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Sunday, March 02, 2008

Just Clowning Around at Mass in Linz

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There are no liturgical problems in the Diocese of Linz! No!

The Bishop of Linz with the new devotion of the Diocese, Saint Precarious. Nothing to do with the precarious nature of the Faith in Linz, but with a campaign against short term jobs with bad conditions.

Cathcon bumped into the Bishop of Linz this week. He was in Brussels.

Leading German lay Catholic organisation condemns new Good Friday prayer

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Cathcon translation of
press statement of the Central Committee of German Catholics.

The Discussion Group "Jews and Christians" of the Central Committee of German Catholics (ZdK) has published an opinion on the Good Friday intercession "For the Jews"

The Round Table "Jews and Christians" of the Central Committee of German Catholics, in an opinion published today asked Pope Benedict XVI to only allow for the entire Roman rite only the 1970 version of the Good Friday intercession "For the Jews".

Here, we document the observations in the text:
New strain on Christian-Jewish relations

Following their statement on the approval of the Tridentine rite in April 2007, the Discussion Group at its meeting in February 2008 again discussed the various versions of the Good Friday intercession and adopted the following opinion:

Pope Benedict XVI on 4 February 2008 promulgated a version of the Good Friday intercession "For the Jews" for the extraordinary rite which has triggered international protests by Jews and Christians. She hits a nerve, which for Jews, irrespective of their religious orientation stems from historic trauma: conversion to faith in Jesus Christ!, as the prayer for the Jews has since the Middle Ages led to forceful humiliation and dangerous excesses against the "perfidious" and "deluded" Jews on Good Friday. This vocabulary of traditional hostility to Jews is not in the fore of the new intercession, but the statements that there is hope for the enlightenment of the hearts of the Jews and for their acknowledgement of Jesus Christ has awakened again ancient Jewish fears this year.

The new text authorized by Pope Benedict reads in English translation:

Let us also pray for the Jews: that God our Lord might enlighten their hearts, so that they might know Jesus Christ as the Saviour of all mankind.
Let us pray.
Let us bend our knees (kneel).
Please rise.

Almighty and eternal God, whose desire it is that all men might be saved and come to the knowledge of truth, grant in your mercy that as the fullness of mankind enters into your Church, all Israel may be saved, through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Irritating questions are raised by this intercession. If the Tridentine rite of 1570 (most recently in the edition of the Roman Missal of 1962) talks of blindness and darkness and then the new version prays for enlightenment, it begs the question of whether this is not only a more friendly sounding way of saying the same thing. If the Jews come to the knowledge and acknowledgement of Jesus Christ as the Saviour of all people, do they need to be converted - whether in the course of history, or only at the end? Or will they only see the Saviour of the world when history, the time of faith, is at an end? Is the Yes of Jews to Jesus Christ - whenever and however they give it - a condition for their salvation? Or are there two ways of salvation for humankind with entry into the church, while Israel is saved outside the church? Is all that remains that the Church is entrusted by God to hope and pray for the salvation of Israel, or should the Church and is obliged- certainly without any coercion and without any compulsion – to invitee Jews to faith in Jesus Christ and the Gospel?

Pope Paul VI did not raise such questions and fears in the Good Friday liturgy as renewed by the Council. In the Roman missal of 1970, this prayer is found

Let us pray for the Jewish people, the first to hear the word of God, that they may continue to grow in the love of his name and in faithfulness to his covenant. (Prayer in silence. Then the priest says:) Almighty and eternal God, long ago you gave your promise to Abraham and his posterity. Listen to your Church as we pray that the people you first made your own may arrive at the fullness of redemption. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen

The difference from this prayer for the newly devised formulation is obvious: In the one, the Church expresses in the prayer of 1970, which is almost everywhere prayed on Good Friday in the ordinary Rite of the Roman Catholic Church, unequivocally their appreciation for the dignity of Israel, God’s chosen people, the God -- pursuant to the Declaration of the Second Vatican Council "Nostra Aetate", who has given promises and a Covenant has given, that was never broken and will never be broken (cf. Rom 9.4 and 11.29). On the other hand, the Church acknowledges that the Jews living in loyalty to God's covenant and in the love of his name are already on the path of salvation. She asks that God will bring everything to fulfilment along this path. From the commitment of Jews to Jesus Christ as a condition for the salvation the church does not speak here because She trusts that their loyalty to God's covenant will lead the Jews to salvation. This conviction has also been clearly stated in our discussion group, in its statement "Jews and Christians in Germany", 13 April 2005: "Jesus Christ is according to the Christian Faith the 'Yes and Amen' (2 Cor 1.20) of the irrevocable faithfulness of God to Israel and the whole world. Nevertheless, there can be – out of loyalty to the same God's will – salvation for Israel without faith in Jesus Christ. "

The comparison of the two prayers makes overwhelmingly clear that the intercession of Pope Benedict XVI is a retrograde step after the intercession of Pope Paul VI and is a set back after the groundbreaking words and gestures of Pope John Paul II. We are disappointed and dismayed that Pope Benedict did not use the formulation in the "ordinary form" of the Mass of 1970 also without any change for the "extraordinary form" of the Rite. The Motu proprio of July 2007, where the expanded use of the Tridentine Rite is permitted , it is true, maintains that the Mass of 1970 will be the general use with the liberty given to the 1962 Mass being only the exception. But that both forms of the Rite expressed the authentic faith of the church was also stated (lex orandi - lex credendi). The approval of both forms weighs particularly on the historically difficult issue of Good Friday intercession for the Jews. The ambiguity of having two different propagated forms of the prayer irritates the faithful in the church and has greatly damaged the growing trust between Catholics and Jews.

It was also felt that an unnecessary damage to this confidence and annoyance was caused by Pope Benedict, as far as is known, neither before publication of his Motu Proprio last year nor before the promulgation of the new Good Friday intercession consulted Jewish dialogue partners, to discover whether his ideas would hurt their religious feelings. Many letters and public statements - such as the declaration of our dialogue group in April 2007 - have made the explosiveness of the project unequivocally clear. Even less understandable is that the new Good Friday intercession for the Jews was put into effect without prior comment, and the expected violent reaction not taken into consideration. The subsequent statement by Cardinal Kasper was only just about convincing, that the excitement was based on misunderstanding, because the text only expresses the apocalyptic hope of the Church.

We hope that Pope Benedict and ask him to revise his decision and permit for the whole Roman rite only the Good Friday intercession of 1970.

Bonn, 29 February 2008

On behalf of the Round Table "Jews and Christians" of the ZdK
Professor. emeritus. Dr. Hanspeter Heinz
Regional Rabbi emeritus Dr. H. C. Henry G. Brandt

Pontifical Mass at the Throne

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Priest and Seminarian Training Workshop

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from Sancta Missa

Archbishop of Canterbury and Sharia Law

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The whole story as followed by Cathcon. The German Catholic Bishops for once have not followed the lead of the Protestant Church and have said nothing. During Nazi times, they said as much as they could, and now in peace and freedom they say nothing.

One is reminded of the silence of the Catholic Bishops of the US over the Terri Schiavo case.