Sunday, February 17, 2008

The 2008 Missale Romanum

I [Mrs. Anselm] originally wrote this piece about Pope Benedict's new prayer for the conversion of the Jews in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite for our personal blog which we use mostly to keep in touch with our family, but Anselm insisted that I post it here as well. Boniface had a few words to say (here) about this while it was still a rumor.

Sorry, this is coming very late, as it is most definately yesterday's news. However, as we haven't yet commented on it, [Anselm] and I thought we would post about the changes Pope Benedict made to the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite's prayers for Good Friday. For those of you who do not follow the news regarding the Traditional Latin Mass as closely as we do, and have no idea to what I am referring, here is a summary:

Until the 1950s, the Good Friday intentions for the Jews said (of course, in Latin):

"Let us pray also for the perfidious Jews: that our God and Lord would remove the veil from their hearts: that they also may acknowledge our Lord Jesus Christ. Let us pray. Let us kneel. Arise. Almighty and eternal God, who does not repel from your mercy even the Jews: hear our prayers, those which we offer for that blind people, that by acknowledging light of your truth which is Christ they will be delivered from their darkness. Through the same Lord."

In the 1962 missal, the word "perfidious" had already been removed. In the Novus Ordo missal, the Good Friday prayer says (ICEL translation):

"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. Let us kneel. Let us stand. 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. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen."

Note that in the Novus Ordo missal, we are not explicitly praying for the conversion of the Jews. We pray that they may be saved, without any reference to Jesus Christ being the way of their salvation, which is one explanation as to why so many Catholics (and the USCCB) today believe the Old Covenant to be salvific for the Jews. Curiously, this seems quite contrary to everything that St. Paul says in the New Testament.

Since the Motu Proprio, many Jews (and specifically the Anti-Defamation League led by Abraham Foxman) have been pressuring Pope Benedict to change the Good Friday prayers, because the prayers in the 1962 missal are considered "anti-semetic". This "anti-semetism" of the Extraordinary Form has been one reason bishops cited for refusing to allow the older form, regardless of the fact that this is in direct opposition to Summorum Pontificum. When we first heard rumors that the Good Friday prayers were to be changed, we were most upset. Allowing those who are not even Catholic to dictate how we pray is absurd. I've never gotten into a tizzy that many Orthodox Jews thank God, not only once a year, but each and every day, that He did not make them a woman or a Gentile. Why should they care if I pray that they be converted? However, care they do.

Over a week ago it was announced that the prayer was changed. Here is the new Good Friday prayer for the Jews in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite (what a mouthful!), translated by Fr. Z at What Does the Prayer Really Say?

"Let us also pray for the Jews: that our God and Lord may illuminate their hearts, that they acknowledge that Jesus Christ is the Savior of all men. Almighty and eternal God, who want that all men be saved and come to the recognition of the truth, propitiously grant that even as the fullness of the peoples enters Your Church, all Israel may be saved. Through Christ Our Lord. Amen."

Now, there are a lot of traditionalists who are unhappy about this change, and there are a lot who are either content, or even happy with it, and both sides offer good points. However, this post is getting long, and I won't go too much into that debate. He is the Pope, he has the authority to change the prayers (having the authority to do something does not always mean that what you do is prudent, but I digress), and there have been many positives since this change was announced, and here are just two: Traditionalists can no longer be considered "nostalgic," or "stuck-in-the-mud," as we now use the 2008 Roman Missal, while the Novus Ordo missal is practically medieval, dating back to 2002. And, most reassuring of all, Abe Foxman is very upset.

Since the change, many Jewish leaders (as well as many Catholics) have complained that while it's great that we no longer refer to the "blindness" of the Jews in our Good Friday prayers, the new one still prays for their conversion to Christ. Jewish leaders have even stated that they will no longer continue dialoguing with us. Which begs the question, if all this "dialogue" since Vatican II has been so wonderful and enlightening, why are they so incredibly shocked that, gasp!, the Church actually wants them to become Catholic? Well, Catholics are partly to blame, since so many Catholics are shocked that the Church still teaches that outside the Church there is no salvation! Pope Boniface VII infallibly declares in the Bull Unam Sanctam:

"Furthermore, we declare, we proclaim, we define that it is absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman Pontiff."

If you really think about it for more than a second, it would be quite anti-semetic if we did not pray for the conversion of the Jews, since we pray for the conversion of everyone else, beginning with ourselves.


Anonymous said...

Amen. Believing in the necessity of Christ and His Church for salvation we would certainly be anit-Semitic to pray for everyone except the Jews!
What really annoys me about this issue is that certain "Jewish" groups are spewing forth blatant anti-Catholicism and they get away with it. How many times do we have to read that Jews are afraid of the prayer because they remember persecutions by Christian in the Middle Ages? Are they implying that there is a "Christian conspiracy" against Jews? What would they say if I implied a "Jewish conspiracy" against Christians?
The hate towards the prayer seems to boil down to a ridiculous belief that it will make Christians into a blood thristy mob bent on killing Jews. Some news reports have freely admitted this. But, I wonder, do the same Jews who seem to look down upon and fear us Christians, fear for the Palestinians being persecuted by Israeli Jews who believe God's special Covenant applies only to the Jews and no one else?

Anonymous said...

Amazing. First they took it away from us and said sorry it's not our problem, now we have to tolerate changes. Now, I believe any race or religion should be respected even though that doesn't apply to Catholics, but It gets real tiring listening to all of their whining and crying. Just like anything else in this world, if you can whine the most you get what you want. Personally, I see a schism coming.

Boniface said...

I agree totally with this post...a friend of mine used to say [with regards to preaching conversion to non-believers] that they can either hate you now and love you later, or love you now and hate you later. It may make Jews feel good now if we acede to their demands and do not pray for their conversion, but what will they think of us when they find themselves in hell because nobody ever tried to tell them the truth? Then they will be real pleased with us, I'm sure! And will we be beside them because we failed to tell them? Remember the words of God to Ezekiel the prophet:

...if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, and the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at the watchman’s hand.’“So you, son of man: I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore you shall hear a word from My mouth and warn them for Me. When I say to the wicked, ‘O wicked man, you shall surely die!’ and you do not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand. Nevertheless if you warn the wicked to turn from his way, and he does not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul. “Therefore you, O son of man, say to the house of Israel: ‘Thus you say, “If our transgressions and our sins lie upon us, and we pine away in them, how can we then live?”’ Say to them: ‘As I live,’ says the Lord GOD, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?’ [Ezekiel 33:6-11]

The duty to preach concerns not only the souls of those whose conversion we pray for, but for our own souls as well.

Was this comment politically incorrect because it dared to say that some Jews may go to hell?


Anonymous said...

Hey Boni, that's a quote I have also used to support the responsibility of Catholics to Apologize.


If our Jewish brothers want us to apologize, let's do it. I get dibs on Apologizing the Eucharist, or Mary or authority.

When my time is up, I would rather not have to apologize for not Apologizing.

Boniface said...

When my time is up, I would rather not have to apologize for not Apologizing.

Wow, Mr. S, that was a very Chestertonian comment.