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Bishop urges priests to drop the Hail Mary from Masses

By on Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Bishop Kieran Conry of Arundel and Brighton (Photo: Mazur)

Bishop Kieran Conry of Arundel and Brighton (Photo: Mazur)

The Hail Mary should not be part of the bidding prayers at Sunday Mass, Bishop Kieran Conry of Arundel and Brighton has told his clergy.

Bishop Conry wrote to his priests, saying: “Questions come up again and again about the inclusion of Marian prayers with the Prayers of the Faithful. There should be no Marian prayer at this point.”

But a liturgical scholar has suggested that the use of the Hail Mary may be an acceptable “local expression of prayer”.

Parish priests in Bishop Conry’s diocese have asked those who prepare the bidding prayers to exclude the Hail Mary. “However, this should not in any way undermine the importance of devotion to Mary and we strongly encourage the use of Marian prayers in the home and other non-Eucharistic liturgies,” said the newsletter of the parish of the Nativity of the Lord in Redhill, Surrey.

A spokesman for Bishop Conry said: “Bishop Kieran has recently reminded his clergy that the Hail Mary should not be included in the Prayers of the Faithful in line with the sample prayers provided in the Third Edition of the Roman Missal, the guidance provided by the bishops’ conference liturgy office, and his own previous Guidelines for Prayers of the Faithful issued in 2005.”

The guidelines state: “The Roman Rite does not, in fact, envisage the inclusion of devotional prayers in the Prayer of the Faithful. Following a medieval practice in England, the Hail Mary has been customarily said after the final intercession. Properly understood, a set of prayers directed to the Father, through the Son and in the power of the Holy Spirit, contains no obvious place for prayers to the saints. This is why, some years ago, the Holy See wrote to the Bishops of England and Wales advising that such devotional prayer should not have a place in the Prayer of the Faithful. The Holy See asked that the, by then, widespread practice be gradually and gently discouraged.”

Bishop Conry also told his clergy that “when the papal Masses for Pope Benedict’s visit in England were being prepared any set of Intercessions that were sent to Rome that included the Hail Mary were returned with this prayer removed”.

The diocesan spokesman added: “In offering this advice to his clergy Bishop Kieran is endeavouring to follow the mind of the Universal Church and encouraging them to do likewise.”

Prof David Fagerberg, author of Mary in the Liturgy, said that because the practice of including the Hail Mary was widespread in England but not elsewhere, there was a tension between national and universal practices.

He said: “Need things be the same in all countries? In matters of popular piety and devotion, certainly not. But the case of the official liturgy is different. So the question turns on this: is the use of the Hail Mary a local expression of prayer, or does it become a liturgical formula, part of the cultic act of the Church?”

He added: “We have suffered many decades of a false opposition between liturgy and devotion, with some liturgical scholars looking down their noses on Marian devotion. I would hope none of that is involved here.”

  • Gabrielle_fey

    I have been living in Germany for 33 yrs and really miss the “Hail Mary” after the bidding prayers. Good point that the “Hail Mary” is a petitional prayer and England has always had a special relationship to the Mother of Christ.

  • HMD

    NO MARY, NO JESUS!
    KNOW MARY, KNOW JESUS!

  • melissa

    Well, the “Hail Mary” is not in the bidding prayers in any American Catholic church I have attended.  However, I find it rather comforting that we call on our Saviour’s mother to plead our causes.

  • melissa

     Hang on!  Bernadette was uneducated, illiterate, but didn’t the “apparition” say of itself: “I am the Immaculate Conception”?  A title not promulgated by the Church.  Do you think the Pope said “oh, yes, we’ll start calling the Blessed Mother Immaculate?  Get real.

  • rtsully1297

    How dumb is this guy?  The Church needs Her more than ever and he wants Her out???!!  He’ll be sorry soon enough.

  • Maltese

    With all respect I do not know why the Hail Mary should be dropped from the Sunday Mass .
    The plan of our salvation is THE HOLY TRINITY along with Mary and Joseph chosen for this plan .
    Thank you GOD.

  • J G

    It has been part of English Catholic tradition for centuries, so obviously it is bad, evil, and must be eradicated. Meanwhile let’s do some liturgical dance and have a puppet show during the gospel…

  • Fr Gerard

    As has been said elsewhere on here, the use of the Hail Mary is to ask her to join our prayers with hers. I do not pray to the saints, rather I ask for their prayers. Rome has misunderstood the point of what is happening in our practise – as we are all called to pray, we join our prayers with the communion of Saints. All the Prayers of the Faithful are directed to God alone so the use of the Hail Mary here is not devotional. Perhaps somebody from England and Wales could point this out to the authorities in Rome as they seem to have got the wrong end of the stick.

  • CBS

    The article is primarily concerned with Bishop Conry sending out a letter to the clergy of his Diocese gently reminding them of what is a universal liturgical norm within the Roman Catholic Church. The subject is the inclusion of a Marian prayer at the end of the Prayers of the Faithful. The articles quite rightly enables the reader to discuss(in a measured way, one hopes) the liturgical,theological and other arguments both for and against the matter at hand.

