Archive for the ‘Rosary’ Category

Rosary Power!

February 15, 2009

The superstitions associated with the Rosary are just tremendous, but a sincere belief in the power of the Rosary throughout Catholicism cannot be denied. I recall reading that the SSPX had prayed 1.7 Million rosaries (source – with critical Romanist commentary) from the time that they had come under Rome’s excommunication until the time the excommunication was lifted.

But I came across an even more interesting site “Rosaries for Life” (H.T. to Romanist Mark Shea for pointing this out) in which the goal is to fight abortion through praying Rosaries (link). The remarkable depth of the superstitious reverence for the rosary can really be seen most clearly from a sub-page of the site entitled “Rosary Power” (link).

I think we should be praying to God, asking that the massacre of the unborn be abated, but the Rosary is not the way to pray. It is saddening to see not only the depth of the superstition, but as well the depth of the sincerity of those who are drawn into these practices.

-TurretinFan

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Response to Mike Burgess on Mary and the Rosary

December 23, 2008

Mr. Mike Burgess has provided some thoughtful responses to my previous post on following Mary to Jesus (link).

I’ll respond to his comments line-by-line, leaving off only the last two sentences in which he states his opinion regarding the wisdom of my posting my previous post. I apologize that the reader will note occasional changes between my addressing Mr. Burgess in the third person and in the second person.

Burgess:

You’re stretching a wee bit. Obviously, it’s anachronistic to believe the Rosary existed in the New Testament era, so asking if she prayed it (or the Hail Mary or the Gloria Patri or the Apostle’s Creed) is what’s absurd.

It’s not a stretch, of course. It’s simply a fact that Mary didn’t pray the Rosary. Burgess is quite correct to note that the Rosary is a later innovation, something unknown to the era of the apostles, much like the “Hail Mary” etc.

Burgess:

That she was personally preserved from sin by her prevenient salvation comports with her words in the Magnificat you cited. Of course she had (and needed to have) a Saviour, the one and only Lord. He saved her by keeping her from sinning. He preserved her graciously. Hers is a gracious sinlessness, showing the fulness of the gratuitous theosis given to us by the Lord, who calls us and prepares our works for us to walk in, and is at work in us both to will and to do, according to His good pleasure.

This explanation is one that we widely see used by papists to attempt to explain away the fact that Mary refers to God as her savior, and it is pure eisegesis.

There is nothing in the text to suggest that God was Mary’s savior from sin in anything other than the usual way of Christ dying for her sins. There’s nothing anywhere else in Scripture that would lead us to think that something other than salvation from sin in the ordinary sense is meant. In short, the only reason to explain this text in that way is by imposing on the text from outside. It is a classic, grievous, and heinous example of reading into the text, rather than reading from the text.

Like the Rosary, this interpretation of the verse is not an apostolic teachings handed down from the fathers, but a theological innovation. When was it exactly invented? We’ll leave that for Mr. Greco to opine, but suffice to note that even Thomas Aquinas (fairly late into medieval theology – died 1274) denied (against, for example, Chrysostom) that Mary had actual sin, but admitted that she had to be cleansed of original sin.

Aquinas himself puts on a more elaborate case for his position than Mr. Burgess has, and even attempts to provide some Scriptural justification for his view. On the other hand, when one examines the justification of the view, one realizes that is primarily founded on a particular allegorical explanation of Canticles (Song of Solomon) 4:7, “Thou art all fair, my love; there is no spot in thee.” When one examines the proof critically, one discovers that, naturally, there is not much strength to the assertion that the passage refers to Mary, and even less that “no spot in thee” refers to Mary being free from all actual sin.

Furthermore, the position that Mary was free from all actual sin is directly contrary to Scripture, which states:

Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

Burgess:

Your speculation about Mary praying a complete version of the Lord’s prayer is no more problematic than our Lord praying and reciting the Psalms in the liturgy of the intertestamental synagogue and Temple. The Lord was quoting Psalm 22 on His cross. Do you suppose He believed the Father had abandoned Him? Or that He was included in the salvation? He did not even need gratuitous prevenience, since He possessed sinlessness by nature.

