Religion & Beliefs

Pope Says Jews No Longer “Blind”

Pope Benedict XVI recently decided to reformulate the Catholic Church's traditional Good Friday prayers, which apparently have repeated references to the “darkness” and “blindness” of Jews. According to the Jerusalem Post: The Latin prayers for Good Friday ask Catholics to … Read More

By / February 7, 2008

Pope Benedict XVI recently decided to reformulate the Catholic Church's traditional Good Friday prayers, which apparently have repeated references to the “darkness” and “blindness” of Jews. According to the Jerusalem Post:


The Latin prayers for Good Friday ask Catholics to "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," and ask God not to "refuse your mercy even to the Jews; hear the prayers which we offer for the blindness of that people so that they may acknowledge the light of your truth, which is Christ, and be delivered from their darkness." The move upset Jewish leaders, and prompted the Chief Rabbinate [of the UK] to write to the pope expressing their concern. Abraham H. Foxman, US director of the Anti-Defamation League, said then he was "extremely disappointed and deeply offended" by the reintroduction of "insulting anti-Jewish language" that would "now permit Catholics to utter such hurtful and insulting words."

Jewcy isn’t exactly Foxman’s biggest fan, but he’s making a reasonable degree of sense here. The Pope recently released the revised version of the prayer, but Jewish leaders still weren’t pleased. Reuters:

Cardinal Walter Kasper spoke in an interview in a leading Italian newspaper a day after world Jewish leaders said the new prayer could set back inter-religious dialogue by decades. "I must say that I don't understand why Jews cannot accept that we can make use of our freedom to formulate our prayers," Kasper, a German, told the Corriere della Sera.

Jews criticized the new version because it still says they should recognize Jesus Christ as the savior of all men. It asks that "all Israel may be saved" and keeps an underlying call to conversion that Jewish leaders had wanted omitted. "We think that reasonably this prayer cannot be an obstacle to dialogue because it reflects the faith of the Church and, furthermore, Jews have prayers in their liturgical texts that we Catholics don't like," Kasper said.

I’m not a big fan of this particular prayer, but I do think Kasper has a point. We have fundamentally different religions. Our prayers should be free to recognize that.