Cardinal Kasper on the Conversion of Jews

Hopefully this will be the last post concerning the changing-of-the-prayer by Pope Benedict XVI (not because it's not important, but because it pretty much seems to be a closed issue). I felt I should put this up just to conclude the dialogue offered in the comment-box when I wrote about this topic before. It seems that, despite the continuing disagreement on the wording expressed by non-Catholic groups (and some Catholics alike, I would presume), the wording of the prayer for the Jews in the 'extraordinary form' of Mass will stay as it is:

Vatican, Mar. 10, 2008 ( - Despite the disappointment expressed by some Jewish leaders at the revised text of a Good Friday prayer, Pope Benedict XVI does not plan to make any alterations in the text, Cardinal Walter Kasper has disclosed.

Speaking to a German ARD television audience, Cardinal Kasper-- who heads the Vatican commission for relations with Jews-- said that no further change in the Good Friday prayer is necessary because "it is entirely correct from a theological perspectieve."

The German cardinal is scheduled to meet this week with Jewish leaders who will make a last effort to persuade the Vatican that a second change in the prayer is necessary. Cardinal Kasper made it clear that the chances of such a change are extremely remote. He added that he hoped relations between Catholics and Jews could be renewed on a friendly footing despite any "irritation" caused by the disagreement.

In February, Pope Benedict released the text of a revised prayer for Jews, to be used in the Good Friday service celebrated according to the 1962 Roman Missal. The revised text-- which will be used only in traditional liturgies celebrated in Latin-- eliminated a reference to the "blindness" of Jews but retains a prayer for their conversion.

The statement from Walter Cardinal Kasper, head of the inter-religious dialogue committee in the Vatican, is pretty powerful. Although he does not possess in his person or office the authority to resolve such disputes, he is nonetheless a well-respected and popular Catholic theologian. By saying that the prayer is now "entirely correct from a theological position," he is not only agreeing with Benedict (who quite obviously agrees with his own move to change the prayer) but is also agreeing with the traditional prayer of the Church for the same conversion, represented in the Good Friday prayers for the 400 years preceding 1965. In short, Kasper is in good company with the Catholic Tradition when he says such a thing.

Nevertheless, some would argue that the issue is in no way resolved and that the Church's own voice, through the mouthpiece of Nostra Aetate, proclaims something quite contrary to what is currently being promulgated. This is something worthy of further study and research; however, it is an issue not for catechetical blogs but theologians trained in the faith and in proper ecclesiological methodology. In the end, it's always possible to question, "why," but at least now we have something solid to grasp onto, giving us a new point of view in an age-old argument.