Since the release of Summorum Pontificum, various talking heads have been apoplectic because the Tridentine mass includes a Good Friday prayer for the conversion of the Jews. Much ado is being made of nothing, though.
First of all, the offending prayer is found in missals prior to 1962 (the version now referred to as the extraordinary use of the Roman rite).
Let us pray also for the faithless Jews: that our God and Lord may remove the veil from their hearts; that they also may acknowledge Our Lord Jesus Christ. Let us pray. (‘Amen’ is not responded, nor is said ‘Let us pray’, or ‘Let us kneel’, or ‘Arise’, but immediately is said:) Almighty and Eternal God, Who dost not exclude from Thy mercy even the faithless Jews: hear our prayers, which we offer for the blindness of that people; that acknowledging the light of Thy Truth, which is Christ, they may be delivered from their darkness. Through the same Lord Jesus Christ, Who livest and reignest with God the Father in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, through all endless ages. Amen.
According to Wikipedia (link above), the word “faithless” was removed prior to the publication of the 1962 missal.
In 1960, Pope John XXIII removed the word “faithless” (Latin “perfidis”) from the prayer for the conversion of the Jews. This word had caused much trouble in recent times because of misconceptions of the Latin “perfidis” as “perfidious”, giving birth to the view that the prayer accused the Jews of treachery, which was a complete misunderstanding of the prayer since it was not a litany of accusation, but a petition for conversion. In handmissals from the 1950’s and more recent ones, used by the laity to follow the Latin Mass, the word was always correctly translated as “faithless” or “unbelieving”.
The 1962 version reads as follows.
Let us pray also for the Jews that the Lord our God may take the veil from their hearts and that they also may acknowledge our Lord Jesus Christ. Let us pray. Let us kneel. Arise. Almighty and everlasting God, you who do not turn away the Jews also from your mercy: hear the prayers which we offer for the blindness of that people so that, the light of your truth which is Christ being known, they might come out of their darkness. Through our Lord the same Jesus Christ, your son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, now and forever. Amen.
Secondly, the prayer is quite different in the current missal, first published in 1970.
Let us pray for the Jewish people, the first to hear the word of God, that they may continue to grow in the love of his name and in faithfulness to his covenant. (Silent prayer) 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. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
So, we’re still praying for the conversion of the Jews, but we refer to that conversion as arrival “at the fullness of redemption”. Faith in Christ is necessary for that fullness.
Lastly, what the heck is so wrong about praying for the conversion of Jews – or anyone for that matter?! Shouldn’t all Christians be spreading the good news of Jesus Christ and the salvation He offers? Shouldn’t we want everyone to experience Christ’s love? In particular, shouldn’t we desire for Jews to complete their Judaism, to see the fulfillment all of the old covenants and enter into the new and everlasting covenant instituted by Christ?
Antisemitism is bigotry, pure and simple; it is a sin. Praying for Jews to convert to Christianity is not de facto antisemitism. No Christian should ever have to apologize for praying for the conversion of anyone, so long as their prayers are offered in love.
Jesus said to him, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” – John 14:6 (NAB)