Prayer changes spark further alarm

Jewish groups and traditionalist Catholics have condemned Pope Benedict's replacement of the contentious Good Friday prayer which calls for the conversion of Jews.

The prayer has been amended to remove language which was offensive to Jews, however some groups say it is still offensive.

Likewise, some Catholics say they prefer the original prayer.

The New York Times reports the director of the International Religious Affairs American Jewish Committee director Rabbi David Rosen (pictured with Pope Benedict) called the new prayer "disappointing".

Rabbi Rosen has worked for 20 years on Jewish-Catholic relations with Benedict as Pope and, earlier, when he was a cardinal.

"Pope Benedict really does care about positive Catholic-Jewish relations that I know for a fact," Rabbi Rosen said.

The new prayer, published only in Latin on Tuesday in the Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano deletes a reference to Jews' "blindness" and a call that God "may lift the veil from their hearts."

An unofficial translation of the new prayer reads: "Let us pray for the Jews. May the Lord Our God enlighten their hearts so that they may acknowledge Jesus Christ, the savior of all men.

"Almighty and everlasting God," it continues, "you who want all men to be saved and to reach the awareness of the truth, graciously grant that, with the fullness of peoples entering into your Church, all Israel may be saved."

Pope's Rewrite of Latin Prayer Draws Criticism From 2 Sides
(New York Times 06/02/08)

Vatican Changes Prayer for Jews (AP 05/02/08)
Pope mandates change in traditional Good Friday prayer (Catholic World News 06/02/08)

7 Feb 2008