Catholic Culture Trusted Commentary
Catholic Culture Trusted Commentary

Catholic World News News Feature

Pope mandates change in traditional Good Friday prayer February 05, 2008

Pope Benedict XVI has revised the prayer for the conversion of Jews in the traditional form of the Good Friday liturgy.

The February 6 edition of L'Osservatore Romano-- published, according to the custom with the Vatican newspaper, on the afternoon of February 5-- carries an announcement from the Secretariat of State, saying that the Holy Father has ordered a change in the text of the 1962 Roman Missal. The change applies to the "extraordinary form" of the liturgy; it does not alter the Good Friday prayers of the Novus Ordo.

Some Jewish leaders had urged the Pope to revise the text of the Good Friday prayer in the traditional liturgy, which had referred to the "blindness" of the Jewish people-- a reference that many Jews considered offensive. Some critics of the traditional prayer also called for the removal of an intercession for the conversion of the Jews.

The newly revised text eliminates the reference to blindness, but retains the prayer for the conversion of the Jews.

The prayer amended by Pope Benedict had previously been changed by Pope Pius XII and again by Pope John XXIII; the version approved by the latter Pontiff was still in use in Catholic churches using the 1962 Roman Missal.

The new version, published in L'Osservatore Romano, reads:

Oremus et pro Iudaeis. Ut Deus et Dominus noster illuminet corda eorum, ut agnoscant Iesum Christum salvatorem omnium hominum.
Flectamus genua.
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.

This prayer would be used only in the Latin language, in the extraordinary form of the Latin liturgy. However it could be translated:

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).
Please rise.
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.