2015 marks 50 years since the conclusion of the Second Vatican Council and the publication of the document “Nostra Aetate” which redefines relations between Catholics and members of other religions. We mark this occasion by publishing a prayer attributed to Saint John XXIII, initiator of the Council, a prayer that gives expression to the revolution in relations between Jews and Catholics.

This prayer is attributed to Saint John XXIII and asks for forgiveness for the behavior of Christians towards the Jewish people.

Pope John XXIII, popularly known as “Good Pope John”, was canonized in 2014. He was Pope from 1958 to 1963 and during that brief period convened the Second Vatican Council.

The prayer was published in the Catholic Herald on May 14, 1965.


O God, we are conscious
that many centuries of blindness
have blinded our eyes
so that we no longer see the beauty
of your Chosen People.

Across the centuries
our Jewish brothers and sisters
have lain in the blood which we drew
or caused to be shed
by forgetting your love.

Forgive us for the curse
we falsely attached
to their name as Jews.

Forgive us
for crucifying you a second time
in their flesh.

For we knew not what we did. Amen