Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

SSPX on Luminous Mysteries

I should, by now, know better than to read anything on the SSPX website. It's pretty much an occasion of sin. Which I suppose it's an actual sin to share the occasion with all of you. But oh well...

I came across this, as one does on the internet, though a series of links (I was originally looking for a picture of a rosary to put on my iPod to go with Biber's Rosary Sonatas.) but once there I had to watch it, rather like a car crash.

It seems that not only does this spixie priest not like the Luminous Mysteries (which I guess considering given that all-that-is-new-is-anathema attitude of that particular schismatic group is hardly surprising) but he claims that the encyclical in which John Paul the Great announced them is a sinister attempt to undermine the very nature of the Rosary, deny the importance of the Blessed Virgin, endorse naturalism, say that all other religions are equal, and probably ban rice pudding as well, though he doesn't seem to have managed to highlight that last point.

But the kicker is this section where he complains about the events that were selected to be the Luminous Mysteries:
All three sets of mysteries are necessary for our Redemption, and it could not have taken place otherwise. It is certainly true that most of the mysteries are in Sacred Scripture. Nevertheless, it is not for this reason that they are included in the Rosary. It is because living Catholic Tradition that passed them down through St. Dominic as the mysteries of our Redemption that need to be meditated on through the Rosary. It is consequently entirely false to call the Rosary " a compendium of the Gospel" (§19), as this Apostolic Letter claims, just as it is not according to Catholic Tradition, and consequently not Catholic, to want to add five mysteries "for the Rosary to become more fully a compendium of the Gospel (Ib.).It is consequently not surprising to note that the proposed mysteries of light are not events in our Redemption. They are simply beautiful episodes from the Gospel and words that are encouraging to us. Consequently, their insertion into the Rosary obscures the reality and the importance of the objective Redemption that the Rosary traditional portrays. Furthermore, the new mysteries are all stories from the Gospels, that Tradition has never linked in any way to the Rosary. To add further to the attack on the truly Marian aspect of the devotion of the Holy Rosary, only one of these mysteries even mentions the presence and role of Our Lady, and then only barely, the marriage feast at Cana. The Blessed Mother is in no way present in the other mysteries. One legitimately wonders what they are doing in the Rosary, if not to surreptitiously turn attention away from Our Lady.

Allow me to list these five "significant", "luminous" "moments" (§21): Christ’s baptism in the Jordan, his self-manifestation at Cana, his proclamation of the Kingdom of God and call to conversion, his Transfiguration and his institution of the Blessed Eucharist. You might legitimately wonder why these of all the episodes in the Gospel, and what it is that these episodes have in common to merit the title of "mysteries of light". It is manifestly not anything to do with Our Lady, or even with the objective Redemption for that matter either.
Now, is it just me, or is he saying here that the institution of the Eucharist is not an "event[s] in our Redemption"?

It's all very well to be indisposed to any sort of change. I'm conservative by temperment myself. But to allow that attachment to the past to become a god unto itself can be seriously destructive. The entire document is an exercise in taking the most uncharitable set of assumptions possible -- but at places, as in asserting that the institution of the Blessed Eucharist is not an part of our Redemption, it strays in what is pretty clearly heresy by any standard.

Perhaps this is hardly surprising in a group which has separated itself from the pope in their alleged enthusiasm for the Church. For, in the language of the Church: Ubi Petrus, ibi Ecclesia.


Deep Furrows said...

turn attention away from Our Lady
I thought the Rosary was an instrument to meditate on the mysteries of the life of Christ through the eyes of His mother, to glorify Christ through His mother. I guess that makes me a dangerous liberal... ~Fred

David L Alexander said...

The difficulty with the Luminous Mysteries have less to do with their promotion by the late John Paul II, than the significance they have been lent by the faithful, one which may not have entirely been expected, but probably should have.

Whew, that's a mouthful. Let's put it another way.

The rosary has been referred to by Popes throughout the ages as "Our Lady's Psalter." There's a reason, one that represents the relation to the 150 psalms dating to the origin of the devotion. Over the centuries, there have been many ways to use the beads that constitute the rosary. Sometimes the beads take on a different form, as in chaplets, but not always.

When John Paul II first proposed the Luminous Mysteries, he did so as an option for the faithful. Given the popularity -- so-called "rock star" status -- of this late Pope, and a wish by publishers and other commercial interests to fall all over his every utterance in an opportunity to sell another set of goods, they were taken to be accompanied by a mandate, and next thing you know, we appear to have a 20 decade rosary. In fact, no such thing was ever mandated, and could not very well be, any more than one could propose 50 additional psalms.

While their use may be laudable, the significance attached to the Luminous Mysteries is troubling, and flies in the face of tradition, in particular the essential nature of the rosary. However badly they have handled it, the SSPX was unwittingly given some potent ammunition.

Kate said...

Whatever nonsense the press or anyone else may utter, the common sense Catholics I know either use the Luminous meditations or don't, depending on their preference, or habit, or whatever. That large numbers of people are inspired to adopt them out of love for the late Pope is hardly a 'problem'.

