Good Friday & the Jewish people

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When the use of the Tridentine form of the Roman Rite was expanded by B16, there was a lot of talk about the infamous Good Friday prayer. The pope’s instructions were that both the normative and tridentine expressions of the same rite should inform one another. I recall our Ordinary here, Archbishop Collins suggesting that perhaps some of the current prayers might be used in the Tridentine form. It certainly made sense to me and seemed to be in keeping with a sensitivity and respect to the Jewish people.

The recent announcement of a revised prayer for the Tridentine form of the Good Friday prayer is confusing to say the least. This new prayer although, not as caustic as the former, does not reflect the long road that JPII the Great travelled in reaching out to our elder brothers and sisters in faith.  As the Tablet (Feb 6) writes:

Both the Tridentine Rite prayer and its replacement belong to a different theological era, when God’s covenant with his original Chosen People was seen as having been superseded by the arrival of the new covenant between Christ and the Church.

That’s certainly not the tone of Nostrae Aetate, nor of the Spirit of Assisi. What’s going on? The Tablet writes that Cardinal Bertone (Secretary of State) was in favour of using the Paul VI form of the prayer:

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.

[silent prayer]

Almighty and eternal God, long ago you gave your promise to Abraham and his posterity. Listen to your Church as we pray that the people you first made your own may arrive at the fullness of redemption.  We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

It does not shy away from praying for the “fullness of redemption” and is also, gentle, respectful in tone and language.

If Bertone was in favour of it… who convinced the Pope otherwise? There seems something strange happening at the Congregation for Divine Worship.  Let’s pray for one another, for wisdom and grace!


  1. Good evening,

    Nothing strange from my point of view …. there used to be a Black Pope in the Vatican ie the Superior of all the Jesuits … who used to give the Pope some sensible advice on various Church matters … nowadays …. there’s the Opus Dei …. need I say more ….?

  2. Benedict XVI’s amended prayer had previously been changed by Pope Pius XII and again by Pope John XXIII. It is in Latin and is used only in the extraordinary form of the liturgy.

    “Let us also pray for the Jews: that God our Lord might enlighten their hearts, so that they might know Jesus Christ as the Savior of all mankind. Almighty and eternal God, whose desire it is that all men might be saved and come to the knowledge of truth, grant in your mercy that as the fullness of mankind enters into your Church, all Israel may be saved, through Christ our Lord. Amen.”

    Benedict XVI reworked the phrase “blindness of the Jewish people” with a prayer which more effectively underscores the spiritual reality that the most uncharitable thing we as Catholics could do, would be to not pray for someone’s conversion.

    I’m happy that ecumenism, under Benedict XVI is reconnecting with one of its original goals: to remove barriers of language while maintaining the Church’s mission as the source of God’s revelation. In this case, a word here and there changes, but the message–the need to convert–remains.

    Speaking of ecumenism and prayers of conversion, the question arises: Do Jews pray for the conversion of Christians? The answer is yes.

    Jews pray the “Prayer of Eighteen Petitions,” (Shemoneh Esrei) which is still recited today and is perhaps the most important prayer of the synagogue. Among observant Jews, it is referred to as HaTefillah, or the prayer of Judaism, and was instituted at the council of Yavneh after the destruction of the second Temple. It was composed in response to the Essenes and early Messianic believers in Yeshua as Mashiach.

    The 12th prayer is….”For apostates may there be no hope, and may the Nazarenes (read: Chistians) and heretics suddenly perish.” Question: Is this traditional jewish curse of violence upon the followers of Christ supposed to be less offensive to us than our wish that jews see the light of Christ?

    This “blessing” was used as a sort of litmus test by the Rabbinics: a Messianic Jew could faithfully recite the other eighteen blessings of the Shemoneh Esrei but could hardly invoke a curse on followers of Yeshua the Mashiach. In this way, persons not reciting the Birkat HaMinim were suspected of heresy and subject to cherem (excommunication).

