Thursday, February 07, 2008
ROME — Pope Benedict XVI on Tuesday issued a replacement for a contentious Good Friday prayer in Latin, removing language that many Jewish groups found offensive but still calling for the Jews’ conversion.
However, representatives of Jewish groups as well as traditionalist Catholics quickly condemned the new prayer, though for different reasons. Jewish groups said it was still offensive, and traditionalists said they preferred the version that was replaced.
. . .
Rabbi Rosen, while saying he was pleased that language he found offensive was removed, objected to the new prayer because it specified that Jews should find redemption specifically in Christ. He noted that the standard Mass, issued after the liberalizations of the Second Vatican Council, also contained a prayer for the Jews’ “redemption” but did not specifically invoke Christ, stressing rather God’s original covenant with Jews.
It's unfortunate that Rabbi Rosen is objecting to the very crux of what redemption is. Obviously he honestly think that there is such a thing as redemption outside of Christ. I mean, he's Jewish. Good so far. But he also seems to honestly think that the Church can think the same.
Here he misses a few important points.
Firstly, if you're Catholic, Christ is God. It doesn't make a heck of a lot of sense to object to the prayer invoking Christ but be ok with the one invoking God because to the Church this is in some ways an equivalent statement. I mean, not in the strongest sense of the word "is", but without getting into a serious discussion on Christology I think we can casually invoke some sort of equivalence here.
Secondly, I think that this excerpt from the second section of Dominus Iesus is relevant.
In this regard, John Paul II has explicitly declared: “To introduce any sort of separation between the Word and Jesus Christ is contrary to the Christian faith... Jesus is the Incarnate Word — a single and indivisible person... Christ is none other than Jesus of Nazareth; he is the Word of God made man for the salvation of all... In the process of discovering and appreciating the manifold gifts — especially the spiritual treasures — that God has bestowed on every people, we cannot separate those gifts from Jesus Christ, who is at the centre of God's plan of salvation”.31
It is likewise contrary to the Catholic faith to introduce a separation between the salvific action of the Word as such and that of the Word made man. With the incarnation, all the salvific actions of the Word of God are always done in unity with the human nature that he has assumed for the salvation of all people. The one subject which operates in the two natures, human and divine, is the single person of the Word.
Thirdly, I'm not sure invoking Vatican II will buy much. I'm not in a mood to go and put together a post on the topic, but Vatican II certainly said that missionary activity is mandatory, and I don't recall any exceptions. If anyone can produce a link otherwise I shall post it here.
At least Rabbi Rosen's position is more put together than SSPX's.