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Sunday, February 27, 2005

Perfidious Jews?

Almighty everlasting God, who dost not reject from thy mercy even the perfidious Jews, hear our prayer which we offer unto thee for the blindness of that people, that, acknowledging the light of thy Truth which is Christ, they may be brought out of their darkness; through Jesus...
- from the Intercessions during the Mass of the presanctifed on Good Friday in the Sarum Missal.

Now I'm not the greatest fan of altering liturgical texts for the sake of political correctness where it apparently done for its own sake, but I'm sure that I would make at least one alteration in this particular instance.

What I was wondering is whether those Orthodox parishes of the western rite that use Sarum, would use this without amendment. I know that a few changes have been made in the version of Sarum that WRO churches use, but I don't know how far this extends: whether it is simply the main text of the ordinary and canon of the Mass, or whether it also extends to other liturgies such as this one.

Any comments welcomed.

8 comments:

Aristibule said...

One has similar statements in the Byzantine and continental Roman rites. I've known a Byzantine chanter who would skip over such - until people made a fuss about 'changing the prayers'. I suggested an alternative, as the term as used in the New Testament is that also used for Judaeans - which described a political entity that no longer exists (which he used when the local Rabbi came to Holy Week). In any case, the prayer is describing God's mercy - and even those of us of Jewish descent need to know that God will still accept us though we've been sinners. One has to say it at some point - because we are commanded to bring the Gospel 'first to the Jew, and then to the Greek (Gentile).' So - I guess the prayer needs the context of all of the NT theology in the first place.

Paul Goings said...

Why alter it? Perfidious simply means "faithless," which is how the Latin is translated in the English Missal. Surely no one would contend that the Jews are possessed of "The Faith," of which there is only one?

Michael said...

Thank you both.

My dictionary defines 'perfidious' as 'deceitful', hence my question, but, upon closer inspection of the word itself, it does indeed appear to be better rendered as 'faithless'.

Benjamin Andersen said...

I concur that "perfidious" simply means "faithless." We pray for the Jews who have not come to the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. We pray for their salvation, and thus it is an act of charity.

Now, that being said, does anyone have an more charitable interpretation of the traditional (pre-Pius XII) rubric directing that there be no genuflexion between the bidding and the prayer for the Jews?

Paul Goings said...

Now, that being said, does anyone have an more charitable interpretation of the traditional (pre-Pius XII) rubric directing that there be no genuflexion between the bidding and the prayer for the Jews?To the best of my knowledge, it has its origins in the fact that, on that first Good Friday, the Jews bowed the knee to Christ only in mockery and scorn. So the Church, in praying for their conversion on this day, avoids imitating them.

It is, like many explanations of liturgical customs, profoundly allegorical. That being said, I do not believe that it should be lightly dispensed with. In fact, I can see no reason at all for not retaining it.

Anonymous said...

Frankly, it's become so "sophisticated" not to believe in anything, that I often think we could just pray for the "perfidious" and the "faithless" without bothering to add any particular ethnic group. The perfidious and the faithless are everywhere, all around us, and most of them are folks we used to think were Christians. Grrr.

I feel like praying for the conversion of =everybody=, beginning with Moi Moiself!

Leetle M.

Michael said...

A brilliant point, Leetle Masha!

I think that I shall incorporate some form of prayer for all the perfidious in my regular prayer. Thank you for this.

M

Ille said...

There are much stronger words in the Byzantine Offices of the Holy Week.
However, in my parish church, they are still chanted .