Aliens in This World

An ordinary Catholic and a science fiction and fantasy fan.

Wednesday, October 16, 2002

I Never Promised You a Rosarium

The Pope celebrated his anniversary by releasing an apostolic letter about the rosary. He also proclaimed "The Year of the Rosary" and announced a new set of mysteries for Thursdays, the "mysteries of light".

I like the letter. It has tons of good stuff in it. But my personal thought is that it's a bad idea to play around with well-established popular devotions. Adding a fifteenth station to the Stations of the Cross or a new set of mysteries to the Rosary is...rather pointless. I love and respect the Pope, but I don't feel any need to start doing stuff differently. In fact, I'm so set in my ways that I doubt I'd be able to remember all this new stuff if I tried. What it introduces to me is a new sense of anxiety about whether I'm praying the Rosary right, and if it's mean for me to want to keep to the old way. (What with this and the threat of changing the translation of the whole Mass, my mother is now getting her revenge for all the times I thought her pre-Vatican II nostalgia was funny.)

But fortunately, I found myself a good argument to stay happily set in my ways. People are always coming up with prayer variations, and I don't have to do them if I don't feel like it. To quote Anthony Boucher's Sister Ursula in Rocket to the Morgue, '"It is a rosary," she said slowly, "but it is not the Rosary...there are others. I know, for instance, of a rosary of the Infant of Prague....Any individual is free to say the proper prayers in the devotional form that most appeals to him."

(Of course this does not apply to new Mass translations. *sigh* That's going to be a nightmare for church musicians. Every hymnbook including Masses is going to have to be scrapped, or new word arrangements written in by hand. Everyone is going to have to retrain their memories as well; it will be more difficult than adding words in a new language.)

Maybe adding more episodes from Christ's life will help those who worry about these things. Certainly the Pope is free to fill up whatever holes he perceives. As for me, I will use my freedom to make my own choices about the small things.

Yankee Lady has a table of chaplets and rosaries both by name and bead number, while Rosary Creations has a list of chaplets you can pray on ordinary rosaries. Find out what appeals to you. (Don't spend a lot of money unless that appeals to you.)


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