    Jews, Catholics and Muslims each make exclusive claims to being the one true religion, and let’s face it, we’re not going to all shake hands and agree to water them all down to an agreeable “world ethic.” We Catholics are guilty of indifferentism when we sell Jesus out to pressure groups and censor the fact that Jesus salvation is for everyone, protestant, muslim, jew, buddhist or atheist.

  3. Father can I ask you how the prayer is confusing?


    Since that document applies to me and not to you, how do I follow my “Mission to Communion” specifically #33 (last paragraph)Certainly the command of Jesus: “Go and preach the Gospel” always maintains its vital value and its ever-pressing obligation. Nevertheless, the present situation, not only of the world but also of many parts of the Church, absolutely demands that the word of Christ receive a more ready and generous obedience. Every disciple is personally called by name; no disciple can withhold making a response: “Woe to me, if I do not preach the gospel” (1 Cor 9:16).
    ANd #34…At this moment the lay faithful, in virtue of their participation in the prophetic mission of Christ, are fully part of this work of the Church. Their responsibility, in particular, is to testify how the Christian faith constitutes the only fully valid response-consciously perceived and stated by all in varying degrees-to the problems and hopes that life poses to every person and society. This will be possible if the lay faithful will know how to overcome in themselves the separation of the Gospel from life, to again take up in their daily activities in family, work and society, an integrated approach to life that is fully brought about by the inspiration and strength of the Gospel

    You like those responsibilities for the laity with Veritatis splendor that all are entitled to the Truth otherwise they make decisions based on falsehood.

    God most certainly hasn’t revoked His covenant with the Jewish people. He is not therefore bound by Romans 11, however His church most certain is bound by it.

    In fact I thought Pope B16 was absolutely brilliant in his chose of words. One much understand that he is bring back into the fold the SSPX and other traditionalist who have been outside the church., so he had that to consider as well.

    He moved from verses 30- 32(the 62- latin rite) to vs. 25 of Romans 11. That is amazing IMO.

    The context that Jews need to convert and St. Paul’s meaning of blindness is simply left unsaid, but implied.

    For me he has struck the line btwn perserving the liturgical meaning, providing a more ecumenical tone, and keeping within scriptural context.

  4. Thanks Father, but I think that it’s too ambiguous.

    “that they may continue to grow in the love of his name and in faithfulness to his covenant”

    Would this mean grow in the love of the Father, but rejection of His Son? The Jewish faith formally rejects the Trinity. Second, without the temple is it possible to honor the old covenant(asking here), but given the New Testament even if they could it has been replaced and ineffectual. The covenant is in play because the Father doesn’t revoke His promise, but aren’t we failing the Jewish people if we allow them to believe it’s ok to simply continue in their unbelief in Christ? Isn’t that how they would understand the prayer? The ever idea that they are not offended by the N.O. prayer would give that impression to me.

    “Almighty and eternal God, long ago you gave your promise to Abraham and his posterity”
    But this only applies to the Jewish people PRIOR to the Incarnation of Jesus. After that event there are no longer Jew or Gentile. Your in Christ or your not.

    On Cardinal Bertone favoring the N.O. prayer that’s fine, he is after all a Salesian so that makes sense to be in favor of keeping the status quo.

    I don’t have a problem with either. I think however I’d like to see some give on relief of Christian in Israel lands and the removal of reference to Our Lord as son of whore etc. in the Tulmud. I don’t expect that to happen. Perhaps that is going on by our elder brothers, but i haven’t read about it.

    I agree praying on it is necessary. Especially give the potential for war of late.

  5. I like very much the form of the Prayer of Pope Paul VI. It is because we are praying that they may grow in their Spiritual life on what they already believed in the name of Christ, not what we wanted them to be.

    That, prayer retains respectfulness (as what fr. Rick says) to our differences, which is very important in the spirit of “dialogue” with people of different faith tradition.

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