Rorate Caeli

Rumor on reform of Prayer for the Jews:
still a rumor

The rumor regarding a possible alteration of the Prayer for the Jewish people in the Great Intercessions of the Good Friday liturgy according to the Missale Romanum of John XXIII has up to now only one journalistic source: the piece by Andrea Tornielli in Il Giornale.

In his latest article in Chiesa, Sandro Magister comments on several moves by Pope Benedict and includes the following:

Moreover, there will soon be published a new formulation of the prayer for the Jews contained in the rite for Good Friday in the 1962 "Tridentine" missal liberalized by the motu proprio. The references to the condition of "darkness" and "blindness" of the Jewish people will disappear, while the prayer for their conversion will remain. "Because in the liturgy we are always praying for conversion, of ourselves in the first place and then of all Christians and non-Christians," explained archbishop Angelo Amato, secretary of the congregation for the doctrine of the faith, in an interview with "Avvenire."
It is a strange paragraph. First, because there does not seem to be any other source for the comment than Tornielli's report and the Vatican source, presumably in the Congregation for Divine Worship, who leaked the information to him. Second, because the words of the interview of the Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Archbishop Angelo Amato, would seem to corroborate the rumor, but they do not, for they were extracted, by way of Tornielli's article of January 2008, from an interview granted by Amato to the semi-official daily of the Italian Episcopal Conference, Avvenire, on July 11, 2007, shortly after the publication of the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum.

This is the entire quote:

Your Excellency, there are those who accuse the motu proprio “Summorum Pontificum” of being anti-Conciliar because it offers full citizenship to a Missal in which the conversion of the Jews is prayed for. Is it truly contrary to the letter and to the spirit of the Council to formulate this prayer?

[Amato:] "Certainly not. At Mass, we Catholics are always praying, and first of all, for our own conversion. And we strike our breast for our sins. And then we pray for the conversion of all Christians and of all non-Christians. The Gospel is for all." [Transcript in Italian]

The rumor on the alteration of the prayer may well turn out to be true, perhaps sooner rather than later, but nothing has been officially published up to now, just one week before Lent begins. In any event, Amato's words in July 2007 cannot be used to corroborate the rumor, since their meaning is actually contrary to any prospect of alteration.


  1. Anonymous1:04 AM

    This would be a foolish move by the Pope since hes making great strides in trying to restore some propriety to the liturgy,also i can see that their are elements in the hierarchy which send out rumors to try to force his hand. By the way "if" he does this this will force a new Missal of Benedict 16th (2008)

  2. Anonymous1:04 AM

    And I'll STILL believe it when I see it.

    You're right, it could turn out to be true. But all we have are unsubstantiated rumors, and Tornielli has the most unlikely scenario of a change coming from the CDW instead of Ecclesia Dei.

    P.S. I apologise if anything I said earlier today caused you any aggravation or distress.

  3. Off Topic
    Am I imagining that there was another post between this one and the post which presently precedes it?


  4. Anonymous1:07 AM

    If the prayer were changed tomorrow, how would the Pope ensure that the revision got in the hands of priest celebrating the EF before Good Friday? That's only 46 days away.

  5. Off-topic:
    Jordan Potter, your comments are always welcome!

    To you and Ad Orientem: what actually happened, as I explained in another thread, was that their liturgical "experiments" and "innovations" (as sent to us in pictures) made us unsure of what exactly those separated brothers and sisters really are up to.

    God bless them in their negotiations to return to the Church - and may they return to the traditions of their rite.

  6. Anonymous8:47 AM

    Actually, provided a new prayer does clearly ask for the conversion of the Jews, there is an argument to be made for it; if it is phrased in terms that cause less offense (whether rightly or wrongly) to Jews, it is more likeley to achieve its object of realising their conversion, since it will not produce the accidental (in the Aristotelian sense) irritation to Jews that the current prayer does; the less irritation, the less disincentive to convert.

  7. Anonymous9:30 AM

    In this matter of the prayer I notice that people tend to express a view for or against it. But where it the Catholic attitude of docility to the Holy Father, sweet Vicar of Christ on earth? Let us trust that what he does, or doesn't do, will be for the good of the Church, even if we do not understand it. He has a vantage point, and a grace, which none of us has. Are we to sit in judgement on him - even before he has acted???