As a preliminary matter, it is good that Burgess has pointed out that my comment about Mary praying a complete version of the Lord’s prayer is just speculation. I don’t know whether she did or not. The Bible does not tell us.
Assuming she did pray the Lord’s Prayer (note that this is an assumption), it is more problematic than Jesus praying or Jesus singing the psalms (“reciting the Psalms in the liturgy of the intertestamental synagogue and Temple” being a bit of an awkward anachronism). Jesus praying is not a problem at all. Jesus did not pray the Lord’s prayer, instead, he provided the prayer as a model to his disciples for them to use. Jesus is not recorded as having prayed that his own sins would be forgiven, and such a prayer would have been problematic, as it would have implied he had sins.
Jesus singing Psalms is not problematic, because when one sings the Psalms, one is not necessarily adopting the words of the Psalmist. For example, when we sing in Psalm 137,

By Babel’s stream we sat and wept,
&nbsp when Zion we thought on,
in midst thereof we hanged our harps,
&nbsp the willow trees upon

we do not claim personally to have been to Babylon, to have cried into the Euphrates or to have owned or hung harps. In contrast, however, when we pray we do adopt (or we ought to) the words we are speaking, because we are praying to “let [our] requests be made known unto God.” (Philippians 4:6)

Providing a full explanation of the significance of Christ’s use of “My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me,” on the cross would go beyond the scope of this post. Suffice to say that we do believe that Christ was not merely saying words that had no personal relevance to him.

Burgess:

Speaking of the complete version of the Lord’s prayer, why do you add words to it by appending the doxological ending “for thine is the Kingdom and the Power and the Glory forever and ever”? (This is part of the prayer in all of the Presbyterian versions, so far as I know.) So often, we’re chided for supposedly adding traditions of men and so forth that your ironic example here begs to be pointed out.

The reason for including it is the testimony of Matthew 6:13:

Matthew 6:13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

The modern critical texts would ask us to drop (with the Vulgate) the portion “For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.” Perhaps some time it would be interesting to explore the textual testimonies in favor of, and against, inclusion of this text. Nevertheless, it is the presence of this expression in the so-called Textus Receptus that lead to its presentation in Tyndale’s Bible and the later English translations (including, of course, the KJV) that relied on the traditional Greek text.

Burgess:

At any rate, we should imitate our Lady, as she said at Cana: “Do whatever He tells you.” We should imitate St. Paul, as he said in 1 Corinthians and elsewhere. We should follow them to Jesus. We come to faith by hearing; by living as they and other saints did, we shall come to Him. This is what Scripture tells us to do.

I interrupt this paragraph of Burgess to agree in the main, and to add what is most important: we come to Christ not by works but by faith. It is not by living well that we come to Christ, but by coming in faith to Christ, we will live well.

Mary’s words to the servants at the wedding are not directed to us, but they do illustrate the attitude that we should have, namely that we should do whatever Jesus tells us to do. And where is the only place where we can reliably find the commands of our Lord? In the pages of Holy Scripture.

Burgess continued:

Participating in the liturgical life of the Church, and in so doing receiving sacramental grace in both the sacraments and the use of sacramentals such as the Rosary, is an essential part of imitating or following the example of Mary and Jesus.

Again, I interrupt Burgess’ paragraph, but this time to disagree. Worshiping Jesus as Mary did is one thing, but following the liturgical novelties of Rome (such as the “sacramentals” including the Rosary, the various Scapulars, etc.) is quite another. Saying the Rosary cannot be essential to following the example of Mary, at least because she (quite obviously) didn’t say it. “Participating in the liturgical life of the Church,” is too vague to be helpful. We do not participate in the worship life of the Church in the way that Jesus did, as its head, as its sacrifice, as its high priest.

On the other hand, the single example of Mary participating in worship after Christ’s ascension is the mention in passing in Acts 1:14 that she was praying (as were Jesus’ brethren) together with the other believers immediately before Pentecost. Yes, we should not forsake the gathering of the believers. On the other hand, while we do see the sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper in Scripture, we do not see a rigid or complex liturgy beyond the simple liturgical forms found in, for example, post-exilic Jewish worship.

Burgess continued:

He, ultimately, showed us that even the Lord participated in the liturgy of the Church, and so we should, too.

