The Luminous Mysteries ? JP2

I would like to hear your opinions on why Pope John Paul 2 changed the Rosary, and why he thought it was a good idea ?

How was the Rosary said before he made the change ? And I guess that most hear say the Traditional Rosary ?


:bronxcheer: :bronxcheer: :bronxcheer:

(Sorry, I couldn't resist)
Quote:I would like to hear your opinions on why Pope John Paul 2 changed the Rosary, and why he thought it was a good idea ?

He did not change the Rosary.  He suggested another set of mysteries on which to meditate, but this is completely optional.

Quote:How was the Rosary said before he made the change ?

The same as it is now.  The old standard was saying the Joyful Mysteries on Monday and Thursday, the Sorrowful Mysteries on Tuesday and Friday, and the Glorious Mysteries on Wednesday and Saturday, with Sunday depending on the season.

Quote:And I guess that most hear say the Traditional Rosary ?

Most probably do not use the Luminous Mysteries, if that's what you mean.
My dear young brother in Christ,
First of all let me direct you to the Apostolic Letter that Our Holy Father wrote on the Rosary. It is a beautiful reflective letter on this beautiful and contemplative means of prayer. And our Holy Father was no stranger to it!  While I know that there are those who reject the Luminous Mysteries or the Mysteries of Light, I LOVE them!  I pray a complete rosary daily--all 20 mysteries.  It also seems to me to 'fill in the gap' as the Rosary is indeed a compendium of the Gospel. The public life of Our Lord is so important to meditate on!  His baptism, His first miracle at the request and mediation of His Mother and on to His establishment of the Most Blessed Sacrament.  Yes, I love these mysteries as well as the others!  Ave Maria!

The Mysteries of Light

21. Moving on from the infancy and the hidden life in Nazareth to the public life of Jesus, our contemplation brings us to those mysteries which may be called in a special way “mysteries of light”. Certainly the whole mystery of Christ is a mystery of light. He is the “light of the world” (Jn 8:12). Yet this truth emerges in a special way during the years of his public life, when he proclaims the Gospel of the Kingdom. In proposing to the Christian community five significant moments – “luminous” mysteries – during this phase of Christ's life, I think that the following can be fittingly singled out: (1) his Baptism in the Jordan, (2) his self-manifestation at the wedding of Cana, (3) his proclamation of the Kingdom of God, with his call to conversion, (4) his Transfiguration, and finally, (5) his institution of the Eucharist, as the sacramental expression of the Paschal Mystery.

Each of these mysteries is a revelation of the Kingdom now present in the very person of Jesus. The Baptism in the Jordan is first of all a mystery of light. Here, as Christ descends into the waters, the innocent one who became “sin” for our sake (cf. 2Cor 5:21), the heavens open wide and the voice of the Father declares him the beloved Son (cf. Mt 3:17 and parallels), while the Spirit descends on him to invest him with the mission which he is to carry out. Another mystery of light is the first of the signs, given at Cana (cf. Jn 2:1- 12), when Christ changes water into wine and opens the hearts of the disciples to faith, thanks to the intervention of Mary, the first among believers. Another mystery of light is the preaching by which Jesus proclaims the coming of the Kingdom of God, calls to conversion (cf. Mk 1:15) and forgives the sins of all who draw near to him in humble trust (cf. Mk 2:3-13; Lk 7:47- 48): the inauguration of that ministry of mercy which he continues to exercise until the end of the world, particularly through the Sacrament of Reconciliation which he has entrusted to his Church (cf. Jn 20:22-23). The mystery of light par excellence is the Transfiguration, traditionally believed to have taken place on Mount Tabor. The glory of the Godhead shines forth from the face of Christ as the Father commands the astonished Apostles to “listen to him” (cf. Lk 9:35 and parallels) and to prepare to experience with him the agony of the Passion, so as to come with him to the joy of the Resurrection and a life transfigured by the Holy Spirit. A final mystery of light is the institution of the Eucharist, in which Christ offers his body and blood as food under the signs of bread and wine, and testifies “to the end” his love for humanity (Jn 13:1), for whose salvation he will offer himself in sacrifice.

In these mysteries, apart from the miracle at Cana, the presence of Mary remains in the background. The Gospels make only the briefest reference to her occasional presence at one moment or other during the preaching of Jesus (cf. Mk 3:31-5; Jn 2:12), and they give no indication that she was present at the Last Supper and the institution of the Eucharist. Yet the role she assumed at Cana in some way accompanies Christ throughout his ministry. The revelation made directly by the Father at the Baptism in the Jordan and echoed by John the Baptist is placed upon Mary's lips at Cana, and it becomes the great maternal counsel which Mary addresses to the Church of every age: “Do whatever he tells you” (Jn 2:5). This counsel is a fitting introduction to the words and signs of Christ's public ministry and it forms the Marian foundation of all the “mysteries of light”.

