Hi all, I have (yet again!) a letter to the editor which I would like you to comment on. It comes from a Protestant minister in Northern Ireland, and concerns the recent controversy about the Church of Ireland Cathedral (St Patrick’s) in Dublin selling rosary beads in its shop… Here is the letter:
“The recent discussion regarding the sale of rosary beads in the Church of Ireland Cathedral in Dublin raises important questions about the rosary itself.
Why are prayer beads (widely used in paganism) required when there is no scriptural support for them?
Do the practitioners need some tangeable assurance that their prayers have been uttered to and heard by God?
Is not the heavenly intercession of the crucified and risen Son of God not enough?
Did not the Lord Jesus command His followers in the Sermon on the Mount, ‘Use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do’?”
This letter will probably be made available on the newspaper’s website www.independent.ie in the coming days…
As I see it, it is not surprising that this minister uses any chance to pour scorn on Catholic practices - after all, the issue of selling the beads is an issue for the powers that be in the Church of Ireland cathedral, yet rather than dealing with the issue he makes out that it is the fault of the Catholic Church!
See how he links Catholicism and paganism - because we both may use beads… although they are certainly not ‘required’ as he purports. And regarding ‘vain repetitions’ - his selective quoting is not surprising - but Christ was talking about those who stand praying on street corners in order to be noticed, right?
I will be grateful for your responses - I feel this is an issue which must be ‘set straight’ on the letters page, because this minister is clearly either misinformed or he will say anything which he thinks will damage the Catholic Church… Many Thanks.
First of all the rosary is not required. It’s a wonderful Gospel centered prayer, but I have never in nearly 61 years on this earth either seen, nor have I ever heard of, anybody:rolleyes: forcing a rosary into someone’s hands at gunpoint…That’s just goofy, and shows the man’s prejudice at work.
Second, you are so right that Jesus was condemning vain repetitions…not all repetitions. If all repetition in prayer were to be forbidden, Jesus would have been:eek: breaking His own rules, because when He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, we are told in Scripture, that He “prayed again in the same words”…(And if Jesus broke the rules, He:eek: sinned, & if He sinned, He was:eek: not perfect, and if Jesus was not perfect, we are all of us (anti-rosary minister included) going to go to hell, because we are without a sacrifice, and therefore all still in our sins…
Third, maybe the rosaries are being sold in the Church of Ireland for non-Catholic Christians like:whistle: me, whose prayer life is built upon the daily rosary…
No, wait,:hmmm: that can’t be right;I actually make rosaries… ( Maybe you shouldn’t mention a:D Methodist rosary maker; the poor wee man may have high blood pressure…).
Maybe it’s because they work.
“Pray without ceasing.”
"The effective fervent prayer of the righteous man accomplishes much." The experience of holy people throughout the ages proves that prayer beads have been an effective tool for helping one “pray without ceasing.”
Vain repetitions can be found everywhere. Jesus didn’t suggest that since some people tend to use vain repetitions, everyone should stop their habit of praying.
Prayer beads are used in all of the major religions** to help their people pray and focus their attention on God.**
I’m not suggesting that we do it, because the Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists do. (The Jewish have tassles with knots on them that amount to 613, the number of laws in the Torah.) I am suggesting that just because they do, it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t. That’s not good enough reasoning.
Second, you are so right that Jesus was condemning vain repetitions…not all repetitions. If all repetition in prayer were to be forbidden, Jesus would have been breaking His own rules, because when He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, we are told in Scripture, that He “prayed again in the same words”…(And if Jesus broke the rules, He sinned, & if He sinned, He was not perfect, and if Jesus was not perfect, we are all of us (anti-rosary minister included) going to go to hell, because we are without a sacrifice, and therefore all still in our sins…
Never mind that “vain repetitions” is a bad translation to English of the Greek word BATALOGUEO.
Post that question on a Greek Orthodox site and they will say that is a bad protestant teaching and a bad protestant translation.
BATALOGUEO actually means some more like ranting or slurring when praying. :eek: :shrug:
Never mind that the Buddists and the Muslims took their prayer beads form nestorian christians.
Lying for Jesus again, that Paisley people.
Jerimiah 44 :2-10, 15-18,
Thus says the lord of Hosts,the God of Israel:You yourselves have seen all the disaster I have brought on Jerusalem and on the towns of Judah.Look at them,today they are a desolation,without an inhabitant in them,because of the wickedness they commited,provoking me to anger in that they went to make offerings and serve other gods that they had not known,neither they, nor you,nor your ancestors.Yet I persistently sent to you all my servants and prophets,saying,Í beg you not to do this abominable thing that I hate! But they did not listen or incline their ear,to turn from their wickedness and make no offerings to other gods.So my wrath and my anger were poured out and kindled in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem;and they became a waste and desolation,as they still are today.
And now thus says the LordGod of hosts,the God of Israel:Why are you doing such great harm to yourselves,to cut off man and woman,child and infant,from the midst of Judah,leaving yourselves without a remnant?Why do you provoke me to anger with the works of your hands, making offerings to other gods in the land of Egypt where you have come to settle?Will you be cut off and become an object of cursing and ridicule amoung all the nations of the earth?Have you forgotten the crimes of your ancestors,of the kings of Judah,of their wives,your own crimes and those of your wives,which they committed in the land of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem?They have shown no contrition or fear to this day,nor have they walked in my law and my statutes that I set before you and before your ancestors.
