Ben Martin – Telegraph.co.uk October 6, 2007
A senior American cardinal has asked Jews to reconsider descriptions of Jesus as a "bastard" in exchange for a softening of traditional Catholic prayers calling for Jews to be converted to Christianity.
The controversial comments, by Cardinal Francis George of the Archdiocese of Chicago, concern a prayer said during Easter celebrations by the small number of parishes or priests who celebrate a particular form of Good Friday mass.
Those version of Good Friday prayers calls for the congregation to pray for Jews to be converted to Christianity.
But Cardinal George said this prayer should be amended to ensure it did not offend Jews.
"I suspect (the amendment) probably will be (made), because the intention is to be sure that our prayers are not offensive to the Jewish people who are our ancestors in the faith," Cardinal George said in an interview with the National Catholic Reporter.
"We can't possibly insult them in our liturgy … not that any group has a veto on anybody's prayers, because you can go through Jewish texts and find material that is offensive to us. But if we're interested in keeping the dialogue strong, and we have to be, we should be very cautious about any prayer that they find insulting."
But this should mean that Jews, in turn, consider amending their own religious texts, he said.
"It does work both ways. Maybe this is an opening to say, 'Would you care to look at some of the Talmudic literature's description of Jesus as a bastard, and so on, and maybe make a few changes in some of that?'"
Last updated 07/10/2007