The same as it is now.  The old standard was saying the Joyful Mysteries on Monday and Thursday, the Sorrowful Mysteries on Tuesday and Friday, and the Glorious Mysteries on Wednesday and Saturday, with Sunday depending on the season.

Thanks cgraye thats what I was looking for.

Thanks Big Sis for the link  ;D Ave Maria
I've had this discussion with people at my TLM parish who really like the luminous mysteries.  I don't think there's anything wrong with them, however....

Think of the historical context.  Everything about the Catholic faith seemed to have changed in the last generation.  The Mass in a hundred different ways, the vestments, the statues, the buildings, the sacraments, the confessionals, the minor orders, the calendar.... everything had been tinkered with in some way.  Except the rosary.  The rosary was the one thing that people overwhelmed by all the changes could hang onto, that remained from before the revolution.  It was also the one thing that Catholics on both sides of the Vatican II debate still had in common; maybe they couldn't appreciate each other's Mass, but they could say the Rosary together.

In that context, it almost seemed like the Pope came along and said, "Is there anything we didn't change yet?  Anything else that could use a tweak?"  At a time when so many changes were having ill effects (unexpected or not), it just seems like hubris to pile yet another change on top, especially to the one thing that hadn't yet been touched.  It seems like there were a hundred other things that needed fixing before fixing the one thing that we could be sure wasn't broken.

So I don't think they're wrong or bad to use or a sign of a modernist.  I just think it was awfully risky to tinker with the Rosary at a time when other tinkering clearly hadn't been going well.  Had he done it at a time when the Church was relatively healthy and getting complacent and needing something different to grab people's attention, it would be different.
Quote: The rosary was first referred to as 'Our Lady's Psalter.' This name was given to it because of the 150 Hail Mary's, which corresponded with the Psalter of David - the 150 Psalms. In many apparitions, Our Lady herself referred to the Rosary as Her Psalter. "To increase devotion to me, and to gain blessings from my Son, teach the people my Psalter." Even many popes have referred to the Rosary as Our Lady's Psalter. Popes had been pushed by modernists before to make changes to the rosary, and they have adamantly refused, saying no one should touch the rosary, it was perfect as it was. When you add or take away any mysteries to/from the Rosary, then it is no longer her Psalter. How can it be so? Do we really want to change something like this and take away the relevance of the name Our Lady herself referred to?  [source:]

found this somewhere.  there are many ways to meditate on the gospel- we don't need to disrupt some that Our Lady instituted herself.

The Twenty Mysteries of the Rosary?
   by John Vennari

"When one lives by novelty, there will always have to be a new novelty."
- Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

"On October 16, 2002, Pope John Paul II marked the 24th Anniversary of his papacy with the release of the Apostolic Letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae, in which he proclaimed a "Year of the Rosary" from October 2002 to October 2003. The document also contained a major innovation from a Pope whose Pontificate has been marked by a steady stream of novelties. He announced that he would add five new mysteries to the Rosary.

Word of the new mysteries was reported first on October 14 by various news agencies claiming that information was leaked from Vatican sources.

Father Richard John Neuhaus from First Things magazine found these early reports hard to believe, and told The Chicago Tribune that the Pope was not likely to alter the Rosary. "That he would suggest," said Neuhaus "or even declare some kind of official change to the Rosary is totally atypical, totally out of character." Neuhaus then said that the Pope does not have the authority to mandate changes in such a prayer.

Father Neuhaus is correct that a Pope cannot mandate such changes, but he is mistaken to claim that the Pope's change of the Rosary would be "out of character" for this Pontiff of post-Conciliar aggiornamento. Even the secular press recognizes John Paul II as a man with a passion for setting papal precedents.

The New York Times' Frank Bruni wrote on October 15: "Time and again, Pope John Paul II has boldly gone where other Popes have not: a synagogue, a ski slope, distant countries with tiny populations. Tomorrow, he will apparently cross another frontier, making a significant change in the Rosary, a signature method of Catholic prayer for many centuries."

