Monday, January 15, 2007

Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor promotes popular devotions

Background briefing. The popular devotions mentioned here have often been the subject of official disaproval in recent decades: devotional images have been removed from churches, public devotions discontinued, and so on. Accordingly, the Cardinal's words are significant.

From The Catholic Herald: The Archbishop of Westminster said he lamented the decline of acts of popular piety - such as fasting and abstinence, the Stations of the Cross, praying the rosary and praying before the Blessed Sacrament -because they were a 'good means of deepening our faith'. Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor said such acts, as well as going to confession, a practice which is also in decline, were 'truly part of Catholic tradition and devotion and are a nourishment to our faith, and I would encourage them'. 'There are many other ways in which you, my dear people, can develop those practices which are truly rooted in Catholic tradition and bring you closer to Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the world,' he said in a pastoral letter read out at every Mass in the Archdiocese of Westminster last Sunday. 'How many people pray before meals or, indeed, after them, recognising that all we have is a gift from God?' he asked. 'How many parents pray, not only for your children, but with your children as they grow up? How happy I am when so many children tell me they pray at home at night with their parents before going to bed.' He said 'reading of Scripture and especially a reading of the four Gospels are things which are deeply significant for the nourishment of our faith'.

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Pope Leo XIII's Prayer to St Michael

Holy Michael, Archangel, defend us in the day of battle. Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, thrust down to Hell Satan, and all wicked spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen