Motumania: The Good Friday Prayers

Rock is naturally all over this development, rumored for weeks now, that Pope Benedict would alter the Good Friday prayer for Jews. One might think that after Summorum Pontificum, a spirit of serenity and obedience would wash over TLM advocates. Not from what I’ve read.

“Bowing to the winds of political correctness” and “rattles the cage of traditionalists” (a curious phrasing, to picture oneself in prison … still) and lots of other squirming about the change not “feeling” official, or the “cave in” and the like.

A few things:

A relatively minor change (many Jewish commentators are still offended by it) that comes up once a year is a target of a lot of huffiness. Too many TLM advocates have been in an acrimonious mood for too long, I think. It convinces me that Summorum Pontificum was likely a spiritual mistake.

It’s hard to see what the pope has accomplished. The only people who seem “serene” about the change are those who see it as a challenge to the virtue of obedience. Mainstream Catholics have our own prayers. As for Jewish complainers, let’s keep in mind that the context of this prayer for them is not the Roman liturgy, but the behaviors and attitudes of Christians toward Jews for centuries. Does that seem unfair? Lots of Jews would tell you to take a number.

This is a good test for the receptivity of Catholic traditionalists, both those in schism and those in union. The comments I’ve seen indicate the grade is running somewhere around a “D.” Nice going. Mainstream Catholic music publishers have been dishing out chant and Latin for the Roman Rite for three decades at least. Traditionalists get their knickers in a twist about one minor and (some would say) unsatisfactory revision of a single prayer used once a year. I see that kind of thing now and then, too, but I’m the parent of a pre-adolescent. Time to grow up, I think. Time for a reform of the 1962 Missal, too: a serious one. Then we’ll see where people fall on the Catholic side of things.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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9 Responses to Motumania: The Good Friday Prayers

  1. Jeff Pinyan says:

    Well, of course the 1962 Missal needs a reform, but now is too soon. As Fr. Z likes to put it, the Pope seems to have a “marshall plan” to restore the Catholic identity — not to “turn back the clock” but to recover what has been cast aside unjustly (or simply trampled on) and weed out that which is uncatholic. The two forms of the one Rite will exert a gravitational pull on one another which can eventually lead to a reformed 1962 Missal that more accurately matches the reforms called for in SC and that avoids the innovations of the Ordinary Form.

  2. Anne says:

    This was posted elsewhere…from an article in Commonweal, a reflective question:

    A Jew asks the Church…”Is it really the will of God that there be no more Judaism in the world? Would it be the triumph of God if the scrolls of the Torah would no more be taken out of the Ark and the Torah no more be read in the synagogue, our ancient Hebrew prayers, in which Jesus himself worshiped, no more recited, the Passover Seder no more celebrated in our lives, the Law of Moses no mo celebrated in our homes? Would it really be ad majorum Dei gloriam to have a world without Jews?”

  3. Tony says:

    I have no problem with any prayers the Pope wishes to change. After all, he holds the keys to the kingdom.

    However, I think we might get a little quid pro quo (that’s Latin) from our Jewish friends who are expected to pray the following daily:

    Baruch atah Hashem Elokenu melech haolam, shelo asani goy … Blessed are You, L-rd our G-d, King of the universe, who did not make me a Gentile.

    “Thank you God for not making me a goy” Goyim, from how I’ve seen it used, is a term of derision for Gentiles (non-Jews).

    If I were thin skinned (like the Jews who complained about our Good Friday prayer) I might take offense at a Jew thanking God he wasn’t like me. But it doesn’t bother me.

    But for those who were bothered by our prayer, maybe a little conciliatory adjustment to their prayers might be in order.

    Just a thought.

  4. Anne says:


  5. FrMichael says:


    not only would it be AMDG but it would also be a sign of the Second Coming (cf. Catechism n. 674).

    In the meantime, we’re all glad that the Jews continue as an identifiable people and religion carrying out the Old Covenant in faith. Their continued existence after all these centuries is a sign to all of us that God remains faithful to His promises.

  6. Todd says:

    “Well, of course the 1962 Missal needs a reform, but now is too soon.”

    The world’s bishops didn’t think so forty-five years ago.

    It might be politically inexpedient, or too much of a humiliation, but I think the judgment of the Church is part of history. If TLM advocates were serious about retaining their Catholicity, they would say, “We stand with the Church and with Vatican II. We thought the post-conciliar reforms were improper. But give us a generation and we’ll improve upon them with our own faithful reform.”

    That stance I could respect. As it is, we have a smallish moon like Mimas tagging along with a giant planet like Saturn insisting in its own way it’s better to be solid than gaseous. I don’t see much hope for the Tridentine Missal being anything more than an embittered backwater of Christianity.

  7. Rob F. says:

    I wonder how the the not-so-tradies would react to the same change, but in the ordinary form of the Good Friday Prayers, so the OF and EF would pray the same form this Good Friday? I suspect the number of twisted knickers would shoot up enormously. Too bad we won’t have a chance to find out, not this year anyway.

    I like the new 2008 prayer better than the 1962 or 1970 version.

  8. Liam says:


    Many traditionalists (can we avoid pejoratives like “traddies”?) appear to be encouraging the Pope to do just that, based on what I have read in the past few days.

  9. Bosco Peters says:

    Thanks for these reflections.
    There is an outline of recent history here:

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