Bruni failed to mention that John Paul is also the first Pope to kiss the Koran, participate in rock'n'roll liturgies, allow Altar Girls, permit "lay ministers" to distribute Communion at his Papal Mass, suggest a "common martyrology" that contains Catholics and non- Catholics, praise documents that call the need for non- Catholics to convert to the Catholic Church an "outdated ecclesiology,"  take part in "inculturated" ceremonies that includes pagan ritual, and convoke pan-religious prayer meetings that include Catholics, Protestants, Jews, Muslims, Hindus and Snake-worshipers.

On the same theme, Rueters said, "Changing one of Christianity's most fundamental prayers after nearly a millennium will be a typical way for the 82- year-old Pope to crown 24 years of a pontificate marked by bold initiatives sometimes taken against the advice of aides." 

The "new mysteries" of the Rosary took everyone by surprise. Thus I have postponed publication of Part III of my World Youth Day series in order to comment on this latest "bold initiative".

The Apostolic Letter

Two weeks previously, the pontiff announced he was preparing a document to stress the value of the Rosary. He urged the faithful to recite the Rosary, including together as families. John Paul said then that he wanted people to "rediscover the beauty and depth of this prayer".

The Pope, for a good part of the Apostolic Letter was true to his word. Much of Rosarium Virginis Mariae is praiseworthy, even edifying. How can one argue with the promulgation of a "Year of the Rosary" in order to revitalize practice of this Holy devotion? How can one find fault with the Pope's call to pray the Rosary for peace? How can one complain when the Pope laments that families are fragmented, that they often get together only to watch television, and that they should set some time aside to pray the Rosary together instead?

Also of interest was the Pope's frequent references to Blessed Bartholomew Longo (1841-1926) who was baptized Catholic, left the faith to become a satanic priest, and then repented, converted back to Catholicism and became an apostle of the Rosary. This is a beautiful lesson that conversion is possible even in apparently hopeless cases.

It is probable that the Letter will do much good in revitalizing Rosary devotion. Tens-of-thousands of Catholics who do not follow the details of Vatican events, will simply learn through the press, or from parish priests, that the Pope wants a renewed devotion to the Rosary and they will comply. I have little doubt that this Letter will produce its desired goal to inspire more Catholics in this holy exercise.

Yet at the same time, countless Catholics are baffled at the unnecessary addition of five new mysteries. What is this strange post-conciliar belief among today's Church leaders that Catholics will not find a traditional devotion interesting unless John Paul updates it? Why is it thought necessary to disfigure our devotions in order to capture a Catholic's attention? Why was it requisite for the Pope to put his personal stamp on the Rosary, rather than simply promote it as is: as did all the Popes before him, as did countless saints, and as did the Mother of God at Fatima?

The New Mysteries

The addition proposed by the Pope, called the Five Luminous Mysteries, also called the "Mysteries of Light," center on the public life of Christ. They are:

1.the Baptism of Christ in Jordan,
2.the Wedding Feast at Cana,
3.the Announcement of the Kingdom,
4.the Transfiguration,
5.the Institution of the Eucharist as the sacramental expression of the Paschal Mystery.
These new mysteries, according to John Paul, are to be placed between the Joyful and Sorrowful Mysteries.

The Pope says that these additions are not mandatory, and explains his reason for the change. "I believe" he writes, "that to bring out fully the Christological depth of the Rosary, it would be suitable to make an addition to the traditional pattern which, while left to the freedom of individuals and communities, could broaden it to include the mysteries of Christ's public ministry between His Baptism and His Passion." 

Do you know of any Catholic, any saint, any Pope who ever considered the Rosary "lacking" in Christological depth? Did not the saints and the Popes constantly speak of the excellence of the Rosary? Did they ever suggest a radical addition to alter the structure of the Rosary in order to "improve" what was already excellent?

Reaction to the new mysteries has been predictable: everything from traditional Catholics who call it an "outrage," to Medjugorje followers who claim it "bears all the hallmarks of Divine inspiration". Once again, the much-vaunted "Pope of unity" has launched a novelty that divides Catholics.

And the question is, why?

Perhaps we should first ask, why not change the Rosary?

The Psalter Assaulted

A constant characteristic of the pre-Vatican II Popes was to abhor novelty and to safeguard tradition, including traditional devotions.

