21 December 2009

Climate Change and the Holy Rosary

Heard some fool on the wireless saying that Climate Change is totally obvious; "You only have to look out of the kitchen window to see it". I promptly looked out onto a frozen scene and entered upon a discussion with Pam about whether it was sensible for her to set off for Sussex. Not that I'm a Global Warming Denier or anything as wickled as that. I just wish I could See a bit more of what, in obedience to the scientific Magisterium, I devoutly Believe in - after all, this is S Thomas's Day - without being able to See. Or feel.

Comments on a recent post rightly point out that the earlier history of the Mysteries of the Rosary was quite flexible and fluid*. Very true. What I think was a little unfortunate about the Mysteries of Light was
(1) there should be 150 Aves, not 200, because the Rosay is (and in medieval texts is usually referred to as) Our Lady's Psalter; and
(2) JP2's initiative complicated the traditional distribution of the Rosary over the days of the week.

Nevertheless, I do say them from time to time ...'for a change' ...


*On appropriate days I say this five: Immaculate Conception; Nativity; Presentation; Espousals; Annunciation of our Lady; or these of S John Baptist: Annunciation to Zachary; Visitation of our Lady; Nativity of S John; Baptism of Christ; Decollation. (I think it is not entirely happy that in much of the Western Church the ancient and ecumenical devotion to S John Baptist has been de facto replaced by that to S Joseph ... not that I have anything against him ... )


Rubricarius said...

The 'scientific magisterium' suggests that one effect of global warming would be to make this Sceptered Isle colder with the loss of the warming effect of the Gulf Stream.

A friend always reminds me when the temperatur drops of the line in 'Black Adder II' when Edmund comments to his wealthy aunt that the weather is cold...

GOR said...

I agree, Father, that the addition of the Luminous Mysteries threw a spanner in the works of the Rosary as ‘Our Lady’s Psalter’ and I took a while to warm up to this addition of JPII. We don’t like our comfort with tradition and custom being disturbed.

Perhaps he should have followed the tradition of good Irish Catholic mothers and just added some ‘Trimmings’ to the existing Rosary…? The number of Aves would have exceeded 150 to be sure, but it would have preserved the original intact, while allowing for some ‘customization’.

Not much sign of that ‘Global Warming’ on this side of the pond either - by the way!

Unknown said...

When the snow lay round about...

The Daily Telegraph ran a story on 3 November headed "Climate change belief given same legal status as religion", reporting that "An executive has won the right to sue his employer on the basis that he was unfairly dismissed for his green views after a judge ruled that environmentalism had the same weight in law as religious and philosophical beliefs."

And take a look at http://churchofglobalwarming.com/

Unfortunately, there are elements in the Church who seem convinced that their entirely legitimate charitable sense requires them to accept the specific claims made by the acolytes of the global warming (greenhouse gas, carbon footprint etc.) cult. This is surely a big mistake. To the extent that there are entirely secular debates about these environmental matters, which are far from being resolved, and indeed may never be, and presently engage thousands of scientists with widely differing and sometimes entirely opposed views - the debates also being heavily manipulated for political purposes - the duty of the Church itself must be to keep out of them. It has enough questions to puzzle over on which it does have expertise.

Michael McDonough said...

Fr. H,

I think my comment in that earlier post really belongs here.

How can anybody but applaud your own devotion of praying "dedicated" mysteries on appropriate feast days? I think that's the essence of the "spirit of the Rosary" as a devotion.

Perhaps the RC finickiness comes from the sense that certain mysteries are "indulgenced", and therefore of greater (canonical?) worth than others?

While "legal language" may have much to do with the language of Latin liturgy (as you yourself have mentioned on this blog), it seems that legalisms can become a bane of Latin Christian spirituality, when the cart is placed before the horse.

BTW, I appreciate your image of "Doubting Thomas" in relation to our attitude toward "global warming". The irony of being unable to "see and feel" what the scientists are asserting hints at the need for "human faith" in them in order to truly believe.

But, is it truly wicked to "oppose funding and economic restructuring" of what one cannot even fathom?

Unknown said...

Tell your good lady not to come anywhere near Sussex. Already we have impacted snow which has turned to ice. It is now pouring with rain so if that freezes it will be absolutely lethal.

Rubricarius said...

Well in London the snow is now thick on the ground, deep and crisp and even (as the psalms were before 1911!).

If the good Mrs. Hunwicke gets stuck on route do tell her she is welcome to stay the night here if she needs a bed for the night.

Unknown said...

It must remembered that the addition of the 5 luminous mysteries was only a suggestion by John Paul II. Catholics are perfectly in their right if they ignore this innovation.

If Paul VI had made clear that Bugnini's weapon of mass destruction was only an option and the traditional missal still in force, as Summorum Pontificum explains, the liturgical landscape would perhaps be very different today.

Unknown said...