Again, an interruption. Same comment above about the vagueness of “liturgy of the Church.” Christ during his earthly ministry didn’t engage in the Traditional (or Tridentine) Latin Mass (TLM) or the new liturgy of the Vatican II era. We worship God somewhat differently from the way in which Jesus gives honor to His father, since we are not members of the Trinity. Getting into the nuances of this distinction would go beyond the scope of this post, but it is sufficient to note that our worship of God is more like that of Mary and other believers than like that of the God-man for God the Father.

Christ instituted the sacraments of the new economy of the covenant of grace, particularly baptism (which supplants circumcision) and the Lord’s Supper, which replaces the Passover.

Burgess continued:

I’m sure I don’t need to remind you of official teaching on sacramentals, their attachment to sacraments, the necessity of the sacraments for the life of the Church, the necessity of the communion of saints in liturgy (service) to the Lord, and so forth.

No, you don’t need to remind me of your church’s teachings on that point. I suppose I don’t need to remind you that “communion of saints” has taken on a highly modified meaning in modern Catholicism from that which it had in ancient times. The Scriptures (from which the creed was obtained) speak of:

1 Corinthians 10:16 The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?

This is the communion that we, the saints, have. It is the Lord’s Supper that we have in mind when we speak of the “Communion of Saints,” not attempted communication with departed fellow believers, contrary to what some today seem to imagine.

-TurretinFan

Does Mary’s Non-Rosary Usage Miss the Issues?

December 23, 2008

In a previous post (link), I had mentioned the fact that Mary never prayed the Rosary. It is a point that I made to help folks recognize that the Rosary is a non-apostolic innovation.

I got a most peculiar comment on this post from Mr. Greco. The salient part of his comment was:

Turretinfan stated: One thing seems fairly certain: Mary never prayed the Rosary.

Me: Now why would you say something like this? This comment truly betrays your ignorance of the issues. For starters, the Rosary was not around until the time of St. Dominic (late 1100s early 1200s). So no, Mary would not have been praying the Rosary.

Secondly, the Rosary is a meditation on the Gospel…and I do think that Mary meditated on her son’s life and the wondrous things God had done for her.

I answer:

1) Mr. Greco thinks that my making a true and accurate statement about Mary “betrays … ignorance of the issues.” There is just no answer to such silliness. I can appreciate that Mr. Greco may wish that I were ignorant of the issues, but when I make accurate statements that he only reinforces (note that he agrees that the Rosary was not around until much later), he should have the wisdom not to accuse his theological opponent of ignorance.

2) Assuming that Mr. Greco’s dating for the Rosary is correct (and it is always dangerous trying to pin dates on innovations in church history), this only reinforces one of the points that my original post was making, namely that the Rosary is foreign to the Bible. It was unknown to Mary – it was unknown to the Apostles – and (per Greco) it was unknown to a thousand years of the universal church.

3) Mr. Greco’s own comments, furthermore, seem to miss the point of the post. The post noted that although Mary didn’t pray the “Hail Mary,” (how silly would that be?!) she may well have prayed the “Our Father,” which would have included her acknowledgment of her own sinfulness. Mary, the greatly blessed mother of Jesus, was a sinner who needed a savior, and she quite properly called God her Savior.

4) Casting the Rosary as, “the Rosary is a meditation on the Gospel…and I do think that Mary meditated on her son’s life and the wondrous things God had done for her,” (ellipsis in original) misses the issues and objections to the Rosary.

a) We do not object to people meditating on the Gospel, in fact we encourage them to do so;

b) We agree that Mary meditated on her son’s life and the wondrous things God had done for her and for His people;

c) But the Rosary is not in the form of meditation, but prayer;

d) And the prayers of the Rosary are objectionable both as to the fact that at least one prayer (the “Hail Mary”) is not directed to God, and because the method of successive repetition is a heathen practice specifically condemned by Jesus (Matthew 6:7 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.)

Hopefully, in the next post, I will be addressing the much more detailed and thoughtful comments of Mr. Mike Burgess.

-TurretinFan

Praying To Mary

October 21, 2008

Benedict XVI is reported (link to report) as recently praying to Mary: “We implore you to have pity today on the nations that have gone astray, on all Europe, on the whole world, that they might repent and return to your heart.”

