Vatican Archivists Discover Unfinished Papal Encyclical!!

(cross-posted at Acts of the Apostasy)

(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.

34 Responses to Vatican Archivists Discover Unfinished Papal Encyclical!!

  • “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.”

    I’ve been doing it wrong all these years! That explains quite a bit! I blame the nuns who set me upon the clockwise primrose path!

  • Kyle Kanos says:

    Neither St Dominic nor St Faustina wrote or spoke that direction matters in praying the rosary. It seems strange to me that 800 or so years later, we’re being told in an unpublished encyclical that we must go counter-clockwise or the prayer is not heard.

    What about 1-decade Rosary beads that are not bound in a circle? Are those not valid because there is no clockwise or counter-clockwise? I’m going to remain very skeptical of this encyclical until Benedict issues official comments on the matter (in other words, when his own encyclical asserting directionality is issued).

  • LarryD says:

    I’m going to remain very skeptical of this encyclical until Benedict issues official comments on the matter (in other words, when his own encyclical asserting directionality is issued).

    Kyle, pay closer attention and perhaps check the press conference video, and I think you’ll find you won’t have to wait that long.

  • bill bannon says:

    I predict Benedict will see it as non binding. God does not have OCD and Christ sought to raise the Samaritan woman above seeing Mt.Gerizim versus Jerusalem as critical as to prayer in John chapter 4… how can His words below accomodate this directional issue when He is leading her away from place importance in general:

    21Jesus said to her, “Believe me, woman, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22You people worship what you do not understand; we worship what we understand, because salvation is from the Jews.i 23But the hour is coming, and is now here, when true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and truth;* and indeed the Father seeks such people to worship him. 24God is Spirit, and those who worship him must worship in Spirit and truth.

  • Ryan says:

    I don’t know which is more amusing: the post itself or the fact that people don’t know it’s a joke. Perhaps this can be an opportunity to revisit the Church’s actual teaching on papal authority and infallibility.

  • bill bannon says:

    Ryan
    The reason people believe it is that Popes have said weird things precisely because they are not infallible 24/7…
    Pope Nicholas V in Romanus Pontifex that Portugal could perpetually enslave the enemies of Christ (mid 4th large paragraph) and take their countries….ie Brazil.
    Pope Leo X in Exsurge Domine art.33 condemned….that Luther was wrong about burning heretics being against the Holy Spirit.
    Pope Gregory the Great that couples should atone for the “admixture of pleasure” within
    sex….(defenders say he was only talking about “immoderate intercourse”…2 sentences prior…but sex is always immoderate in pleasure on the male side as Aquinas noted).

  • Tito Edwards says:

    Jenny,

    Looking from my perspective it’s counter clock wise.

    If anyone actually bothered to read the unfinished hidden encyclical, it further stated the beads needed to be of wooden origin, a la the brown scapular having to be brown.

    So all those synthetic beads need to be re-beaded or tossed away.

  • Geary Burch says:

    Did anybody else notice the link at the end of the post or is it just me? It goes to the 80′s song “Never gonna give you up.” That was really weird.

  • Phillip says:

    “So all those synthetic beads need to be re-beaded or tossed away.”

    As they are blessed they cannot be “tossed away.” They must be recycled and turned into plastic dashboard statues or holy water bottles.

  • Dale Price says:

    Everyone–and I mean everyone–knows that if you go clockwise, it is improper. Gregory XVI settled this in his moto propriu “Fossor Vos” and the later allocution “Agnosco a iocus.” A previous encyclical *fragment* is of no magisterial effect.

    Clockwise working of the beads is also known as “rickrolling,” an English term of obscure origin.

  • Spambot3049 says:

    I absolutely hate these posts (sorry).

    The one good thing I learned (thank you) was that Pope Leo XIII really did write a number of encyclicals on the rosary, archived here for example:
    http://www.papalencyclicals.net/Leo13/index.htm

    I just started praying the rosary a couple of months ago, so some of this is of interest to me. Like this item from the enclyclical Adiutricem:

    It is no exaggeration to say that it is due chiefly to her leadership and help that the wisdom and teachings of the Gospel spread so rapidly to all the nations of the world in spite of the most obstinate difficulties and most cruel persecutions, and brought everywhere in their train a new reign of justice and peace. This it was that stirred the soul of St. Cyril of Alexandria to the following prayerful address to the Blessed Virgin: “Through you the Apostles have preached salvation to the nations. . . through you the priceless Cross is everywhere honored and venerated; through you the demons have been put to rout and mankind has been summoned back to Heaven; through you every misguided creature held in the thrall of idols is led to recognize the truth; through you have the faithful been brought to the laver of holy Baptism and churches been founded among every people.”