It just occurs to me now that I can see at least three sacraments in the Luminous mysteries. Can anyone find more? Anyway, hardly inconsequential to the mystery of the Redemption. Very little in the Gospels is. Silly Schizzies.

Darwin said...

And then there are those of us like me who (when we say the rosary apart from the decade each evening with the kids) usually find themselves praying on the run somewhere without beads -- and half the time accidentally run up seven or eight sorrowful mysteries by throwing in a couple of the stations of the cross by mistake...

Darwin said...

Honestly, I don't normally say the luminous mysteries when I say the rosary myself. I like them in concept, I just don't get around to it.

But I certainly don't object to them. And I do very strongly object to this fellow's tone.

The Opinionated Homeschooler said...

I haven't been to the site in question--for the reasons you mention--but an objection I usually hear is that the 15 mysteries are indulgenced, while no indulgence accompanied the promulgation of the Luminous Mysteries. No heaven-points; why waste your time? I guess is the theory.

Ana Braga-Henebry said...

The sad and unfortunate truth is that the SSPX are not the only ones with qualms about the Luminous mysteries. Of course once PJP the Great is a blessed, and a saint, things will becoem a bit more complicated.
I challenge you to pray them, Mr. Darwin. I have come to look forward to Thursdays-- my favorite mystery being the Weding at Cana (I cannot wait to taste that vintage red in Heaven!), and of course the Institution of the Eucharist, which I agree with you, I have thought all my life to be central to the faith!

Ana Braga-Henebry said...

Sorry to post this again-- I have vowed to correct all of my typos until I learn to avoid them!--
The sad and unfortunate truth is that the SSPX are not the only ones with qualms about the Luminous mysteries. Of course once JP the Great is a blessed, and a saint, things will become a bit more complicated.
I challenge you to pray them, Mr. Darwin. I have come to look forward to Thursdays-- my favorite mystery being the Wedding at Cana (I cannot wait to taste that vintage red in Heaven!), and of course the Institution of the Eucharist, which I agree with you, I have thought all my life to be central to the faith!

Jeff Miller said...

I remember the outcry when the new mysteries were first published.

The funny thing is they are not upset about the Fatima prayer which was added to the Rosary less than a hundred years ago. As for me I love the Luminous mysteries and they precisely filled in what I thought was a hole in salvation history as related by the Rosary.

At the time I wrote a set of mysteries for them.

LogEyed Roman said...

These SSPX characters are clearly foolish prideful troublemakers.

While I appriciate David I. Alexander's post, I'm unconvinced that the Luminous Mysteries violate Catholic tradition as he says. However, I'm not truly informed about Catholic tradition so this is only my uninformed opinion. The Rosary, as I understand it, was, like most Cathlic practices, created primarily by the laity. The hierarchy made their contributions and gave guidance. Tradition always included alternate and additional versions of the Rosary. The "classic" Rosary was recognized for its centrality, but there are innumerable other "Rosaries"; the "Seven Sorrows of Mary" being a prominent one. According to more than one of my reference works on the Rosary, for Catholics to use the Rosary with other prayers and events is not just permitted but approved and encouraged, though not to be understood as interchangeable with the classic Rosary devotions.

In fact, the Mysteries which JPII has called Luminous have been prayed in this less formal fashion for a very long time. There is a five-mystery devotion, called the "Royal Mysteries", which includes four out of five of the Luminous mysteries, which has been around for generations. "Royal" refers to Jesus' public life as King.

The fact is that there is no reason, in Traditon, that the Rosary should never change at all from the earlier 15-decade form. It was initiated with 150 prayers in imitation of the praying of the Psalms, of course. Calling it "Our Lady's Psalter" just reflected this history. I'm not at all certain that it means no prayers could ever be added.

Myself, I had also been unclear what JPII had meant in suggesting the Luminous Mysteries. I had thought we DID have a 20-decade Rosary now. I see that we apparently did not. This means the older, 15-decade Rosary is still completely sufficient in itself to fulfill all the various traditional devotions that involve the Rosary. (I.e., if a specific novena calls for "A full Rosary" or one is given it as penance, the 15 mysteries suffice to fulfill the obligation.)

However, except for such specifics, I believe I will continue to pray 20 decades, not 15, from now on. I've become very attached to them, and also I'm happy to follow our great Pope's suggestion, though I now know it was not a mandate.

But if it were mandated, I'm unclear how that would violate Catholic tradition. Might it not simply further it? The Rosary has changed before; why can't it change again?

Of course, the real issue is the folly and pointless hostility the SSPX characters are showing. There's Darwin's Big One about how the Eucharist is kind of important! In addition to that, I would like to point out that Our Lady is mentioned as being present either in the Garden of Gethsemane or at the Crowning with Thorns, but she is not just present but extremely prominent at the Wedding at Cana (now one of my favorites!)

My understanding of the Rosary includes the idea that it is of course addressed to Our Lady, but ultimately Christocentric--We pray regarding our own discipleship by going for help to the first and greatest of disciples; our helper and model in following Our Lord. Surely the Luminous Mysteries fit this bill wonderfully.

