ASK FATHER: Was St. Michael Prayer after Mass suppressed by Vatican II?

St. Michael by Daniel Mitsui. Click for more.

From a reader…


I recently heard a priest announce to his congregation that the St. Michael Prayer had been “suppressed” by Vatican II. [No.] People could still pray it privately, but it could not be recited in congregation after mass. Is this correct? This was at a Novus Ordo mass, not the Extraordinary Form.

Interesting.  I was just talking about this issue not long ago with a priest friend.

Vatican II did not suppress the St. Michael Prayer.

The Sacred Congregation of Rites, in the 1964 instruction on the implementation of  Sacrosanctum Concilium called Inter Oecumenicisaid:

j. The last gospel is omitted; the Leonine Prayers are suppressed.

Of course the St. Michael Prayer, by itself, is not the sum and total of the Leonine Prayers. It is only one of the Leonine Prayers.  So, that 1964 suppression is irrelevant to the recitation of the St. Michael Prayer by itself.

Also, I think we can say about Inter Oecumenici, who cares?  We have had several editions of the Roman Missal since then, including massive overhauls in 1965 and 1969 and an edition that had to be immediately withdrawn because it had heresy in the introduction. We now also have a desirable process of “mutual enrichment” underway with Summorum Pontificum.

Moreover, in 2013, the Bishops Conference of the Philippines authorized the St. Michael Prayer for use in all churches nationwide and recommended its use especially in troubled regions. HERE  I am not sure that they had to authorize it for it to be used after Mass.  It’s after Mass, after all.  However, they put their official stamp of approval on the practice.

In these USA, the great Bp. Thomas Paprocki of Springfield did the same for his diocese in 2011.  HERE

In a 1994 Regina Caeli Address, St. John Paul II – who should be named Doctor of the Church – recommended that people pray the St. Michael prayer for the Church.

This prayer is coming back far and wide.  I’ll bet readers here know parishes where it is a regular feature after Mass.

If people are moved to pray such a prayer after Mass, why should they be stopped?   Is there some other important official business that has to be conducted at that very moment?  Other than the fact that Father wants to leave?

It isn’t as if people are attempting glossalalia.  They aren’t babbling incoherently.

The St. Michael was written by Pope Leo XIII who 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 1964.

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 to say it.  People can have their moment of silent prayer and say their thanksgiving prayers directly after.

If once the Leonine Prayers, with the St. Michael Prayer, were associated with the conversion of Russia, couldn’t they be used nowfor the conversion of these USA?   How about for 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 for an end to abortion?

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 and pastors 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.

So, circling back to the question.  No. The priest is wrong.  Vatican II did not suppress the St. Michael Prayer.   The SCR suppress the Leonine Prayers (which were mandatory after Low Masses).  However, it the pastor doesn’t want this, he must be respected.

It is, however, entirely reasonable to to keep working on him, perhaps with the St. Michael Prayer!

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. JamesA says:

    The Leonine Prayers are said together by the congregation (and sometimes the priest)at my home parish, St. Mary Cathedral in Austin TX, after daily Mass. There are even printed pew cards for those who need them. We are very fortunate liturgically in many ways (though we could do better).

  2. Mojoron says:

    Our Archbishop, Joseph Nauman, routinely recites St. Michael Prayer and usually sings the Salve Regina on occasion. Unfortunately, we don’t get to attend masses by him until the Chrism Mass during Holy Week.

  3. thomas.merkle says:

    At St.Michael the Archangel parish on Bolling AFB in DC, we (unsurprisingly) say the prayer after every Mass. The fruits are manifold.

  4. G. Thomas Fitzpatrick says:

    In Traditional Latin Masses I have heard, the Leonine Prayers are routinely said after Low Mass. Using the 1962 rubrics must supercede a 1964 attempt to suppress them.

    I too have made the point that the Church throughout the world is being persecuted (yes, not just when in contact with a surging Islamification, but even in the First World where increasing hostility towards the Faith is evident) and could benefit from the Leonine Prayers in both modes of the Latin Rite. At the very least, why not for vocations?

  5. Kent Wendler says:

    Our bishop, the Most Reverend Daniel Jenky of Peoria, years ago instructed us to use the St. Michael Prayer “for the freedom of the Catholic Church in America”, as the last of the General Intercessions.

    [Good to know.]

  6. Alice says:

    It’s not suppressed not is it for “private devotion only” in our diocese. In fact, our bishop requires priests to have their congregations recite it for the freedom of the Catholic Church in America during the Prayer of the Faithful. I’m told that some parishes refuse to say it, but my parish is obedient as are most of the surrounding parishes.

