Bishops in England and Wales call for Vatican to revise liturgy concerning Jews

(JTA) – England and Wales’ bishops are joining Germany’s in urging the Vatican to change a liturgical reference to Jews in a prayer revised and reintroduced by Pope Benedict in 2008.

Archbishop Kevin McDonald, chairman of the bishops’ Committee for Catholic-Jewish Relations, said the current wording of the prayer has caused “great confusion and upset in the Jewish community,” the Catholic Herald reported Tuesday.

McDonald said the prayer, which Benedict revised when he allowed wider celebration of Mass using pre-Vatican II liturgy, should be amended to not be “a prayer for the conversion of Jews to Christianity.”

At issue are the words, “Let us also pray for the Jews: that our God and Lord may illuminate their hearts, that they acknowledge Jesus Christ is the Saviour of all men.” Previous versions of the prayer referred to the “blindness” of Jewish people and their “immersion in darkness.”

McDonald said the reintroduced prayer should be edited to resemble a widely used 1970 version, which says that “the Jewish people would continue to grow in the love of God’s name and in faithfulness of his Covenant.”

“Such a change would be important both for giving clarity and consistency to Catholic teaching and for helping to progress Catholic-Jewish dialogue,” McDonald said.

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