  8. Anonymous9:52 AM


    The pope is like any other superior, and subject to the strictures of the moral law in the commands that he gives those who owe obedience to him.

    For a catholic, there is no more absolute obedience to a pope, than to a secular superior, for the commands of both are subject to error. Infallibility does not stretch that far.

  9. Actually, provided a new prayer does clearly ask for the conversion of the Jews, there is an argument to be made for it; if it is phrased in terms that cause less offense (whether rightly or wrongly) to Jews, it is more likeley to achieve its object of realising their conversion, since it will not produce the accidental (in the Aristotelian sense) irritation to Jews that the current prayer does; the less irritation, the less disincentive to convert.

    That plan has already been tried out and has failed abysmally (Novus Ordo Good Friday prayer). The bigoted Jews of the ADL are unhappy because of the conversion aspect of the prayer.

    The pope will not satisfy anyone - Jews included - by tinkering with the prayer. This is move is asking for trouble and going to undo all the good effects of the motu proprio. I believe and respect that the pope has a right to make modifications to prayers and rituals in the liturgy - but just because he has a right, does not mean he will be correct in every instance he decides to make a change. The protection of the Holy Spirit is not promised here in the same way of papal infallibility.

  10. New Catholic,

    Thanks for this clarification. It did seem that Abp. Amato's words might have been a little out of context.

  11. Anonymous2:14 PM

    Off topic:

    Hello New Catholic,

    I would appreciate an updated post on the Assyrian Church and the pictures you are uncertain about. What is their source and how reliable?

    One comment had opined that their anaphora and mindset was still Nestorian, however I have read schismatic 'orthodox' blog, by a member of their priesthood no less, who certainly have no incentive siding with a Roman Cardinal on matters pertaining to liturgy, that the then Cardinal Ratzinger was justified in claiming "implicit" presence of the Institution. Having read an English translation, whose source I cannot be certain of, I agree for their anaphora references the actions of the Lord at the Last supper in no unclear terms and references clearly the body and blood of the Lord under the species of bread and wine.

    Hence, presuming they have agreed to disown their heresiarch Nestorius, and to submit faithfully to the whole, entire, unabridged and undefiled Faith of the Catholic Church, there should be no small cause for rejoicing as your post first did.

    It would be interesting to view the pictures that have sown doubt in your mind.

  12. I still certainly rejoice at their decision: may they be well received by our hierarchical authorities.

    As for the pictures, just peruse their website; there is nothing scandalous: I am just not sure of what their rite is...

  13. Anonymous3:28 PM


  14. Anonymous3:29 PM

    It would torpedo everything BXVI has done so far, and will throw the church back to the past. NO WAY JOSE!

  15. Anonymous3:58 PM

    If vague language, the calling card of modernism ("subsists in", for just one example) causes such trouble, how much trouble will no language cause in the long run? The church of truth and clarity must insist on clear language if for no other reason than to minimize doubts and errors from simple minds. I ought to know.

  16. John L... the question isn't whether the prayer offends Jews, but does it offend God... it is to God that we pray for the Jews conversion, not to the Jews. We are not addressing the prayer to Jews asking them to convert, so I don't see how making the language acceptable to them will make it more effective at converting them. Explain?

  17. Anonymous9:28 PM

    I'm increasingly getting the sense that the media is fabricating expectations of a change so that they can feign sadness and disappointment when they don't come. They want to make it appear that Benedict caved into conservative anti-Semitic forces and withdrew a scheduled change.


