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from issue no. 11 - 2003

A small, important counter-reformation

Your Holiness, the Hail Marys


John Paul II at prayer in the Grotto of the Annunciation in Nazareth on 25 March 2000

John Paul II at prayer in the Grotto of the Annunciation in Nazareth on 25 March 2000

The celebrations for the twenty-fifth anniversary of the pontificate of Pope John Paul II had an extraordinary intensity everywhere and at every level. The participation of the President of the Republic, both at the solemn ceremony in Saint Peter’s Square, and the good will message delivered the previous evening on all television channels, were of great significance as an ulterior confirmation of the definitive settling of the post-Risorgimento controversies.
For the rest, when after his nomination President Ciampi paid his official visit to the Vatican, he gave a speech of great importance: “Italy, whose contribution to the construction of a Europe of the spirit you have underlined, knows well that Christian values are indissolubly bound up with the growth of Europe, with the foundation of the European Union itself and with the new exacting plan of strengthening its identity and authority”.
In recent days the journeys, actions, audiences, documents, sufferings, initiatives, of the Pope have been recalled: an uninterrupted series of doings and events which have been extraordinarily influential. Also in the strictly religious sphere he has introduced novelties: from the innovations in the Holy Year ceremonies to the ministry of confession on Good Friday in the Vatican Basilica. But perhaps the most touching point was the proclamation of 2003 as the year of the Rosary, underlined by the introduction of the Mysteries of Light and the pilgrimage to Pompei on 7 October, with the Pope telling the Rosary beads along with the crowd, among which, extraordinarily, there was a group of prisoners.
The Pope furthermore placed his pontificate under the protection of the Virgin from the beginning, with the Marian sign on his coat of arms and the motto “Totus tuus”.
Your Holiness, take one more step. Restore the three Hail Marys at the end of mass. The liturgical reform, in a desire to simplify which is in danger of producing aridity, abolished them. Nobody would criticize the Pope of the Rosary for this small, but important, counter-reformation.

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