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THE NATION

Rabbis 'dismayed' by Catholic prayer

A Conservative group wants to know why a papal revision of a Latin Good Friday text seeks Jews' conversion.

February 14, 2008|Reuters

WASHINGTON — An assembly representing Conservative rabbis worldwide expressed dismay this week over a revised Roman Catholic prayer calling for the conversion of Jews, and it voted to ask the Vatican to clarify the text's meaning.

The 1,600-member Rabbinical Assembly said it was "dismayed and deeply disturbed to learn of reports that Pope Benedict XVI has revised the 1962 text of the Latin Mass, retaining the rubric 'For the conversion of the Jews.' "

In a resolution approved Tuesday after an hour of debate over two days, the rabbinical group agreed to "seek clarification from the Vatican of the meaning and status of the new text." The Conservative movement is one of the three main branches of Judaism, along with Orthodox and Reform.

The Good Friday prayer in Latin would be heard by few Roman Catholic congregations, but Jewish groups have expressed disappointment with its language, viewing it as a step backward after decades of work to improve Jewish-Catholic ties.

Pope Benedict touched off controversy last year when he agreed to make the old-style Latin Mass more available for traditionalists along with a missal that had been phased out in the 1960s.

The pope had agreed not to use the traditional Latin prayer because of such references as Jewish "blindness" toward Christ. But the prayer released last week asks God to help Jews "acknowledge Jesus Christ as the savior."

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