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.