  7. deaconjohn1987 says:

    We have the Rosary ending with the St. Michael Prayer before daily Mass at our parish. Usually about 8 to 10 parishioners are there. On Sundays, before each Mass, a prayer and consecration to Our Lady, Queen of Peace, is recited, with a decade of the Rosary, led by the Lector. Everyone participates, including the celebrant, deacon and servers. Our parish is blessed to be called ‘Blessed Virgin Mary, Queen of Peace!’

  8. Fr_Sotelo says:

    When the devil ceases his warfare on the Church, we can cease the recitation of the St. Michael prayer. Until then, we can not invoke St. Michael enough, as individuals and as a congregation.

  9. Precentrix says:

    Our bishop requested it to be recited after Masses in our diocese.

  10. Sword40 says:

    About 6 or 7 years ago we discovered a place that celebrated the TLM every Sunday (low Mass). So we left our little rural parish (oldest in our diocese) and began the long drive. Yes, the Leonine prayers were prayed after every low Mass.

    Then a couple of years ago a friend who still went to the rural parish told me that he and several others began praying them after each Nous Ordo Mass. He told me it took several months before folks would leave them alone to pray. They wanted to “chat” as was the norm down there.

    I have never been back, mainly because that little parish is a revolving door for new priests and each one seems to have his own opinion. Never know what to expect. Pray for them.

  11. WmHesch says:

    Since the Leonine prayers no longer have a stated intention, their purpose is lost. To apply them toward a menagerie of other intentions is reckless nostalgia.

    If you’re going to call these devotions after Mass, please at least take off the maniple and chausable first.

  12. jcocucci says:

    We recite the prayer to St. Michael at the end of every Mass, immediately following the dismissal.

  13. jcocucci says: “We recite the prayer to St. Michael at the end of every Mass, immediately following the dismissal.”


  14. DeGaulle says:

    WmHesch could have made his point without throwing in the condescending insult.

  15. Kerry says:

    Less assumptions without evidence. More reckless nostalgia!

  16. Fr. W says:

    We recite the St. Michael Prayer after every weekday Mass immediately following the dismissal.

  17. msc says:

    I find this type of thing fascinating. I have never heard it (that I remember) in my thirty years as a Catholic. It is possible I have during my travels and don’t remember it, but certainly never where I have lived. Yet some readers hear it regularly.

  18. leftycbd says:

    At my parish in the diocese of Arlington, VA, we recite the St. Michael prayer after every mass. I know of other parishes where the prayer is said as well.

  19. Bill F says:

    Interesting discussion. I’m on the worship commission at my parish, and thus receive our archdiocese’s monthly liturgy newsletter. Back in April, the Q&A section of that newsletter contained this little tidbit:
    “2. Is it permissible for the Leonine prayer to St. Michael to be used after the celebration of Mass?

    The practice of reciting this and other prayers of Pope Leo XIII at the end of Mass was officially suppressed by St. John Paul II in 1965. These prayers contain the formula of exorcism against Satan and the fallen angels.
    In 1984, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith responded to a request for a clarification about assemblies that had been formed to pray for the liberation from the influence of demons responded:
    Canon 1172 of the Code of Canon Law declares that no one may licitly perform exorcisms on those who are possessed, unless he has obtained particular and express permission from the local ordinary…
    …the faithful may not employ the formula of exorcism against Satan and the fallen angels which is excerpted from prayer of Pope Leo XIII, and certainly not use the entire text of that exorcism…
    …of course these norms should not stop the faithful of Christ from praying, as Jesus taught us, that they may be freed from evil… [cf. Mt 6: 13]
    (From Ab Aliquot , September 29, 1984)”

    To which, of course, I say “Piffle.” The problem is convincing the chancery of that…

  20. Tantum Ergo says:

    The St. Michael’s Prayer is recited after every NO Mass during the week at our parish. Also, more and more are receiving on the tongue. Many kneel, and many others genuflect before receiving Our Lord.

  21. aliceinstpaul says:

    I went to Catholic school grades 1-12 and had never heard or heard of this prayer until about 5 years ago. It was in a prayer book my eldest son received for his first Holy Communion. The book had common prayers and some catechism for kids, originally written pre 1963. I then found the prayer in another prayer book listing Prayers After Mass.

    My sons loved the prayer. Battle is more their cup of tea than Mercy at this stage. It was one of the first prayers they all learned and we’re willing to say out loud. We a family would say it before leaving Sunday mass.

    We recently moved and our new parish says it all together, as well as the memorare after dismissal and before the exit hymn. I also had never seen a parish do that.