Thus, if one could go back in time and ask any of the pre-Vatican II Popes why they never added "new mysteries" to the Rosary, the answer is easy to presume. "Because," the pre-conciliar Pope would say, "if I add 5 new mysteries, I will have to add 5 new decades. If I add five new decades, then the Rosary can no longer be called 'Our Lady's Psalter'. Now Catholic tradition, my holy predecessors and Our Blessed Mother referred to the Rosary as Her 'Psalter', because the 150 Hail Mary's of the 15-decade Rosary correspond to the 150 Psalms of David. It would be audacious of me to add 5 decades. This would be the decimation of the entire concept of Mary's 'Psalter', a term hallowed by centuries of usage, a term that explains the origin and essence of the Rosary, a term used by the Queen of Heaven Herself. Further, if I make this radical change to the Rosary, then what is to prevent more radical changes in the future?"

The History of Mary's Psalter

The entire history of the Rosary is bound up with the 150 Psalms of the Old Testament, otherwise known as the Psalter of David. From the dawn of Catholic history, monks and hermits prayed these Psalms as part of their daily liturgical life.

Saint Benedict, in his Holy Rule, explains that the monks of the desert recited the 150 Psalms every day. Saint Benedict arranged the Psalms for his monks so that all 150 would be recited in one week. This became the Divine Office (Breviary) that priests and religious recited every day until the post-conciliar aggiornamento revolutionized both Breviary and Mass.

The story of "Mary's Psalter" reportedly begins with the Irish monks in the 7th Century. These monks divided the 150 Psalms of David into a Na tri coicat format of three groups of fifty. Arranged in such a way, the "fifties" served both as reflective and corporal/penitential prayer.

The people of the Middle Ages in their great love of Our Lady set to fashioning "Rosariums" in Her honor. They composed Psalms in praise of Mary to match the 150 Psalms of David. St. Anselm of Canterbury (1109) made such a Rosary. In the 13th Century, St. Bonaventure divided his 150 Marian Psalms into three groups. The first group commenced with the word Ave, the next with Salve, and the final fifty Psalms each commented with the word Gaude. Such Rosaries of praise took the name of Our Lady's Psalter.

It was not long before the custom of reciting Hail Mary's became the substitute of reciting the Psalms in praise of Our Lady. "By the 13th Century" writes the Redemptorist Father James Galvin, "the number of Aves was set at one hundred and fifty to equal the number of the Psalms of David." 

Saint Thomas Aquinas explains that the Psalter of David, composed as it is of one hundred and fifty Psalms, is divided into three equal parts of fifty Psalms each. These three equal parts represent figuratively the three stages in which the faithful find themselves: the state of penance, the state of justice, the state of glory. Likewise, explains Father Anthony Fuerst, "the Rosary of Mary is divided into three parts of fifty Hail Mary's each in order to express fully the phrases of the life of the faithful: penance, justice and glory." 

Heaven itself declared the immeasurable value of this Psalter. In 1214, Our Blessed Mother told Saint Dominic to "preach My Psalter" in order to rekindle faith, to convert sinners and to crush stubborn heresy. Saint Louis de Montfort tells the story in his magnificent work, The Secret of the Rosary.

"Saint Dominic," writes Saint Louis, "seeing that the gravity of the peoples' sin was hindering the conversion of the Albigensians, withdrew to a forest near Toulouse where he prayed unceasingly for three days and three nights. During this time he did nothing but weep and do harsh penances in order to appease the anger of Almighty God. He used his discipline so much that his body was lacerated, and finally he fell into a coma."

Our Lady then appeared to him, accompanied by three angels. She said, "Dear Dominic, do you know which weapon the Blessed Trinity wants to use to reform the world?"

Saint Dominic asked Her to tell him. Our Lady responded:

"I want you to know that, in this kind of warfare, the battering ram has always been the Angelic Psalter which is the foundation stone of the New Testament. Therefore if you want to reach these hardened souls and win them over to God, preach My Psalter."

Our Lady's words contain two special points of interest:

1.She uses the language of the Church militant. She does not speak of the Rosary in a sentimental manner in order to achieve good feelings or pan-religious unity. No, She refers to it as battering ram against heresy.

2.She twice uses the term "Psalter", which is the Rosary designated as 150 Aves that link it to the Psalms of David.
Regarding the Rosary's traditional structure, Msgr. George Shea writes, "Because its 150 Hail Mary's correspond to the 150 Psalms of the Psalter, the complete Rosary is sometimes called Our Lady's Psalter. In fact, the latter was its common designation down to the end of the 15th Century, while 'Rosary' was reserved for a part, i.e., a third, of Our Lady's Psalter." 

