Following the publication of the new prayer for the Jewish people in the 1962 Missal, reaction from some corners of the Jewish community said that the prayer was anti-Semitic. Today, the Vatican’s Press Office issued a statement assuring the Jewish community that the prayer “in no way intends to indicate a change in the Catholic Church's regard for the Jews”.
The statement from the press office explained the reaction to the modified prayer from some Jewish leaders and said that they “expressed disappointment that it is not in harmony with the official declarations and statements of the Holy See regarding the Jewish people and their faith which have marked the progress of friendly relations between the Jews and the Catholic Church over the last forty years".
The Vatican went on to say that "The Holy See wishes to reassure that the new formulation of the Prayer, which modifies certain expressions of the 1962 Missal, in no way intends to indicate a change in the Catholic Church's regard for the Jews which has evolved from the basis of the Second Vatican Council, particularly the Declaration ‘Nostra Aetate’.”
“Nostra Aetate” is a declaration that was issued by Pope Paul VI in 1965 that addresses the relationship between the Catholic Church and non-Christian religions. Among other notable statements in the document, it contains a condemnation of “hatred, persecutions, displays of anti-Semitism, directed against Jews at any time and by anyone.”
The Holy See also pointed out that, “in an audience with the Chief Rabbis of Israel on 15 September 2005,” Pope Benedict “remarked that this document has proven to be a milestone on the road towards the reconciliation of Christians with the Jewish people.”
According to the Vatican, proof that “Nostra Aetate” has been its consistent policy is marked by the fact that “the prayer contained in the 1970 Missal continues to be in full use, and is the ordinary form of the prayer of Catholics".
Besides reiterating that the Church continues to hold the beliefs of “Nostra Aetate”, the statement emphasized that the Catholics have an “unwavering desire that the concrete progress made in mutual understanding and the growth in esteem between Jews and Christians will continue to develop".