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German bishop wants Benedict XVI’s Good Friday Prayer revoked

26 June 2015 | by Christa Pongratz-Lippitt

There has been renewed criticism of the Good Friday Prayer in the Tridentine Rite that prays for Jews to recognise Jesus “as saviour of all men”.

At a discussion on the fiftieth anniversary commemoration of the Second Vatican Council’s Declaration Nostra Aetate, organised by the German bishops’ conference, Bishop Heinrich Mussinghoff of Aachen supported a request by the president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Josef Schuster, that the Church revoke the Good Friday Prayer for the old rite. The prayer now in use was revised after Benedict XVI’s 2008 motu proprio allowed for wider use of the 1962 Roman Missal. The original prayer referred to the “blindness” of the Jews.

Bishop Mussinghoff with Dr Josef SchusterBishop Mussinghof said he “could not understand or implement the revised version. We have a wonderful Good Friday Prayer in the Ordinary Rite and I would very much welcome it if the revised form for the Extraordinary Rite were revoked as it is a burden on Christian-Jewish relations and could easily be revoked. I never understood why Pope Benedict reintroduced it in the first place.”

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The secretary of the Pontifical Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews, Fr Norbert Hofmann SDB, advised Schuster to address his request directly to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The discussion showed that the subject was a far more sensitive issue in Germany than in the rest of the world, he observed.

The German bishops did not welcome Pope Benedict’s revision of the Good Friday Prayer for the Jews in the Tridentine Rite when it was first introduced in Holy Week in 2008. Most would have preferred that the 1970 wording be used in both the Tridentine and the New Order of the Mass because it emphasised the Jews’ faithfulness to God’s covenant. 

Above: Bishop Mussinghoff with Dr Josef Schuster, head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany at the event to mark the fiftieth anniversary of Nostra Aetate. Photos: Kath. Stadtkirche Frankfurt/Doris Wiese-Gutheil, CNS/L'Osservatore Romano via Reuters



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