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Protestants and the rosary
Paternosters Blogspot ^ | February 26, 2007 | Chris Laning

Posted on 06/05/2007 10:53:58 AM PDT by Frank Sheed

I grew up Protestant in the Northeastern U.S., in an area with many Irish and Italian families, so most of my playmates when I was in elementary school were Catholic. This was somewhat (ahem!) before Vatican II, and both Protestant and Catholic kids were taught by their parents (and sometimes even in Sunday School) to regard the other with suspicion, if not downright hostility. My Catholic playmates, for instance, said they were told they would spend eternity in Hell if they (literally!) so much as set foot inside a Protestant church building.

Boy, have things changed. While there are still plenty of Protestants who believe the Roman church is the Scarlet Woman of Babylon, for the most part Catholics and Protestants now acknowledge each other as fellow Christians, are often fairly relaxed about attending each other's worship services, and I suspect that informal, unofficial sharing of Communion is more common than the authorities on both sides would like to think. There are still plenty of incompatibilities (women priests, to name one) but I don't see that degree of almost superstitious mistrust of the "other" any more.

The status of the Virgin Mary is a point of difference between Catholics and Protestants, of course, and that's one of the reasons Protestants tend to be rather wary of the rosary. Unfortunately, I think people brought up Catholic often demonstrate how little they understand about their "separated brethren" when they blithely suggest that Protestants can pray the rosary too.

7002061

There are four main points I can think of about the rosary that give many Protestants problems. Briefly they are (from the Protestant point of view):
(1) What about Jesus's prohibition of "vain repetitions" in prayer?
(2) Does the Rosary give Mary too much honor?
(3) Do saints actually hear the prayers of living people?
(4) Is it legitimate to ask saints for favor?

I should make it clear here that when I say "Protestants" in this discussion, I am not including modern Anglicans or Episcopalians. There are certainly Anglicans who do say the rosary, either in the same form common to Roman Catholics or some other form, such as the modern Anglican rosary (which I still want to write about sometime). But what Americans usually call "mainstream" Protestants (Presbyterians, Methodists, etc.), and essentially all of the more evangelical and conservative Protestants, are generally opposed to the rosary as a Roman practice, and that's who I'm referring to here.

As I've said, Catholics do sometimes cheerfully assert that Protestants, too, can "honor" the Virgin Mary and pray the rosary. But I've noticed that somehow, all the Catholic stories that circulate about Protestants praying the rosary tend to end with the story's Protestant becoming a Catholic. If those are the only stories you ever hear, the (inadvertent) message is "If you start praying the rosay, you'll become Catholic" -- as though the rosary were the first step down a slippery slope!

I noticed this on Rosary Workshop's "Why pray the rosary?" page and mentioned it to the website's owner, Margot Carter-Blair -- who shared my amusement, once I'd pointed it out. Margot is now looking for some good stories about Protestants praying the rosary who stay Protestant.

Hmmm. Looks like this is the start of another series of articles....

7002067

The first challenge Protestants frequently offer is Matthew chapter 6, verse 7, where Jesus says (in the original King James 1611 spelling): "But when yee pray, use not vaine repetitions, as the heathen doe. For they thinke that they shall be heard for their much speaking."

This verse has had various English translations. Wycliffe's version from around 1400 says: "But in preiyng nyle yee speke myche, as hethene men doon, for thei gessen that thei ben herd in her myche speche." ("But in praying, nil [do not] ye speak much, as heathen men do, for they think that they are heard in their much speech.")

The Bishop's Bible (1568) says, amusingly, "But when ye pray, babble not much, as the heathen do. For they thynke that they shalbe heard, for theyr much bablinges sake."

One modern version puts it: "And in praying do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard for their many words." In all the versions the next verse says "Therefore be not lyke them, for your father knoweth, what thynges ye haue nede of, before ye aske of hym."

The King James version, however, is so entrenched in the English language that "vain repetitions" is the actual phrase the debate tends to focus on. Protestants generally assert that any repetition of the same prayer over and over must be "vain" by definition, since God really only needs to be asked once, and repeating the same words doesn't add anything.

The usual (rather feeble) Catholic defense is to argue that Christ didn't mean to prohibit all repetition but only vain repetition -- which is a very incomplete answer, since it leaves open the question of how you tell whether it's vain or not.

I think there's a point here, though: saying the same thing over and over doesn't necessarily mean it's less sincere. Parents and children, husbands and wives tell each other "I love you" over and over, and it doesn't seem to mean any less to them for being repeated.

