.- Italian Jewish leaders expressed relief on Thursday after the Vatican Secretary of State said the prayer for the conversion of Jews could be eliminated from the recently re-introduced Latin Mass.
Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone said the removal of the prayer would "solve all the problems,” reported ANSA.
"The declarations made by Cardinal Bertone clear away the fears that we and others expressed in recent days," Renzo Gattegna, head of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities, was quoted as saying.
Gattegna said the cardinal confirmed the Church's readiness to continue dialogue, noting that unless "equal dignity" was implicit, dialogue between Jews and Catholics was impossible.
Jewish organizations expressed deep concern earlier this month when Pope Benedict XVI brought back the Latin Mass, whose use sharply declined after the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s.
They noted that the original Latin Mass contained a prayer referring to "perfidious" Jews and asking God to remove the "veil" from their hearts and to overcome the "blindness" of that people.
Benedict did not bring back this precise prayer but a later version introduced by Pope John XXIII in 1962. In this version the word 'perfidious' was removed but the text was still a prayer for the conversion of Jews and it still contained the words 'veil', 'blindness' and 'darkness'.
However, according to ANSA, Cardinal Bertone said everyone could be told to use the third version, introduced by Paul VI in 1970. It asks for prayers that Jews, as the chosen people, "may arrive at the fullness of redemption".