Pope Benedict's plans to revive the Latin Mass, which includes prayers for the conversion of Jews, is causing concern among Catholic and Jewish groups about relations between their faiths.
Religious commentators predict that Pope Benedict will issue authorization for wider use of the Mass - known as the Tridentine Mass - soon.
The Mass was celebrated for hundreds of years before being replaced by a liturgy celebrated in local languages, as part of reforms instigated after the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s.
The old wording has none of the Vatican Council thinking that reversed long-standing anti-Jewish views in the Church. Vatican II brought about a revolution in Catholic thinking, highlighting the ancient Jewish roots of Christianity and affirming God's love for the Jews.
Concern is now focused on traditional mass's Good Friday liturgy which contains a prayer "For the conversion of the Jews". The prayer reads:
"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."
It refers to their "blindness" and prays for them to be "delivered from their darkness."
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THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: Ridiculous as this sounds, it was all very predictable. Liberals (both inside and outside the Church) will stop at nothing to silence the Church's historic liturgy. They understand the principle that how one worships defines how he believes, and they understand that wherever the Tridentine mass is freely celebrated, a revival of Catholicism follows, with an increase in mass attendance and a rise in vocations. Already Traditional Catholic seminaries are bursting at the seems with candidates for the priesthood, while Traditional Catholic convents don't have enough room to accommodate novices seeking to join the sisters. That's why Tradition MUST be stopped -- as far as Liberals are concerned. It threatens everything they've worked so hard to accomplish, which is the weakening of the Catholic Church's role in the modern world.
The absurdity of the above BBC article is obvious to any Catholic who knows the liturgy, Traditional or Contemporary, as a prayer for the conversion of Jews is also contained in the New Mass on the Good Friday liturgy...
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. 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.
It's this last line that is most revealing. What does the Church mean when she says "the fullness of redemption." The Catechism of the Catholic Church has this to say about the "fullness of redemption..."
517 Christ's whole life is a mystery of redemption. Redemption comes to us above all through the blood of his cross, but this mystery is at work throughout Christ's entire life: -already in his Incarnation through which by becoming poor he enriches us with his poverty; - in his hidden life which by his submission atones for our disobedience; - in his word which purifies its hearers; - in his healings and exorcisms by which "he took our infirmities and bore our diseases"; - and in his Resurrection by which he justifies us.
573 Faith can therefore try to examine the circumstances of Jesus' death, faithfully handed on by the Gospels and illuminated by other historical sources, the better to understand the meaning of the Redemption.
587 If the Law and the Jerusalem Temple could be occasions of opposition to Jesus by Israel's religious authorities, his role in the redemption of sins, the divine work par excellence, was the true stumbling-block for them.
613 Christ's death is both the Paschal sacrifice that accomplishes the definitive redemption of men, through "the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world", and the sacrifice of the New Covenant, which restores man to communion with God by reconciling him to God through the "blood of the covenant, which was poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins".
The message of the Church is clear, though a little bit hidden, in the new Liturgy. In fact, the only difference between the new liturgy and the old is how boldly the fact is stated. The Church prays for the conversion of the Jewish people to Christianity -- period. Whether she does this boldly, as in the Tridentine mass, or diplomatically as in the Novus Ordo mass, the request is the same. But don't tell that to Liberals (either inside or outside the Church), who think the diplomatic language of the new (Novus Ordo) mass somehow cancels the teachings of the new Catechism and 2000 years of historic Church Tradition.