Friday, July 20, 2007

Offensive?

I`ve been thinking more about the question of the 1962 missal and the reaction of Jewish groups . Last night at our `Journey in Faith` meeting at SS Peter and Paul, Longbenton we discussed the `Our Father`. When looking at the petition `Hallowed be thy name` we talked about how the Jews hold the name of God as revealed to Moses, in such reverence that they refuse to use it and substitute Adonai or `the Lord` whenever it occurs in scripture. The pope`s book on `Jesus of Nazareth` was a help in talking about this. I seem to recall being told at seminary that cardinal Heenan had assured the Jews that Catholics would not cause offence to them by using the vocalised form `Yahweh` in their liturgy. Well I suppose it is not used officially in the texts of the translation of the Paul VI missal but there are quite a number of hymns used in Catholic churches which use this form of the name revealed to Moses. I wonder whether those in the Catholic church who think there is an anti-Semitic problem with the 1962 missal would also seek to avoid offending our Jewish brethren by abstaining from using this name so freely in their hymns?

15 comments:

Tom said...

I doubt anything will change in the 1962 missal. Why? The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is strongly backing the existing prayer through Archbishop Amato, the Secretary. Notice his final, very pertinent, comment about self-censorship in relation to central features of Catholic faith. It's a very unconditional endorsement of the prayer. Not a position to retreat from. Especially given the Pope's clear position in the Motu Proprio that both the 1962 and 1970 missals are to be understood as theologically consistent. Again, not a position the Pope would be keen to retreat from - a retreat which would be all too readily inferred from an alteration of the prayer. I suspect Cardinal Bertone's comments, evidently not at all clear, were less considered than Amato's unambiguous and deliberate and very much on the record observations on this. An issue central to the Pope's hermeneutic of continuity is at stake: the consistency of the 'pre-conciliar' commitment to mission and conversion with the 'post-conciliar' commitment to dialogue; in Benedict's often repeated view, the former is not to be sacrificed to the latter, but is to be retained along with the latter as essential to Christian witness:

See link:

http://chiesa.espresso.repubblic...id=155901& eng=y

Q: Your Excellency, there are those who accuse the motu proprio “Summorum Pontificum” of being anti-conciliar, because it offers full citizenship to a missal in which there is a prayer for the conversion of the Jews. Is it truly contrary to the letter and spirit of the Council to formulate this prayer?

A: Certainly not. In the Mass, we Catholics pray always and in the first place for our conversion. And we strike our breasts for our sins. And then we pray for the conversion of all Christians and all non-Christians. The Gospel is for all.

Q: But the objection is raised that the prayer for the conversion of the Jews was definitively surpassed by the one in which the Lord is asked to help them to progress in fidelity to his covenant.

A: Jesus himself affirms, in the Gospel of Saint Mark: “Repent, and believe in the Gospel,” and his first interlocutors were his Jewish confreres. We Christians can do nothing other than re-propose what Jesus taught us. In freedom and without imposition, obviously, but also without self-censorship.

Ken said...

We should not change any of our prayers to appease another Religion. Are Jewish Scholars seriouly debating editing out of the Talmud the blasphemous references to Jesus? If not, why isn't it on the table, since we're all so keen about "ecumenism", and "Religious Tolerance"? If we believe the Catholic Faith to be true, than it would be an hateful injustice NOT to prayer for thier conversion, and that would be Anti-semitic.

Ronan said...

Hi Father

Great to be at the latin mass this morning, have been looking forward to getting along for a while now.

My all time favourite musician, Frank Zappa, was once attacked by the Anti Defamation League for the superbly disgraceful lyrics of his song, 'Jewish Princess'. The point he made at the time was that the people shouting 'ANTI-SEMITE' were appointing themselves as representatives of the entire Jewish people, and that actually a lot of people, gentile and jew, found his song not only funny, but to be accurate reportage.

See you at mass tomorrow, father. I hope i'm still allowed communion having been listening to Zappa's 'Catholic Girls'...

Ronan

Fr Michael Brown said...

Thanks Tom. The interview with Archbishop Amato seems to solve the problem.`Conversion is for all`. HOwever the issue I was raising was whether those who love to sing about `Yahweh` realise the offence they are causing to Jewish sensibilities.

