And, while aware that a lot of people viscerally loathe Joseph Ratzinger, I have always found his writings, both as a theologian, and as Cardinal Prefect of the CDF, and as Successor of S Peter, cogent, convincing, and illuminating. I would like to be helped to understand where it is that I have gone wrong in this judgement.

A Conspiracy Theorist would probably wonder if this is part of an attempt to get rolling a movement for dismantling the Magisterium of Benedict XVI and for derailing the current rather promising rapprochement under the direction of Pope Francis between the Vatican and the SSPX. I, fortunately, am not a Conspiracy Theorist. What I would like to have, as a concerned Catholic Priest who tries to understand the Church’s Magisterium, is a lucid and unwoffly statement of what exactly it is in the Prayer which contradicts which precise affirmations of Nostra Aetate, [Good question.] a document to which, of course, I subscribe. Since the Prayer as composed by Benedict XVI carefully follows, even verbally, the teaching in the Epistle to the Romans of S Paul (an author whom I spent three decades teaching), I would also be very interested to know what it is in S Paul’s teaching which is deemed to fall under the condemnation of Nostra Aetate. 

I have written about Pope Benedict’s change to the Good Friday Prayer HERE and HERE and HERE and HERE.

In previous posts I give some context, a comparison of texts and my own analysis.

 

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37 Responses to UPDATE: Bishops of England, Wales v. SSPX? Request for review of Good Friday Prayer for Jews

  1. In case there are readers to whom this issue is new, here in English translation is the new version from Benedict XVI:

    Let us also pray for the Jews: that our God and Lord may illuminate their hearts, that they acknowledge that Jesus Christ is the Savior of all men. Almighty and eternal God, who want that all men be saved and come to the recognition of the truth, propitiously grant that even as the fullness of the peoples enters Your Church, all Israel may be saved. Through Christ Our Lord. Amen.

    How is it possible that the English bishops (or any other Catholics) lack sufficient Christian charity to pray for the salvation of Jews (or anyone else)?

  2. Mike says:

    Citing the Apostle Paul may or may not carry weight. A Jesuit professor at my Jesuit alma mater saw fit to inform me once (in a tone implying that I was the last to find out) that St. Paul had psychological problems, and so, well…

  3. Pigeon says:

    Henry, for many, including bishops, salvation itself is an outdated concept.

  4. Suburbanbanshee says:

    A lot of bishops wish we Catholics should all grow like onions, with our heads down in the dirt.

    So of course they want the Jews to be in the dark and not know the truth, since it’s what they want for Catholics too.

  5. Geoffrey says:

    When Benedict XVI first promulgated this new prayer, I recall the SSPX issuing a statement saying that they were not going to use it. Perhaps this “investigation” has something to do with this added disobedience on their part?

    Am I safe in assuming that the FSSP, etc., do use Benedict XVI’s prayer as ordered?

    Oh, and P.S. Don’t tell anyone that the Liturgy of the Hours is filled with prayers for the conversion of the Jewish people. Shhh!!!

  6. CatholicMD says:

    “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12

    How hard is this? If you want one example of the crisis of faith in the Church it is this.

  7. Sixupman says:

    The immediate project of the E & W Bishops’ Conference is the “managed decline” of Mother Church in the Country! Clergy replaced by laity the current stage. Only three bishops have exhibited sympathy for Traditional Orders and then out of necessity to a marked degree. A parish priest friend recently opined, re priest shortage, some might come from Malta, but they would be “too Catholic” to be acceptable. His view of the Cardinal Archbishop, whom he knows of old, is un repeatable here. Lord have Mercy upon on us in the UK!

  8. Charles E Flynn says:

    Ill-motivated meddling.

  9. I very seriously doubt that you have “gone wrong” in your assessment.

    Pax et bonum,
    Keith Töpfer

  10. Charles E Flynn says:

    Here is some good news for Catholics in England:

    From Fraternity of St Peter are installed in St Mary’s Warrington, England:

    It should be noted that there is nothing experimental about this arrangement. Ampleforth Abbey have given the church to the FSSP, and on this great occasion Fr de Malleray was formally installed as Rector of the newly established shrine by the Archbishop. This is a huge step forward for the FSSP and for the cause of Tradition in England.

