Sunday, March 12, 2006

Jews and Good Friday intercessions

Before the 20th century, the (Roman Rite) intercession on Good Friday read thus (source: Wikipedia):
Let us pray also for the faithless Jews: that our God and Lord may remove the veil from their hearts; that they also may acknowledge Our Lord Jesus Christ. Let us pray. (Here the congregation does not kneel) Almighty and Eternal God, Who dost not exclude from Thy mercy even the faithless Jews: hear our prayers, which we offer for the blindness of that people; that acknowledging the light of Thy Truth, which is Christ, they may be delivered from their darkness. Through the same Lord Jesus Christ, Who livest and reignest with God the Father in the unity of the Holy Ghost, through all endless ages. Amen.
The word "faithless" (Latin "perfidis") caused a lot of misunderstanding, so John XXIII removed it in 1962. The kneeling was suspended (according to Wikipedia) to avoid imitating the Jews' mockery of the crucified Christ. Pius XII put that aside in 1955. I can't say I disagree with either of these changes; they're both grounds for quite a bit of misunderstanding.

Bugnini and the gang rewrote the prayer thus for the Novus Ordo Mass:
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.
I just like how explicit the older prayer is: the Jews are wrong, and we hope they come around. The current prayer, while there's nothing wrong with it, seems to contain less emphasis on the conversion of Jews for their salvation. ISTM that praying for the conversion of Jews (and schismatics et al), especially in the context of mention that the grace of salvation can extend to those outside the faith, is more inclusive of the fullness of faith. ATST, I can also see virtue in a focus on salvation, since that is the end goal of conversion. It's just that the latter also includes the possibility of the erroneous thinking that we shouldn't work to convert Jews (or worse, that the Jewish religion is itself as valid as the Catholic), while the former explicitly deals with what we should be doing.



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