What To Do When The Priest Gives You Hail Marys To Pray For Penance And You Don't Pray To Mary?

I haven’t had it happen yet, but I assume it will at some point when I go to confession the priest will give me a few Hail Marys to pray.

I don’t pray to Mary. I know it’s not required of Catholics and I feel that prayer should be only directed at God/Jesus. I don’t pray to saints either. I am not saying it’s right or wrong, it’s just something I don’t do.

Can I tell the priest that I do not pray to Mary?

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This most Holy Synod deliberately teaches this Catholic doctrine and at the same time admonishes all the sons of the Church that the cult, especially the liturgical cult, of the Blessed Virgin, be generously fostered, and the practices and exercises of piety, recommended by the magisterium of the Church toward her in the course of centuries be made of great moment, and those decrees, which have been given in the early days regarding the cult of images of Christ, the Blessed Virgin and the saints, be religiously observed…Let the faithful remember moreover that true devotion consists neither in sterile or transitory affection, nor in a certain vain credulity, but proceeds from true faith, by which we are led to know the excellence of the Mother of God, and we are moved to a filial love toward our mother and to the imitation of her virtues.
–Lumen Gentium, Ch. 8, Section IV, paragraph 67.

Mary deserves your filial affection. You have to ask yourself why you are so afraid to develop this relationship. I would suggest you read Chapter 8 of Lumen Gentium. Perhaps your fears will be put to rest and you’ll develop an appreciation for why the Church does venerate the Blessed Virgin Mary.

As for your original question, recitation of the Hail Mary is not contrary to the faith. You are capable of performing this as a penance. If your confessor tells you to do it, then do it. If you study this question again and still have difficulty with it, ask your pastor to explain the matter to you and put your fears to rest.

I’m sorry, but no. I will not pray to Mary. God/Jesus is who I pray to and no one else. I never said it was contrary to the faith, as a matter of fact, I said it’s neither right or wrong.

Since it is not a requirement to do so, I guess I have answered my own question. I will just tell the priest that I do not pray to Mary and to give me a different penance.

Also, you shouldn’t make assumptions about people.

There is no fear involved in my not praying to Mary. I pray only to God/Jesus, not out of fear, but because He is God.

Since it’s not a requirement to pray to Mary, I do not do so. It’s truly as simple as God is God and there is no requirement to pray to Mary.

It is “right” to pray to Our Lady.

Oh oh…so you never ask anyone anything? Dad can you help me with …or Mom can you help me? Or excuse me store clerk - can you help me? Or even Dad can you pray for me to get a job?

To pray means here simply to ask …

Our lives would be rather contrary to nature if we never asked anyone for help…

Never said that either.

People love reading things into posts that just aren’t there.

Read it again. In conjunction with the next post.


Jimmy Akin of Catholic Answers

Your premise is wrong friend. A Catholic is required to pray to Our Lady. You gave a great example in the OP: penance assigned in the confessional. Praying the Hail Mary is perhaps the most common penance assigned. Once a penance is assigned, you are bound to complete it. To refuse to complete your penance would itself be a new sin. The Church herself invokes the intercession of Mary in the holy mass - and all Catholics are required to pray the Mass with the priest. Certain Marian feasts are holy days of obligation (these vary from country to county)- on those days a Catholic is bound to pray with the Church as Mary is praised and, indeed, prayed to as part of the Mass. She is our mother. We can’t avoid her completely.
Are you aware that the Hail Mary is taken straight from the Gospel of St Luke?
If you have difficulties with prayer to Our Lady or the saints that’s ok. But I urge you to investigate more and work through those difficulties.

“Because the verb “to pray” means “to ask.” The English word “pray” originally simply meant “ask,”” - Jimmy Akin

May request a change in penance.

But we are to accept the penance given - if you cannot accept it - you need to ask it be changed.

I urge you though to come to know more fully the reality of the Communion of Saints and place give Our Lady by God.

No, Catholics are not required to pray to Mary. So my premise is indeed correct.I am in RCIA because I am a returning cradle Catholic and they have said that the Hail Mary is not a requirement, that not one prayer needs to be said to Mary. It is a privilege, but not a requirement of the church to do so.

No thanks.

I only pray to God/Jesus. That will not change, so thank you for answering my question. I will request a change if given that penance.

I have asked that this thread be closed as I have received an answer to my question.

There is no further need for answers.

Pray to Jesus to help you see better the place of Our Lady and prayer to her and others in the heavenly part of the Communion of the Saints.

If you can’t pray a Hail Mary out of conviction, then do so out of obedience to the priest who assigned it as penance.

Obedience is in fact a liberating experience, and is wrapped in the humility of His will, not our will, being done. When we let His will operate in us, we cooperate with and receive His grace, and His grace is rather vital for our salvation.

I find when I’m hard-headed and stubborn about something, it eats away inside me; it becomes a cancer that raises stress and drains my energy. It took me a long time to figure out that obedience liberates me from stress, and that my friend, truly is a taste of freedom.

As a priest I have, too many times to begin to count in my head, across the years altered a penance to conform to the preferences or dispositions of a penitent.

It may be because a portion of the rosary was proposed to someone who does not pray the rosary, the divine mercy chaplet was proposed to someone who does not know/care for that private revelation, praying a psalm or two was proposed someone who was on travel and could not access a copy of the Bible away until they returned home, time before the Blessed Sacrament was proposed to someone normally home-bound…and so forth

My suggestion would be that you have a penance in mind that you would counter propose instead of Marian devotion…such as a series of psalms, time before the Blessed Sacrament, meditation on the Passion, walking the Way of the Cross, offering up a day of abstinence from something and so forth – and simply ask the confessor if he would impose one of these instead.

It happens that those who do this will, in the end, propose a penance that it is heavier than what they would have received from me.

That would strike me as a very poor approach to the sacrament of confession.

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