By Jonathan Petre, Religion Correspondent
The Pope's plans to bring back the traditional Latin Mass have alarmed Christians and Jews concerned that they could damage relations between the faiths.
The Pope is expected to issue a decree within weeks allowing the widespread use of the Tridentine Rite, which was virtually outlawed by the Vatican in the 1960s.
Senior Vatican officials do not know what the Pope will say if and when he issues his long-expected decree
Catholic publishers in Rome are said to be preparing new editions of the Latin missal and are believed to have sent proofs to Vatican authorities for approval.
The move will be cheered by many Catholics, who find the old Mass, which dates back to the 1570 Council of Trent, more beautiful and inspiring than modern liturgies.
But some fear that the Pope may not exclude traditional prayers from the rite that call for the conversion of Jews, an area of sensitivity since the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s sought to lessen friction between faiths.
One prayer in the rite's Good Friday liturgy reads: "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..."
The German-based International Council for Christians and Jews has written to Vatican officials, saying that such language is "profoundly demeaning".
A spokesman for its British branch, whose presidents include Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, the head of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales, echoed the concerns.
Jane Clements, its director of programmes, said: "The council would uphold the right of any religious group to pray in any way that helps them, but we would hope that the Pope would address the long history of Christian anti-Judaism that some liturgies perpetuate."
Rabbi David Rosen, the president of the International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Consultations, said: "Any liturgy that presents Jews as being doomed in their faith doesn't present a very healthy attitude towards Judaism and the Jewish people."
Senior Vatican officials said, however, that they did not know what the Pope would say if and when he issues his long-expected decree, which could come as early as May 5.
After a 1989 indult [concession], the old rite can now be used in England with the permission of the local bishop, but only on the condition that the celebration is deemed a sign of "affection for the ancient tradition" and not a criticism of the reforms.