  22. spock says:

    Please understand that I fully support the use of the St. Michael prayer after Mass. Incidentally, the Byzantine Catholic Church that I’ve been attending also says the St. Michael Prayer after The Divine Liturgy. That said …..

    A is subset of B
    B is suppressed
    Therefore A is suppressed. QED (I think) [No.]

    “A” is the the St. Michael Prayer. “B” is the Leonine Prayers

    So at the time Inter Oecumenici, it would seem that either the St. Michael Prayer was suppressed or that document did or does not have the force of law in the Church. If the latter is true, then why was it published to begin with ?

    I’ll end with Cardinal Burke’s insistence that we should get back to not breaking the law of non-contradiction within the Church. To me, it seems like we may breaking that law here even if it involves something I happen to favor. ( the praying of the St. Michael Prayer after the Liturgy (Mass) )

    Where am I confused ?

  23. majuscule says:

    Up until recently I had been going to EF low Masses several times a week. And of course we always prayed the Leonine Prayers. Now that the opportunity to attend those Masses is gone I drove a little further to another EF midweek Mass. To my surprise, they had a cantor who sang the propers and ordinary. Yes, it was beautiful.

    But no Leonine Prayers at the end. I missed them. (But of course I can pray them on my own.) No sense complaining about there being too many sung EF Masses!

  24. Philmont237 says:

    I pray the Leonine Prayers after every Mass for “the reclamation of the Occident.”

  25. Adaquano says:

    The parish that opened when I was in high school back in 2000, the pastor started saying it after Mass when the church was built a few years later. This was in the Diocese of Arlington VA. I’m in Baltimore now, and there’s a pariah I go for daily Mass sometimes, that also says it.

    If it hadn’t been for my high school/college pastor I would be ignorant of this great prayer.

  26. At my instigation, we began praying the St. Michael prayer after every Mass for the sake of persecuted Christians worldwide.

    Initially, I proposed it for Advent, but people let me know we should continue, so we have, and will.

  27. Fr. Hamilton says:

    At my (Novus Ordo) parish, St. Monica, Edmond, Oklahoma, we began praying the St. Michael Prayer at the end of all Masses (both weekend and daily Masses) a couple of years ago. Originally this was the request of our Archbishop due to the impeding “Black mass” in Oklahoma City. At my parish I decided to also include the chanting of a Latin Marian antiphon (according to season) after the St. Michael Prayer, in order to invoke Mary as Virgin Most Powerful over evil. This also helped teach the parish the riches of our treasure of Latin chants devoted to Mary. Once the black Mass event passed our Archbishop left it to each parish pastor to determine whether we would continue such prayers. I have chosen to continue. Having done this now for several years it is very clear how important and formative this practice is for creating a culture of devotion and an understanding of spiritual battle in the parish.

  28. jbazchicago says:

    In the Diocese of Cleveland Bp. Clarence Issenmann (1965-1974) decreed that the St. Michael prayer be recited after the Particular Intercessions (well, general Intercessions) in every parish. I’m told the parish of my youth still recites it.

  29. Fr. John says:

    There is ample information on the internet – including EWTN – to clarify this issue. The common “St. Michael, the Archangel, defend us in battle….” prayer is not suppressed and is recited at my parish after every Holy Mass (which for the time being is only the Ordinary Form).

    Bill F…..What your diocese published is not in reference to this common “St. Michael, the Archangel, defend us in battle…..” prayer. What was stated is poorly worded, however, and could lead one to “think” that it refers to this common prayer, which, BTW, has been strongly encouraged by Popes (since Leo XIII) and bishops the world over. (As other comments indicate).

  30. un-ionized says:

    Bill F, was John Paul the Pope in 1965? I don’t understand any of that statement.

  31. cac says:

    At St Thomas the Apostle parish in Phoenix AZ, the St. Michael prayer is said after every Mass, Sundays and weekdays (Novus Ordo Mass). The prayer is initiated by the priest after Mass after he has reverenced the altar before he leaves the sanctuary; with the priest, the altar servers and the people all facing the altar. What a blessing!

  32. Fr Richard Duncan CO says:

    For some years now, the Birmingham Oratory has adopted the custom of praying for persecuted Christians after all Low Masses in the Ordinary Form. We say:

    Three Hail Marys
    Hail Holy Queen
    O God our refuge and our strength … and
    The prayer to St Michael.

    Now where can we have got that idea from:)

  33. Fr. Reader says:

    This prayer, together with other prayers, was always recited in my elementary school after Mass (once the priest had disappeared), ant it became engraved in my brain.

  34. Mike says:

    A parish I go to for a TLM now and then has the priest and people recite this prayer before the homily gets going. It’s a high Mass.