Protestants generally don't see that their own argument isn't completely consistent. There may be no particular virtue in repeating the same prayer over again, but Protestants will cheerfully pray the "Our Father..." weekly and daily throughout their lives anyway. Many Protestants are taught that "true" prayer is spontaneous and from the heart, expressed in one's own words or wordless desires -- but if that were literally followed at all times, we'd all be praying like Quakers, who only pray as they feel "inspired" to do so. But in fact, most Protestant worship services do include standard, pre-written prayers in which everyone is expected to join. I was brought up, for instance, saying one that begins "Almighty and merciful Father, we have erred and strayed from thy ways like lost sheep...." every Sunday without fail.

I think both sides would admit that the idea of saying a prayer 10 or 100 or some other "round number" of times is something humans have dreamed up for our own satisfaction, not something God particularly cares about. (100 is only a round number if you're using a base-10 number system, anyway!) So perhaps the question that needs to be addressed is whether or not it's a good thing to allow our human preferences for certain numbers to affect our prayers this way. I can certainly see that reasonable adults could have different opinions on this.

to be continued

posted by Chris at 11:04 AM


TOPICS: Catholic; Theology; Worship
KEYWORDS: convert; historicalrosaries; penguinhumor; rosary
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To: Enosh
Geesh, Enosh...are you DEAF??? You don't HAVE to pray to Mary but it sure does help!! She reigns in heaven with her Son!!!....She is the MOTHER of JESUS CHRIST....SAVIOR OF THE WORLD!!! Do you not think Jesus LISTENS to her supplications from us?? Man.....you have been indoctrinated against the most Holy woman....the MOTHER OF JESUS! What human has been more important?? Why do Protestants diss her so much?? I will never understand it. It makes NO sense.

Mary has NO power herself....she was ASSUMED into heaven, body and soul......Jesus ASCENDED into heaven......Own power.

21 posted on 06/05/2007 1:00:38 PM PDT by Suzy Quzy (Hillary '08...Her Phoniness is Genuine!!!)
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To: Enosh
Absolutely -- just don't thump too hard 'cause they WILL break.

I had to buy a little set of Leatherman miniature pliers just to repair my rosary when I break it. I am hard on my stuff.

22 posted on 06/05/2007 1:01:33 PM PDT by AnAmericanMother ((Ministrix of Ye Chase, TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary (recess appointment)))
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To: sandyeggo
My daughter told me something cute the other night.

She says the Rosary last thing at night before going to sleep. She said, "If you fall asleep while you're saying the Rosary, your Guardian Angel will finish it for you."

. . . and that's a good thing, because I often do fall asleep while saying my Rosary - if I wake up in the middle of the night and can't sleep, I always say it rather than lie awake and stare at the ceiling . . .

23 posted on 06/05/2007 1:03:09 PM PDT by AnAmericanMother ((Ministrix of Ye Chase, TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary (recess appointment)))
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To: Enosh

I apologize....I have seen so many Catholic bashing threads lately that it’s getting very disturbing.


24 posted on 06/05/2007 1:04:17 PM PDT by Suzy Quzy (Hillary '08...Her Phoniness is Genuine!!!)
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To: Between the Lines
I did read the article, and that's not what the author is saying at all. In fact, she says, "I think people brought up Catholic often demonstrate how little they understand about their 'separated brethren' when they blithely suggest that Protestants can pray the rosary too."

She's explaining to Catholics why Protestants have trouble with the Rosary - not trying to make them say it!

25 posted on 06/05/2007 1:05:49 PM PDT by AnAmericanMother ((Ministrix of Ye Chase, TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary (recess appointment)))
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To: Suzy Quzy
"She reigns in heaven with her Son!!!"

Is that Catholic doctrine!?

"Mary has NO power herself"

Isn't that a contradiction with the above?

(And please calm down, we're on the same side.)

26 posted on 06/05/2007 1:05:59 PM PDT by Enosh ()
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To: Frank Sheed

1 Timothy 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus

John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

Eph 2:13,18 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ... For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.


27 posted on 06/05/2007 1:07:53 PM PDT by PAR35
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To: All

One of the most beautiful books written about the rosary is titled, Five for Sorrow, Ten for Joy” and it was written by a Protestant.


28 posted on 06/05/2007 1:14:25 PM PDT by Running On Empty
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To: AnAmericanMother
She's explaining to Catholics why Protestants have trouble with the Rosary - not trying to make them say it!

I did not say 'make', I said convince. From the article:


29 posted on 06/05/2007 1:14:46 PM PDT by Between the Lines (I am very cognizant of my fallibility, sinfulness, and other limitations.)
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To: Suzy Quzy
"... Catholic bashing threads..."

