Pope Changes Controversial Prayer

VATICAN CITY -- Pope Benedict has approved a conciliatory statement for Jews upset by a Good Friday prayer that many see as a call for their conversion, Catholic and Jewish sources said Monday.

The statement, likely to take the form of a letter from Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone to the chief rabbi of Israel, is expected to be released soon but perhaps not in time for this Good Friday on March 21.

Bertone is second only to the Pope in the Vatican hierarchy, meaning the clarification is coming from the highest levels, the sources said.

The Vatican last month revised a contested Latin prayer used by a traditionalist minority on Good Friday, removing a reference to Jewish "blindness" over Christ and deleting a phrase asking God to "remove the veil from their hearts."

Cardinal Bertone will say in the letter that there is no turning back on dialogue between the two religions.