Church in the World
Christian-Jewish relations ‘difficult’
- 24 May 2008
Cardinal Walter Kasper this week admitted that Christian-Jewish relations were going through a difficult period following the publication of the revised Good Friday Prayer for the Tridentine Rite, writes Christa Pongratz-Lippitt. Cardinal Kasper, president of the Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews, was speaking in an interview with the Ulm-based daily Südwest-Presse on the eve of the Katholikentag in Osnabrück. Several prominent German Jews will not be attending that event on account of the prayer.
Admitting the current tensions in Catholic-Jewish relations in Germany, Cardinal Kasper said: "Germany is, of course, particularly sensitive for historical reasons. This is a difficult period but I think we will be able to get back to the level of dialogue we have had up to now - at least that is what we would like to achieve."
Asked why a German Pope "of all people" had been so "insensitive to German history" Cardinal Kasper said Pope Benedict "wanted to do something positive. He wanted to improve a prayer that the Jews found offensive and he succeeded. But that did not go quite as far as people wanted or expected. The Pope showed his good will as his unplanned visit to a synagogue in the US shows. This was seen as something most positive in America. In Germany things are different but we are doing all we can to overcome the difficulties."
Asked why Pope Paul VI's Good Friday Prayer for the Jews had not been adopted for the Tridentine Mass, Cardinal Kasper replied, "The present Pope wanted the language of the old prayer kept while improving the contents. He did not want to introduce a new liturgical form into the old, extraordinary form."