The Rosary

The Catechism of the Catholic Church refers to The Rosary as an

“epitome of the whole Gospel”

On Thursday I went to Mass. Now, there are three occassional prayers, the first just before the first scipture reading, the second after the Offertory, and the third at the end before the final blessing. The prayers end with the priest saying either ‘we ask this through Christ our Lord’, ‘in the name of Jesus the Lord’, or variations or longer versions of these. At the end of the prayer, the people respond ‘Amen’.

Just before the Eucharistic Prayer is the Preface, which is also occassional. About a third of the way through most versions of the Preface is the phrase ‘through Christ our Lord’. More often than not some people, a minority, at whatever Mass I am at, say ‘Amen’ after they have heard ‘through Christ our Lord’. They are not supposed to say ‘Amen’ there, but being on some form of automatic pilot just say ‘Amen’ as it is what they say at other times during Mass when they hear ‘through Christ our Lord’, and they, in my opinion, are not really concentrating on what they are saying. They are just being there. (As I pointed out, most people do not blurt out an ‘Amen’ when they shouldn’t, so the implication is their mind is on what is happening).

That is how I feel about The Rosary. It is like saying prayers on auto pilot – and saying them as fast as possible, to the point where anyone listening who didn’t know what was being said would have buckley’s of working it out. I used to be there in a half-darkened church on a Tuesday and Wednesday night. Listening to someone say a rapid-fire first half of the Hail Mary, then I’d join in with the other people to say the second half at a blistering rate. At the time I wondered what the point was. I knew why I was at church, I was there to get closer to God. But what was the point of saying prayers like that? Saying the Lord’s Prayer slowly, and actually thinking about what I am praying to God the Father makes a trillion times more sense.

What is an “epitome of the whole Gospel”? I’d say John, and 1 John … and a good slab of the rest of the NT.

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8 Replies to “The Rosary”

  1. Gez,
    I would venture to guess that the rosary being the “epitome of the gospel” has to do with the fact that it is intended to be a meditation on “mysteries” or significant events in the life of Jesus and Mary.

    On another note, I doubt that you’d want anyone to judge Protestantism based upon the popular practice of some Protestants. In the same way, I’d say you should be careful of judging Catholicism based on your personal experience of how you have seen some Catholics worship. I was a minister in Protestant churches for about six years, and I can assure you the picture is little better.

  2. I did point out that it was a minority at Mass, and a Tuesday & Wednesday night would have indicated a small congregation, so I wasn’t saying all Catholics worship like that. I had been a Catholic for 48 years, and still go to Mass sometimes, but never on a Sunday. My observations are based on my own questioning of the Catholic Church doctrine over many years. Eg. The teaching that infants who die before being Baptised go to Hell. I disbelieved this many years ago. I can’t possibly believe that God would send innocent children to Hell.

  3. I’ve never been a Catholic for even five minutes never mind 48 years and even I know that Catholics don’t believe that unbaptised children go to hell.
    ‘1261 As regards children who have died without Baptism, the Church can only entrust them to the mercy of God, as she does in her funeral rites for them. Indeed, the great mercy of God who desires that all men should be saved, and Jesus’ tenderness toward children which caused him to say: “Let the children come to me, do not hinder them,” allow us to hope that there is a way of salvation for children who have died without Baptism. All the more urgent is the Church’s call not to prevent little children coming to Christ through the gift of holy Baptism.’
    Catechism of the Catholic Church

  4. Four years ago my then parish priest said during the sermon that parents had to arrange for their child’s baptism before birth so that the baby can be baptised as soon as possible. The consequences are Hell if the child dies before baptism. That is what he said, and that had been my understanding years before. How? Because i would have heard it at church and school. It ends up being part of your belief.

  5. So you are suggesting not to listen to the priest? Excellent advice!! But then i’ve seen a few dodgy Vatican documents, which, from what i recall, having been infallible statements by a Pope are official beliefs.

    1. Gez, I don’t deny the fact that there are some dodgy sounding statements in Vatican documents. And, I don’t deny that there are some pretty crazy priests; I’ve not many any to speak of, but I’ve heard stories. But, herein lies the difference – there are dodgy sounding statements in the Bible. For example, 1 Samuel 15:3 comes quickly to mind. And especially, Numbers 31 comes to mind.

      Yet my guess is that you would either do one of two things. First you might try to put these texts within some kind of context and give them the best reading possible by understanding the texts in light of the whole of scripture. Or second, you might not take these texts as authoritative while not denying value to the main storyline of the Bible. Of course, you might take a different track, but my point is this – this is the way that Catholics approach “dodgy” sounding Church teaching. Some try to give the best reading possible by placing it within its historical context and reading in light of the whole of Church teaching. Others recognize the guidance of the Church while still exercising conscience and disagreeing on some matters.

      The other side of this issue is, however, that in many Protestant churches there really is no set of authoritative teaching outside of the Bible. This allows all sorts of craziness to go on but it gives Protestants deniability, since there is no official Protestant doctrine. They sometimes just disown each other without recognizing that the craziness often stems from someone’s application (or mis-application if you want to call it that) of sola scriptura.

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