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Pope John Seen Determined to Remove Anti-jewish Traces from Rites

April 16, 1963
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Determination on the part of Pope John XXIII to remove any anti-Jewish traces from Catholic rites and prayers was seen in Jewish circles here today, following the Pope’s dramatic action in making a prelate restart a Good Friday prayer in Latin that contained the words “perfidious Jews” and omit the word “perfidious. “

The 81-year-old Pontiff ruled four years ago that the word “perfidious” referring to Jews be omitted from the prayer. By mistake, however, the canon sang the old text of the prayer during the Good Friday services in St, Peter’s Basilica. Pope John, hearing the word “perfidious,” immediately ordered the prayer-chant restarted, and the word “perfidious” omitted.

(From Rome, it was reported today that the Vatican organ, L’Osservatore Romano, denied yesterday that the prelate acting as canon sang the old format of the prayer. The Vatican newspaper said that Fernando Cardinal Cento, the canon, read the prayer without hesitation and without the use of the word “perfidious. ” However, several newspapers in Italy, as well as correspondents from foreign newspapers who attended the services, insisted that the Cardinal acting as canon inadvertently made a lapse which the Pope caught and had the prayer started afresh.)

The American Jewish Congress and the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith today joined other national Jewish organizations in praising Pope John’s encyclical of last week. Rabbi Joachim Prinz, AJC president, said in a press statement that the encyclical ” ill surely rank as one of the most significant documents of our time. “

Dore Schary, national chairman of the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith, declared that “there is much encouragement and hope” to be derived from the encyclical. “The fact it is addressed not only to Roman Catholics but to all men of good will may presage a new era of intensified cooperation among people of all faiths, ” Mr. Schary said.

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