Jews Welcome Pope's Move on Latin Prayer

A Jewish group has welcomed the Vatican's suggestion that a little-used traditional prayer for the conversion of Jews, which it views as antisemitic, could be dropped from a revived Latin rite.

The Simon Wiesenthal Centre said in statement on Friday that the prayer "considered offensive and dangerous to Jews" could be interpreted by some as justifying antisemitism and urged the Vatican to move quickly to ensure it is ruled out.

The Pope's number two said earlier this week that the Vatican might consider substituting the passage in the Good Friday prayer book which asks that God remove the "veil" from Jewish hearts so that they would recognise Jesus Christ.

The Wiesenthal Centre's Rabbi Abraham Cooper said traditionalist Catholic groups like the Society of Saint Pius X, which has campaigned for the return of Latin Mass, continued to blame Jews for the death of Christ and preached "classic antisemitic themes as part of their religious message".

"By acting quickly and decisively to embrace the current form of the prayer to be used exclusively in all languages -- including Latin -- the Vatican could make it abundantly clear that no group that wishes to come back to the good graces of the Church will be welcome without leaving theologically based antisemitism behind," he said.

The Pius X society, which claims one million members, split with Rome after the Second Vatican Council of the 1960s which, among other reforms, jettisoned Latin rites in favour of local languages.

The Pope's decision to allow priests to say the old Latin Mass more frequently is in part aimed at healing the rift with traditionalists.