Saturday, March 22, 2008


‘Insulting to Jews’: Leading German Rabbi Condemns Pope’s Good Friday Prayer (Der Speigel)
Around the world, millions of Catholics are celebrating Good Friday, when they commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. But for many Jews, this year’s ceremonies leave a bitter aftertaste, due to a controversial new version of a prayer that many claim is anti-Semitic.

Last month, the Vatican announced that Pope Benedict XVI had revised the so-called “Good Friday Prayer for the Jews” which forms part of the Tridentine Mass, often referred to as the Latin Mass. The new version, translated from the Latin, reads: “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.”

Several leading Jewish organizations, including the Anti-Defamation League, the American Jewish Committee and the International Jewish Committee on Inter-Religious Consultations, have strongly criticized the new wording of the prayer. However only the very small minority of Catholics who celebrate the Good Friday mass in Latin will actually hear the allegedly anti-Semitic version of the prayer.

The new wording is similar to the original version of the prayer, which read: “Let us pray also for the faithless Jews: that almighty God may remove the veil from their hearts; so that they too may acknowledge Jesus Christ our Lord.”

This original version was toned down at the 1962-1965 Second Vatican Council which introduced many far-reaching reforms of the Catholic Church, including replacing the Tridentine Mass with vernacular liturgies. The Good Friday Prayer then became: “Let us pray for the Jewish people, the first to hear the word of God, that they may continue to grow in the love of his name and in faithfulness to his covenant.”

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