Tridentine Good Friday Prayer

Dialogika Resources

Interview Question on the Tridentine Rite Good Friday Prayer



In an interview with Benedict XVI by Peter Seewald, published as Benedict XVI, Light of the World: The Pope, the Church, and the Signs of the Times: A Conversation with Peter Seewald (Ignatius Press, 2010), the pope responded to a question about the Tridentine Rite general intercession for Jews.  The pope's reply comes from pp. 106-107. 


Peter Seewald: ... The decision [to make the Tridentine Rite more available] stirred up a controversy surrounding the petition for the conversion of the Jews that was contained in the Good Friday liturgy of the old Mass. The New York rabbi and historian Jacob Neusner defended this petition, arguing that it reflects "the logic of monotheism." Even believing Jews, Neusner pointed out, pray three times a day that eventually all non-Jews will call upon the name of YHWH. You eventually had the text replaced by new wording in February 2008. Could you understand the arguments of the critics?

Pope Benedict:

First of all, I am very grateful to Rabbi Neusner for what he said, because it was genuinely helpful.

Second: this petition does not affect the liturgy in general, but only the small circle of people who use the old [Tridentine] missal. So there was no question of any change in the main liturgy. But in the old liturgy this point seemed to me to require a modification. The old formulation really was offensive to Jews and failed to express positively the overall intrinsic unity between the Old and New Testament. For this reason, I believed that a modification of this passage in the old liturgy was necessary, especially, as I have already said, out of consideration for our relation with our Jewish friends. I altered the text in such a way as to express our faith that Christ is the Savior for all, that there are not two channels of salvation, so that Christ is also the redeemer of the Jews, and not just of the Gentiles. But the new formulation also shifts the focus from a direct petition for the conversion of the Jews in a missionary sense to a plea that the Lord might bring about the hour of history when we may all be united. So the polemical arguments with which a whole series of theologians assailed me are ill-considered; they do not accurately reflect the reality of the situation.