Requirements of the Holy See
SIR. — With your permission I would offer a final letter on the subject of the Rosary recitation at Mass. 1 du so in the hope of achieving an eirenicon rather than attempting to get the better of other people's arguments; also, I would refute the suggestion that some of us are wanting in loyalty to the Holy See.
First, then, in regard to Our Lady's Mediation, I would stress the fact the Mass itself affords all and more than the Rosary itself can achieve. In each Mass all who pray the Liturgy itself use these words: "Therefore, I beg Blessed Mary . .. to pray for me"; so also, " Communicating with, and honouring in the first place the memory of the ever glorious and Virgin Mary . . as also of the blessed apostles Peter and Paul," etc. Other passages will occur to all in which all the saints and angels are invoked. Hence, by praying the Mass we assert the complete doctrine of the Communion of Saints, for the recitation of the names of the forty or so blessed ones in the Mass is no mere historical pageantry, as is the stately list in Luke iii, but equivalent invocation. Thus, the Mass fully exercises the mediation of Our Lady and also the intercession of the entire Company of Heaven. Now I come to the matter of loyalty to the requirements of the Holy See. Students of theology are well aware that one of the glories of the scholastic method is its instance on the dignity of the in tellect in the life of faith. Thus, each treatise has not only its proofs from Scripture and Tradition but also from Reason.
Now, the careful reader of the present correspondence will have noticed some of us are deeply concerned to find a rational explanation for the seeming contradiction between the October decrees of Leo X111 and the famous pronouncement of Pius X that " the primary and indispensable source " for " acquiring the true Christian spirit is active participation in the Liturgy," which words are but a fine summary of the universal teaching of Catholic theology that the Liturgy is the prayer of Christ and the Church, and as such is the unique intercession, excelling all other forms of prayer in sanctity and potency. No mere congregational praying, as by thc Rosary, can compare in value with this supreme and corporate prayer of the entire fellowship of Christ and His members.
How, then, reconcile the seeming contradiction between the Leonine injunction and the teaching of Pius and all theology?
I have already offered a solution in default of any better one, and that is: that the October form of intercession, so far as its use in Mass is concerned, was imposed at a time when congregational Mass praying was in abeyance, the laity being silenced at sung Mass and dumb at Low. That state of affairs was still the case in the time of Pius X, who wisely left the Rosary devotions as they were but concentrated on preparing the way for the restoration of the liturgy to the people of God.
Indeed, it is only now that the laity are beginning to benefit by the saintly Pope's leadership in regaining for them their full share in the Mass. So, till now the only possible way to have congregational inter cession has been the Rosary or some such means, but now we can say with truth that the supreme form of congregational prayer is regaining its place. I claim, therefore, that so far from disparaging Our Lady's title of Queen of the Most Holy Rosary I have made a humble contribution towards a yet more honourable one—Queen of the Most Holy Liturgy! While, so far from challenging the Authority of the Holy See, I have upheld that Authority by shewing, in the traditional manner of Catholic theology, that two Papal utterances, seemingly contradictory, have a full reconciliation in the field of reason.
ARTHUR JOHN VALENTIN.
The Catholic Rectory, Stevenage, Herts.
The part of this correspondence dealing specifically with the question 1.f the public recitabion of the! Rosary during Muss in October is fl OW closed.—EtnioR.1