11 April 2022

Some not-so-Solemn Good Friday Prayers

 In the First English Prayer Book of 1549, two faint shadows remained of the traditional Latin Solemn Prayers from the Mass of the Pre-Sanctified. One was Cranmer's graceful rendering of the old prayer Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, cuius Spiritu....

The second was an amalgamation of the intercession for Jews, Unbelievers, and heretics. This is how it went:

Mercyfull God, who hast made all men, and hatest nothyng that thou hast made, nor wouldest the deathe of a synner, but rather that he should be conuerted and liue; haue mercy upon *all Jewes, Turkes, Infidels, and hereticks, and take from them all ignoraunce, hardnes of heart, and contempt of thy word: and so fetche them home, blessed Lorde, to thy flocke, that they maye be saued among the remnant of the true Israelites, and be made one folde under one shepeherde, Jesu Christ our Lord; who lyveth and reigneth, &c.

 The abortive Prayer Book of 1928 which was widely drawn upon for modernising alternatives, emended the prayer from my red asterisk onwards:

*thine ancient people the Jews, and upon all who have not known thee, or who deny the faith of Christ crucified; take from them all ignorance, hardness of heart, and contempt of thy Word; and so fetch them home, blessed Lord, to thy fold, that they may be made one flock under one shepherd, Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen.

The Alternative Service Book of 1980 incorporated this form of the prayer, in 'modernised' English. (Around the turn of the millennium, the prayer finally disppeared from general Church of England Good Friday worship.)

I think I prefer Cranmer's version, with its OT and NT 'Remnant' theology.

So, in 1980 and the decades after, it was still non-outrageous for Anglicans to pray for the Conversion of the Jews.

Really diligent readers may remember a series of mine, a few years ago, which demonstrated that the Liturgia Horarum, published in 1972, contained prayer for the Conversion of the Jews on Easter Sunday Evening Prayer, repeated on the Sunday evenings of Easter 3 and Easter 5. As far as I know, it still does.

Even more readers may recall, because I snarl about this every few months, that the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, meekly obeying the commands of the German bishops, attacked the Prayer for the Jews which had been composed less than a decade previously by Pope Benedict XVI himself, propria manu, for use in the Authentic Use  of the Roman Rite.

So why do some people make such a hysterical fuss and bother about the Old Roman Rite praying for the Conversion of the Jews, when such prayer

(1) is done in the legal form of worship prescribed by Act of Parliament for the Established Church (Common Worship being only an authorised optional alternative) ... and never a word said;

(2) is prescribed for all those who say the post-Vatican II Novus Ordo Divine Office of the Latin Church ... and never a word said.

I will tell you why. It is because there are unbalanced, hysterical folk who have an uncontrolled gut detestation of the Authentic Form of the Roman Rite. So they run around tearing their hair out and screaming on and on about the Traddies praying for the Conversion of Jews (as, indeed, they do and should do). 

Yet the Old Form affects only a tiny handful of worshippers on one day of the year which is not a Day of Obligation. While the "New" post-Conciliar forms of worship affect every cleric who uses them for the Divine Office.

So, while they rant, the angries simultaneously ignore the enormous plank in their own eyes.

Hypocrites. Raving Rabid Roaring Hypocrites.

They should be sent for counselling or locked up in a small dark windowless cell with Blaise Cupich.




Jim Craig said...

"locked up in a small dark windowless cell with Blaise Cupich" I am afraid, dear Father, that this would be cruel and unusual punishment.

frjustin said...

Besides the two reasons given above in favour of praying for the conversion of the Jews, we may add a third given by Jews themselves:

3) Rabbi Jacob Neusner (whose analysis of Jesus’ life played a significant role in Pope Benedict XVI’s book Jesus of Nazareth) spoke to the press when the whole controversy began. Rabbi Neusner explained he wasn’t concerned about the Catholic prayer, adding “I’ve pointed out that the synagogue liturgy has an equivalent prayer which we say three times a day, not just once a year.” The rabbi was referring to the prayer said by Jewish men thanking God for not making them gentiles.

