Sunday, August 9, 2015


As can be seen from the comments on KIKO: "NO ROSARY FOR 12 YEARS", most are taken aback by the obvious assault on one of the most central practices of our faith: praying the rosary.

However, we must once again note that Kiko has not done anything that was not already being done by our "regular church", the one we say that we "want back." Once again, Kiko is just taking it to the next level.

We may not have noticed it on Guam, but in most developed countries, personal acts of traditional Catholic piety, and Marian devotion in particular, collapsed after Vatican II. 
"...there was a marked decline in Marian devotion, and this still is the case. Marian devotion is not at all what it was 60 years ago..."
Within a year of the close of the Council (1965), the Marian altar in my parish church - which was located at the front of the church and to the left of the sanctuary - was removed. In its place was the tabernacle - which itself had been removed from its place behind the altar, and the statue of Mary was moved to an obscure niche along the side aisle of the church. 

The downgrading of the actual physical position of images of Mary in church buildings, or their removal altogether, was accompanied by a similar downgrading and disappearance of Marian devotion from Catholic life. 

Getting rid of Mary wasn't just a matter of removing images, the post Vatican II 1970 English translation of the Lectionary got rid of the words "full of grace" from the Gospel for December 8, the very day we celebrate her being "full of grace". (John Paul II ordered "full of grace" back into the Lectionary in 1998.)

A post Vatican II translation of the Bible (the New American Bible) did the same, replacing "full of grace" with "favored one." (Lk 1:28) Similarly, the verse which was the inspiration for thousands of images of Mary standing on the head of "The Serpent", Genesis 3:15, was altered to remove Mary as the serpent crusher.

Consider the pre-Vatican II translation...
I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel. (Gen 3:15, Douay Rheims)
...versus the one we have now (from the USCCB website):  
I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; They will strike at your head, while you strike at their heel. (Gen 3:15, New American Bible)
Actually, the use of "they" is an improvement. Before this latest edition, the translation read "he will strike at your head", and in one translation (New Jerusalem), it says "it will strike." "They" at least acknowledges Mary's cooperative role in our redemption, but the current translation still eliminates the words "she shall crush thy head", words which inspired centuries of Marian images depicting exactly that. 

With the destruction of Marian altars, the banishing of her image to obscure places (if kept at all), the 28 year absence of the words "full of grace" from the Gospel on the day we are supposed to celebrate her being "full of grace" (the Immaculate Conception), the continued removal of those words in the official "Catholic" translation of the bible used in the U.S. (New American Bible), and her disappearance from Scripture as the "serpent crusher," can the laity be blamed for the collapse of Marian devotion and disregard for the rosary?

By the way, the only Marian apparition in which Mary names herself is the apparition that came to be known as Our Lady of Guadalupe. I say "came to be known" because the name "Guadalupe" was a "mishearing" of the Aztec name the Blessed Virgin gave to St. Juan Diego's uncle: "Te Coatlaxopeuh" - translated literally it means "she who crushes the stone serpent". Read more here

Some on Guam will argue that the rosary is alive and well on Guam. But it persists primarily as "the rosary for the dead", and even then it is a devotion usually led by "professionals". Like elsewhere in the West, the rosary is not the central family devotion it once was and, apart from the "elders", few know how to pray it on their own without the help of a printed guide.

I bring all this up because so many people wonder how Kiko "get's away with it." They wonder "why doesn't Rome do anything." Kiko gets away with his liturgical aberrations, his discrediting of traditional Catholic piety, and his obtuse theology because we ourselves, for decades, have been permitting liturgical aberrations, disregarding traditional Catholic piety (will you pray the rosary tonight with your family?), and subscribing to all kinds of obtuse theology, and long before we heard of Kiko Arguello. 

Kiko Arguello, like other impostors and charlatans, both political and religious, has simply "seized the moment." And that moment is a perfect storm of a weak Catholic hierarchy, morally compromised clergy, a Curia rotten with corruption and infighting, a Catholic laity that has been contracepting itself out of existence, and the ascendancy of "God loves me no matter what" over the hard catechetical knowledge of what God actually demands and what one day will be required if we are to end up with the sheep and not the goats. 

Fight back. Pray the rosary. Pray it tonight. Pray it with your family. I will. 

Quotes about the Rosary from popes and saints and learn more about the origins of the rosary here


  1. I'm happy to say I just finished praying the rosary with my 6 year old daughter who asked me if we could say the rosary before going to bed. Mother Mary, pray for us all.

  2. in my own parish here in seattle, although the images of mary are not super-obscure, marian devotion at the "official" parish level--devotion promoted by the parish itself--is virtually nonexistent. almost all of the rosaries you'd see are the ones held by the elderly filipino and vietnamese folks praying quietly on their own. i'm not even sure if people going through rcia learn the hail mary.

    back in my fd days, or at least the first one or two years, we prayed the rosary once a week (maybe more?) as a class. the marist brother who taught us theology was strongly devoted to the rosary. he even had slides (actually, a filmstrip) put on a projector to help us meditate.


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