So that we know who the interlocutor is, he is one Father John Pawlikowsky, whom Crittenden describes as "one of the most senior figures in the church, involved in dialogue with the Jews. In fact he's the international President of the Council of Christians and Jews". Okay, so we have a pretty good idea of where this is likely to take us, don't we...let's see:
Well you may remember the debate in the Catholic church last year when Pope Benedict reintroduced [Wrong. See our comments on the last post. "Liberated" / "confirmed the non-abolition of" would be more accurate. Or, to use the words of the Holy Father from the Apostolic Letter to the Bishops: "I would like to draw attention to the fact that this Missal was never juridically abrogated and, consequently, in principle, was always permitted." ] the old [note the common implication of the Modernist (i.e. Regressivist) mentality...anythiny OLD is BAD, anything NEW is GOOD] pre-Vatican II Latin missal [Presumably, Crittenden doesn't know - why doesn't he know?? - that all the official text of the Missal is in Latin because that's the normative language of the liturgy!] of 1962 in an effort to build bridges with Catholic traditionalists. [It's not entirely clear from the text, but if the implication here is that this is solely a sop to the Society of St Pius X (who, presumably are the "traditionalists" he refers to, given that the only traditionists really in existence are at the fringes of the church not in the heart of the Church...), then that's wrong too. More on that later. At this point the Pope's words are interesting: "We all know that, in the movement led by Archbishop Lefebvre, fidelity to the old Missal became an external mark of identity; the reasons for the break which arose over this, however, were at a deeper level. Many people who clearly accepted the binding character of the Second Vatican Council, and were faithful to the Pope and the Bishops, nonetheless also desired to recover the form of the sacred liturgy that was dear to them. This occurred above all because in many places celebrations were not faithful to the prescriptions of the new Missal, but the latter actually was understood as authorizing or even requiring creativity, which frequently led to deformations of the liturgy which were hard to bear. I am speaking from experience, since I too lived through that period with all its hopes and its confusion. And I have seen how arbitrary deformations of the liturgy caused deep pain to individuals totally rooted in the faith of the Church." Sounds like the Pope things there are traditionalists in the heart of the Church, too and, wethinks, he ought to know]
Critics were quick to point out that the old rite contained at least one prayer [To our knowledge there is only one prayer (consisting of two parts) that is in issue. Is it possible that Crittenden is reverencing somethingelse (eg the Office)?] , a Good Friday prayer for the conversion of the Jews, that used language which was really no longer acceptable. [Note how Crittenden simply imposes a judgment: of course, it's no longer acceptable because the views of the anti-Catholic within and outside the Catholic church deem it to be so, and this uncritical, irrational position, should and will be accepted by you, Dear Listener, because Crittenden saith it is so] This is it. [Gird your loins, Listeners...]
'Let us pray also for the Jews, that the Lord our God may take the veil from their hearts [Fr Z in the post below, reminds us that this is a direct biblical allusion. Not that Crittenden would INFORM you of that, of course.] and that they also may acknowledge our Lord Jesus Christ. [would have thought that's fair enough] Almighty and everlasting God, you do not refuse your mercy even to the Jews [Clearly the "even" gets the Modernist's goat: it's better translated into English as "also"]. Hear the prayers which we offer for the blindness of that people [a further direct biblical allusion. Not that Crittenden would INFORM you of that, of course.], so that they may acknowledge the light of your truth.'
Well that kind of language went out with [Crittenden's contempt is obvious, no?] the Second Vatican Council's declaration on the church's relation with non-Christians, called Nostrae Aetate. Mainstream Catholics [Behold, the men and women of straw have arrived. Those nasty traditionists couldn't possibily be "Mainstream Catholics" , could they dear Listener. No they do weird things like actually believe that the consecrated bread and wine are actually the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. Shameful] these days [As opposed to the "Mainstream Catholics" of 1963 and any before who clearly had the wrong end of the stick] say a completely different prayer for the Jews on Good Friday that makes no mention of conversion. [Right, so Crittenden wants you to believe that Catholics no longer prayer for conversion in the Novus Ordo, the New Order of Mass. The prayer is:
"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. 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."
So, it's clear to anyone who stops for a second that the prayer in the Novus Ordo is phrased in language that is seen as the diplomatic and open-ended. But, deliciously vague and open to interpretations that fudge the issue. You could argue with some validity: "No, Catholics don't pray for conversion" and much as you could that "Yes, Catholics still pray for conversion of the Jews." Except of course, the Pope reckons we still do. Catholics believe the "fullness of redemption" is Christ. Therefore Catholics pray that God will bring Jews to recognise Christ; how and when, Catholics don't presume to know. What Catholics do NOT do is force Christ upon anyone. That's not what Catholics understand Faith to be. Not that Crittenden would INFORM you of that.]
Well now Pope Benedict has dumped ["dumped", Listener] the prayer from the old Latin rite and written a third prayer, minus the offensive [yep, offensive. Bear in mind what Rabbi Rosen said about that in last week's blog entry: that it's not offensive, properly understood] language, but the language of conversion is back. [Oh, dear. Where did it go in the first place?] Now this may seem like a tiny technical matter, [yeah, right. Is this bloke the full quid?] only of interest to a few diehards [So, the vast majority of Catholics in communion with the Pope and faithful to the 2000 tradition of the Church founded by Jesus Christ, are "a few diehards" in Crittenden's view, with all the negative connotations that accompany that word. Whereas the "liberal" Catholics are okay, because, well, they're aren't TOO Catholic. And being TOO Catholic, is a problem for everyone else] who want to hang on to the Latin. [Crittenden wears his ignorance and idiocy on his sleeve] But it also opens an extremely interesting theological can of worms.
Father John Pawlikowsky is one of the most senior figures in the church, involved [We imagine the transcript inserts this comma where it don't belong] in dialogue with the Jews. In fact he's the international President of the Council of Christians and Jews. He says the way the Pope has addressed the Jewish prayer is quite inadequate. /font>
John Pawlikowsky: With some serious reflection, it could have been handled far better because any number of Jewish and Christian groups and inter-religious groups wrote to the Vatican well in advance, and there were also cardinals and bishops who wrote saying there was a problem here that needs addressing, if you're going to restore the prayers of the '62 missal. [So, even the Catholics are mis-representing the liberalisation of the 1962 missal, so what credibility should we attribute to the Rev Fr Pawlikowsky have on issues of the Ancient Rite of Mass? Evidently he knows something about relations with the Jewish Faith, but does he know diddly squat about the Extraordinary Form of the Mass? Let's see] And unfortunately he was very late in the game when they even began to take serious notice of the concerns.
Stephen Crittenden: Is the Good Friday prayer for the conversion of the Jews in the old Latin rite from 1962, just one small sign of what was wrong with the old rite, [And, dear Crittenden, what were the others? That it isn't Protestant enough? That it is too Catholic because it very clearly reflects a belief in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist?] and why it needed to be reformed? Does the Jewish prayer reflect in fact, a mentality that's characteristic of the whole rite? [After much deliberation, we think Crittenden is trying to say that the Extraordinary Form is inherently offensive to the Jews, and - because he only wants to hint at it, without saying the A-word - is, in some fashion Antisemitic; is that it? Is that what he's saying?? If so, say so, in order that we know precisely where you stand]
John Pawlikowsky: Well it certainly reflects a theological position [The Rev Fr isn't going to be so ballsy is he?] with respect to the Jews and also I would say to other Christians and to people of other faith traditions, including Muslims and so on.