Fr Michael Brown said...

A good point Ken.

Fr Michael Brown said...

Ronan, I was glad you could make it this morning to Mass and hope that it was worth the wait. I really don`t know anything about Frank Zappa except that he was once the `Composer of the Week` on radio 3!

Mrs Jackie Parkes MJ said...

Didn't know the Yahweh term was offensive to the Jews & i was Head of RE. Shows how much i know!

God bless

aelianus said...

It is not just Jews. Catholics are not supposed to utter the Divine Name either. I for one find the hymns you mentioned and the Jerusalem and New Jerusalem Bibles highly offensive. See CCC 2666

"The one name that contains everything is the one that the Son of God received in his incarnation: JESUS. The divine name may not be spoken by human lips, but by assuming our humanity The Word of God hands it over to us and we can invoke it: 'Jesus' -'YHWH saves'."

and Liturgiam Authenticam 41

"In accordance with immemorial tradition, which indeed is already evident in the above-mentioned “Septuagint” version, the name of almighty God expressed by the Hebrew tetragrammaton (YHWH) and rendered in Latin by the word Dominus, is to be rendered into any given vernacular by a word equivalent in meaning."

Fr Michael Brown said...

Thanks for the reference, Aelianus. I agree that it should not be used by Catholics either. My point was that those in the church who are unfriendly to the 1962 missal and use this claim of anti-semitism often themselves cause offence to Jews by their use of this word in hymns.

Alnwickian said...

Is this turning into a scene from "The Life of Brian"?

'No-one is going to be stoned until I say so - even if he does say "Jehovah"'!

Sue Sims said...

I'm Jewish, and became a Catholic nine years ago. I confess that songs and readings which use the Divine Name feel like a punch in the guts to me, and I'm no longer (obviously) a practising Jew, so it would be far worse for those who are. Our last priest, a wonderful guy in almost all respects, had a habit of printing out translations of the OT for use by the various readers at the pre-Midnight Mass carol service which used that Name, and I used to change it to 'the Lord' if I happened to be reading.

Of course, one of the slight problems is that no one can be sure of how the Name was originally pronounced!

Fr Michael Brown said...

Sue, thanks for confirming that use of the Divine Name is offensive to Jewish ears. Why have Jews not made more of the use of the Name by Christians in their worship I wonder?

greatgable said...

I have to say that I have been uncomfortable using the the divine name and tried to avoid it as far as possible.

Also, I feel the same discomfort when people re-enact the Passover in Holy Week.

fr paul harrison

aelianus said...

Indeed, it is a little known fact that such re-enactments are mortal sinfull and heretical!

See: Oecumenical Council of Florence

"The sacrosanct Roman Church, founded by the voice of our Lord and Saviour ... firmly believes, professes, and teaches that the matter pertaining to the law of the Old Testament, of the Mosiac law, which are divided into ceremonies, sacred rites, sacrifices, and sacraments, because they were established to signify something in the future, although they were suited to the divine worship at that time, after our Lord's coming had been signified by them, ceased, and the sacraments of the New Testament began; and that whoever, even after the passion, placed hope in these matters of the law and submitted himself to them as necessary for salvation, as if faith in Christ could not save without them, sinned mortally. Yet it does not deny that after the passion of Christ up to the promulgation of the Gospel they could have been observed until they were believed to be in no way necessary for salvation; but after the promulgation of the Gospel it asserts that they cannot be observed without the loss of eternal salvation. All, therefore, who after that time observe circumcision and the Sabbath and the other requirements of the law, it declares alien to the Christian faith and not in the least fit to participate in eternal salvation, unless someday they recover from these errors. Therefore, it commands all who glory in the name of Christian, at whatever time, before or after baptism' to cease entirely from circumcision, since, whether or not one places hope in it, it cannot be observed at all without the loss of eternal salvation."

Fr Michael Brown said...

Fr Harrison and aelianus, thanks for bringing up the issue of Passover`re-enactments` too. I`ve only been to one but I agree I felt very uneasy about it while finding it educational. It`s been said elsewhere but I don`t think Catholics would be pleased if the Jews started having imitation Masses. Although given the amount of apathy about I wonder.