Semper Idem? |
By Jacob Michael
This article is reprinted with permission of Bob Sungenis, editor of the Catholic Apologetics International .
For 40 years the manipulation and wreckovation has continued unabated, but with the announcement of a change in Mary's Holy Rosary, Catholics are in unison in telling the Pope his ecumenical agenda has gone too far!!! Don't mess with what God ordained and Mary promoted!
"Isn't his pontificate founded on the phrase 'totus tuus?' But as I live and breathe and love the Holy Father and my Catholic faith, I wish to God that he'd leave the Rosary alone. In fact, since he's so in love with Our Lady, I wish he'd end his pontificate with a real 'bang,' and finally consecrate Russia to Her Immaculate Heart like she requested almost 90 years ago. Or, if that seems too complicated a task (and it is, which is exactly why it would certainly endear him to Our Lady's heart), then perhaps a greater promotion of First Saturday devotions? Why must his affection for Mary manifest itself in yet another alteration to Catholic piety?"
First it was the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Then it was the Stations of the Cross. It only seems logical that the Rosary would be next.
That's right, folks, just when you thought that the rulers of the Novus Ordo Ecclesiae were done introducing novelties and innovations, just when you thought that it was safe to come out of your prayer closets and try to be Catholic again, this report comes out from Catholic World News:
Catholic Apologetics International
"Pope John Paul II will release an apostolic letter on devotion to the Virgin Mary on October 16-- the anniversary of his election to the pontificate-- according to informed Vatican sources.
Leaks from the Vatican, in anticipation of the document's release, suggest that the Pope will introduce five new mysteries to the Rosary. The five new mysteries, the "luminous mysteries," will focus on the public life of Jesus Christ, Vatican sources say. They will be: the Baptism in the Jordan, the temptation in the desert, the proclamation of the Kingdom, the Transfigurations, and the entry into Jerusalem... The five new mysteries would reportedly be used on Saturdays."
One hardly knows what to say to this. It was reported that, during the construction of the New Mass by a commission under the direction of Annibale Bugnini, the suggestion was made to Pope Paul VI that the rosary also be updated, to which the pope replied that such a change would cause undue confusion among the faithful.
Some twenty-five or so years later, Pope John Paul II began praying a new variation on the Stations of the Cross at his Good Friday audience (the Holy Father has been in the habit of praying the stations at the Coliseum in Rome on Good Friday). This new version had eliminated Our Lord's encounter with Veronica, His encounter with His Blessed Mother Mary, and His three falls - the stations whose events are not recorded in Sacred Scripture, but are rooted in tradition. Additionally, he added a 15th Station to commemorate the Resurrection.
This practice has caught on in many parishes, and in my own local Cathedral, these new stations replaced the traditional stations during the building's renovation.
If you're thinking you smell a bit of "ecumania" here, you're exactly right. It's no coincidence that the less Scriptural stations were replaced with events recorded in the Gospels (The Agony in the Garden, The Betrayal, Peter's Denial, The Good Thief, and Mary and John at the Foot of the Cross), so that our Protestant brethren might feel a bit more at home participating in this Catholic devotion.
And now the Holy Rosary has been put up on the auction block as well, another relic from a more orthodox era that apparently needs to be traded in for a newer model. The perfect equilibrium of the Rosary's temporal cycle will now be thrown off balance by the addition of a new set of mysteries. How do "luminous" mysteries fit into the picture? The current set of mysteries mirrored the seasons of the Church, and cycled in sets of threes (a number with its own devotional significance). Joyous Mysteries on Mondays and Thursdays, Sorrowful Mysteries on Tuesdays and Fridays, Glorious Mysteries on Wednesdays and Saturdays, with the Sunday mysteries changing with the seasons of the Church (Joyous during Advent, Sorrowful during penitential seaons and Holy Week, Glorious during and after the season of Pentecost). It fit well, it made sense. It was a miniature version of the larger calendar year, circles within circles.
It was Our Lady who gave us the Rosary, and it is She who has so heavily promoted its devotion in Her apparitions over the centuries. Great saints like Dominic and Louis Maria de Montefort spent their entire lives preaching the Rosary, writing about the Rosary, advocating its continued use all over the world. How can you improve on that?
Well, then again, how could the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, delivered by Our Lord and disseminated by His holy apostles, be improved upon? And yet, a fondness for innovation and change produced an entirely new rite of the Mass, which was quickly imposed on the faithful almost 40 years ago. If even the Most Holy Prayer of the Church is not above tampering with, then why not the Rosary too?
Why change it? For what purpose and to what end? At this rate, will there be anything left in the New House of Catholicism that would be recognized by the saints, or for that matter, by someone who left the Church decades ago and now wishes to return? I spoke with a woman just last year who complained of this very thing. She had left the Church years ago, and was finally convicted to return home, only to find that she could no longer identify her faith in the bowl of ecumenical porrige being served up at her local parish. Heartbroken, and not a little confused, she abandoned the idea and continued her search for God elsewhere.
I can't help but think that changing the Rosary will only have an ill effect on the piety of the faithful today. And before you accuse me of immobilism, let me remind you that this impending novelty is not an isolated event. It comes along with a whole package deal, a New Mass, a New Evangelization, a New Ecumenism, a New Advent, a New Pentecost, New Stations of the Cross, not to mention new parish architecture, the appearance of Liturgy Committees, and much, much more. It's one massive movement away from the Church of Yesteryear, towards total reform, with results thusfar that are objectively disasterous. New rites of Mass have resulted in lower attendance at Mass, new rites of Confession - excuse me, "Reconciliation" - have resulted in fewer Catholics who even bother to make the trip to the new reconciliation rooms, new altar girls have resulted in fewer young men applying for the job (normally a first step towards entering the priesthood), new approaches to ecumenism have resulted in fewer missions and a sharp decline in conversions, and new attitudes on sexuality, marriage, and the "theology of the body" have resulted in... well... have you been watching the news since March of this year?
Given this empirical evidence, doesn't it seem like the absolute last thing in the world that we need is yet another adjustment and revision to a classical Catholic devotion? What would it hurt to just leave the Most Holy Rosary alone?
I don't think the Holy Father has bad motivations at heart, don't get me wrong. In fact, I think he's got a thing for Our Lady, and as he gets closer and closer to "retirement," I think he just really wants to do something for Her. After all, isn't he the "Marian Pope?" Isn't his pontificate founded on the phrase "totus tuus?" But as I live and breathe and love the Holy Father and my Catholic faith, I wish to God that he'd leave the Rosary alone. In fact, since he's so in love with Our Lady, I wish he'd end his pontificate with a real "bang," and finally consecrate Russia to Her Immaculate Heart like she requested almost 90 years ago. Or, if that seems too complicated a task (and it is, which is exactly why it would certainly endear him to Our Lady's heart), then perhaps a greater promotion of First Saturday devotions? Why must his affection for Mary manifest itself in yet another alteration to Catholic piety?
Let's pray that what Catholic World News reported really was just an unfounded rumor. Let's pray that this last vestige of vintage Catholic devotion will remain untouched. Otherwise, I fear that Mary will begin to fade from faithful Catholic minds (you did notice that the new mysterious replace the usual Saturday meditations on Our Lady's Assumption and Coronation, didn't you?), until She is at last relegated to a more Protestantized position as merely "Jesus' Mother," and nothing more.