Saturday, August 28, 2021

Cupich: No St. Michael or Hail Mary after Mass

In a surprising move, Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago has instructed his priests not to recite the St. Michael Prayer or the Hail Mary after the mass. This decision has sparked controversy and confusion among many Catholics, who wonder why the cardinal would ban these traditional prayers that have been part of the liturgy for centuries.

The St. Michael Prayer was composed by Pope Leo XIII in 1886, after he had a vision of a fierce battle between good and evil. He ordered that the prayer be said at the end of every low mass, as a way of invoking the protection of the archangel against the forces of darkness. The Hail Mary is one of the most ancient and beloved prayers of the Church, honoring the Blessed Virgin Mary as the Mother of God and asking for her intercession.

Many Catholics have found these prayers to be a source of comfort and strength, especially in times of crisis and persecution. They have also been recommended by several popes and saints as powerful weapons against the devil and his temptations. For example, St. Padre Pio once said: "The rosary is the weapon for these times."

So why would Cardinal Cupich ban these prayers from being said after the mass? According to a letter he sent to his priests, he claims that these prayers are not part of the official liturgy and that they interfere with the "unity" and "solemnity" of the mass. He also says that these prayers should be reserved for private devotion, not public worship.

However, many Catholics disagree with his reasoning and suspect that there is a deeper agenda behind his decision. Some think that he is trying to suppress the traditional and orthodox elements of the faith, in favor of a more progressive and secular approach. Others think that he is afraid of offending other religions or cultures, by emphasizing the Catholic identity and doctrine. Still, others think that he is simply out of touch with the spiritual needs and desires of his flock, who crave more reverence and devotion in their worship.

Whatever his motives may be, Cardinal Cupich's decision has been met with resistance and criticism from many faithful Catholics, who see it as an attack on their rights and freedoms as members of the Church. Some have even started a petition to urge him to reverse his decision and restore these prayers to their rightful place after the mass. They argue that these prayers are not only compatible with the liturgy but also enhance it, by reinforcing the themes of faith, hope, and charity that are expressed in the mass.

They also point out that these prayers are not mandatory, but optional, and that each priest should have the freedom to decide whether to say them or not, according to his conscience and pastoral judgment. They say that Cardinal Cupich's decision is an abuse of his authority and a violation of their rights as Catholics.

Cardinal Cupich is also mistaken in his reasoning. While it is true that the Mass and its rites are more important, this does not mean Catholics cannot pray other prayers during it. Other prayers are allowed as long as they are in harmony with the faith. Pius XII in his encyclical Mediator Dei has this to say:  

108. Many of the faithful are unable to use the Roman missal even though it is written in the vernacular; nor are all capable of understanding correctly the liturgical rites and formulas. So varied and diverse are men's talents and characters that it is impossible for all to be moved and attracted to the same extent by community prayers, hymns and liturgical services. Moreover, the needs and inclinations of all are not the same, nor are they always constant in the same individual. Who, then, would say, on account of such a prejudice, that all these Christians cannot participate in the Mass nor share its fruits? On the contrary, they can adopt some other method which proves easier for certain people; for instance, they can lovingly meditate on the mysteries of Jesus Christ or perform other exercises of piety or recite prayers which, though they differ from the sacred rites, are still essentially in harmony with them.

PopeLeo XIII even recommended the Rosary to be said during Mass.  In 1883 Pope Leo XIII wrote in his Encyclical Supremi Apostolatus:

“Not only do we earnestly exhort all Christians to give themselves to the recital of the pious devotion of the Rosary publicly or privately in their own house and family, and that unceasingly, but we also desire that the whole of the month of October in this year should be consecrated to the Holy Queen of the Rosary. We decree and order that in the whole Catholic world, during this year, the devotion of the Rosary shall be solemnly celebrated by special and splendid services.

From the first day of next October, therefore, until the second day of the November following, in every parish and, if the ecclesiastical authority deem it opportune and of use, in every chapel dedicated to the Blessed Virgin – let five decades of the Rosary be recited with the addition of the Litany of Loreto.

We desire that the people should frequent these pious exercises; and we will that either Mass shall be said at the altar, or that the Blessed Sacrament shall be exposed to the adoration of the faithful, Benediction being afterwards given with the Sacred Host to the pious congregation. We highly approve of the confraternities of the Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin going in procession, following ancient custom, through the town, as a public demonstration of their devotion. And in those places where this is not possible, let it be replaced by more assiduous visits to the churches, and let the fervor of piety display itself by a still greater diligence in the exercise of the Christian virtues.” (English edition, 9/1/1883 n. 8)

What do you think about this issue? Do you agree or disagree with Cardinal Cupich's decision? Do you think these prayers should be said after the mass or not? Share your thoughts in the comments below on Disqus.  Remember that only appropriate comments will be permitted. 


Chicago Archbishop Cupich allegedly stops public prayers after Mass at Illinois parish | Catholic News Agency

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