The revised text of the Latin Good Friday prayer a disappointment for Jews
On Tuesday, February 5, 2008, the Vatican had announced a new version of the contested Latin Mass which had been phased out after Vatican II (1962-1965) and had last year again be allowed by Pope Benedict XVI. The traditional version had alluded to the "blindness" of the Jews, to a "veil" before their hearts and had used other derogatory terms. However, the revised Latin version still prays that the Jews should recognize Jesus Christ as the savior of all people, which is still an underlying call to conversion.
The revised Latin text:
Oremus et pro Iudaeis Ut Deus et Dominus noster illuminet corda eorum, ut agnoscant Iesum 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 Israel salvus fiat. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.
An unofficial translation of the new Latin text says:
"Let us pray for the Jews. May God our Lord enlighten their hearts so that they recognize Jesus Christ savior of all men. Let us pray, let us bow our knees, arise. Almighty and everlasting God, You who want all men to be saved and to reach the recognition of truth, graciously grant that with the fullness of peoples entering into your Church all Israel may be saved (or: that all Israel will be saved when the fullness of all peoples enters into Your church) through Christ our Lord. Amen”
While only a few hundred thousand Catholic traditionalists use the Latin Mass, Jewish groups are still concerned that after Vatican II and ongoing Catholic-Jewish dialogue, the Vatican again takes a step back rather than forward.
Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League said, "While we appreciate that some of the deprecatory language has been removed ... we are deeply troubled and disappointed that the framework and intention to petition God for Jews to accept Jesus as Lord was kept intact."
The less than satisfactory changes in the text had originally been brought about by Jewish wishes for the changes after the Pope had by decree allowed the Mass to be used again. The disappointment of Jewish groups is understandable, considering the tremendous efforts the late Pope John Paul II had made to fully recognise the Jewish covenant.
The universal Good Friday prayer for Jews to be prayed in all people's mother tongue and used by the vast majority of Catholics asks God that the Jews may "arrive at the fullness of redemption" without hinting at conversion.