WHEREAS the past 43 years since the conclusion of Vatican Council II and the issuance of Nostra Aetate have been marked by fruitful dialogue, a history of progress and amicable relations between Catholics and Jews;
WHEREAS remarkable progress has been made in implementing the new theological stance of the Catholic Church towards the Jewish people;
WHEREAS Vatican II has been conventionally understood by Jews and many Catholic scholars as afﬁrming that God's covenant with the Jewish people has never been revoked;
WHEREAS our teacher, Professor Abraham Joshua Heschel, met in the Vatican with Cardinal Bea and Pope Paul VI and convinced the Council to remove a proposed passage in Nostra Aetate calling for the conversion of the Jews;
WHEREAS Pope Paul VI revised the Good Friday Prayer for the Conversion of the Jews in 1970 to read: "Let us pray for the Jewish people, the ﬁrst to hear the Word of God, that they may continue to grow in love of His name and in faithfulness to His covenant. Almighty and eternal God, long ago you gave your promise to Abraham and his posterity. Listen to your church as we pray that the people you ﬁrst made your own may arrive at the fullness of redemption;"
WHEREAS the late Pope John Paul II spent much of his pontiﬁcate teaching that Jews are "the elder brothers" of Christians, and that both faiths should be "a blessing to each other so that they might be a blessing to the world;"
WHEREAS Walter Cardinal Kasper, head of the Vatican Commission on Religious Relations with the Jews, announced publicly on several occasions that the Catholic Church no longer maintains an ofﬁce for the conversion of the Jewish people in the spirit of Nostra Aetate and subsequent documents that comprise the Magisterium (ofﬁcial teachings) of the Roman Catholic Church; and
WHEREAS the Rabbinical Assembly is dismayed and deeply disturbed to learn of reports that Pope Benedict XVI has revised the 1962 text of the Latin liturgy, retaining the rubric, "For the Conversion of The Jews”, containing the words “Let us pray also for the Jews that Our Lord and God may enlighten their hearts, that they may acknowledge Jesus Christ as the savior of all men . . .”
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Rabbinical Assembly seek clariﬁcation from the Vatican of the meaning and status of the new text for the Latin liturgy which will be heard in Catholic churches on Good Friday.
Passed by the Rabbinical Assembly Plenum, February, 2008