International Jewish Representative body calls for Vatican clarification
In the wake of Pope Benedict XVI's authorization of the wider use of the Latin (Tridentine) Mass, the official body of the organized Jewish communities for liaison with the Vatican, has sent an urgent letter to the Cardinal responsible for Catholic-Jewish relations, asking for specific clarification regarding the "prayer for the conversion of the Jews" that had been excised from the liturgy following on from the Second Vatican Council.
In this letter to Cardinal Walter Kasper, the leadership of IJCIC (International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Consultations) refers to the profound concern within Jewish circles that the authorization may have allowed for the return of this prayer, but acknowledges that there are those who have interpreted the text of the Pope's authorization to exclude the liturgy prior to Easter where this prayer was used.
The collaborative achievements of IJCIC with Vatican over the past 40 years and "Pope Benedict XVI's own commitment to the Catholic-Jewish relationship, lead us to believe that there can surely be no intention to turn the clock back in terms of our bilateral relationship" states the letter , adding: "We are accordingly inclined to trust those who read this new permission to use the Latin Mass not to include the portions which were considered to be delegitimating towards the Jews and pray that we will receive confirmation from you that this is indeed the case."
Find the full text of the letter below:
International Jewish Committee on Interreligious Consultations 165 East 56th Street New York, NY 10022-2746
H.E. Walter Cardinal Kasper
President, Holy See Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews
July 9, 2007
In our role as the official liaison body of the organized Jewish communities, we write to seek clarification regarding the recent Papal decision to permit the use of the Tridentine Mass - specifically the Good Friday prayer that relates to the Jews. We appreciate that limitation has been made on the use of this liturgy leading up to Easter, but it is not clear as to whether or not this is general.
As you are well aware, there is much concern in the Jewish community that the prayer for the conversion of the Jews has been reinstated by the Pope's Motu Proprio and this is how it is being represented by many.
We would accordingly appreciate your clarification in the hope that it may assuage our concerns and those of our community.
The experience of the International Liaison Committee over the past 40 years and Pope Benedict XVI's own commitment to the Catholic-Jewish relationship leads us to believe that there can surely be no intention to turn the clock back in terms of our bilateral relationship. We take pride and hope in the tremendous progress of these years toward our mutual trust and cooperation has manifested itself in our joint efforts in addressing major issues which have divided us and also our commitment to redressing many of the evils and hurts in the world which transcend all religious differences. We are accordingly inclined to trust those who read this new permission to use the Latin Mass not to include the portions which were considered to be delegitimating to the Jews and pray that we will receive confirmation from you that this is indeed the case.
Thus we respectfully look forward to your clarification on the extent and limitations of this ruling as it is to be implemented throughout the world.
You will appreciate that it is our responsibility to communicate that understanding to the Jewish community, but naturally we wish to do so responsibly and accurately.
Rabbi David Rosen Chairman
Rabbi Richard Marker Vice Chairman
Mr. Seymour Reich Treasurer