Skip to comments.What Is Not True About the Good Friday Prayer for Jews (Errors in Understanding)
Posted on 01/28/2009 4:01:45 PM PST by NYer
ROME, JAN. 27, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Dialogue between Jews and Christians is a sensitive issue, and there have been many misunderstandings about the new Good Friday prayer for the Jews, says a scholar in the matter.
According to Father Michel Remaud, director of the Christian Institute of Jewish Studies and Hebrew Literature of Jerusalem, the Good Friday prayer for the Jews used in the "extraordinary rite" is not a prayer for their conversion, but rather a prayer for the Jewish people.
He said the text approved by Benedict XVI does not say "Oremus pro conversione Judæorum" (Let us pray for the conversion of the Jews), but "Oremus et pro Judæis" (Let us also pray for the Jews).
The prayer continues: "That God our Lord should illuminate their hearts, so that they will recognize Jesus Christ, the Savior of all men."
This prayer was released last February, following the July 2007 document "Summorum Pontificum," which permitted an increased use of the 1962 Missal. The Good Friday prayer for the Jews used in the ordinary rite, that is, by the vast majority of Catholics, was not changed.
The Italian episcopal conference had planned a day of dialogue Jan. 16 with leaders of Judaism, just ahead of the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. The rabbis, however, declined to participate because of Benedict XVI's approval of this prayer.
In something as delicate as Christian-Jewish relations, Father Remaud suggested, "one has to be rigorous."
The priest proposed that the heart of the issue is this: "The Christian who expresses his faith utilizing formulas from the New Testament -- should he be accused of a will to convert when he dialogues with the Jews?"
The scholar contended that precision in liturgical terms is also important regarding this issue. And in this regard, he lamented that the press is often inaccurate.
For example, to refer to the 1962 Missal as the "Latin Mass" is erroneous, given that Latin can be the language for the Mass celebrated according to the missal approved after Vatican II by Paul VI.
In fact, this Mass, the ordinary rite, is often celebrated in Latin in international settings.
"To refer to the ritual previous to the 1969 reform, journalists have created the expression -- comfortable but inadequate -- of 'Latin Mass,'" Father Remaud observed. In fact, he added, the missal prepared to reflect the reforms is originally in Latin.
Furthermore, the priest continued, to speak of the Good Friday prayer for the Jews in relation to Mass is also incorrect, given that on Good Friday, there is no Mass celebrated. The Good Friday liturgy, the commemoration of Our Lord's Passion, includes a long list of prayers, including the prayer for the Jews, our "older brothers," as Pope John Paul II referred to them in the synagogue of Rome in 1986.
The prayers said on Good Friday are "'universal' -- for all of humanity. The office proper to this day includes a long series of prayers in which all categories of believers that make up humanity -- and nonbelievers -- are commended to God," Father Remaud added.
"Until 1959," he said, "they prayed, among other intentions, in Latin 'pro perfidis judæis.'" But, "even after the suppression made by John XXIII of the adjective 'perfidos,' the prayer continued using formulas that could be considered hurtful for Jews."
"Perfidos," the priest clarified, does not have a pejorative sense in Latin as it can in vernacular tongues. The word comes from "per" and "fides," that is, to persist or remain in faith.
The formula fell into disuse some years after with the promulgation of the Paul VI Missal, he added, partially because of the pejorative connotation the formula had taken on.
Its use only continued in the communities who received permission from the Church to celebrate the Mass according to the 1962 Missal, after they had returned to communion with Rome from the schism led by Marcel Lefebvre. Thus, for 24 years, the old prayer was used in these Catholic communities, and no one protested, observed Father Remaud.
"Paradoxically," he said, "it is precisely the decision to correct this formula, judged unacceptable and utilized by a very restricted group of Catholics, that has stirred up all this indignation."
Finally, Father Remaud noted that much of the dismay of the Jewish leaders is centered on a word that does not exist in the prayer: conversion.
"To ask God to illuminate hearts is one thing, and to pressure people to try to convince them is another," he said. "The difference is more than a nuance."
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On the Net:
Unofficial English translation of the Latin prayer: www.zenit.org/article-21705?l=english
I am a Catholic with a Jewish wife and that among other issues was a sticking point with her parents.
However, not as large of a sticking point that I had with my Catholic relatives when they found my wife to be was Jewish.
Okay, not to sound stupid, but why is this issue being debated here? Was there something this Freeper Jew missed?
Well, take me not wrong at all, but, if the mother is Jewish, the children are, too. Your role, taken in this view (not personally, but as a matter of custom) is secondary. So, your Jewish in-laws, in the strictest theological sense for those of the Reformed or other non Orthodox traditions, knew their grandchildren were going to be Jewish, but the non-Jewish father presented a lack of unity, so naturally this concerned them given modern predilections to leave the faith, any faith.
Your Catholic relatives, cognizant of the maternal descent of faith according to Jewish tradition, may have lamented the generational loss of faith. If you are a Catholic believer, would you celebrate that? No!
Each side was correctly expressing their bias. And, religion, when viewed contextually, is a bias. We who admit to one confession are biased towards that confession, no?
It’s the Religion section, babe! V’s wife.
Except if they are baptized, in which case both sides consider them Christian regardless of the mother's Jewishness.
I find the complaint lacking in logic.
I am Roman Catholic, and my nephew, a born again, is of the belief that if I persist in my faith, I am damned to hell.
I am not offended by his belief; it is his to hold. I accept his concern for my soul, as misguided as it is. I do not take it as an insult.
He’s just wrong, but I still love him.
Hes just wrong, but I still love him.
I certainly understand. My in-laws are all devout Catholics, and my family are all Protestants. The only time one of the in-laws said anything was a comment by an elderly uncle who wanted to talk about Protestants and "their made-up religion". Everybody hushed him up, and we peacefully coexist. They're all salt of the earth, I love them dearly.