Then all the men who were aware that their wives had been makng offerings to other gods,and all the women who stood by,a great assembly,all the people who lived in Pathros in the land of Egypt answered Jerimiah:Ás for the word that you have spoken to us in the name of the Lord,we are not going to listen to you.
Instead,we will do everything that we have vowed,make offerings to the queen of heaven and pour out libations to her,just as our ancestors,our kings and our officials,used to do in the towns of Judah and in the strees of Jerusalem.
We used to have plenty of food,and prospered,and saw no misfortune.Bt from the time we stopped making offerings to the queen of heaven and pouring out libations to her, we have lacked everything and have perished by the sword and famine’.
Pray, in Spirit of the living God,for the gift of true discernment, scour his scriptures in Spirit &Truth ,I pray in the name of Jesus the Christ,that he would lead us in His Truth.
God Our Father in Heaven has rebuked serving(paying hommage)
the so named queen of heaven. So who should we beleive? God through the prophets or the Catholicchurches teachings on the queen of heaven?
The Catholic Church’s queen of heaven is different from the OT one being talked about here. They’re not talking about Mary, the one that God Himself proclaimed queen of Heaven. They are praying to a heathen goddess. Besides, Catholics don’t pour out libations to Mary or make offerings to her. So you’re taking it out of context. That’s the problem with Protestants (and why I’m not one anymore). They have no concept of CONTEXT!
Many thanks indeed for all your responses to the letter. I submitted a reply to the newspaper late last night, so I don’t think it’s in today’s paper… In fact, I wouldn’t bet on them publishing it at all - the Irish Independent (like much other media at the moment) is frequently criticised for publishing anti-Catholic views; but fingers crossed that they’ll allow my letter! It is a surprisingly short letter for me- I could so easily have written pages and pages of a response! This is what I sent to them: (I’ve cut out the letter-writer’s name in case I’d break any rules!)
"Sir – It is interesting that Rev __ (Letters 09/02) does not focus his attention on the issue of rosary beads being sold in St Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin; rather he takes this to be a most opportune time to attack the ancient Catholic practice of praying the rosary.
Firstly, Rev Stewart asks why rosary beads are required when there is no scriptural basis for them. I would challenge Rev __ to show readers where or when the Catholic Church has taught that Catholics must use rosary beads or pray the rosary. The rosary is a private devotion which anyone may pray if they so wish, but the Church does not teach that one is obliged to pray it or that it is necessary for one’s salvation. Notice too how Rev __ further attempts to attack the Church by linking the practice of using rosary beads to paganism – can we conclude that Rev __ is opposed to married people wearing gold wedding rings, since this practice is also of pagan origin?
Unsurprisingly, Rev ___ continues by telling us how the rosary is contrary to the Gospel since Christ forbade ‘vain repetitions’ while praying. The truth is that both the Our Father and Hail Mary have their basis in Scripture, as do the mysteries upon which the person meditates. Regarding the claim that ‘vain repetitions’ are forbidden, Rev __ conveniently neglects to explain the context in which Christ was speaking – He was admonishing those who pray and fast in order to be noticed by others. Christ Himself used repetitive prayer in Gethsemane – did He break His own rule then? Should hymns, which are prayers, not be sung more than once since they would, by Rev __’s reckoning, become vain repetitions? Furthermore, ‘vain repetitions’ (the translation found in the King James Bible) is actually a weak and inaccurate translation of the Greek word ‘Battalogeo’, which is better translated as ‘ranting’ or ‘slurring’. In fact, the use of beads can ‘quieten the mind’ and help the person focus more on the prayer which reduces the possibility of the person ranting during their prayer.
Finally, Rev __ has no authority whatsoever to judge people according to how they pray. No prayer is made in vain or unheard by God if it is made with sincerity – whether one speaks their prayer or prays mentally, or whether one prays by meditating on events concerning their redemption during the praying of the rosary.
My apologies and i ask your forgiveness for my ignorance.My faith
has been under attack,to the point(as you have most certainly pointed out)of my being tossed this way and that in my present living situation.I ask for your prayer that Our Lord would srengthen
my failing spirit and guide me into the Light of His presence.
For anyone who’s interested, the letter was published in today’s paper, almost in it’s entirety. You can view it with the link I gave in the original post - it was given the title ‘No Prayer is Made in Vain’ - and you can post replies to the letter on the website if you like… There are, unsurprisingly, already some negative comments! www.independent.ie/opinion/letters/no-prayer-is-made-in-vain-1288517.html
Most catholic and protestant Bibles in Spanish do not use the “repeticiones vanas” (vain repetitions) in Mathew 6. The use so many empty words o Palabrería (the exact Spanish translation for Batalogeo). The only exception that I know is the Reina Valera post 1960 versions.
I checked the original Reina Valera, a Bible trasnlated in the 1500s by Spanish Lutherans and than version do not use the expresion vain repetitions in Mathew 6.
The 1960 version is a uptaded version (think the NKJV to the old KJV) put by hispanic evangelicals with the help of US and British evangelicals and that part was clearly modified to fit angloevangelicals theology on prayer. The Lutherans use prayers beads. And Spanish unlike English had a exact translation for Batalogueo. So the change was made on purpose.