Hillel Halkin, a translator of Jewish literature and contributing editor of the New York Sun, was perplexed as to why some Jews are outraged. He wrote, “Frankly, I don’t see how it’s possible to be a believing Christian without hoping that the Jews will one day accept Jesus.” Halkin also argued that one Jewish High Holy Day prayer is “a prayer for Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, and Hindus to abandon their religions and accept the Torah of Israel,” and wondered how Jews would respond if Christians were to request it be abandoned.


Dad of Six said...

"So why do some people make such a hysterical fuss and bother about the Old Roman Rite praying for the Conversion of the Jews..." I believe another reason could be the old 'reasonable hope that all men are saved' trope. There is no Hell, per these people, so why should we pray for people who are save anyway?

Mick Jagger Gathers No Mosque said...

Professor Israel Shahak, Holocaust Survivor:

Let us begin with the text of some common prayers. In one of the first sections of the daily morning payer, every devout Jew blesses God for not making him a Gentile. The concluding section of the daily prayer (which is also used in the most solemn part of the service on New Year’s day and on Yom Kippur) opens with the statement: ‘We must praise the Lord of all ... for not making us like the nations of [all] lands ... for they bow down to vanity and nothingness and pray to a god that does not help.’The last clause was censored out of the prayer books, but in eastern Europe it was supplied orally, and has now been restored into many Israeli-printed prayer books. In the most important section of the weekday prayer – the ‘eighteen blessings’ – there is a special curse, originally directed against Christians, Jewish converts to Christianity and other Jewish heretics: ‘And may the apostates have no hope, and all the Christians perish instantly’. This formula dates from the end of the 1st century, when Christianity was still a small persecuted sect. Some time before the 14th century it was softened into: ‘And may the apostates have no hope, and all the heretics perish instantly’, and after additional pressure into: ‘And may the informers have no hope, and all the heretics perish instantly’. After the establishment of Israel, the process was reversed, and many newly printed prayer books reverted to the second formula, which was also prescribed by many teachers in religious Israeli schools.

After 1967, several congregations close to Gush Emunim have restored the first version (so far only verbally, not in print) and now pray daily that the Christians ‘may perish instantly’. This process of reversion happened in the period when the Catholic Church (under Pope John XXIII) removed from its Good Friday service a prayer which asked the Lord to have mercy on Jews, heretics etc. This prayer was thought by most Jewish leaders to be offensive and even antisemitic.

A similar rule applies to the living; thus, when seeing a large Jewish population a devout Jew must praise God, while upon seeing a large Gentile population he must utter a curse. Nor are buildings exempt: the Talmud lays down that a Jew who passes near an inhabited non- Jewish dwelling must ask God to destroy it, whereas if the building is in ruins he must thank the Lord of Vengeance. (Naturally, the rules are reversed for Jewish houses.) This rule was easy to keep for Jewish peasants who lived in their own villages or for small urban communities living in all-Jewish townships or quarters. Under the conditions of classical Judaism, however, it became impracticable and was therefore confined to churches and places of worship of other religions (except Islam).64 In this connection, the rule was further embroidered by custom: it became customary to spit (usually three times) upon seeing a church or a crucifix, as an embellishment to the obligatory formula of regret. Sometimes insulting biblical verses were also added.


Grant Milburn said...

Locked in a cell with Cupich? Better than with McCarrick, I suppose...

armyarty said...

There is only ONE Name by which men can be saved. One Sacrifice acceptable to The Father.

Of course, if you really, really DO hate Jews very VERY much, you might object to people praying for them.

But, really, can anyone be THAT hateful?

armyarty said...

Mick: My friend Walter came from Boro Park, Brooklyn, a place that has become very Jewish. Each day, Hasidim would cross the street to spit upon the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary in his father's yard. A Commandant in the Irish Defense Forces has informed me that this sort of thing is especially prevalent in Israel, especially during Purim. To be fair, most Jews do not like the Hasidim, and many dislike them intensely.

coradcorloquitur said...

Sincerely praying for conversion of the Jewish people is a great act of charity---one that must be particularly pleasing to the Almighty as He chose and loved them first and naturally (and supernaturally) would only wish their eternal joy with Him in Heaven. The heretics---let us be man or woman enough to call them by their correct name---object because they no longer believe (if they ever did) in the necessity of the Redemption or in the words of Christ to the effect that no one comes to the Father except through Him. In the final analysis, the hysterical ignoramuses objecting to the traditional intercessory prayer for the Jews are the real anti-semites.