  11. Imrahil says:

    Can have but little to do with the SSPX as they use the 1962 version (not the 1958 version, of course). The only point where this might, perhaps, have to do with the SSPX is that they might concede using Pope Benedict’s form as part of a regularization; they don’t do yet. (People from their allegiance have said that the prayer is, in itself, not wrong, but they oppose the deliberate omitting of any praying for the conversion of particular Jews in the here-and-now.)

    On the other hand, it is no secret that many – say, the Central Council of German Jews (reporting from Germany because I’m better informed here than about England) and all the many and influential ones who think that there should not be a mission among the Jews – wish that even Pope Benedict’s form is got rid of and the New Rite form is made compulsory for the Old Rite too. (The fact that Pope Benedict’s prayer doesn’t refer to a particular mission of particular Jews in the here and now has escaped them, they’ll outraged at the headline “Pro conversione Judaeorum” alone and at the fact that their nice Novus Ordo form was, as they perceive, “changed”.)

  12. Nicolas Bellord says:

    The immediate project of Satan is the destruction of the Catholic Church in England; he has sold it to the Bishops’ Conference in a tin labelled ‘managed decline’. One who knows about such things told me that one Bishop supported a proposal put forwards by the Bishops’ conference’s staff – I cannot remember what it was; perhaps reducing the number of Holy Days of Obligation to just Christmas – no other Bishop objected so it got passed. And just look how Bishop Egan got slapped down for suggesting that those MPs who voted in favour of abortion might like to consider whether they were worthy to receive communion. And who initiated that one? A retired MP who had voted in favour of gay marriage etc and who is now on the staff of the Bishop’s Conference. Perhaps the Bishops got a bit confused as the MP’s surname is Pope and they thought they must agree with him.

  13. Nicolas Bellord says:

    The immediate project of Satan is the destruction of the Catholic Church in England; he has sold it to the Bishops’ Conference in a tin labelled ‘managed decline’. One who knows about such things told me that one Bishop supported a proposal put forwards by the Bishops’ conference’s staff – I cannot remember what it was; perhaps reducing the number of Holy Days of Obligation to just Christmas – no other Bishop objected so it got passed. And just look how Bishop Egan got slapped down for suggesting that those MPs who voted in favour of abortion might like to consider whether they were worthy to receive communion. And who initiated that one? A retired MP who had voted in favour of gay marriage etc and who is now on the staff of the Bishop’s Conference. Perhaps the Bishops got a bit confused as the MP’s surname is Pope and they thought they must agree with him.

  14. Gerard Plourde says:

    I think it is important to recognize that one must be careful in dicussing Pauline theology to ensure his words are read to accord with the tradition and authority of the Catholic Church. Because of his importance, the words of St. Paul have been particularly misused and twisted by Protestants beginning with Martin Luther to launch attacks on the Catholic Faith. Sadly, misinterpretation of the Epistle to the Romans (often referred to in Evagelical and Fundamentalist circles as “The Roman Road”) is a heavily employed tool used to direct people away from the One True Church.

    In discussing how the Saving Act of Our Lord operates for all those, who through no fault of their own, are not members of the Catholic Church (a category that of course includes our separated Protestant brethern), we must also be careful to avoid the Feeneyite interpretation of “Extra Ecclesia Non Salus”.

  15. taffymycat says:

    a priest friend has tried explaining to me the troubles w/FSSP, SSPV, SSPX. LeFevre..i just dont get it and wish i could find a good explanation of all these troubles. my friend is a devout priest saying only latin mass and using old rituale romanum from 1952 i think. if i ask him to explain it one more time he is going to think i am a moron, which may be. if anyone has good link..please post.

  16. Gerard Plourde says:

    Dear taffymycat,

    I’m going to attempt a”Cliff’s Notes” description of the controversy (and invite others to correct any errors I may make).

