I knew this new pope seemed a little icky. This weekend Pope Benedict empowered the world’s bishops (they’re the hat-lookin’ pieces three spots from the edge of the board, right?) to begin using the traditional rite known as the Tridentine Mass. Spoken entirely in Latin, it was abandoned by the Vatican Council in 1970 for the more user-friendly mass heard in today’s churches (not that I would know.)
Pope Vader is apparently trying to appease some more traditional groups within the Catholic church by extending them the option of returning to the Latin mass, which contains a passage stating that Jews live in “blindness” and “darkness” and asks God to “remove the veil from their hearts.”
According to Clerical Whispers, Reverend Philip Eichner, the chairman of the board of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, said the references to conversion are well meaning not anti-Semitic. “We would say everyone who doesn’t see Jesus is living in a certain amount of darkness, and we want them to see the light,” he said.
Although we should all be grateful that the part that refers to the Jews as “perfidious” (go ahead, look it up, I had to) was removed from the liturgy in 1969, you know our main man Abe Foxman had something to say about it. Specifically, he called it a “body blow to Catholic-Jewish relations” and was “deeply offended that nearly 40 years after the Vatican rightly removed insulting anti-Jewish language from the Good Friday Mass, that it would now permit Catholics to utter such hurtful and insulting words by praying for Jews to be converted.
As usual, the fact that good ol’ Abe gets totally indignant over stuff like this means that I don’t have to. Meaning, yeah, it’s really lame of ol’ Popey to kowtow to a small minority of the Church and allow culturally inappropriate material in a world that has a hard enough time keeping it together as it is, but I’m not going to let it bunch up my panties. (But bless Abe Foxman for being my Semitic Superhero.)
Reverend Richard John Neuhaus, editor of the Catholic journal First Things, preaches a similar apathy:
“We’re talking about one sentence that occurs once a year. That’s not to say it is unimportant, but the things done with Catholic-Jewish relations over the past half-century is not going to be compromised. The church’s commitment to a respectful dialogue with Judaism is irrevocable.”
Cardinal Jean-Pierre Ricard, the head bishop in France, doesn’t expect a sudden demand the all-Latin Mass. I dont see a tsunami coming, he dryly told French newspapers.
Seriously, though doesn’t the Church still have far bigger bigger problems than even the Foxy Abe, formidable as he is?