News Brief

Conservative rabbis softened a resolution criticizing a Catholic prayer for Jews to acknowledge Christ. The resolution, adopted this week at the Rabbinical Assembly’s annual convention in Washington, backed away from earlier language saying the liturgy would “cast a harsh shadow” over Jewish-Catholic collaboration and make interfaith dialogue more difficult. Instead, the RA said it was “dismayed and deeply disturbed” to learn of the prayer, which replaced an even more incendiary version which said the Jews suffered from “blindness” and asked God to “lift a veil from their hearts.” In the resolution’s sole operative paragraph, the assembly resolved to “seek clarification” of the “meaning and status” of the new prayer. In July, in an effort to placate traditionalists uncomfortable with the Vatican’s 1960s reforms, the pope authorized the use of the Latin, or Tridentine, Mass, an older form of Catholic worship that has largely been replaced by prayer in the vernacular. The prayer for the conversion of the Jews is included in the Latin Mass’ Good Friday liturgy. The news was greeted with outrage in certain quarters, with the Anti-Defamation League saying the pope had dealt a “body blow” to Catholic-Jewish relations, however, some groups called for greater clarification before responding. Last week, the pope released a revised version of the controversial prayer, which softened some of the language.

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