  35. jaykay says:

    One of the priests in my parish in Ireland recites it after the blessing and dismissal, standing at the “book stand”, if one can call it that (?) where they recite the opening prayers up to and including the Collect. The Ambo is used for the readings and Gospel and sermon (the glorious 19th century pulpit about 1/3rd down the aisle stands forlorn and has done since about 1966, as I recall). He could (and probably would, knowing him) do it in front of the altar facing the tabernacle, which would be beautiful, but there wouldn’t be a microphone and, let’s face it, people wouldn’t hear – and don’t know it anyway, mostly. It’s a big church! And we NEED microphones with the NO, don’t we? (sarc off). So he makes the best effort he can, God bless him.

    As far as I know, WmHesch, there are no rubrics about taking off the chasuble to say it, no more than there are for all the little mini-sermons about “have a nice day” and so on after the blessing that are so common. Not to mention the Rite of Shaking of Hands and Chatting Outside the Door. As for the maniple… hello?

  36. albizzi says:

    It was odd enough hearing Paul VI lamenting about “The smokes of Satan that have entered the Temple of God” after the Leonine prayers after mass had been suppressed under his papacy…

  37. frmh says:

    In my opinion the new Missal covers what happens between the two signs of the cross. One holy mass is ended a pries can lead any devotion he wants to. In my case at every weekday low mass that means the Leonine prayers.

  38. JonPatrick says:

    Interesting that “Pope St. John Paul II suppressed the Leonine prayer in 1965”, given that he was just the Archbishop of Krakow at that time and was not elected Pope until 1978, the “year of 3 popes”.

  39. Bill F says:

    @JonPatrick & @un-ionized:
    LOL! I can’t believe (a) I missed that and (b) my archdiocese would put that out there.

    @Fr. John:
    Would you be so kind as to lay out the distinction, or to point me in the right direction? This has been a back-burner issue for me over the summer, and I’d like to have an intelligent rebuttal at hand.

  40. PTK_70 says:


    Get two different English-speaking Catholics to recite the St. Michael Prayer and you get two different versions of the St. Michael Prayer. (That’s an exaggeration, but roll with me here…..)

    “be our protection” / “be our defense
    thrust in to hell” / “cast into hell”
    prowl” / “wander
    seeking the ruin” / “for the ruin”

    Think of all the different mixing and matching possibilities! In my experience, when prayed by a group of folks together, the prayer starts with laminar flow and then towards the end changes to turbulent flow, as that’s where most of the different wording variations lie. Having a parish prayer card doesn’t seem to make much difference since most everyone just says it from memory anyway.

    Maybe it should be recited in Latin.

  41. MissBee says:

    I’m grateful that the two parishes I’ve belonged to have included them. The Wiki entry for “Leonine Prayers” states that they were suppressed, which doesn’t help people who want the truth.

  42. Richard A says:

    My parish in Lansing, MI says the prayer after every Mass, after the dismissal and before the recessional hymn. Kind of fun to have a visiting priest who isn’t expecting the entire parish to start praying it on their own. Our pastor does not take off his chasuble before we recite it.

  43. Imrahil says:

    Dear PTK_70,

    or maybe people should just say it anyway. After all, this is the Catholic Church – and not the Mass, at that, but prayer said commonly. In such circumstances we can do without uniformity.

    That said, it should be “seeking”, not “for”.

  44. Atra Dicenda, Rubra Agenda says:

    Inter oecumenici is the worst.

  45. Atra Dicenda, Rubra Agenda says:

    I think the real question is:

    Is formal suppression of a prescription simply an abrogation of the previous requirement to do it *or* is it a proscription of that previously prescribed thing?

  46. Jana Parma says:

    I learned the prayer in 2008 when I first started attending the extraordinary form. I thought it was such an awesome prayer I decided to teach it to my children when they were old enough. Then I had three boys and suddenly teaching them that prayer was so easy because it involved lots of exciting imagery and the boys latched onto that. My husband and I say it after our rosary and my children say it each night with their prayers.

    This first video is of my oldest at the age of 4.

    This second one he is 6 1/2.

    This last one has the standard embellishments my boys add.

  47. Jana Parma says:

    Aliceinstpaul my three boys love it too. All the “snares of the devil” and “by the power of God cast down to hell” are their favorite lines. It’s very exciting for them.

  48. robtbrown says:

    Bill F,

    The exorcism prayers referring to St Michael are not the same as the Leonine St Michaels prayer. The former is prohibited because exorcism is a priestly responsibility and has nothing to do with the lack of Leonine prayers after the Novus Ordo.

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