As late as the last quarter of the 15th Century, Blessed Alaus de Rupe protested vigorously against the use of the terms "Rosario," "Chapelet" or "Corono," and insisted that the title of Our Lady's Psalter be retained. Msgr. Shea points out that the first indication from a Pope that the Psalter of Mary is commonly called "Rosary" is found in the Apostolic Constitution of Pope Leo X, Pastor Aeterni dated October 6, 1520, over three hundred years after Our Lady spoke to Saint Dominic.

The Constant Language of the Popes

The term "Psalter" of Mary, as a link to the 150 Psalms of David, is what we find consistently from the Popes throughout the centuries.

The Apostolic Constitution of Pope Leo X, Pastor Aeterni October 6, 1520, uses the term "Psalter of Mary" in connection to the Rosary.

Pope Saint Pius V wrote in Consueverunt Romani of September 17, 1569, "And so Dominic looked to that simple way of praying and beseeching God, accessible to all and wholly pious, which is called the Rosary, or Psalter of the Blessed Virgin Mary, in which the same most Blessed Virgin is venerated by the angelic greeting repeated one hundred and fifty times, that is, according to the number of the Davidic Psalter, and by the Lord's Prayer with each decade." 

Pope Leo XIII wrote "Just as by the recitation of the Divine Office, priests offer a public, constant, and most efficacious supplication; so the supplication offered by the members of this Sodality in the recitation of the Rosary, or 'Psalter of Our Lady' ..." 

Pope Leo XIII later said, "The formula of the Rosary, too, is excellently adapted to prayer in common, so that it has been styled, not without reason, the 'Psalter of Mary'." 

Pope Pius XI wrote in his Encyclical Ingravescentibus Malis. "Among the various supplications with which we successfully appeal to the Virgin Mother of God, the Holy Rosary without doubt occupies a special and distinct place. This prayer, which some call the Psalter of the Virgin or Breviary of the Gospel and of Christian life, was described and recommended by Our Predecessor of happy memory, Leo XIII ..." 

Sadly, Pope John Paul II has made the term "Psalter of Mary" with its rightful connection to the Psalter of David, as obsolete as fund drives for Pagan Babies. Anyone who accepts the twenty-decade Rosary, and still refers to the Rosary as Mary's Psalter, will use the term divested of meaning. Why introduce this destabilization? Would not Pope John Paul show more respect to the pious sentiments of Catholics worldwide, to his predecessors and to the Mother of God by leaving Her Psalter at peace?

Fatima: "Recite a Third of the Rosary"

At Fatima, the Mother of God did not ask for a radically updated Rosary. Through the children, she told us to recite daily "a third of the Rosary,"  and warned of dire consequences if Her requests were not fulfilled. Thanks to the latest update, however, every new book that recounts these words of Our Lady of Fatima will require a footnote to explain that when She said "a third of the Rosary," She meant 5 decades, since a third of the new twenty-decade Rosary is 6.66 decades.

It is puzzling that the post-Vatican II Popes constantly give our Lady something different from what She requests. Our Lady asked that the Third Secret be revealed in 1960. Pope John XXIII refused its release, as did his immediate successor, Pope Paul VI. In 1964, during the Second Vatican Council, Pope Paul sent a Golden Rose to Fatima, something other than what She asked. The then-Bishop of Lieria, Bishop Venancio told Father Caillon that we would have preferred receiving the Third Secret rather than holding the Golden Rose.

Our Lady also requested the Collegial Consecration of Russia to Her Immaculate Heart. Pope John Paul II consecrated the world to Her Immaculate Heart in 1982 and 1984, something other than what She asked. Would not the best way to propagate devotion to Our Blessed Mother be to finally perform the consecration of Russia, which will bring about its miraculous conversion and the triumph of Her Immaculate Heart, and spark an unprecedented worldwide devotion to Her Heart? Sister Lucy asked Our Lord why He would not convert Russia without this consecration. Jesus responded, "Because I want My whole Church to recognize that consecration as a triumph of the Immaculate Heart, so that afterwards its veneration may grow and be put alongside devotion to My Sacred Heart." 

This consecration remains unfulfilled, and Russia has not converted, despite the ridiculous attempts of Fatima revisionists to claim otherwise. The mounting hostility between the Catholic Church and Russia is clear for all to see.

This past spring, for example, the patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church publicly called the Pope's televised broadcast into the Russian Nation "an invasion of Russia."  The Financial Times recently reported "A total of five Catholic priests have been refused access to Russia so far this year, in a campaign denounced by the Vatican as 'persecution'." The priests were reportedly refused residency in Russia "for religious reasons". Father Stefano Caprio was told by Russian officials that he could only obtain Russian citizenship by marrying - hardly an option for a Catholic priest.

The Times further reported that in Russia, "Local (Catholic) priests report periodic harassment by authorities; the construction of a Catholic cathedral in the northwestern city of Pskov has been held up; and the Kremlin appears sympathetic to the Orthodox church's persistent opposition to a visit to Russia by Pope John Paul." 

Other reports tell of vandalism and desecration of Catholic churches in Russia.

Ironically, the week that the Pope issued his Apostolic Letter on the Rosary marked a new low in Vatican-Russia relations. On October 14, the same day that information on the "new mysteries" was leaked to the press, the Vatican voiced outrage that a church property in Moscow was turned into a brothel. The Vatican said it was part of a long-running smear campaign against the Roman Catholic Church in Russia.

In a statement, the Vatican said Franciscan friars in the Russian capital had rented out one of the apartments to a private individual who assured them it would be used "for charitable purposes". Instead, it became a house of ill repute with prostitutes dressed as nuns.

Vatican spokesman, Joaquin Navarro-Valls, branded the incident "a despicable operation designed to discredit the ... brothers ... and through them, the Catholic Church." The statement said the episode was part of a campaign "bent on damaging the reputation of the Catholic community."  Anatoly Pchelintsev, a Russian lawyer for the Franciscans, said the reports of the brothel that appeared in Russia's news media was "part of a smear campaign" against the Catholic Church.

Obviously, Our Lady of Fatima's call for the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary for its conversion is more urgent than ever.

Despite this urgency, the Pope's 13,500-word Rosarium Virginis Mariae treats Fatima as practically non-existent. This is one of the most baffling aspects of his Letter. Fatima, along with Lourdes, is mentioned only once in passing. The Pope took the time to explain each prayer of the Rosary: the Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be, etc., but he makes no mention of the Fatima aspiration that Our Lady asked to be included after each decade: "Oh my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those most in need."

In the Apostolic Letter, this modest addition to the Rosary ordered by Our Lady of Fatima is ignored, only to give center-stage to John Paul's radical alteration. The Letter also contains no specific mention of Our Lady's "Immaculate Heart", nor any word of the Five First Saturdays of Reparation. It's almost as if Fatima never took place.


Also missing from the Apostolic Letter is any mention of the Battle of Lepanto. It is true that Pope John Paul recounts that October is the month of the Rosary. But October enjoys this dignity because of the astonishing victory Our Lady gave to the Catholic warships against the Muslim fleet on October 7, 1571.

The Fifth Lesson of Matins for the Feast of the Holy Rosary (October 7), which was part of the Church's liturgy up until to Vatican II's aggiornamento, reads:

"From the salutary practice (of the Rosary) countless fruits have flowed to Christendom. Among these, we should especially mention the victory over the powerful tyranny of the Turks won at the battle of Lepanto by St. Pius V and the Christian princes which he had aroused. For, as this victory was won on the very day on which the sodalities of the most holy Rosary had been offering their accustomed supplications and carrying out the prescribed prayers that was rightly attributed to these prayers."

Pope Leo XIII in Supremi Apostolatus, the first of his many Encyclicals on the Rosary, boasted of Our Lady's triumph against Islam at Lepanto. He relates that Pope St. Pius V "after rousing the sentiment of a common defense among all the Christian princes, strove, above all, with greatest zeal to obtain for Christendom the favor of the most powerful Mother of God." Pope Leo continues:

"And thus Christ's faithful warriors ... proceeded undauntedly to meet their foe near the Gulf of Corinth; while those who were unable to take part formed a pious band of supplicants who called on Mary and unitedly saluted Her again and again in the words of the Rosary, imploring Her to grant the victory to their companions engaged in battle. Our Sovereign Lady did grant Her aid; for in the naval battle near the Echinades Island the Christian fleet gained with no great loss to itself a magnificent victory, in which the enemy was routed with great slaughter."

Pope Leo explains that Pope St. Pius V then instituted the Feast of Our Lady of Victory for October 7, which was changed to the Feast of the Holy Rosary by Pope Gregory XIII. Leo goes on to boast of other victories that Our Lady of the Rosary has secured against the "Turks".

Likewise Pope Pius XI in his 1937 Rosary Encyclical Ingravescentibus Malis spoke of Our Lady's victory at Lepanto in a manner guaranteed to send ecumenists shrieking into the snow banks:

"When the impious Mohammedan power, trusting in its powerful fleet and war-hardened armies, threatened the peoples of Europe with ruin and slavery, then - upon the suggestion of the Sovereign Pontiff - the protection of the heavenly Mother was fervently implored and the enemy was defeated and his ships sunk. Thus the Faithful of every age, both in public misfortune and in private need, turn in supplication to Mary, the benignant, so that She may come to their aid and grant help and remedy against sorrows of body and soul. And never was Her most powerful aid hoped for in vain by those who besought it with pious and trustful prayer."

