The American Jewish Committee on Friday welcomed comments by the Vatican's No. 2 official indicating a prayer in the recently revived Latin Mass that has drawn protests from Jewish groups could be dropped from the rite.
Jewish organizations expressed dismay that the rite retains a prayer on Good Friday calling for the conversions of the Jews.
But Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican secretary of state, told a news conference Thursday that "the problem can be resolved," and suggested there was no intention of going against the Church's spirit of reconciliation with Jews.
"We appreciate (Bertone's) statement ... making it clear that efforts will be made to replace the disturbing Good Friday prayer for Jewish conversion," said Rabbi David Rosen, who is in charge of interfaith relations at the U.S. group.
Rosen said in a statement that, contrary to the criticism that painted the pope's decision "as a retreat from advances in Catholic-Jewish relations, this clarification in effect confirms those strides and even advances them."
The choice of the city of Helsinki is not incidental as the capital of Finland had hosted US-Soviet negotiations on the limitation of nuclear stockpiles in 1969