Thursday, 27 September 2007

Dowry of Mary

English Catholics will be familiar with the concept of England being entitled the 'Dowry of Mary'. You can read an interesting article about it by my friend Fr Peter Bristow here. English people have always been rather proud of this idea, and Mary has, rather gallantly, been held in reverence in this land.
One piece of evidence for this was the permission, gained by the English and Welsh bishops in the 1960s, to include the Hail Mary at the end of the Prayers of the Faithful ('Bidding Prayers'). I have always loved this custom, and so am most disappointed that now our bishops (why am I not surprised?) want us to discourage it. Our parish had a generally-useful day for readers a couple of weeks ago, led by a diocesan apparatchik, and the said chick waxed lyrical on the wickedness of putting our Lady into the bidding prayers. So, the following Sunday, the writers of the prayers left her out. Only once. It took a kindly but firm word from yours truly, and our Lady is back in the prayers. I would so love to be in communion of mind and heart with our bishops, but why must I choose between them and our holy faith? Now, a Hail Mary here or there is scarcely something to go to the stake for, I know, but couldn't they actually do something to build up, for once, rather than pull down?
And actually, any orthodox liturgical practice that has had an uninterrupted use for 40 years becomes, officially, a custom, and is protected in liturgical and canon law. So we have every right to use the Hail Mary as we are accustomed to.
As a postscript, a visiting friend the other day told me that the practice of saying the Hail Mary in the Prayer of the Faithful is increasingly being imitated abroad. I'd be very interested to hear some evidence of this, if any of you know some: please use the comments box. Thanx.

5 comments:

Nick said...

What is the reason behind the Bishops thinking?

Berolinensis said...

Well, I don't know if you can call it a practice, but the old parish priest of my parish in Berlin, Germany, (who had been educated in an old-fashioned Conciliar [which used to stand for complete adherence to Trent!] seminary) used to end the bidding prayers with a Hail Mary, and even our new administrator, a Salesian, does it from time to time.

David Palmer said...

I'd just like to echo Nick's question... I'd like to know what the Bishops were thinking before I do my mr indignant rage...

Philip said...

In the six years that I attended Portsmouth Cathedral, we never added an 'Ave' to the bidding prayers. When asked, the clergy said Paul Inwood was against it, but I think that may have been a convenient excuse for their own lack of devotion. Mr Inwood was probably against it, but he was not alone.

Mater mari said...

Our curate in Hitchin told me many years ago that Bishop Gordon Wheeler (formerly of Leeds) had obtained special permission from the Pope for the Hail Mary at the end of the bidding prayers in England and Wales. One of our sons emigrated to Canada recently and it certainly isn't said in his Toronto parish.