  18. Anonymous1:31 AM

    The Novus Ordo prayer does not ask God to convert the Jews, which is why it is deficient; a revised prayer for the old rite should, as I said, clearly ask God to convert them. So this would not be a case of trying a plan that has already failed abysmally. The reason a prayer for the conversion of the Jews that is less annoying to them would be likely to have more effect in converting them is that, although the prayer is addressed to God, the Jews are now aware of its contents.So a prayer that, while asking for the same thing - their conversion - as the current one, is phrased in a way that is less annoying to them, will cause less offense, and thus will put them off Catholicism less, and thus - other things being equal - will make them more likely to convert. This reasoning is independent of whether or not the offense taken is actually reasonable. One might say that it is the fact itself of asking for their conversion - and nothing else - that causes annoyance, and hence that it is pointless to think that any changes will make them less annoyed. But there are certainly ways inwhich the prayer could be rephrased without ceasing to pray for their conversion. Take the expression 'who drivest not away from Thy mercy even the Jews'; the 'even for the Jews' is obviously going to offend Jews by suggesting that they are much less deserving of mercy than others (which is not the case; clearly Jews who believe in God but reject Christ do not in so doing sin as severely as atheists who reject God altogether). The reference to removing the veil should I think stay, as it is scriptural, but saying something more tactful than 'rescuing the Jews from their blindness' - such as, 'giving the Jews illumination', which says the same thing in a more positive way - could also be done. If the prayer is changed, it will be interesting to see how exactly it is done.

  19. Anonymous2:06 AM

    There's that modernist philosophy again - just tell them the good stuff (illuminate them) rather than focus on their evil (blindness from sin). People will migrate toward the good and away from the bad.

    Doesn't work. Original sin, you know. The fallen, unbaptized soul doesn't readily choose the good, it chooses evil, causing it to be blind toward the good.

    That's what's happening here. The Jews are blinded by personal sin and you'll have to get them to see that first. Then with God's help they'll convert. At least that seems to be the way the Apostles approached it, and they converted more Jews than modernists have.

  20. Anonymous3:16 PM

    I very sincerely hope that any change in the prayer never happens.
    Because this would mean that the Catholic Church's liturgical tradition can be manipulates, changed or supressed by any and all pressure groups who mount enough campaign to have it so.
    We have already see this happen.
    Communion in the hand standing, table altars, altar girls, as many as 10 Eucharistic prayers for any and all occasions....have all come about from pressure groups demaiding a change in their favor.
    It's time to stop.

  21. Anonymous3:40 PM

    A thought that has crossed my mind is that the Pope could conceivably intend to revise the Good Friday BOTH forms of the Roman Missal. I wonder what the reaction would be if a single prayer, forthrightly praying for the conversion of the Jews without any "controversial" language, was promulgated to replace both the "controversal" version from 1962 and also the vague and ambiguous one from 1970. Wouldn't this be very much in harmony with everything Benedict has done on the liturgy so far?

    I'm not necessarily advocating for this, but I wouldn't be surprised if it were at least under consideration...

  22. Anonymous1:45 AM

    If the prayer for the Jews is altered, this will create new divisions within the traditional world, which goes exactly against on of the main goals of the motu proprio. And for what benefit? Hardly any: to the Jewish lobbies, no concession is ever near enough. It may be more advisable to listen to less arrogant Jewish organisations and inidividuals, such as Rabbi Neusner, whom the Pope himself quoted from in "Spe Salvi":
    Why cause divisions inside the Catholic community to bow to pressures from non Catholics? Haven't we had enough of that tune for the last 45 years?

    Anyway, if the prayer is altered, I'll go to the local SSPX chapel and a lot will no doubt do the same.

  23. Anonymous12:14 PM

    Any guesses to what the next change(s) will be?


Comment boxes are debate forums for readers and contributors of RORATE CÆLI.

Please, DO NOT assume that RORATE CÆLI contributors or moderators necessarily agree with or otherwise endorse any particular comment just because they let it stand.


(1) This is our living room, in a deeply Catholic house, and you are our guest. Please, behave accordingly. Any comment may be blocked or deleted, at any time, whenever we perceive anything that is not up to our standards, not conducive to a healthy conversation or a healthy Catholic environment, or simply not to our liking.

(2) By clicking on the "publish your comment" button, please remain aware that you are choosing to make your comment public - that is, the comment box is not to be used for private and confidential correspondence with contributors and moderators.

(3) Any name/ pseudonym/ denomination may be freely used simply by choosing the third option, "Name/URL" (the URL box may be left empty), when posting your comment - therefore, there is no reason whatsoever to simply post as "Anonymous", making debate unnecessarily harder to follow. Any comment signed simply as "Anonymous" will be blocked.

Thank you!