No problem. I'm usually shoulder to shoulder with y'all against my proddie colleagues. Got the scars, t-shirts, the whole smack.

30 posted on 06/05/2007 1:17:54 PM PDT by Enosh ()
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To: Between the Lines

See #28


31 posted on 06/05/2007 1:20:34 PM PDT by Running On Empty
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To: Enosh

Thanks....come on over.....the water’s GREAT!!


32 posted on 06/05/2007 1:24:06 PM PDT by Suzy Quzy (Hillary '08...Her Phoniness is Genuine!!!)
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To: PAR35

Matthew 6: 9-ff:
9 “Pray, then, in this way:‘Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.
10 ‘Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven.
11 ‘Give us this day our daily bread.
12 ‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 ‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. [For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’]

Okay. You protest that you must go through Jesus. He, the Lord, the Christ, tells us to go through the Father (see above; a direct quote from HIM).

She, Mary, tells the wine stewards, “DO WHATEVER HE TELLS YOU.” He had protested to her observation that “they have no more wine” by saying “Woman, what has this to do with Me?” However, His Mother had asked Him.

So, suppose I wanted, on my OWN volition, to ask Jesus’ Mother for something? It is my decision, and He did respond to her observation, “They have no wine” by CREATING 150 gallons of choice stuff. It was so good even the wine steward was blown away!

And so a good Son answers the desire of His Mother held in her heart!

;-o)


33 posted on 06/05/2007 1:25:35 PM PDT by Frank Sheed (Fr. V. R. Capodanno, Lt, USN, Catholic Chaplain. 3rd/5th, 1st Marine Div., FMF. MOH, posthumously.)
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Comment #34 Removed by Moderator

To: Frank Sheed; drstevej; OrthodoxPresbyterian; CCWoody; Wrigley; Gamecock; Jean Chauvin; jboot; ...
Protestants generally don't see that their own argument isn't completely consistent. There may be no particular virtue in repeating the same prayer over again, but Protestants will cheerfully pray the "Our Father..." weekly and daily throughout their lives anyway. Many Protestants are taught that "true" prayer is spontaneous and from the heart, expressed in one's own words or wordless desires -- but if that were literally followed at all times, we'd all be praying like Quakers, who only pray as they feel "inspired" to do so. But in fact, most Protestant worship services do include standard, pre-written prayers in which everyone is expected to join. I was brought up, for instance, saying one that begins "Almighty and merciful Father, we have erred and strayed from thy ways like lost sheep...." every Sunday without fail.

Most Protestants do not say the "Our Father" Let alone repeat it over and over.
I have to wonder if he was ever really a protestant.

35 posted on 06/05/2007 1:56:44 PM PDT by ears_to_hear
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To: ears_to_hear

One of the most eye opening and prayer enhancing things I ever heard was the our father laid out as a framework for prayer.

E.G.

1) Our father who art in heaven hollowed be thy name: Start your prayers by first Glorifying God
2) Thy kingdom come thy will be done ...: As Jesus did submit yourself first to gods will firstly and what follows secondly
3) Give us this day our daily bread: Here bring your request, request which are hopefully motivated by the spirit not (oh God I would like a Ferrari)
4) And Forgive us our trespasses: Confess your wrongs to the lord, seek out sin in your life
5) As we forgive those who trespass: Ask for help in forgiving offenses you may hold against others
6) the kingdom and honor and glory: Again praise God...

In terms of a frame work this in incredibly more powerful than just repeating a prayer you learned in ccd or Sunday school


36 posted on 06/05/2007 2:18:25 PM PDT by N3WBI3 (Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak....)
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To: ears_to_hear

“Most Protestants do not say the “Our Father” Let alone repeat it over and over.
I have to wonder if he was ever really a protestant.”

And most catholics cannot find the Lord’s prayer in the Bible.


37 posted on 06/05/2007 2:20:06 PM PDT by alpha-8-25-02 ("SAVED BY GRACE AND GRACE ALONE")
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To: alpha-8-25-02

You think?


38 posted on 06/05/2007 2:21:02 PM PDT by Running On Empty
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To: Enosh

Praying the Rosary is not required of Cathoics.


39 posted on 06/05/2007 2:24:56 PM PDT by tioga (Fred Thompson for President.)
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To: Enosh; Frank Sheed; Tax-chick
No problem. I'm usually shoulder to shoulder with y'all against my proddie colleagues. Got the scars, t-shirts, the whole smack.

***********

Frank Sheed, Tax-chick and I are getting these. What do you think? :)


40 posted on 06/05/2007 2:27:56 PM PDT by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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