Fr. Z taken to task over focus on traditionalist rejection of new Good Friday prayer

In comments under another entry I was somewhat tasked with not giving enough attention… well… here is the comment:

David: <b>Too much is being said on this blog about the SSPX not accepting this prayer, and not enough about the far greater number of “mainstream”, non-TLM attending Catholics who have not accepted it for other reasons. Case in point would be the views expressed by Father Lawrence Frizzell of Seton Hall University who called the new prayer a “disappointment”.</b>

Were people to collect examples, with links and concrete texts, references, of this, that could be very useful.  We could post on that!

But frankly, I don’t have time to hunt this stuff down. 

Perhaps we could mobilize the power of WDTPRS?

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. schoolman says:

    Everyone should read the analysis provided by the Good Shepherd Institute (GSI or IBP). What a contrast to the SSPX response.

  2. Jonathan Bennett says:

    There is a post in a blog I frequent, Rubrics and Ritual, that points out that the revised Good Friday Prayer uses the short ending (“Per Christum Dominum nostrum”) instead of the long ending, used by the other Good Friday prayers, (“Per Dominum nostrum Iesum Christum, Filium tuum, qui tecum vivit et regnat, in unitate Spiritu Sancte, Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum”).

    The author suggests that either this was an error on the part of Rome, or this might suggest a possible future change to the prayer used in the Novus Ordo, which uses the short ending.

  3. Jonathan Bennett says:

    Fr. Z,

    You might also want to take a look at a recent editorial from the National Catholic Reporter-

  4. Ritualist says:

    Haha….Jonathan, I’m honoured that you saw fit to link to my blog post. But I assure you I was only indulging in a bit of silly idle speculation (then again, since speculation seems to be floating around aplenty, why shouldn’t I? but I digress). I really think it’s more likely that it was a careless error due to a lack of familiarity with the 1962(and prior) missal. Wouldn’t be the first time.

  5. Jeff Pinyan says:

    Here’s my translation of the response from the Institute of the Good Shepherd:

    Dear Monsieur Abbot,

    First of all, my congratulations for all the work which you do and for the constant care that you have in desiring the sanctification of the flock.

    My question concerns, after the promulgation by the Pope of a new prayer for the conversion of the Jews.

    Could you shed some light [lit.: give us your illumination] on the subject? Is it a question of diplomatic promulgation? Is it a question of a promulgation which resides in the framework of a possible liturgical reformation (in the Catholic sense of the term)?

    I thank you in advance for your response on this delicate and tremendously important subject.

    Marie-Alix Doutrebente

    Very dear Marie Alix,

    Before treating such a delicate subject, it is necessary to know the background [lit.: of what one speaks]. Also, before all, I propose to you a re-reading of the three formulae of prayers on Good Friday for the Jews.

    1. The formula of the 1962 Missal, with the suppression of the famous perfidies decided by John XXIII in 1959. Oremus et pro (perfidis) judeis : ut Deus et Dominus noster auferat velamen de cordibus eorum ; ut et ipsi agnoscant Jesum Christum Dominum Nostrum. Oremus. Flectamus genua. Levate. Omnipotens sempiterne Deus qui Judeos etiam a tua misericordia non repellis ; exaudi preces nostras, quas pro illius populi obcaecatione deferimus ;ut, agnita veritatis tuae luce, quae Christus est, a suis tenebris eruantur. Amen.

    2. The formula of the 1969 Missal of Paul VI: Prions pour les Juifs à qui Dieu a parlé en premier : Qu’ils progressent dans l’amour de son Nom et la fidélité à son alliance. (silence). Dieu éternel et tout-puissant, toi qui a choisi Abraham et sa descendance pour en faire les fils de ta promesse, conduis à la plénitude de la rédemption le premier peuple de l’Alliance, comme ton Eglise t’en supplie. Par Jésus, Le Christ, notre Seigneur.

    3. The formula of Pope Benedict XVI, proposed and made obligatory by the note of the Secretary of State, February 4, 2008: Oremus et pro Judeis ; ut Deus et Dominus noster illuminet corda eorum, ut agnoscant Jesum Christum salvatorem omnium hominum.Oremus. Flectamus genua. Levate. Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui vis ut omnes homines salvi fiant et ad agnitionem veritatis veniant, concede propitius, ut plenitudine gentium in Ecclesiam Tuam intrante omnis Israël salvus fiat. Per Christum Dominum Nostrum. Amen.

    Some factual remarks, before we go too far. I have recounted the second formula for memory: it is neither the direct object of your question nor of my analysis. The perenniality of the ancient covenant would obviously require serious hermeneutics. This formula remains in force in the Ordinary Form and find itself changed. Because the modification of the current Pope only pertains to the Extraordinary Form: it replaces the first [prayer] with the third [prayer], without modifying anything of the second [prayer]. The Pope has chosen not to impose the second: we take note of that.

