Reactions in Jerusalem to the Good Friday prayer for the conversion of the Jews

Source: FSSPX News


Preceding a delegation of the Great Rabbis of Jerusalem to the Vatican, Israel’s Great Rabbi Yona Metzger, on March 9, in Trieste (Italy) declared that he was expecting Benedict XVI’s answer to his letter concerning the fact that the prayer for the conversion of the Jews recently “rehabilitated” in the Tridentine Missal has been maintained, something which “surprised” the Jewish community.

“Some weeks ago, we sent a letter to the pope. We told him our surprise, and we are expecting his answer,” he declared to Italian News Agency Ansa. Yona Metzger added that the objective of the “Church was (certainly) not to harm the Jews,” but “it was not the moment to do (this). We are in favor of dialogue, this is why we wrote that letter.”

On March 8, Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, and in charge of the Roman commission for relationship with Judaism, had declared on German channel ARD that the pope was going “to leave the prayer as it is. From our viewpoint, it is absolutely correct theologically speaking. It is just difficult for the Jews to accept it.” Some days earlier, the cardinal had announced that “the delegation from Jerusalem would take part in meetings at the Vatican, in particular with the Secretary of State of the Holy See, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone,” who would make a declaration on the issue. “After the declaration from Cardinal Bertone, I hope that the matter will be clearer, not solved, but clearer; and I think that we will be able to overcome the irritation of the Jewish world.”

“We are preparing this meeting carefully,” specified Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Secretary of State of the Vatican, “but I believe that, as far as this problem is concerned, beyond a certain insistence (…) on the Jewish part, many Jewish officials have understood the meaning of the prayer that the pope has approved for Good Friday. And it must be noted that this prayer is for a very specific portion of the Catholic world.” He went on to explain that it was for the traditionalist wing, which they were causing to take a big step forward precisely about the Jews and the ancient prayers. Cardinal Bertone revealed that it was not the great Good Friday prayer for the whole Catholic world. He also underlined that, on both sides (Jewish and Catholic) there are prayers which, in all likelihood, will have to be modified.

The Great Rabbi of Rome, Riccardo Di Segni, responded that the Jews had never demanded that others change their religions. He asked that there be a dialogue between the two religions, which respect the other’s identity, yet he thought that the prayer was “an obstacle to the continuation of a dialogue between Jews and Christians,” as it questioned decades of progress. (Sources: Apic/ANSA/Imedia/AFP)