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ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH: Two new mysteries of the Rosary

Tony Mahowald writes: "Although the original rosary had 15 decades of Ave Marias, divided into three sets of "mysteries", the common custom is to make a rosary with only five decades. As far as I know, only some religious nuns and priests ever had a full rosary with 15 decades. The common rosary has been divided into three sets of "mysteries", the "joyful" about the birth and early life of Jesus, the "sorrowful" about the passion and death, and the "glorious" about the resurrection and afterlife. Contrary to your statement, these "mysteries" have always been about Christ's life, not Mary's, although she figures prominently in the "joyful" mysteries. Since the custom is to meditate on the various mysteries while saying the ave marias, one of the anomalies, noted by many Catholics, was the absence of a consideration of the public life of Christ. So, it is a welcome change to add a new set of five "mysteries" on the public life to the previous sets. Since every rosary sold only has five decades, there is obviously no reason for the Catholic woman in England to have to purchase a new rosary".

RH: I simply said that the Vatican now stresses the three sets of mysteries about the life of Jesus, rather than the cult of Mary, which was the theme of all discussions about the rosary in the past.

Ronald Hilton - 11/8/02