This omission of Lepanto occurred, no doubt, for ecumenical reasons. Pope John Paul II continually sends Vatican delegates to celebrate the laying of cornerstones in new mosques, he kisses the Koran. He praises Islam as one of the world's great monolithic religions. Once more, in the name of ecumenism, a major Catholic event, a turning point in history, is deemed too embarrassing to mention in a Vatican document. Then again, perhaps the omission is no big deal. After all, does anyone today actually regard Islam as a threat to world peace?

Door Opened to a Jazzed-up Rosary?

The dramatic announcement of "new mysteries" eclipsed notice of another major innovation to the Rosary proposed at the document's end. In Section 42, Pope John Paul II opens the door for children and young people to take a "creative" approach to the Rosary. This is a means of subjecting the Rosary to the precepts of the "New Evangelization" that is "new in its ardor, new in its method, and new in its expression." 

He writes: "To pray the Rosary for children, and even more, with children, training them from their earliest years to experience this daily 'pause for prayer' with the family, is admittedly not the solution to every problem, but it is a spiritual aid which should not be underestimated." So far so good. But then we read:

"It could be objected that the Rosary seems hardly suited to the taste of children and young people of today. But perhaps the objection is directed to an impoverished method of praying it."

An impoverished method of praying it?

What does this mean? The traditional method of silence and reverence? Is this suddenly considered "too much" for children and young people? If so, what was the point of beatifying Jacinta and Francisco of Fatima if we do not look to them as a model for how children and young adults should pray the Rosary. They are an example to us all.

Yet Jacinta and Francisco are not held up as a model for today's youth on how to pray the Rosary. No, the new model is the "pastoral" and "creative" approach to prayer as is found at World Youth Days!

The Letter reads:

"Furthermore, without prejudice to the Rosary's basic structure, there is nothing to stop children and young people from praying it - either within the family or in groups - with appropriate symbolic and practical aids to understanding and appreciation. Why not try it? With God's help, a pastoral approach to youth which is positive, impassioned and creative - as shown by the World Youth Days! - is capable of achieving quite remarkable results. If the Rosary is well presented, I am sure that young people will once more surprise adults by the way they make this prayer their own and recite it with the enthusiasm typical of their age group."

As CFN readers know, I've been to World Youth Day and reported extensively on its radical notion of jazzed-up prayer. I've said repeatedly that the dominant atmosphere of World Youth Day is not Catholicism but the rock 'n roll culture. World Youth Day is built on the falsehood that young Catholics find Catholicism boring (impoverished) unless we make it bouncy and fun, unless we shuck it of reverence, unless we enliven it with rock 'n roll rhythms.

At World Youth Day, the Papal Mass was "livened up" with rock 'n roll music and hokey gimmicks. The Papal Vespers, presided over by John Paul, was "livened up" with rock music, pop-rhythms, liturgical dancers, and a Magnificat sung in folk style by a young man with a guitar who sounded like Gordon Lightfoot on a bad day. The World Youth Day Stations of the Cross contained the "creative" approach of "hymns" with funky beats.

The Pope sees the acres of young people grooving to the music during his papal mass and he praises it as "remarkable results". Within this context, how can the Pope's proposal for a "pastoral approach" to the Rosary that is "positive, creative and impassioned ... as shown by World Youth Days", be seen as anything but a nod to invest the Rosary with pop-culture, modern music and endless "creative" innovations? The Youth Ministers will have a field day.

Everything Must Change?

Until October 2002, the Rosary was the only major Catholic institution to escape renovation. The Mass was changed to accommodate Vatican II's new ecumenical religion, we now have a "new theology," a "new evangelization," a new catechism, a new Code of Canon Law, Religious Orders liberalized their Rules and Constitutions, seminaries "loosened up," church interiors were gutted, the Breviary was revolutionized, Pope John Paul II changed the traditional Way of the Cross in 1991, adding a fifteenth Station.

Now the Rosary will never be the same. The insatiable lust for change and novelty, a defining element of post-Conciliar pontificates, increasingly takes the form of an in-the-flesh manifestation of one of Modernism's chief precepts.