This is a prayer that is openly idolatrous. Mankind needs to turn, not to the heart of Mary, but to the Son of Mary, Jesus Christ the Righteous. The true and proper object of worship is God alone.

Matthew 4:10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.

Benedict XVI is also reported as praying to her, “If you will not help us because we are ungrateful and unworthy children of your protection, we will not know to whom to turn.”

This prayer demonstrates the underlying blindness of Catholicism. There is a place to which not only all of Europe in general, but Mr. Ratzinger in particular ought to turn for help, and whose protection should be sought: the throne of the Most High God, by the intercession of the Son of God, Jesus Christ with the aid of the Holy Spirit.

But though Jesus is the Son of Mary, and though Mary is greatly blessed to be the Mother of our Saviour, yet Jesus himself said:

Matthew 12:48-50
48But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren? 49And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! 50For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.

And again:

Mark 3:33-35
33 And he answered them, saying, Who is my mother, or my brethren? 34And he looked round about on them which sat about him, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! 35 For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother.

It is almost as though Jesus was concerned lest some might foolishly fall into the trap of worshiping his blood relatives! Indeed, here is Jesus’ own condemnation of the error of adoration and veneration of Jesus’ mother. They do not hold a special place in the kingdom of God, but are like all those who do the will of God. Yet Catholicism, as can be seen from this event, continues to elevate Mary improperly to the status of, in effect, a goddess to whom prayers are offered.

Benedict XVI did not even omit to provide a sacrifice to this de facto goddess. It is reported that, “In a gesture of filial love, the Pope then offered the Madonna a golden rose.” One is reminded immediately of the similar offerings presented by the Philistines to the Ark of the Covenant in the Old Testament, particularly given Catholicism’s claim (or at least the claim of her apologists) that Mary is the “ark of the New Covenant.”

Finally, we should note that Benedict XVI is reported not to have left Jesus entirely out: “…The secret of Pompeii is the rosary: “This prayer leads us through Mary to Jesus.” But, in fact, the Rosary leads men away from Jesus, as can be seen in the idolatry illustrated in the prayers above. Benedict XVI is reported to have claimed, “The rosary is a spiritual weapon in the struggle against evil, against all violence, for peace in hearts, in families, in society and in the world.”

But, in fact, sadly it is an extra-Scriptural innovation: unknown to the apostles and unpracticed for centuries and centuries following Christ’s ascension. The Early Church Fathers didn’t say the Rosary, and neither should you: it is a tradition of men, not of God.

-TurretinFan

More Effective Rosary Use

August 31, 2008

On the same Catholic Answers Live episode (May 8, 2008), in which Steve Ray seemingly endorsed 18th Century superstitions (see my previous discussion), Mr. Ray discussed another Rosary-related topic.

A caller (Willie in Fredericksburg, TX) asked:

I tell somebody I’m going to say a rosary for them, and then I do, and in the process I might have told somebody else, and so I end up with two, three, four people – I’m just wondering, is that diluting it some way? Or is better to say individual – well its probably better – but is it diluting it some by combining several people?

Steve Ray responded:

I think that’s a good question, but I don’t think you have any fear of that, because if you are praying the rosary with sincere intent to pray it for several people instead of just one, the weakness would not be with you, but the weakness would be with God. And God isn’t weak. He can make sure that that prayer that you pray is responded to for each of those individuals, because God is perfectly capable of hearing your prayer and reaching out his wonderful fingers to touch 4, 5, 6, or 10 people just as well as one. And as long as its your intent to pray for them, and you say, “Lord, this person has a real need here, and this person there, and this person there, and this person there, and I only have a half an hour to pray Lord, but I really really want you to help every one of those people I’m going to pray for, so when I pray, would you please make up for any of my weakness of mind, and my weakness of memory, and you take care of them for me.” I guarantee by my little experience with God, and by knowing who He is and what He wants to do. He actually wants to help those people more than you want Him to help those people. So I think you add as many people as you want, and you pray for them, and then you watch God work in their life.

Let’s assume for a second that Steve Ray actually understands Catholicism, and further let’s assume that his statements are accurate. After all, he was introduced in the show as “one of the leading proponents of the faith” and he himself stated “if I don’t know something, I’m going to be honest and right up front and let you know that.”

