I must say that from the first day of my theological studies, the profound unity between the Old and New Testament, between the two parts of our Sacred Scripture, was somehow clear to me. I had realized that we could read the New Testament only together with what had preceded it, otherwise we would not understand it. Then naturally what happened in the Third Reich struck us as Germans, and drove us all the more to look at the people of Israel with humility, shame, and love.
In my theological formation, these things were interwoven, and marked the pathway of my theological thought. So it was clear to me – and here again in absolute continuity with John Paul II – that in my proclamation of the Christian faith there had to be a central place for this new interweaving, with love and understanding, of Israel and the Church, based on respect for each one's way of being and respective mission [. . .]
A change also seemed necessary to me in the ancient liturgy. In fact, the formula was such as to truly wound the Jews, and it certainly did not express in a positive way the great, profound unity between Old and New Testament. For this reason, I thought that a modification was necessary in the ancient liturgy, in particular in reference to our relationship with our Jewish friends. I modified it in such a way that it contained our faith, that Christ is salvation for all. That there do not exist two ways of salvation, and that therefore Christ is also the savior of the Jews, and not only of the pagans. But also in such a way that one did not pray directly for the conversion of the Jews in a missionary sense, but that the Lord might hasten the historic hour in which we will all be united. For this reason, the arguments used polemically against me by a series of theologians are rash, and do not do justice to what was done.
Rorate Caeli: Overlooked in the fray: the Pope on Judaism and the prayer for Jews
It ad Thomam: Pope Benedict's Confused Opinion on the Jews
Should the public prayer of the Church include a petition for the conversion of the Jews? What if it causes offense or is a scandal? Is it offensive to tell someone that they are wrong about who Jesus Christ is? Or that one can only be united with God through Christ? Why even mention the Jews then, why not group them with the rest of the non-Christians?