Really, the SSPX characters not only have an offensive tone, they are so unclear on their facts that they come across as blindly hostile, looking for anything, however specious, to accuse those they oppose. It comes across to me as more blind unthinking hatred than reasoned compunction.

I'm very concerned that the proper relation of the Luminous Mysteries to tradition be determined and promulgated. But they are hardly a threat to the position of Our Lady, and to characterize them as being intended to undermine her importance is not only specious and offensive but ludicrous. In the Wedding at Cana, it is her initiation and persistence, in the face of apparant resistance of Our Lord's part, which He responds to with His first public miracle; His first public manifestation of His mission, His charity and His divinity. All in response to Our Lady's intercession.

I think the SSPX folks might profit from actually reading the Gospel.

LogEyed Roman

LogEyed Roman said...

Ooops, correction; I did a typo. I wanted to say that Our Lady was NOT mentioned as being present in the Garden of Gethsemene or at the Crowning with Thorns.


LogEyed Roman

Rick Lugari said...

As a revert who returned to the Church via the Rad-Trad method and have moved on from there as I understood things better [hopefully] and [hopefully] became more Catholic in temperament and heart I can tell you that this is one more symptom of a disease that runs through the rad-trad movement. Don't get me wrong, I think every trad's intention is to be a devout Catholic - I just think that many miss the mark. Practicing the faith in the traditional manner (devotions, reverent and theologically rich liturgy, etc.) is actually a wonderful and edifying thing. I would argue that it is also more advantageous to our souls. However, it is not the sum and substance of the Faith, yet many seem to treat it as such. It's really a disordered view of what it means to be Catholic. For all the talk of wanting to be Traditional Catholics, many (and I was one of them) do not think and behave as Catholics did traditionally.

Truly traditional Catholics obey the pope and their superiors - even if they think (or believe they know) he is wrong or behaving unjustly toward them. i.e. Look at how many saints were unjustly persecuted by an envious superior (St. Pio, St Bernadette, etc.) Yet they submitted. Look at how many didn't submit to their lawful authority. I can't think of any saints who didn't obey, but I can think of many schismatics and heretics (Luther, Jansen, etc.) and remember, the heretic and schismatic always believe that they are the ones practicing/preserving the true faith - we only know who is right and who is wrong by their submission to Christ through Peter and his successors).

Part of what I believe is a proper perspective is to consider what the Church has been through and how long into the future is will (or may) go. I can picture a conversation 500 years from now:

Hey did you know that the Rosary used to only contain 15 mysteries?

No, really?

Yeah, it only had the Joyful, Sorrowful and Glorious Mysteries, then in 2002 Pope Saint John Paul the Great added the Luminous Mysteries, then in 2130 Pope Simplicius II added the [X] Mysteries. But get this, some people actually complained about it back when Pope Saint John Paul the Great added the Luminous Mysteries.

Really, why?

I don't know, I guess they thought they were more Catholic than the pope or something.

Oh, and here's another thought. Pope John Paul II was actually quite contemplative in nature and very devoted to the Blessed Virgin. What if...just what if...we were to find out some years from now that he received apparitions from Our Lady, and had done this at Her request? Does any sane Catholic really want to be against that? Point is, we don't know, but there is no harm and only good that can come from the addition of mysteries to meditate on.

rhinemouse said...

Also, if you get right down to it, the entire second half of the Hail Mary is a post-Aquinas innovation, not officially recognized/regulated until shortly after the Council of Trent. Curse those meddling Tridentine-era prelates!

David L Alexander said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David L Alexander said...

"Hey did you know that the Rosary used to only contain 15 mysteries?

"No, really?"

Probably from reading history.

Yeah, really.

As explained above, the basis for the rosary was that it has also been known as "Our Lady's Psalter." There have been numerous variations of the rosary over the centuries (which has already been acknowledged by yours truly), some of them employing the same sets of beads. But the 150 Aves still bear a relation to the 150 psalms. The fifteen traditional mysteries that developed over time did not alter that. Other additions such as the "Fatima aspiration" did not alter that; the addition of mysteries as a "requirement" -- which JPII did not presume -- do have the potential to alter that, and so the devotion ceases to be the rosary, as traditionally understood as "Our Lady's Psalter."

To maintain this position does not challenge the authority of any pope, and to construe the above as having done so simply does not square with the facts. Nor does it identify its proponent with any position of the SSPX (which in this case would be a lie). It simply recognizes what has occurred, and what has not. It also recognizes history.

Popes may be infallible, but they can't change history. No, really.

Anonymous said...

The thing is (And I dont' go to SSPX)their sacraments are valid!!! Holy Mother Church does NOT treat them as schismatics. There are problems certainly BUT the pope and SSPX are in frequent talks.

Anonymous said...

The thing is (And I dont' go to SSPX)their sacraments are valid!!! Holy Mother Church does NOT treat them as schismatics. There are problems certainly BUT the pope and SSPX are in frequent talks.