In a not so distant past, when the Rosary was prayed aloud, the individual leading the prayers would, invariably, do so while kneeling at a prie–dieu facing the image of the Blessed Virgin Mary. All were united in turning to the representation of Our Lady’s presence. The shift from the prie–dieu to the ambo, and the change in direction, has brought about and continues to foster an altogether unsettling development in the public recitation of the Rosary, analogous to what happens when the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is celebrated at a forward–facing altar. Inevitably, the Rosary takes on a didactic character, in contrast to the contemplative, supplicatory, and doxological movement that has always been its very soul.
During my pilgrimage I could not help but notice the inflation of a verbose didactic approach to the Rosary. Each decade of the Rosary became an opportunity for someone to hold forth about something. These were not mere meditations on the mysteries but, rather, moralising and exhortatory fervorini stitched together with all the fashionable pastoral buzz words. My sense was that people would have preferred to get on with their prayers, and found all this holding forth wearisome. (Read more.)
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