    Archbishop Lefebvre was excommunicated by Pope St. John Paul for consecrating bishops without the required approval of the Holy See. (The consecrated bishops, including Bishop Fellay, were also excommunicated for their participation. These excommunications, with the possible exception of that of Archbishop Lefebvre who had died in the interim, were rescinded by Pope Benedict XVI in 2008.) The Priests of the Society of St. Pius X are validly ordained to the priesthood. The difficulty lie in the fact that ordination by itself does not allow a priest to exercise his mininstry legally. For that to occur, he must be subject to a diocese (the term is incardinated) and subject to that diocese’s bishop. While Bishop Fellay of the Society is a validly though illicitly consecrated, he does not have a diocese and therefore the Society’s priests cannot function legally. The Masses they celebrate are valid but not legal (licit).

    This becomes especially important sacramentally in the cases of Matrimony and Penance. Both require that the priest be validly incardinated for the Sacraments to be effective. (In the cae of Penance, Pope Francis has decreed that for duration the upcoming Year of Mercy he is extending the right to the faithful to have sacramentally valid Penance through the Society’s otherwise illicit priests). There is no similar provision for marriages celebrated by the Society’s priests. Therefore, no Marriage contracted under the auspices of the Society of St. Pius X is valid in the eyes of the Catholic Church.

    There has been much ink spilled over the question whether the Society is in schism from the Catholic Church. Officially, there is no formal declaration of schism concerning the Society as a whole. Catholics are cautioned that because of the disobedient nature of the actions of the Society the danger of schism is present.

    I assume that by SSPV you are referring to the Society of St.Pius V. These priests are most likely (though to my knowledge not formally decreed to be) in schism from the Catholic Church. They split from the SSPX and differ from them in that they reject the liturgical reforms not only of Bl. Paul VI (the Ordinary Form of the Mass), but also the reforms of the liturgies of Holy Week instituted by St. John XXIII and Ven. Pius XII. They may also be sede vacantists who believe that no valid Pontiff has governed the Church since the death of Ven. Pius XII.

    By FSSP I assume you refer to the Priestly Society of St. Peter. This group was formed by priests who were members of the Society of St. Pius X who reconciled with the Holy See and were granted ecclesiastical approval. Their charism within the Church is a special devotion to the celebration of the Mass according to the Extraordinary Form using the Roman Missal of 1962. They are incardinated into the dioceses in which they serve and are therfore act with the full authority of the Catholic Church.

  17. Gerard Plourde says:

    Quick Correction – FSSP = Preistly Fraternity of St. Peter.

  18. robtbrown says:

    Gerald Plourde says,

    By FSSP I assume you refer to the Priestly Society of St. Peter. This group was formed by priests who were members of the Society of St. Pius X who reconciled with the Holy See and were granted ecclesiastical approval. Their charism within the Church is a special devotion to the celebration of the Mass according to the Extraordinary Form using the Roman Missal of 1962. They are incardinated into the dioceses in which they serve and are therfore act with the full authority of the Catholic Church.

    Like others in institutes of Pontifical Right, members of the FSSP are incardinated in the FSSP.

    Diocesan priests are incardinated in a diocese.

  19. Supertradmum says:

    Sixupman, you speak out of ignorance.
    Three points: Malta has now a priest and seminarian shortage as well and this is growing. Two, the Maltese diocesan seminary has been the WORST in the world for liberal teaching for years and most Europeans know this, a fact which has led directly to the passages of laws allowing same-sex marriage, divorce, and now, coming up, abortion and IVF. The country Catholics under a certain age are very liberal and contraception has been accepted here for two generations at least if not three. Women my age were told it was ok forty years ago. The only families of more than two kids are Muslim families from Africa and Saudi Arabia. This is obvious. Very obvious.
    Three, the last two bishops of Malta, have actively suppressed the TLM, and having visited Malta six times for two or three months at a go, since and including 2011, I know for a fact, being in close contact with the TLM community here, that there has not been a public TLM for at least 18 months, and only two priests say it privately.

