From a reader…
I am a parishioner at ___. In general, we have been blessed … with clergy who are either traditionally-minded, or at least not hostile to tradition.
Several years ago, one of the priests started us praying the Prayer to St. Michael after daily Mass. It really caught on and some of the congregation took to starting it themselves as the celebrant processes out of the sanctuary. Last summer, we got a new parochial vicar who is not as friendly to tradition. Even though he is theologically orthodox and as far as I can tell politically conservative, he has done some questionable things with the liturgy, which I won’t get into here. He has tried on many occasions to “quash” (his word) the Prayer’s being recited because he sees it as part of some “ultra-conservative agenda.” Whenever someone starts it after Mass, he follows up with that person later and asks them not to. He says that the recitation of the prayer was initiated for a specific purpose, which is no longer applicable, [?!?] though he encourages us to pray whatever we want in the silence of our hearts. What do you make of this?
What do I make of this….?
I wonder if this young man knows that St. John Paul II – who should be named Doctor of the Church – during a Regina Caeli address in 1994 recommended that people pray the St. Michael prayer for the Church.
It is crazy to think of people in church praying a traditional prayer such as the Prayer to St. Michael as being part of an “ultra-conservative agenda”. Who even knows what that means? “Ultra-conservative” like… what? The SSPX? They don’t say the Leonine Prayers after Mass as far as I know.
If people are moved to pray such a prayer, why should they be stopped? Is there some other important official business that has to be conducted at that very moment?
It isn’t as if people were attempting glossalalia. They aren’t babbling incoherently. The St. Michael was written by a Pope. Leo XIII had a frightening vision the battle between the Church and Satan. He wrote the prayer and ordered that it be added to the prayers Pius IX had commanded to be recited after Low Masses (Pius X added the three-fold invocation of the Sacred Heart), which continued until the time of Vatican II.
One must ask: Does anyone think that Satan has stopped waging war on the Church? We still need to say prayers precisely like this. Is there a better time than when people are together in church? It doesn’t take very long. People can have their moment of silent prayer and say their thanksgiving prayers directly after.
Prayers after Mass were commanded by Popes for various reasons, such as defense of the temporal goods of the Papal States against secular aggression. That intention is outdated. So what? They were recited for the “conversion of Russia”. Some say Russia has been converted. I am not one of them. Does anyone think that everything is hunky-dory with a Christian Russia these days? Even if some say that that intention is no longer a concern, so what? Pray them for another reason.
How about defense of our Christian brethren in the Middle East and Africa from the hellish attacks by Islamic terrorists? Is that a good enough reason? How about defense of religious liberty in these United States? Is that a good enough reason?
Specific intentions come and go. The prayers we recite can be reapplied for other intentions. You could have a different intention each day of the week.
I think that people should pray not only the St. Michael Prayer, but the whole of the so-called Leonine Prayers, including the collect:
O God, our refuge and our strength, look down with mercy upon the people who cry to Thee; and by the intercession of the glorious and immaculate Virgin Mary, Mother of God, of Saint Joseph her spouse, of the blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and of all the saints, in Thy mercy and goodness hear our prayers for the conversion of sinners, and for the liberty and exaltation of the Holy Mother the Church. Through the same Christ Our Lord. Amen.
What’s wrong with that prayer? It even mentions mercy, which is quite fashionable these days. It mentions mercy twice.
We need prayers like these now more than ever.
Bishops everywhere, and the Holy Father too, should reinstate the Leonine Prayers after Masses. There are urgent and burning intentions to pray for and these prayers are just the thing.
Then I would start a movement for people spontaneously to recite after the Leonine Prayers also a Memorare for their bishop. Would our young assistant object to that?
Finally, it strikes me that this young assistant is not the pastor. He has no authority on his own. He would do better to pray with the people rather than trying to snuff out what the Holy Spirit could be moving them to do. He should kneel down at the steps of the altar and lead the prayer. Don’t beat them. Join them. It’s not as if they are praying to Gandhi or are making up stuff.