Pope Paul Revises Prayer on Jews; Liberalizes Text on Conversion

The text of a prayer for the conversion of the Jews chanted in Roman Catholic churches on Holy Week was released here yesterday by the Vatican, fully revised. It replaces expressions which could be considered offensive to Jews with expressions friendly to Jews in spirit; however, it does not eliminate the praying for Jews that they eventually “recognize the redeemer of all, our Lord Jesus Christ.”

The prayer, revised by Pope Paul VI, was originally entitled “Prayer for the Conversion of the Jews.” Its title has now been changed to simply “Prayer for the Jews.” The revised prayer becomes effective during the Holy Week of April 11-17. (In New York, a spokesman for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency today that the revised prayer, having been promulgated by the Vatican, has now become universal practice of the church and is being followed by the church in New York and around the world.) Four years ago, the late Pope John XXIII eliminated from the Good Friday liturgy the words “perfidious Jew.”

The old prayer reads: “Prayer for the conversion of the Jews. Let us also pray for the Jews: That our God and Lord would withdraw the veil from their hearts: That they also may acknowledge our Lord Jesus Christ. Let us pray. Almighty and eternal God who drives not away from his memory even the Jews; hear our prayers which we offer for the blindness of that people; that acknowledging the light of your truth, which is Christ, they may be delivered from their darkness.”

The revised prayer as released by the Vatican yesterday reads: “Prayer for the Jews. Let us pray for the Jews: Our Lord deign to let your face shine upon them. So that even they may recognize the redeemer of all, our Lord Jesus Christ, O almighty and eternal God who has made his promises to the people of Abraham beloeed by God, heed with kindness the prayer of your Church, that those who once ware your chosen people will be able to attain the fullness of grace in the redemption.”

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