    Get your facts straight, please. Malta is not “too Catholic”. Even the bishop here states that the Church has no power here at all. The clergy here have allowed this to happen by their own laxity, and yes, I do pray for them.

  20. Papabile says:

    Gerard Plourde

    While I am not arguing for the Feenyite understanding of extra ecclesiam nulla salus, and while I do not personally believe it,the fact is:

    In the process of reconciling some of the Fall River Feenyites, under the signature of the head of the CDF, a letter was signed that an exclusivist (meaning membership in a parish) understanding of extra ecclesial nulla salus was within the realm of acceptable belief,and had a tradition within the Church.

    The signs for of that letter? Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger.

  21. zama202 says:

    So… Archbishop Lefebvre is supposed to be bad … but Kasper and these other fellows attacking Benedict XVI and all our Catholic traditions are supposed to be good.

    Doesn’t make sense to me.

    Charles

  22. Norah says:

    My parish priest was ordained in Malta. Trust me, they are not “too Catholic” -if only!

  23. Gerard Plourde says:

    Dear robtbrown,

    Thanks for the correction. Am I correct that the priests of the Society are subject to the Ordinary of the diocese as well as their religious superiors when entrusted with parishes? That appears to be the case according to Can 681.

  24. Modernists think they have their green light to unravel all of Pope Benedict’s work. Watch out since the self aggrandizing left will attack Summorum Pontificum with impunity.

  25. robtbrown says:

    If memory serves, Walter Kasper is an advocate of the Double Covenant Theory.

  26. Eugene says:

    More harm has been done by the evil buracracies of bishops’ conferences than any other VII invention with the exception of the changes in the Mass.
    I my country of Canada the conference has been responsible for thwarting the pro life movement, issuing confusing statements on Islam, supporting apostate “catholic” prime ministers and it’s latest crowning

    achievement was it’s ex president ( Arch Durocher) actively promoting female deacons at the synod of the family ( I guess he needs them as there no vocations in his diocese, maybe some doctrinally sound African priests can help him)

  27. spock says:

    @Geoffrey

    That presumes of course that they actually pray the Liturgy of the Hours. Perhaps that cannot be assumed.

  28. LarryW2LJ says:

    Thank you Henry Edwards for posting the prayer.

    To the Bishops of England and Wales ….. seems to be much ado about nothing.

  29. pelerin says:

    To confuse matters further it should be noted that in France the SSPX is known as the FSSPX not to be confused with the FSSP!

    And those who saw ‘The Life of Brian’ will remember that The People’s Front of Judea was not the same as the Judean People’s Front!

  30. spock: @Geoffrey “That presumes of course that they actually pray the Liturgy of the Hours. Perhaps that cannot be assumed.”

    I recall a bishop saying that whenever he has to call in a priest who is “in trouble”, the first thing he asks him is “When did you stop praying your daily Office”?

    This might apply bishops also. It’s an interesting (if probably not salutory) mental exercise to look at some of them on TV, trying to visualize them getting before dawn to pray the Divine Office. The last time I saw a bishops morning meeting open with recitation of the abbreviated single-psalm Magnificat version of Morning Prayer–which I highly recommend, at least for lay folks just beginning daily liturgical prayer–I wondered if this suggested they were not assumed to have prayed their office individually before Mass and breakfast.

  31. Gerard Plourde says:

    Dear Papabile,

    Thanks. Catholics are permitted to privately hold a more exclusive form of “Extra Ecclesia Non Salus” than that officially taught by the Church. The difficulty arises in determining whether the exclusive position’s use of the Athanasian Creed as normative implies rejection of the long-held doctrines of Baptism of Blood and Baptism of Desire. So long as these doctines are not explicitly rejected, those who hold EENS are on safe ground.

