Apparent Contradictions of the Rosary


I’m sick of what appears to be excess Marian devotion. Either we receive Jesus in the Eucharist or we don’t; either we can have a personal relationship with him or we can’t. It is nonsensical to receive Jesus in the Eucharist but then pray in the Rosary “that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.” Receiving Christ is greater than receiving his promises; receiving Christ and being in His body already means we are receiving his promises, especially if the Kingdom of God is here, as Jesus preaches in the Rosary itself. What am I missing?

I’ve been reading through John Paul II’s “Rosarium Virginis Mariae” and, despite its encouraging words and being halfway through the letter, my questions remain. He has spoken of the value of the prayer, but has not explained this value of Mary, why she is Queen over her husband Joseph (and how is that, when we are all one in Jesus? the sign of peace in Mass signifying our equality), and it is ambiguous whether we must receive Jesus through her, especially when Jesus comes to us of his own volition every Sunday in the Eucharist.I’m trying to pray five mysteries of the Holy Rosary daily, but my faith is weak and I daily fear for my salvation; I do not feel close to God at all. (Being stressed and depressed over this summer job doesn’t help.)


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In regard to the Rosary - is your friend suggesting that we are ever worthy to receive the Eucharist? Of course we never are - which is why at Mass before we receive we pray ‘Lord, I am not worthy to receive you …’.

Since His word is capable of make us worthy, why not Mary’s prayers as well? It’s not like the two are mutually exclusive or it can only be one or the other!

As for ‘receiving the Eucharist is greater than receiving His promises’ - uhh, no. It IS one of His promises, for starters.

For seconds, as Paul says many receive Our Lord unworthily and without discernment, and thus to their condemnation rather than their salvation. So merely receiving is not in all cases the fulfilment of any promise, nor in all cases greater than anything else - it can be worse!

We need to pray that we may not receive Him unworthily, to Our Lord, to Mary, and to every other blessed saint and angel who can help us, and they all can.


Well, Jesus strongly suggests that we are worthy to receive Him in the Eucharist (assuming we recognize His divine presence in it): He tells us “No longer do I call you servants; Now I call you friends, …” in the Gospel.

Also, it seems the institution of the Eucharist, the system as it’s currently established, was a promise to us (see John 6). He is not his promise: He is Himself. He promises to come; His promise is fulfilled in the action of coming. Thus, I mean that receiving Him is greater than receiving His promises: His inherent value as God is infinitely greater than the value of our eternal salvation, is it not? But there is ambiguity here, because our eternal salvation entails being in God (and God being one in all). So it seems God and our salvation are interrelated, since our salvation involves being in God. In this case, receiving God in the Eucharist seems to have equal value as our eternal life, and the two are inexorably interrelated, as Jesus tells us that ‘He who eats me shall live forever’ (John 6:51). So the contradiction remains: If Jesus’ words are true, why then the intercessory prayer?

Furthermore, I still don’t see how Mary’s prayers make us worthy of the promises of Christ, when it was Jesus’ Crucifixion and Resurrection that make us worthy of the promises of Christ – if Jesus saving Passion was salvific, then Mary’s prayers are superfluous. I recognize that sanctification is a journey, not an event, but Jesus’ Passion seems infinitely greater than the prayer of righteous creatures.

As far as I’m aware, I’m reflecting only on Catholic theology and doctrine. I’m trying to understand it and see how it’s self-consistent. Right now, I see a problem; it looks like we ask for the power of Mary because we doubt in the power of God, although Mary’s power is God’s, and as the Catechism tells us, her intercession only has value because of Jesus’ role as mediator. I’m still not quite grasping the full picture, though: ultimately, my problem lies in the idea of intercession; I just don’t get it.


First let me say that the rosary is a private devotion and no one is required to say it ever. It is a pious practice that we Catholics have used for hundreds of years as a way to draw closer to God himself. Each mystery is a meditation on Jesus, not Mary or any other Saint. (Even the last 2 mysteries of the Glorious decade, while they appear to be about Mary are really also about Jesus.)

That being said, I do like the rosary and try to say it regularly. I do not say it every day and recently it hasn’t even been weekly, which I regret.

Going to Mass each Sunday and Holy Day and receiving Christ in the Eucharist once a year are our minimum requirements. Most of us here strive to do much more than that because we know how desperately we need the graces of every prayer and pious practice to keep us within God’s will.

For many, saying the rosary and other Marian devotions are very good ways to keep us close to Christ. Mary is the “God-bearer”, the first tabernacle on Earth. God chose her out of all woman in all time to be the Mother of Jesus the God-man. It is her flesh (ova) that provided Jesus’ flesh when he was conceived and lived on Earth. That makes her worthy of great honor! In scripture she says, “all generations will call me blessed for God has done great things to me”, in praying the rosary and other deveotions, we are fulfilling that prophecy.

