(I have modified this from the original post yesterday which I did in a rush at the end of the day–sorry about the original mistakes).
Within the Jewish community (and it is very diverse) there are some who expressed concern about the “prayer for the Jews” in the Extraordinary form of the Good Friday liturgy which referred (among other things) to the “blindness” of the Jews in rejecting Christ. There was a signficant lobby, both within the Jewish community and among some Catholics involved in Interfaith dialogue, to have the text altered.
Well, one would think that they might be happy with today’s news that the Pope has officially ammended the text. It now reads:
Oremus et pro Iudaeis. Ut Deus et Dominus noster illuminet corda eorum, ut agnoscant Iesum Christum salvatorem omnium hominum.
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.
As the news report says, this prayer would be used only in the Latin language, in the extraordinary form of the Latin liturgy. CWN offers its own translation, but here (a little more reliably) is Fr Zuhldorf’s version:
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.
Let us pray.
Let us bend our knees (kneel).
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.
I wonder if that will make them happy? Does it not rather suggest (as in fact is the case) that salvation comes to humanity as a whole (“the fullness of mankind” including “Israel”) when humanity as a whole a) “know[s] Jesus Christ as the Saviour of all mankind” and b) “enters into [God’s] Church”.
Fr Z notes that the CDF did not get to look at the prayer before it was issued. I don’t think that will worry them, since in all respects, this new prayer perfectly reflects the CDF’s great trio of documents, “Dominus Iesus” (2000), “Responses to Some Questions regarding certain aspects of the Doctrine of the Church” (June 2007), and “Doctrinal Note on some aspects of Evangelisation” (14 December 2007). (For a complete reflection by Fr Z, see here–his point that the new prayer still has the same scriptural reference as the old one is significant).
I’m happy with the new prayer. But then I am neither a Jew nor a devotee of the extraordinary form of the liturgy. In other words, it still will be offensive to those who wish to take offence.
One example is the International Jewish Committee on Interreligious Consultations , who released this press statement yesterday:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Vatican’s Jewish Partners Express Deep Regret over Latin Liturgy
NEW YORK, NY, February 5, 2008 — The International Jewish Committee for interreligious Consultations expressed its deep regret and disappointment that the new text of the Prayer for the Jews in the Catholic Church’s Latin rite, prays for the salvation of the Jews exclusively through the acceptance of Christian Faith.
“We had hoped that the prayer in the Latin rite would be the same as that of the universal Catholic liturgy in use since 1970,” declared Rabbi David Rosen, Chair of IJCIC. He added, “This new version for the Latin rite appears to be a regression from the path advanced by the declaration of the second Vatican Council. We urge the Catholic Church to deepen its exploration of the full implications of Nostra Aetate’s affirmation of the eternal validity of God’s Divine Covenant with the Jewish People.”
As the ex-leper said to Brian, “There’s no pleasing some people”.