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Is antisemitism on Christian Holy Friday coming back through Benedictus XVI?

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Answered 2007-07-17 17:39:50

This question refers to a special prayer used in the Roman Catholic Tridentine Mass on Good Friday, the Friday before Easter Sunday. The reason it is said that day is because that is the day the Church teaches that Christ died of crucifixion. The prayer petitions God for conversion of Jews to Christianity. Since, from the point of view of the Catholic petitioner this would be a blessing, it could hardly be considered "anti-" anything in its intent. But frankly it does mean that the Christian petitioner regards the continuing practice of Judaism to be unfruitful in obtaining salvation. Or more correctly, that Holy Church (Catholicism) is the only path to salvation, since Catholics believe that the Church is the living body of Christ on Earth, and since Christ said that no one enters the Kingdom of Heaven except through Him. Holding those beliefs then, it would be more correct to say one is "anti-Semitic" if they deliberately didn't pray for the conversion of Jews. It would be like saying, "They don't deserve it!", as would be true for any other group of non-Catholics, of course. In a sense, you could say that prayer is the opposite of persecution, since God would answer with, presumably, something that is only helpful to the subject of the prayer. Finally, the willing conversion of Jews is how Christianity began. So a prayer continuing in that tradition does not seem inappropriate. The intent is beneficial and the precedent is there. This is not something new, then, that Pope Benedict is introducing, but rather reaffirming an ancient, successful practice.

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