“Pray a Great Deal for the Holy Father…”
May He Re-affirm the Traditional Good Friday Prayer.
by Joanna Swords
I am just a simple Catholic who believes, like other Catholics, that we must know our Faith in order to help save our own souls and to help all the souls whom God places on our path. We must also do our Catholic duty by defending the Faith. I am not able to quote numerous passages and verses from the Bible in a conversation, I am not able to cite Canon Law.
What I can do, by God's grace through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin, is to study the catechism, do my best to obey the 10 Commandments and adhere to the precepts of the Church, heed the requests of Our Lady of Fatima by including at least five decades of the Rosary daily with my prayers, make sacrifices for sinners, do the Five First Saturday Communion of Reparation, wear the Brown Scapular and receive the Sacraments frequently.
So without the terminology of professional theologians or canon lawyers, I can give in simple language the viewpoint of an ordinary Catholic layman with regard to the February 4, 2008 indication given by Pope Benedict XVI, regarding the change of the Good Friday prayer for the conversion of the Jews, in the old Latin Rite. This we are told was done in an attempt to appease outspoken members of some Jewish groups who complain they don't want Catholics praying for their conversion.
We know that the Pope was under pressure to cave in to the demands of these groups to change the prayer. Likely many Catholics prayed that he would not relent.
The Good Friday prayers are only prayed liturgically once a year, and are nothing more than what Our Lord Jesus Christ told us to do — that is, to pray for our enemies. Who are they? In the words of Our Lord, they are those whom Our Lord referred to as: “Those who are not for Me are against Me.”
So on Good Friday every year, we Catholics formally pray the prayers that are some of the oldest in the Church dating back to the Third Century, and possibly earlier. We pray for the conversion of the Jews, the Muslims, pagans, heretics, etc.
Does not our Holy Faith teach that we must not tamper with our Sacred Traditions, in this case sacred prayers?
The new prayer written by the Holy Father seems to demonstrate that he attempted to appease both certain groups of Jews and those who pray that he adhere to all of Catholic Tradition.
I have read some of the opinions of others who are far more qualified to offer their thoughts than I am with regard to such an important matter — persons whose opinions are not to be discounted lightly. Some say that the newly worded prayer is acceptable since it still preserves the essence of the original prayer, namely, that the Jews need to convert to the Catholic Faith in order to be saved.
Cardinal Kasper and others have said that the end of the new prayer indicates that the Jews are not being called to convert — at least not now — which, of course, to the everyday Catholic is what counts. That is, we are to strive to do all we can for our eternal salvation now, and not wait until the last minute, or presume we will be given the time and be allowed to wait until the last minute.
Some rejoice that the Holy Father has, objectively speaking, taken a step forward, to reinforce what the Church has always taught (but which has appeared to be forgotten in the last 40 years): that outside the Catholic Church there is no salvation, and that the Jews are outside the Catholic Church. The fact that the Holy Father re-affirmed those truths is appreciated.
But I cannot rejoice. For over the last four decades we have seen members of the Church hierarchy cave in to all sorts of demands by these same groups of people (and other similar groups) under the guise of bringing about some sort of religious unity. But clearly such unity is not according to Catholic teaching. And the only thing that making these misguided concessions has accomplished is that more concessions are demanded.
This most recent concession proves that there is no appeasing those who are against Christ. Since the change was made, that faction of the Jews — the outspoken ones — continue to complain, because the prayer did not remove the reference to their need for conversion. Their complaints only reinforce the Catholic teaching that we must not tamper with our Catholic Traditions.
The new prayer did not appease this group and we pray that the Holy Father responds to their outcries, by re-affirming the Traditional prayer, both in the Traditional Rite and in the Novus Ordo Rite, where at present the prayer for the Jews has no clear indication for the Jews’ need of conversion. It will do no harm to promote the old prayer for all Catholics, and will draw down tremendous graces for the Church and for the Jews as well.
Those Jews who are crying out against this prayer will not be appeased. And we cannot allow them to insist that we make changes. The outrage of a Catholic (doing his God given duty by defending the Sacred Traditions of the Faith) that begs to be expressed is: Who are they to demand that we change our sacred prayers!!
How would they react if we called for the removal of their prayers said three times a day (according to Rabbi Jacob Neusner, Free Republic, July 20, 2007) — and not just once a year — that thanks God that they are not Gentiles?
While Catholics pray in their official liturgy once a year for the conversion of the Jews and for their eternal salvation (and will again do so this coming Good Friday), which is an act of spiritual mercy and a work of charity, practicing Jews pray three times a day to thank God that they are not Gentiles — a seeming expression of racial supremacy.
Our Lady of Fatima stressed over and over again: Pray a great deal for the Holy Father, he will have much to suffer. We know our Holy Father is surrounded by enemies within and outside the Church.
We must offer the only support we can for Pope Benedict XVI by heeding Our Lady's requests to pray for him. Therefore, we call on all Catholics to join us in a 54-day Rosary Novena, commencing on Good Friday, March 21, 2008, for the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI:
For his spiritual and temporal welfare;
For his safety and protection;
For the grace to fulfill the sacred office of the papacy in accordance with the Holy Will of God;
For the grace to re-affirm the Traditional Good Friday Prayer and restore all of the Traditions of the True, One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church;
For the grace of final perseverance;
For the grace to reveal the full Secret of Fatima;
For the grace to call for and lead all the Catholic bishops of the world in consecrating Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in accordance with the requests made by Jesus and Mary in the Fatima Message;
For the grace to heed all of these graces.
And just as a reminder from one Catholic to another, we need to unite in heeding the words of Our Lord by praying for the conversion of all non-Catholics — not just Jews, but pagans, heretics, schismatics, and apostates. We should do this not just on Good Friday, but daily.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.