Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Adaptation and the needs of the faithful.

The litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Loreto.

In every era the Church has canonized new saints for the edification of the faithful. New devotions have been promulgated, such as devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, devotion to the Holy Face, and more recently devotion to the Divine Mercy. The devotions are not "new" yet their form and cult have been adapted for the needs of the faithful at any given time, oftentimes by express command from the Lord himself. (Although always requiring the recognition and approval of the Church.)

Recently, two new titles of Our Lady have been added to the litany of Loreto. It is my understanding that this is not unprecedented, having occurred in the past as well; in fact, certain religious orders have been permitted to add titles, such as "Queen of the Friars Minor" for the Franciscans - who incidentally are the custos of the Shrine in Loreto, Ancona, Italy. (See "History of the Litany" for details.)

In reading some traditionalist blogs, as well as comments left, it seems the changes add to their suspicion of anything new promulgated by the Vatican. Comments such as, "Why did JPII feel the need to add his innovations to everything that has been a defined devotion for centuries?" Of course, many will not accept the "Mysteries of Light" he suggested, since it increased the traditional 15 mysteries of the rosary to 20 mysteries.

Certainly proponents of the rosary understand the history and development of the devotion. Many realize that a series of beads used to count one's aves and paters eventually became organized to become the original 150 aves emulating the 150 psalms. While the mysteries were categorically introduced later. One could always meditate upon other mysteries of our Lord's life. Upon examination, the mysteries comprise in detail, the essential points of the creed. If one is so attached to 150 aves, then let them pray 150 aves a day, using the traditional mysteries or adding the new mysteries - just don't exceed that magic number of 150. (Though praised by a succession of popes and saints, the rosary is not even a required devotion for Catholics.)

One website compared the more ancient text from the litany of Loreto with a supposed new litany they found in a missalette. It had been adapted and was obviously not the official litany. I found the official 'new' litany on the Holy See's website - it is the same as the ancient one, except for the new titles. See for yourself:


Lord have mercy.
Christ have mercy.
Lord have mercy.
Christ hear us.
Christ graciously hear us.
God, the Father of heaven, have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world,
God the Holy Spirit, Holy Trinity, one God,
Holy Mary, pray for us.
Holy Mother of God,
Holy Virgin of virgins,
Mother of Christ,
Mother of the Church, (Officially added - although suggested by Paul VI after V.II)
Mother of divine grace,
Mother most pure,
Mother most chaste,
Mother inviolate,
Mother undefiled,
Mother most amiable,
Mother admirable,
Mother of good counsel,
Mother of our Creator,
Mother of our Saviour,
Mother of mercy,
Virgin most prudent,
Virgin most venerable,
Virgin most renowned,
Virgin most powerful,
Virgin most merciful,
Virgin most faithful,
Mirror of justice,
Seat of wisdom,
Cause of our joy,
Spiritual vessel,
Vessel of honour,
Singular vessel of devotion,
Mystical rose,
Tower of David,
Tower if ivory,
House of gold,
Ark of the covenant,
Gate of heaven,
Morning star,
Health of the sick,
Refuge of sinners,
Comfort of the afflicted,
Help of Christians,
Queen of Angels,
Queen of Patriarchs,
Queen of Prophets,
Queen of Apostles,
Queen of Martyrs,
Queen of Confessors,
Queen of Virgins,
Queen of all Saints,
Queen conceived without original sin,
Queen assumed into heaven,
Queen of the most holy Rosary,
Queen of families, (Officially added - do you have to wonder why in a time of the disintegration of the family?)
Queen of peace.

The Church and the Holy Father certainly have a right to add to the devotional life of the Church, certain elements requiring our attention. Why is the litany so sacrosanct that titles of the Blessed Virgin may not be added, or the rosary, that additional mysteries of our Lord's life may not be added? These are devotions after all, and become the means of catechises in their formulation. As far as the rosary goes, there are many forms; the Franciscan Crown, the Brigittine, along with a variety of chaplets. In one's private devotion, one may meditate upon any mystery of the Lord's life one wishes while praying the rosary; as with the litany, when privately prayed one may praise the Mother of God with varying titles according to one's devotion - so long as they conform to Church teaching and revealed truth.

Queen, Beauty of Carmel, pray for us. (A privilege given to the Carmelite order when they were custos of the shrine.)

Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.

Pray for us, O holy Mother of God. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray. Grant, we beseech thee, O Lord God, that we, your servants,may enjoy perpetual health of mind and body; and by the intercession of the Blessed Mary, ever Virgin, may be delivered from present sorrow, and obtain eternal joy. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.


  1. Thank you, Terry. I find it lovely that in Italy the Rosary is never separated from the Litany of Loreto. The Litany follows the recitation of the Rosary immediately, without missing a beat!

  2. With 12 years of catechism and religion classes under my belt, I never could understand why the nuns/priests didn't explain these to me:

    Mirror of justice,
    Seat of wisdom,
    Cause of our joy,
    Spiritual vessel,
    Vessel of honour,
    Singular vessel of devotion,
    Mystical rose,
    Tower of David,
    Tower of ivory,
    House of gold,
    Ark of the covenant,
    Gate of heaven,
    Morning star,

    I suppose if I googled it, I could figure it out. I guess that might be a good subject for a blog post, now that I think about it.

  3. Our Lady gave to St. Dominic the rosary and it's mysteries. To add to them or think one can somehow make a divine gift from Heaven better appears grossly arrogant to me.

    Did you know that Annibale Bugnini (chief designer of the new missal and head of that committee) wanted to change the rosary too? When he asked Paul VI about it Pope Paul basically told him that to change a devotion so dear to the Catholic people would be disasterous. (Why he couldn't figure that out regarding the Mass is anyone's guess.)
    In his rosary letter, JP II said that his luminous mysteries were meant to make the rosary more Christocentric. Oh...right..because Catholics all this time weren't centered on Jesus Christ. Great. Just what the Protestants wanted to hear! Is this not a confirmation in their minds that we were too focused on Mary and not enough on Jesus? Yes it was and is. It is an insult and a slap to our our Lady's face to suggest that the rosary as given by her to the Saint was not centered on her Son enough. Our Lady would never EVER promulgate something against the will of God and esp if it took away from Him and glorified herself. But this is preceisly what JP has led people to believe, that the rosary was too much centered on Mary and not on Jesus. Oh yes, he makes some lovely points in his letter too don't get me wrong but why do Catholics feel this need to downplay Mary to pander to heretics and schismatics? St. Louis de Montfort said that Jesus Christ is not known and loved because Mary is not known. What the world needs is more Mary not less. I have never and will never pray the Luminious Mysteries. Not because there's anything wrong with the mysteries themseles but because I dissapprove of the spirit in which they were given. I hope he saved his soul but I do not pray for his cannonization. May God have mercy on him.


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