A comment from 2003, by Christopher A. Ferrara:
< Not content with his central role in the disastrous "liturgical renewal" of Pope Paul VI, Annibale Bugnini also proposed a "renewal" of Marian devotional practices. In September1972 he drafted a schema in this regard and submitted it to the Congregation for Divine Worship. In this schema, Bugnini proposed to rearrange the Rosary.

Paul VI responded to [his proposals] through the Vatican Secretary of State: "[T]he faithful would conclude that ‘the Pope has changed the Rosary,’ and the psychological effect would be disastrous…. Any change in it cannot but lessen the confidence of the simple and the poor."(2) Undeterred by this rejection, Bugnini obstinately presented two more schemas calling for revisions in various practices of Marian devotion. In each schema Bugnini smuggled in more paragraphs calling for revisions to the Rosary. His third schema prompted a specific request by Pope Paul VI for "deletion of some paragraphs on the rosary and the removal also of a reference to a different order of the mysteries." The Pope admonished Bugnini that: "The rosary is to remain single in form and unchanged from what it now is. Let any new forms of Marian devotion take their place alongside the Rosary." Recognizing his defeat, Bugnini noted that "in the fourth schema all references to a revision of the rosary have disappeared…"(3) Two years later Bugnini was suddenly sacked as Secretary of the Consilium ....

It has taken nearly another forty years, but the heirs of Bugnini have finally come for the Rosary. With the publication Rosarium Virginis Mariae (RVM), the traditional form of the Rosary canonized by Pope St. Pius V in his bull Consueverunt has been overthrown. RVM makes an unprecedented innovation of the Rosary by abruptly introducing a fourth cycle of "luminous mysteries" consisting of events from the public life of Christ: "(1) [Christ’s] baptism in the Jordan; (2) "his (sic) self-manifestation at the wedding of Cana"; (3) "his proclamation of the Kingdom of God, with his call to conversion; (4) "his institution of the Eucharist, as the sacramental expression of the Paschal Mystery." This change, together with RVM’s proposal for at least six other modifications of the Rosary (which the neo-Catholic press has neglected to mention), threatens to subject the foundational prayer of Catholic piety to the same process of endless tinkering that destroyed the Roman Rite. How far the process will go now that it has been unleashed is anyone’s guess; but if the state of the New Mass is any indication, we have good reason to dread what the New Rosary will look like in a few years. >

John said...

A commentator on local radio was having great fun last week pointing out that it was snowing on the Global Warming Fest in Copenhagen. About 10 inches at the time of the broadcast.

And how often does it snow at Christmastime in Copenhagen? Pretty close to never, apparently. Seven times in the last century, so he said.



Kiran said...

Fr. Hunwicke, I like that. The Rosary is a private devotion, and I think it is quite appropriate within proper limits, to meditate on different aspects of the Gospels. Your particular suggestions are wonderful. Thank you.

As to the implications for the change from the Rosary being "Our Lady's Psalter" I think part of JPII's point is that the Rosary does not need to replace the Office for laity any more. Indeed, in some sense, I think this is a necessary corrective to the tendency to replace liturgical devotions with extra-liturgical ones, or to place the Rosary above the Office. I tend to prefer the other suggestions he suggested in the letter, though, such as focusing on the naming of Jesus, and adding the mystery in the middle.

I don't know though that the traditional devotion to St. John the Baptist has been replaced by that to St. Joseph. I, for one, have always had a greater devotion to the former. But they are also presented under different aspects: St. Joseph usually associated with labour and fatherhood, and St. John with pointing toward the Lord and self-denial.

Fr John Abberton said...

I have been doing a little research on climate change and posted an essay on it, mainly for "Catholics" - http://watchthinkpray.blogspot.com

I was an early environmentalist nerd having been taken in by the scare in the 70's about the prophesied ice age (which was due around 1984). I bought lots of books and formed a prayer group. I was in seminary at the time. I am now healthily sceptical.

Joshua said...

Don't forget the Mysteries of St Anne, Grandmother of God:

1. St Anne, specially graced by God, marries St Joachim;

2. St Anne conceives Our Lady without stain of sin;

3. St Anne brings forth Our Lady to the worlde;

4. St Anne and St Joachim present Our Lady to God in the Temple;

5. St Anne reposes in death, and comes to live forever with God in Heaven.

Fr John Hunwicke said...

Kiran: I agree. And thank you for your kind words.

My point was an impressionistic one; that in the Middle Ages Guilds etc of S John B abounded, with sidechapels and endowed lights; of S Joseph practically nothing. And that the same popularity of S John is found nowadays in Byzantine Iconography. But that in post-counter-reformation West, there is comparatively little about S John ... and a great deal about S Joseph.

Chris said...

Indeed - in mediƦval England, churches of S John the Baptist abounded (the Evangelist was far rarer). S Joseph never even made it into the Sarum calendar.