English and Welsh Catholic Bishops Call on Vatican to Revise Prayer for the Jews

The Good Friday prayer, which was authorized by the Catholic Church in 2008, calls on the Jews to accept Jesus as their savior.

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The Vatican.Credit: AP

The Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales has issued a call to the Vatican urging the church to revise a version of the Good Friday prayer for the Jews that Jews have found offensive, the website of the London-based Catholic Herald reported Tuesday.

The version of the prayer, which was authorized by Pope Benedict XVI in 2008, reads: "Let us also pray for the Jews: that our God and Lord may illuminate their hearts, that they acknowledge Jesus Christ is the Savior of all men."

Prior versions of the prayer contained references to the "blindness" of the Jewish people and their "immersion in darkness," but the Catholic Herald noted that the 2008 version remains different from an arguably more positive text introduced in 1970, which read: “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.”

Following the issuance of the 2008 version, the New York-based Anti-Defamation League noted that it welcomed the removal of references to the "blindness of the Jewish people" and their "immersion from darkness," but said the new version still represented backtracking on prior progress in references to the Jews.

Archbishop Kevin McDonald, who chairs the bishops' Committee for Catholic-Jewish Relations, said the references at issue had caused “great confusion and upset in the Jewish community," according to the Catholic Herald. Noting that German bishops had already urged that the 2008 version be revised, McDonald, who is archbishop emeritus of Southwark, England, added: "“Such a change would be important both for giving clarity and consistency to Catholic teaching and for helping to progress Catholic-Jewish dialogue.”

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