LifeSiteNews has published a short piece of mine on the Prayer to St Michael, reflecting on the renewed used of the Prayer to St Michael by in six dioceses of the United States of America, in the context of the abuse crisis.
The [Second Vatican] Council’s Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, Gaudium et spes 37 remind us:
A monumental struggle against the powers of darkness pervades the whole history of man. The battle was joined from the very origins of the world and will continue until the last day, as the Lord has attested.
This is exactly what the Prayer to St. Michael reflects. Why did it ever disappear from use?
Read the whole article here.
The Prayer to St Michael was composed in the context of pressure on the Church from outside, above all from the Kingdom of Italy, which had annexed the Papal States and made the Pope for practical purposes the prisoner of an often hostile government; the intention of the prayers was later changed to the oppression of the Church by Communist Russia. When I published, for Una Voce International, a Position Paper on the 'Leonine Prayers' (of which the Prayer to St Michael is one) said at the end of EF Low Masses, the focus was on the persecuted Church.
The use of the prayer over the abuse crisis, while undoubtedly appropriate as far as the wording is concerned, is very different. Instead of persecution from without, the issue today is the sins of those within the Church, and the damage they have caused.
But actually, is this so different? Since the 1960s those who have refused to sign up to the regime of novelties, of theological madness and sexual licence, have often felt not just ignored, but actively persecuted. This is a true persecution of the Church, using the structures of the Church to carry it out. Indeed, there are precedents for this: the persecution of St Joan of Arc by Bishop Couchon of Bauvais is a classic example. What is remarkable about the situation of recent decades is that entire countries should be dominated by bishops and priests so concerned not to rock the boat by exposing or condeming terrible crimes, that those who do oppose them find themselves harried from pillar to post.
The Masonic, anti-clerical principles of the Kingdom of Italy of the late 19th century and Communist Russia in the mid 20th century have found a new manifestion: within the very walls of the Church.
It remains true, however, that since the sins against the Church are being done by members of the Church, it behoves us not only to pray for deliverance against the Church's enemies, but to do penance for the sins of our fellow-Catholics. A good next step would be for the bishops of the United States following the example of the Bishops of England and Wales in restoring Friday abstinence.
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