If Steve Ray is right, isn’t it somewhat limited to pray as Steve proposes? Wouldn’t the following be a still more generous prayer?

Lord, I only have one half hour to pray, but I really really want you to help every one of the people on Earth who has a need, and each person in Purgatory who is suffering the temporal punishment of their sins. So, when I pray, would you please make up for my finite mind and my finite knowledge of all their particular problems, and their particular names, and take care of them for me.

In fact, if God would like to help all those people, wouldn’t God being willing to accept an omnibus request of that sort? I hope that most readers sense intuitively that a rosary prefaced in such a manner would not be used by God for billions of times more good than the same rosary prefaced by “So that Joe, my neighbor, will get a job.”

What’s wrong with Steve’s answer is that he doesn’t see the problem in the man’s question. Prayers, including collections of prayers, like the rosary, do not have merit. I’ve seen this problem in other contexts, normally in the context or people talking about requesting the prayers of “Saints.”

This problem usually becomes visible to us, Reformed folks, when we see Catholicism interacting with this verse:

James 5:16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

What James writes is true, of course. The problem that we see is not people taking James at his word, but instead drawing inappropriate conclusions from what James says.

The inappropriate conclusion is that prayers have intrinsic power on God, as it were.

Thus, the improperly adduced formula works out to something like A*B = C

where A = the effort in prayer;
&nbsp B = the level of righteousness of the person praying; and
&nbsp C = the effectiveness of the prayer.

And even A could be then broken down into categories of length of the prayer, sincerity of the prayer, inconvenience suffered in praying, etc. etc.

This is all a mistaken notion. It is the error into which the heathen fell:

Matthew 6:7 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.

And we even see an Old Testament example:

1 Kings 18:26-28

26And they [the prophets of Baal]] took the bullock which was given them, and they dressed it, and called on the name of Baal from morning even until noon, saying, O Baal, hear us. But there was no voice, nor any that answered. And they leaped upon the altar which was made. 27And it came to pass at noon, that Elijah mocked them, and said, Cry aloud: for he is a god; either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is in a journey, or peradventure he sleepeth, and must be awaked. 28And they cried aloud, and cut themselves after their manner with knives and lancets, till the blood gushed out upon them.

I don’t think that there should be any doubt about the sincerity, length, or inconvenience of their prayers. They offered Baal not only the bullock, but their own bodies (leaping on the alter themselves, so that when he answered with fire, they would themselves be consumed – and cutting themselves to spill their own blood and prove their devotion). Obviously one problem was the god to whom they prayed: they prayed to a god that did not exist.

But Elijah did not just pray to a different god, Elijah prayed differently. After building an altar and dousing it in water he simply prayed: “LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel, and that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things at thy word. Hear me, O LORD, hear me, that this people may know that thou art the LORD God, and that thou hast turned their heart back again.” (1 Kings 18:36-37)

No long prayer from morning till noon – no shouting – no cutting himself – none of these things marked Elijah’s prayer. Why not?

Because, while God is pleased to answer prayer, God cannot be moved. God is the uncaused cause. God is pleased to give good things to those who ask him, but He gives those things freely. Much speaking doesn’t impress God. Saying the same from prayer one time, ten times, or a hundred times doesn’t impress God.

Recall also Jesus warned against the scribes describing them as those:
Mark 12:40 Which devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayers: these shall receive greater damnation.
Luke 20:47 Which devour widows’ houses, and for a shew make long prayers: the same shall receive greater damnation.

Be careful not to over-react. The point is not that long prayers are necessarily only for show … instead the point is that even those wicked people who take houses from widows can make long prayers. Long prayers are not, in themselves, meaningful. They match the world’s expectations of religion, but they are not what God sees.

1 Samuel 16:7 But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.

Matthew 6:5-6
5And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. 6But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

What is James saying, he’s making clear the same concept that Proverbs describes:

Proverbs 15:29 The LORD is far from the wicked: but he heareth the prayer of the righteous.

And the Psalms say:

Psalm 34:17 The righteous cry, and the LORD heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles.

Psalm 69:33 For the LORD heareth the poor, and despiseth not his prisoners.