Of course, our relationship to Christ, our attendance at Mass, our adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is much more important than any Marian devotion. But that does not mean there is no place at all for those sorts of devotions. For you perhaps saying the Chaplet of Divine Mercy or prayers to the Sacred Heart of Christ would be more meaningful. Please do not feel you must say the rosary, but do not say that it is against Christ or His Church to do so.


Mary leads us to Christ, so we shouldn’t fear “excess devotion” to her.

The Rosary is very powerful :slight_smile: A book that really helped me is “Secret of the Rosary” by St Louis de Montfort.

The Rosary leads us to greater understanding of Christ, at the same time we are asking the intercession of His Mother who is closer to Him than anyone ever was, is, or will be


Before Theology there is Love. You will understand Marian Theology only if you love Mary first. Before logic, there is passion; to me, I seems logic can be only a subset of passion.

Quoting Rosarium Virginis Mariae:

“The Rosary, though clearly Marian in character, is at heart a Christocentric prayer.”

This way, there is no contradiction on the Rosary, because it is no “Marycentric”.


Paulo Nei


You will understand Marian Theology only if you love Mary first.



Hi ethereality,

Your questions are good, and it’s excellent that you’re trying to discover the truth. As to whether or not we’re worthy of the Eucharist, keep in mind that during mass, we pray the words of the centurion in Luke 7:6. And keep in mind that when the centurion sent his friends to say this to Jesus, Jesus didn’t rebuke him, but commented that “I have not found so great faith, not even in Israel”, so this is certainly an attitude that we should be having. Keep in mind that Jesus is God himself, so we humans are certainly not worthy to receive his body and blood. It is only because of God’s good grace that he allows us to receive him and all the graces that come with the Eucharist. Similarly, we are not worthy of the things he did for us on the cross. So, we are not worthy of His promises.

Next is the topic of the power of the intercessory prayer of Mary. Since we are not worthy, it makes sense that we would pray to be made worthy. Similarly, we may also ask others to pray for us for the same purpose. We as Catholics believe that those in heaven aren’t separated from us, they can still hear us and pray for us. And since they’re fully in God’s presence in heaven, their prayer is especially fruitful. That is why we can ask the saints (like Mary) to pray for us, that we be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

On your final point, to understand more why Catholics see Mary as Queen, whereas we also believe that God does not have favourites, I suggest you read Hail Holy Queen by Scott Hahn, or some of the articles on this page:

I hope I could answer some of your questions!

God Bless


First, Mary is Queen as Mother, i.e., the Queen Mother of King Jesus. Second, it was she, not Joseph, who gave birth to Christ, thus her place as Mother of God in salvation history (and Heaven) is higher than Joseph’s.

Third, what you express is often seen here among Protestants who are uncomfortable with an understanding of anyone, including the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Divine Savior and hence Mother of God, being at an advantage - by God’s predilection - in the Trinitarian life. Everyone in their eyes is equally a saint and a sinner, with no one able to be so transformed by grace past a “Jesus and me” moment as to be the true and fully human person he or she was created to be in Christ with the individuality of each soul’s response that this entails.

Further, the discomfiture appears when there is a diminished understanding of what the grace flowing from Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit accomplishes in the faithful soul as he or she progresses in this Christ-life; they do not understand that we are being divinized (“do you not know you have become partakers of the divine nature?”). A Catholic knows that Mary’s participation in the life of the Trinity is of a higher “status” or “role” than ours or any of the Saints in heaven, canonized or not. The Catholic says, “Yes, this is what we have by grace and since these is what we have the Blessed and Ever-Virgin Mary - by grace - has it in spades!”

Why is there consternation that she who bore the Son of God would be preserved from all sin or that she should rightly be seen in her faithfulness as the New Eve and the true Daughter of Zion and all the other titles and prerogatives given to the Mother of God? A lack of understanding of Mary’s role in salvation history and her prerogatives as Mother of God is an implicit diminution of the reality of Who Jesus is and what His Church is.

Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange’s seminal work on Mary’s role and prerogatives of grace, The Mother of the Saviour, would be a helpful study for you.


Amen, Sister. Well said!


Amen! For those who dislike Marian devotion (and I was certainly one of them), please consider: the Priest leads us to Christ. Our parents, through passing on the faith, lead us to Christ. Our brothers and sisters, through their counsel, prayer and example, lead us to Christ. So, why should we grieve the Mother of God, whose current purpose is exactly the same?

I was annoyed by Marian devotion for almost two decades. Than, at one particular bible study, all of my hesitancy and doubt melted away. Are there some, perhaps even many, who overdo Marian devotion? Certainly. But, how can this be worse than those we know who do not know Christ at all? Do we speak as much about them?


I’m trying to pray five mysteries of the Holy Rosary daily, but my faith is weak and I daily fear for my salvation; I do not feel close to God at all. (Being stressed and depressed over this summer job doesn’t help.)

That is not what the sign of peace signifies. The sign of peace is about reconciling with each other before we present ourselves for Communion. It is a sign of unity but not of equality.

It sounds like most of your questions revolve around the Hail Holy Queen prayer. Have you tried saying the Rosary decades without that one prayer?


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