    The article is NOT an opportunity to berate a Bishop or anyone else for that matter, who is merely communicating a directive that is followed everywhere else in the world except England and Wales.

    Some of the comments are not necessary. Bishop Conry is not considered orthodox or whatever other label that fits, to some people. However, to those who constantly find fault in whatever he does, it seems he is damned if he is faithful to a Church directive and damned if he isn’t – which speaks volumes about those seeking to discredit him further.

    Reading the comments, the reader is taken on a journey of interesting opinions, historical perspectives, different liturgical leanings and then the usual tirade of negative comments some of which are uncalled for.

    If we value our Church and cherish our faith, please show these values in the comments and interaction and refrain from unnecessary negative comments and fault finding. As I am sure many of the complainants will be frequent recipients of the sacrament of penance(reconciliation) I do hope that the sins of harsh judgement and undue criticism against Bishop Conry will be admitted before our blessed Lord and that the comments attached to CH articles will be more wholesome and without the need to resort to scatty remarks. They are off putting and do nothing to serve the Church in a world that has lost its way.

  • Benedict Carter

    The world is as it always was. It’s the Church that has catastrophically lost its way. 

  • David Price

    Andrew you are so right. However, there are dark things going on in the Church. When I tackled the Priest last Saturday who said “for those who do not read the press we are not to say the Hail Mary at the end of Bidding Prayer” a lady who had just Read at Mass interrupted.She said in response to my “Our Lords last words were “behold your mother” “-that is in only one Gospel [actually it is in two] and it has never been substantiated”

    As I said to my  Parish Priest OUCH! OUCH! OUCH!

    By the way Andrew the Holy See likes the Confetior said in Mass and if we ask Our Lady Blessed Lady [and Saints and People ] to Pray for US is it not
    an act of CHARITY to also ask Our Lady to join Our Prayers to the Father for OTHERS in more need

    I rest my case.

  • Tupahotu

    Why not just add the Leonine prayers at the end of Mass? There’s nothing about the Novus Ordo that precludes their use. They could be recited after the final Blessing and before the final hymn, antiphon or postlude.

  • Markdaviess23

    Our Lady of La Salette “Rome will lose the Faith and become the seat of the Antichrist.” Does any yet seem to know the truth about Vatican II the fruits have been so bad!

    Poor Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI what mess your Church is in bad Bishops

  • rjt1

    Where does it say in the Bible that we must believe only what it says in the Bible?

  • Apollo001

    I don’t like this.  We have a special devotion to Our Lady in the Catholic church.  Are we becoming Anglicanised?

  • Davidaprice

    In answer to Apollo001 . No not the fault of former Anglicans. We have 2 Ordinariate
    Members and 1 former Anglican at Our Church team and i will tell you they spend
    more time in reverence to Our Lady than our Seminary trained Priests!! It appears
    for my seventy years of life I stepped out of line with Holy See in saying Hail Mary
    in Mass!!! Mind you Our Lady has been greatly kind to me and mine.

  • William Makin

    His grace of Arundel and Brighton
    A more admirable flunkey than Creighton
    Banned our Lady from Mass
    Tried to bugger her ass
    Then exclaimed: “Gosh! I’m trendy! I’m right-on!”

  • Joe

    wow, you Catholics are an angry bunch… , even among yourselves.

  • Joe

    wow, you Catholics are an angry bunch… , even among yourselves.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/W7WJRVIIUZL6AL6Z65BPE2ZKBU Ann

    I totally agree!!!! Why not make the catholic church completely misogynistic and get rid of Mary/Mother completely!!!! That’s the problem with religion. God inspires it and man destroys it through misinterpretation and the need for control. If I was still Catholic I would leave the church if they removed the Hail Mary’s. Mary represents the Mother of us all.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/W7WJRVIIUZL6AL6Z65BPE2ZKBU Ann

    How do we really know anything about who was at the last Supper? We only have men’s stories to rely on and as the Middle East was then, as it is now, an extremely misogynistic society then it is hardly likely that they would include any women in its sacred history! Remember too that only the ‘One God’ religions have male priests only!!! All other religions have both male and female priests. Are men the only ones with the sacred ability to teach about gGd and to do his work? I really don’t think so, looking at what has happened in all these Monotheistic religions!!! During Jesus’ time the temples in Egypt were still dedicated to the Divine Mother and as we know he travelled to Egypt a lot so the idea of female priests would not have been a new one to him. Remember too that Jesus did not start the religion. Paul did. All Jesus did was to bring the Word to those people who could hear it. And what was the Word? LOVE!!!! 

  • SSPX

    Seems another bishop of the Roman Catholic Church wishes to do the devils work. Each day we hear of these things happening. Pope Leo XIII said the devil asked for 60 years so he could destroy the church. Vatican two is in its 60 years and the devil is doing all he can to fulfil his requirement.
    Vatican II needs to be gone……….we need a Vatican set on restoration not on destruction. Leave the Hail Mary were it is.