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ADL Calls Vatican Prayer for Conversion of Jews 'A Theological Setback' and 'A Body Blow to Catholic-Jewish Relations'

Update: (July 20, 2007): A senior Vatican official said that the Good Friday Latin prayer to convert Jews could be removed from the re-introduced Latin liturgy.  More


Rome, July 6, 2007…The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) called the Vatican's inclusion of a prayer for the conversion of Jews in the Latin Mass "a theological setback in the religious life of Catholics and a body blow to Catholic-Jewish relations, after 40 years of progress between the Church and the Jewish people."

A papal order allowing the use of the 16th Century Tridentine Mass (Latin Mass) includes the prayer used in the Good Friday liturgy from the 1962 Missal, "For the conversion of the Jews.  Let us pray also for the Jews that the Lord our God may take the veil from their hearts and that they also may acknowledge our Lord Jesus Christ.  Let us pray:  Almighty and everlasting God, You do not refuse Your mercy even to the Jews; hear the prayers which we offer for the blindness of that people so that they may acknowledge the light of Your truth, which is Christ, and be delivered from their darkness."

Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, in Rome for meetings with Vatican officials, issued the following statement:

We are extremely disappointed and deeply offended that nearly 40 years after the Vatican rightly removed insulting anti-Jewish language from the Good Friday liturgy, that it would now permit Catholics to utter such hurtful and insulting words by praying for Jews to be converted.  This is a theological setback in the religious life of Catholics and a body blow to Catholic-Jewish relations.  It is the wrong decision at the wrong time.

It appears the Vatican has chosen to satisfy a right-wing faction in the Church that rejects change and reconciliation.

ADL noted that in 1959, Pope John XXIII removed the term "perfidious Jews" from the controversial Good Friday Latin Mass.  In the 1970 Missal of Paul VI, which is currently used, the prayer for the conversion of Jews was replaced by a positive prayer recognizing the Jews' eternal covenant with God, a principle to which Pope John Paul II was deeply committed.

The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.

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Latin Mass Cause for Concern
Op-Ed by Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director

Why I Worry About the Vatican's Decision
Blog by Abraham Foxman on JPost

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