  32. disco says:

    The bishop of my diocese commanded the Paul VI prayer be used in the Extraordinary Form Good Friday in his diocese several years ago. This year our priest read all three prayers from the pulpit before the service but I believe the Benedictine form was used in the great intercessions themselves. (I’m fairly certain I heard “Illuminet”)

    I find this movement to deform the extraordinary form especially abhorrent. Those who oppose the prayer for the conversion of the Jews are wolves in the garb of sheep.

  33. Michael_Thoma says:

    Still waiting for the same meddling busy-bodies that call for such things to remove any vile references about the Most Holy Theotokos and our Lord God and Savior from the Talmud and other historical post-Temple Jewish writings, as well as ask Muslims to cleanse their texts, along with Buddhists, Hindus, and everyone else.

  34. Gerhard says:

    Why would one leave another to flounder in error?

  35. taffymycat says:

    gerard-thank you for the explanation. i know a man who worked with archbishop lefevebre who insists he was a holy humble man despite excommunication. i wonder if there will be some sort of reconciliation…to be sure some of these priests are holy and sincere.

  36. robtbrown says:

    Gerard Plourde says:

    Dear robtbrown,

    Thanks for the correction. Am I correct that the priests of the Society are subject to the Ordinary of the diocese as well as their religious superiors when entrusted with parishes? That appears to be the case according to Can 681.

    It’s a fairly complex issue. The relationship between religious orders and bishops has long been tenuous.

    1. Once a religious institute of Pontifical Right establishes a house in a diocese, the bishop has almost no control over what happens there. If that house has a public mass, the bishop can “close” the church (juridically) to public liturgy.

    If the bishop wants a religous house to close (i.e., those living there to leave the diocese), that is a matter that must be decided by Rome.

    2. In US the bishop owns almost all the parish properties. If that parish is staffed by religious, he has the option of ordering them the leave.

    On the other hand, if the parish property is owned by the religious institute, he obviously cannot tell them to leave. He can, however, juridically disestablish it as a parish and “close” it juridically as a place of public worship if there are moral problems there or extraordinarily goofy liturgies.

    The SSPX owns its own properties. Once its relationship to Rome is regularized, bishops will have almost no control over what happens there (cf Summorum Pontificum). Although that is not very relevant in the US, it is in Germany, whose bishops have wanted nothing to do with SP.

  37. Ben Kenobi says:

    “The Priests of the Society of St. Pius X are validly ordained to the priesthood.”

    When you do some digging you come up with some interesting things.

    Lefebvre – ordained in 1929 by Bishop Leinart. Leinart would later consecrate him bishop in 1947, after Pius XII appointed Lefebvre titular bishop of Anthedon. Leinart himself was appointed Bishop of Lille by Pope Pius XI in 1928, a year before he ordained Lefebvre.

    So far so good.

    In 1948, just a year later he was elevated by Pius XII to the titular see of Arcadiolopolis, and was given control over French Africa. In 1955, Dakar itself was raised to an Archbishop and Lefebvre became Archbishop of Dakar.

    Fast forward 20 years later to January of 1975. Lefebvre’s SSPX pious union status was withdrawn by Paul VI. It’s here that everything starts to move lightning fast. Lefebvre wanted to ordain priests directly into the order of SSPX sans permission of the Bishop of Fribourg.

    On June 29th, 1976 against the explicit warning of Pope Paul VI, he went ahead and ordained priests. Paul immediately suspended him from the Collegium.

    Who did Lefebvre ordain in 1976? Prior to his suspension? Not Fellay, who was ordained in 1982, 6 years after his suspension by Paul VI. Tissier was ordained in 1975, prior to the suspension in 1975, but after the Bishop of Fribourg already withdrew their status. None other than Williamson.

    Gallareta was ordained in 1980, again, 4 years after the suspension.

    This isn’t a coincidence. The problem is much longer and much deeper than just the consecrations at Econe.

    It would be one thing if Lefebvre consecrated someone, anyone who was not someone he also ordained, but there’s a reason for that. Just like the consecrations, none were priests prior to 1975. They have been in disobedience now for over 40 years.

    [That was interesting, but it doesn’t change the fact that priests of the SSPX are validly, though illicitly, ordained.]