Speaking of the Modernists, St. Pius X warned, "First of all they (modernists) lay down the general principle that in a living religion everything is subject to change, and must change, and in this way they pass to what may be said to be, among the chief of their doctrines, that of evolution. To the laws of evolution everything is subject - dogma, Church, worship, the Books we revere as sacred, even faith itself." 

Here Saint Pius X refers not only to the falsehood of Darwinian/biological evolution, but also to the belief that in a "living religion" everything must always be in a state of movement and flux. This shows that the religion is alive!

Today, the modernist notion that "everything must change" is called the continuous aggiornamento of the Council. The Holy Rosary, once thought beyond the reach of man's tinkering, has now fallen victim to Vatican II's evolutionary rage.

This is one of the many reasons that my family and I will adhere to the 15-decade Rosary of Saint Dominic, and not adopt the new 20-decade novelty. Nor will I teach the Rosary to my children through the pathetic medium of World Youth Day antics. Our Blessed Mother at Fatima taught the children to pray the Rosary as is, and to pray it with maturity, reverence and attention. I will teach my children to do the same.

Dear Holy Father, we are happy that you wish to revitalize the Holy Rosary. But by downplaying Fatima, and by needlessly subjecting the Rosary to the continuous aggiornamento, you tear our hearts again."


i greatly respect John Paul II's decision not to step down from the papacy due to his illness.  it was good for the youth-obsessed and fitness-obsessed world to have to watch a dying old man going about his duties. 

i do wonder, however, if he may have been suffering from senility, possibly early Alzheimer's disease, in his last five years or longer.  senility does not always show in all of a person's actions because the person may be lucid at times, fuzzy-minded at others.  it would explain some of his peculiar actions.  it was very peculiar for a man who was supposedly dedicated to Mary, taking as his papal motto "Totus Tuus" to even consider suggesting a change to the Most Holy Rosary.

it is my opinion that John Paul II had no valid reason to suggest adding an extra five decades to the Holy Rosary, even as an option.  as has already been stated by others, if one includes this extra five decades, the Rosary is no long Mary's Psalter because the number of Aves no longer match the number of Psalms (150.)  worse yet, one can no longer pray a third of a Rosary daily unless one prays 6.66 decades.  6.66 is not a number that most of us find comforting, for what should be obvious reasons, and praying 6.66 decades is more than a bit tricky, too.  praying 5 decades is simple.   

two years earlier, John Paul II had sprung another surprise on us: Low Sunday was suddenly Divine Mercy Sunday.  i had never seen the image of the Divine Mercy until it appeared in our archdiocesan newspaper.  the new name for Low Sunday and the new (to me and presumably many others) image brought with them a new chaplet, albeit it contains old prayers slightly reworded. 

it would have been better if the Luminous Mysteries had been suggested as a new chaplet which could be prayed on an ordinary rosary, rather than an optional addition to the Rosary.  that would have been a truly Christological devotion.  the Rosary is a Marian devotion, although the events all involve Christ and we got through Mary to Christ in our prayers.  there are other chaplets which are prayed on an ordinary rosary, including, if i'm not mistaken, the Divine Mercy chaplet.

personally, i pray neither the Luminous Mysteries nor the Divine Mercy chaplet.  there are plenty of old, well-established devotions to occupy my soul, particularly devotions to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, to the Precious Blood, to the Holy Face, the Holy Name, the Five Holy Wounds, and, of course, the Rosary, as well as prayers to ask for the help of certain saints who are important to me. 

we had a discussion here recently about the Divine Mercy and i learned, through my own research, that the image of the Divine Mercy seen today is not the original image as Sister Faustina had it painted by an artist.  i did some reading and learned that today's image was painted after her death and that her spiritual director and confessor condemned that image as being unlike what Sister Faustina described, being too feminine in appearance.  it is possible to buy copies of the original Divine Mercy image for those who are interested.  you can read about the original image here:

and look for Shopping in the menu on the left to purchase images.  you can get a free print, though they ask for $1 if you can spare it, or a framed, blessed image for $15.85, plus other items.  i found another site that had the original image, and two newer ones, but their prints were on canvas and the cheapest was over $30 as i recall.

I may be naive for looking for the good intentions, but to be fair, those mysteries do counter some of the more prevalent errors of the time: the importance of Baptism and the universal call to conversion, the fact that the Kingdom is now and a real force in human society, the great efficacy of the intercession of the Mother of God, the truth of the divinity and miracles of Our Lord, truth of the Holy Eucharist, the truth of the Gospels, especially that of John which is often doubted, etc.

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