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ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH: Two new mysteries of the Rosary

Bienvenido Macario sends me a column from a Philippine newspaper, which reports that "An article by a Catholic woman in the British newspaper Independent (10/20/02) lamented John Paul II's suggestion to add another set of mysteries to the rosary. She said the changes meant she wasted her money earlier this year when she bought a rosary for a friend. The proposed mysteries "are just part of a sinister Church plan to bring extra money flowing into the Vatican coffers as the devout dump their old beads and have to buy new ones."

The history of the Rosary is interesting. The Catholic Church holds its feast on October 7, the anniversary of the Spanish victory over the Turks at Lepanto in 1571. The great port city of Rosario in Argentine celebrates it. The rosary consisted of 15 decades (tens) of 10 beads each, but now it consists of 5 decades. Each bead is supposed to be accompanied by an Ave Maria. Protestants rejected the rosary, since it is devoted to Mary, not to Jesus. The Vatican must have been sensitive to this criticism, since now it divides the beads into three themes: the joyous, related to the birth of Christ, the sorrowful, related to his crucifixion, and the glorious, referring to his triumph. The gross motive attributed by the article to the adding of beads by Pope John Paul II seems unfair, I have seen no satisfactory explanation of the motivation behind the change. The old trinity of beads made sense to me.

Ronald Hilton - 11/8/02