  • TGWWS says:

    I think it’s grossly irresponsible of you to leave out the most important part of Fr. Thistleway’s presentation. You have to keep the medal turned with Our Lady’s side OUTWARDS or she simply does not see you praying at all, and none of the rosaries count towards fulfilling the Fatima promise. Sheesh, the people they let blog these days …

  • Tito Edwards says:

    Rickrolled. . .

    I am officially “old”.

    I never heard of Rickroll until Larry had to explain it to me in an email (and I didn’t click on the link, so I wasn’t rickrolled!).

    This Interwebs phenomenon completely passed me by four years ago and only now am I aware of it!

  • Satireless says:

    Ugh! I was rickrolled! I love satire but this is so thick that it might lead others astray. I do like that your excessive use of satire did send one person looking at the REAL encyclicals. I like the archivists names but not everyone reads things out loud while reading (or pronounces them mentally). The comment about their names was helpful to me.

  • Tom Tracy says:

    It seems to me the important part of the rosary is it is prayed in veneration of Mary and for the glory of her Divine Son. Whether we go left to right or right to left is unimportant.
    Our Church is noted for litergical correctness, as it should be, But, to believe that a rosary said from right to left is not favorably heard by the Blesed Mother is going too far.

  • Paul Skizinski says:

    So it would seem that these artificially contrived names of “archivists” suggests that this entire article is a spoof, and not an authentic report of the discovery of a real document from Leo XIII. The editors of this Catholic newsletter ought to be ashamed of themselves for publishing such nonsense in what should be a serious publication. Furthermore, what is clockwise or counterclockwise when one is holding a Rosary? Moving through the beads clockwise from the perspective of the Rosary’s holder is inevitably counterclockwise from the viewpoint of an observer. I usually hold my Rosary in my right hand, but following surgery to replace my right shoulder, I held it in my left hand, forcing me to pray counterclockwise. Am I going to go to hell for that?

  • LarryD says:

    The editors of this Catholic newsletter ought to be ashamed of themselves for publishing such nonsense in what should be a serious publication.

    Why should they be ashamed? I’m not ashamed for having written the piece. Are American Catholics only supposed to be serious and grim-faced, and discuss topics only with utmost sobriety and graveness? You know, there’s nothing wrong with a little nonsense now and again because it’s healthy to chuckle and laugh, and to remind ourselves that taking everything so gosh-darned seriously is frankly inhuman.

    You didn’t like the piece and didn’t appreciate the humor. Fine. Different strokes for different folks and all that.

    And besides, when I emailed the post to Pope Benedict prior to publishing for him to check out, he responded by saying it was one of my more amusing pieces. So if it was fine with him…
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    (that was a joke)

  • Dale Price says:

    All you need to do is add a warning:

    “The Surgeon General has determined that reading The American Catholic may be hazardous to the humor-impaired.”

  • Paul Skizinski says:

    I very much appreciate humor, and in fact I am known by my friends and coworkers as one of the funniest persons they know. I also know where to look for humor. And I don’t expect it to show up it what I had considered to be a serious and dignified online publication.

  • LarryD says:

    And I don’t expect it to show up it what I had considered to be a serious and dignified online publication.

    In other words, you were surprised and a little bit disappointed. That’s much different than saying TAC ought to be ashamed for this post. It’d be one thing if a post glorifying abject evil and sin were published – say for instance, pornography, that included embedded videos and links to Playboy. Then the call for shame would be rightly applied.

    But this was a humor piece that caught you unexpected (because it was written in a way so as to be taken seriously, to a point), and you believe it was out of place given the serious nature of the site. I can accept your disappointment, but saying I and the editorial staff at TAC should be ashamed goes beyond the pale. No?

  • Paul Skizinski says:

    OK. I’ll concede that portion of your argument. But as you can see from the early comments on the article, many other people took it as a serious article. To say the least, what you intended as humor came across as unexpected.

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