US-based Jews welcomes comments by Vatican official on dropping offensive prayer in Latin Mass

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.

Earlier this month, Pope Benedict XVI removed restrictions on celebrating the old Latin Mass, reviving a rite that was all but swept away by the liberalizing reforms of the Second Vatican Council.

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."