    You will then note that the current media noise around the perfidis, whether journalistic or traditionalistic, is simply ridiculous: more than 50 years have passed since that word was officially retired from the liturgy. And I believe, to put this word to rest [lit.: for to finish with this word], it is necessary to understand why it had come to a contrary sense in the vernacular. Because the Latin word designates someone who resides outside the Faith [unclear: quelqu’un qui passe au travers de la Foi, à côté], moreover, which is manifestly the case of Jews whose majority do not believe that Jesus is the Messiah of Israel, much less that the Messiah is the Only Son of God. They are thus perfidis in the Latin sense of the word, objectively, by a theological qualification. But the liturgy cannot qualify them with the word “revet” in modern French. The moral qualification and crystal-clear hyper-pejorative is not appropriate for the style of a prayer which begs God and does not seek to settle accounts [ne règle pas des comptes]! In the Hatier Dictionary that I have at hand, perfide means “traitor, one who breaks promises [qui manque à sa parole], disloyal”. The Jew of today, educated in strict Talmudism, is, without a doubt, blind (obcaecatio in the ancient prayer, taken up again in the new prayer which unceasingly asks for illumination) as to the Messianity of Jesus as well as his divinity: that is fact. But no one has the right, especially by misquoting the traditional liturgy, to think that he [a Jew today] is a traitor, a breaker of promises (what promises?), a disloyal man. Re-read the letters of St. Paul to be convinced of that: he speaks indeed of a veil over their eyes (and one can lament that such a strong Pauline image has disappeared [from the prayer]) but he does not disguise the Jews in formidable terms (e.g. 2 Thess. or Gal.), only insofar as they persecute Christians and prevent the spreading the Gospel. Please, let’s not confuse things: he obviously loves them very deeply, and would wish to be himself cut off for their sake! (Cf. Rom. 9:3)

    The elements of the ancient prayer all find themselves in the new one, with less violence in the terms or references. All evil understood, as one sees it. [Idiom? Tout mal compris, comme on va le voir.] It is evident that the theology there is exactly the same. The expunged reference to the “veil placed over the hearts” was not at all pejorative – see St. Paul, 2 Cor. 3:15 – since it is God who places the veil and not the Jews, and since the Apostle adds right after: “when their hearts are turned to the Lord, the veil will be lifted”. We know that the veil is that which Moses placed on his face for hiding from the sons of Israel the momentary glory of his sublime meeting with God (2 Cor. 3:13). That changes the perspective.

    But [the writing of] St. Paul occurs two more times: in the universal salvific will of the Letter to Timothy and above all in the final plea “that all Israel be saved”. Before some agitated dispute renders to us a bizarre exegesis of this difficult phase, notice this is the same as that of St. Paul (Rom. 11:25)! Because at first glance, “Israel” could signify “the Israel of God” in the Letter to the Galatians (6:7) which is the Church, those who are a “new creation” in Christ, and one can’t see why it would be necessary to save Her [who is already saved]. Or still, it could be only a question of the Israel of the old covenant and the “all” has no further meaning. Saint Paul says clearly that which he means by “all Israel”. Let us quote him: “it is that a part of Israel has fallen into blindness until the whole of the Gentiles have entered. And thus all Israel will be saved.” And thus the Apostle explains the plan of God who allows disobedience so as to show mercy, the pagans (becoming Christians) at first and then the Jews following (“inscrutable judgment”, he exclaims!). It is a question, then, in the mind of Saint Paul, of reuniting in the end the two halves of Israel, divided at the present: that of the Old Testament comprised in the apostolic generation with the second which must return en masse when the nations are won. The “all” becomes, then, very clear: there is lacking in the Church the second part of Israel, so long as the plenitude of the Nations does not enter into Her; “ut plenitudine gentium in Ecclesiam Tuam intrante.” Classic Saint Paul. This way of praying for the Jews is magnificent: it deems its sincerest desire [elle appelle de ses vœux] the reunification of Israel promised by Scripture, in the Church, and gives understanding to all non-Christians: that it is they who delay this! “Because God has consigned all men to disobedience, to show mercy on all.” (Rom. 11:32) A warning to all the polemicists who do not perceive the question of the Jews as a mystery which God alone holds. And to shape up [pour s’en sortir], a good suggestion: to re-read the Letter to the Romans and to advise themselves finally that it is far more intelligent than they give it credit [lit.: are ready to think].

    As for the inquisitors [clever wording!] who make observations (on the Catholic Forum) that Jesus is not here called by his title of Son of God, I respond to them that a mere man could not be the Savior of all men [qu’un homme simple ne saurait être le Sauveur de tous les hommes], come on! And that the Jews, admitting (by illumination) that Jesus is the Messiah and Savior of all men would obviously come to recognize his Divinity. Moreover, I announce to these erudites that the per Christum Dominum at the end signifies “through Christ the Lord” and that the word “Lord” in the singular with a capital “L” – “Adonai” in Hebrew, “Kyrios” in Greek – is that which the Jews employed to signify God because they avoided, out of respect, pronouncing his true name, “Yahweh”.

    I will thus accept this magnificent prayer because it is an order, but also because a Pope who knows Saint Paul so well deserves, calls for, our filial devotion.

  6. schoolman says:

    Thanks for that, Jeff. Now someone should advise Bishop Williamson to take a lesson from this!

  7. Matt says:

    I wonder how many of these critics are really involved in the extraordinary form movement. Or are they just taking a cheap shot at Pope Benedict XVI over something they really do not care about.

    Besides, Fr. Frizzell is upset that it was not changed more significantly. I have not read where he has objected to it or has said he will not use the new prayer when he conducts his Good Friday service according to the extraordinary form.

    His comments are informed and respectful and he is entitled to his opinion.


  8. Okay folks, this entry has a purpose. Perhaps review the top entry.

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