So then, the primary problem underling both Willie’s undoubtedly sincere question and Mr. Ray’s sincere answer is that prayer is not something that has power in itself. The power of prayer cannot be “diluted” because prayers do not have intrinsic power or certainly cannot, by its strength, move God.

(I should mention in passing that there is another problem with Mr. Ray’s answer – namely that God doesn’t have to wait around for people to pray, in order to help them. God does whatever he pleases to do.)

How then should a Christian pray?

God delights in answering prayers, so pray for what is on your heart. Jesus provides what we call “The Lord’s prayer,” and what used to be called the “Pater Noster.” This template for prayer provides us with a way in which we should pray:

“Our Father which art in heaven,”

We pray to God and to Him alone.

“Hallowed be thy name,”

We reverence God in our prayers, not invoking his name lightly or trivially. We place his glory before all else.

“Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done, on earth as it is in heaven”

We pray for things that we know to be agreeable to God’s will, including the promotion of His kingdom by the salvation of men. We qualify all our requests with acknowledgment that his will has the preeminence.

“Give us this day, our daily bread”

We pray for those things that are necessary and convenient for ourselves. Notice that Jesus mentions daily bread, not either weekly crumbs or daily feasts.

(Proverbs 30:8 Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me:)

“And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors”

We pray that God will forgive our sins, and we forgive those who sin against us.

“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil”

We further pray that God will sanctify us, enabling us to avoid sin.

“For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever.”

We again acknowledge that all things are under the rule of God, controlled by the power of God, and directed to the glory of God, both in this life, and in that which is to come.

“Amen”

We pray the prayer sincerely, assenting to the words that come either from our own mouth, or – if we add our amen to another’s prayer – to the words of that other person.

That is the form of prayer that is honoring and acceptable to God. A prayer that is not simply reciting rote what the beads say comes next, but a prayer that expresses our true desires to God.

In conclusion, allow me to leave you with an example. If you are parent, consider what request from your child you would prefer to hear: a request made clearly and tailored specifically to the item the child wants, “Father, may I play baseball with my friends?” or rote recitation of some formula? Surely you’d rather simply hear his request than the rote recitation or the combination of the two.

Hopefully, this example, and the Scriptural evidence above should help you see that praying the Rosary – even if the Rosary were limited to prayers to God – is not the proper practice of Biblical Christianity. It’s not what God has asked from us, and it is not how God wants us to pray. Our prayers do not have merit, but instead are like incense that we offer before God.

Thus, we sing:

Psalm 141:2 Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense; and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.

-TurretinFan

Steve Ray – Wearing Rosary Keeps Away Demons?

August 29, 2008

On the May 8, 2008, edition of Catholic Answers Live, I was amazed to hear Steve Ray reference (seemingly approvingly) a book called, “The Secret of the Rosary,” for the idea that wearing a rosary “around your neck keeps the Devil away – it keeps the evil powers away, because they hate the rosary and they hate the crucifix … .” I can safely say that wearing a rosary has about equal efficacy in keeping demons away as does wearing a scapular or dousing oneself in “holy water.” In short, it has no power at all.

Meanwhile, enjoy the ecumenical flavor of that most lovely work:

The heretics, all of whom are children of the devil and clearly bear the sign of God’s reprobation, have a horror of the Hail Mary. They still say the Our Father but never the Hail Mary; they would rather wear a poisonous snake around their necks than wear a scapular or carry a rosary.

And truly, I would rather (as Louis de Montfort claims) have a king cobra round my neck than participate in the superstitious and anti-Christian tradition of the rosary or the scapula. I think the portion Steve Ray was referring to was this:

Blessed Alan relates that a man he knew had tried desperately all kinds of devotions to rid himself of the evil spirit which possessed him, but without success. Finally, he thought of wearing his rosary round his neck, which eased him considerably. He discovered that whenever he took it off the devil tormented him cruelly, so he resolved to wear it night and day. This drove the evil spirit away forever because he could not bear such a terrible chain. Blessed Alan also testifies that he delivered a great number of those who were possessed by putting a rosary around their necks.

This may be from an eighteenth century book, but make no mistake, these superstitious beliefs are alive today, as evidenced by Mr. Ray’s comment.

-TurretinFan


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