Vatican Archivists Discover Unfinished Papal Encyclical!!

(Cross-posted at The American Catholic)

(AoftheAP) Calling it the “most exciting archival discovery in the post-Reformation era”, Vatican archivists have announced that in October 2011, they discovered what they believe to be the unfinished 13th Rosary Encyclical penned by Pope Leo XIII.  Pope Leo XIII, who had a strong devotion to our Blessed Mother,  issued 12 encyclicals on the rosary between the years 1883-1898.  It is believed this newly found incomplete one was started several months before he died in July 1903.

“We’ve translated the text,” Fr. Hugo Thistleway said at yesterday’s press conference, “and it’s entitled Decursu Saeculorum, taken from the first sentence of the encyclical: ‘Decursu saeculorum, sanctissimam Matrem pietatis manifestatio per fideles in recitatione a sanctissimo Rosario nuncupatur’, which translates to: ‘Throughout the ages, devotion to our Blessed Mother has been expressed by the faithful in the recitation of the Holy Rosary’.”

In all, the encyclical totals six and a half pages, and is clearly incomplete.  But its content has caused an immediate  controversy at the Holy See, as Pope Leo XIII indicated in very precise language how the rosary is to be prayed.  Namely, that the only means by which to receive grace and indulgences from recitation, is to pray the rosary in a counter-clockwise direction.  According to the encyclical, praying the rosary in a clockwise direction would ‘bear no fruit and Heaven would be closed to the petitioner and his pleas’ (‘…fructum nequaquam facient, quod caelum claudatur, et preces eius et actori.’).

“Due to its incompleteness, there is uncertainty as to the encyclical’s binding nature upon the faithful,” Thistleway said.  “But make no mistake, this is huge.”

Fr. Thistleway demonstrated Pope Leo XIII’s instructions to those gathered at the press conference.  “If you hold out the rosary at the crucifix, and let the beads hang down, what the encyclical is saying is that the first decade must be the one to the left of the crucifix, the second decade to the left of the first, and so on, all away around until you return to the crucifix.  Starting to the right would be wrong – not necessarily sinful, at least according to several moral theologians I’ve spoken to, but wrong nonetheless.”

He went on to state that the encyclical did not declare whether the decade had to be prayed left to right, or right to left.  “Perhaps the late Pope Leo XIII meant to detail that on page eight, but he only made it as far as page seven.”

So what happens next?  According to another archivist, Fr. Igor Dattavay, it’s up to Pope Benedict XVI.  “He’s seen the partial encyclical, and is in consultation with members of the Curia as how to proceed.  This is rather unprecedented.”

And could there be greater implications beyond the 20 Mysteries of the Holy Rosary?  “Well, the rosary is also used to pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet, among other devotions,” Dattavay explained.  “Would the same instructions apply?  Perhaps saying the Divine Mercy in a clockwise manner might actually bring Divine Wrath – of course, that’s merely my opinion.  It’s up to the Holy Father to determine that.”

In the meantime, Dattavay said, the faithful are encouraged to continue praying the rosary as they always have, and not be concerned until the Holy See makes their final recommendation.

AoftheA obtained video of the Vatican Archives press conference, which can be viewed here.

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16 responses

  1. Pingback: Vatican Archivists Discover Unfinished Papal Encyclical!! | The American Catholic

  2. That was the best press conference I’ve ever seen. The Vatican Archivists sure have strong feelings about never giving things up, which, I suppose, makes sense for an archivist.

  3. Pingback: THURSDAY AFTERNOON EDITION | ThePulp.it

  4. I’m still confused. I mean, which way is actually counter-clockwise? If you hold the rosary at the crucifix and let it hang down, you can still hold the crucifix facing you or facing away from you, which totally changes everything. Is there a way of contacting Fr. Thistleway on this all-too-important matter? This could be really important!!!

  5. Bwaaaahahahaha……….You go thisaway and I go thataway…..I’m dying here!!

    Very funny Mr LarryD. I have to say though, I never got the joke on Rick……he sings, he dances, sharp dresser, great hair……….I will admit to being “not the sharpest crayon in the box” regarding popular culture.

  6. There are only 15 officially approved, mandatory mysteries of the rosary, not 20. The other 5 are merely optional, suggested meditations. To treat them otherwise is incorrect and inaccurate.

    • 1st of all this is a humor piece. All Larry said was “the 20 Mysteries of the Holy Rosary” nothing about approved, or manditory.

      But since you brought it up: The Vatican website says “The Rosary is made up of twenty “mysteries”.” http://www.vatican.va/special/rosary/documents/misteri_en.html

      Sounds to me that they are approved as an official part of the Rosary, not merely suggestions.

      In Rosarium Virginis Mariae talks about these as an addion to those already approves (Par 19), again sounds like more than a suggestion.

      In Par 38 he describes a suggested way to pray the entire Rosary throughout the week for those who can’t pray the whole Rosary every day. He suggested Thursday at the day for the new mysteries. It is clear that he saw what he was doing was within his authority as Pope to make them an official part of the Rosary just as his predicessor in the 16th Century took & standardized the 15 we know today from the many different mysteries out there in use at the time.

      As for mandatory, no one is required to pray the Rosary. Yes, it should NOT be neglected, that is why Pope John Paul wrote what he did in Rosarium Virginis Mariae, to encourage greater use of the devotion. But it is not mandatory to pray 1 set of 5 let alone all 20 each day or each week.

      But it is clear the Luminous Mysteries are much more than “merely optional, suggested meditations”.

  7. Pingback: Vatican Archivists Discover Unfinished Papal Encyclical - Christian Forums

  8. I do not find this funny…I read only part of this the other day, and was very honestly confused, although I know outright that to suggest praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet incorrectly could bring the wrath of God down is about as dumb as it gets.

    Why I am not amused though, is that we have enough false info going around, and unless this is clearly labeled as humor it is actually teaching false doctrine and putting fears into the Faithful, particularly newer Catholics. Not cute.

    • and unless this is clearly labeled as humor…

      The post is tagged “Humor” – as well as “News That Can Be True” – can’t get much clearer than that.

      And the link to the “press conference” should be fairly obvious to most people that this isn’t a serious story.

      Perhaps you’re new here, but just so you know, AoftheA is *primarily* a Catholic humor blog. If you notice, under the header, it reads “The USO for the Church Militant”. I seek to entertain because there’s so much garbage and bad news in the world, providing a few chuckles here and there can sometimes be beneficial. Now, not everyone’s going to like my humor, or get it, or understand it. Can’t do anything about that. But rest assured, I’m not going to promote or seriously write anything that is contrary to the magisterium or Church teaching. I’m as faithful as they come.

      • I get email updates to THE AMERICAN CATHOLIC…and had never even seen your site before. That is where I first saw the article, and in fact only parts of it were visible due to how OUTLOOK is laid out. That was where the problem comes in, when things are cross-posted but not clearly marked. On your site it was and is, and in fact it is hilarious–I am not without a sense of humor. I just think cross-posting it without explanation may have been a mistake, That is my respectful opinion. God bless.

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