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Sixth U.S. bishop promotes St. Michael prayer after Mass in response to abuse crisis

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SIGN THE PETITION: Urge bishops to re-institute the St. Michael Prayer. Sign the petition here.

September 27, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) -- Fifty-four years after suppression of the intercessory prayer to the archangel with the top job of battling Satan, Catholic bishops in the United States are gradually returning to the tradition of reciting the prayer after Mass.

An increasing number of bishops are recognizing the need for reciting the Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel regularly after Mass as a result of the sex abuse crisis now battering the Church.

LifeSiteNews is also asking readers to sign a petition urging bishops to restore the prayer.

Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas, this week approved regular use of the prayer after Masses in his archdiocese.

“In recent weeks, a number of bishops throughout the United States, in response to the latest revelations in the clergy abuse crisis, have asked the faithful throughout their respective dioceses to offer invocation to St. Michael the Archangel for protection of the Church’s clergy and faithful from despair and discouragement as well as from continued abuse of power from bishops and priests,” a September 24 letter from Naumann’s Office of Liturgy and Sacramental Life states. “A number of dioceses have implemented the recitation of the traditional prayer to St. Michael following Masses to this end.”

“In like manner,” the letter continues, “Archbishop Naumann approves of this practice in the parishes of the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas, at the discretion of the pastor.”

Recitation of the Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel and the other Leonine prayers (composed by Pope Leo XIII) after Mass was officially suppressed by the September 26, 1964, Vatican II Instruction Inter Oecumenici, which went into effect on March 7, 1965.

Catholics were not prohibited from saying the prayer, but after it’s obligatory recitation following Mass ended, its significance -- and therefore its protective effect -- largely dissipated.

St. Michael the Archangel -- who’s his name in Hebrew means “Who is like God?” -- is the prince of all the angels. He and the good angels cast Lucifer and his followers into Hell after they rebelled against God, and he is invoked for protection against the devil and all evil.

The Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel began with Leo XIII in 1886, when, according to tradition, Leo had a vision after Mass of the great damage Satan would do to the Church and the world in the 20th century. The pope composed the prayer in response and added it to the Leonine Prayers to be said after Low Mass, which originally had the intentions of the defense of the Holy See’s sovereignty.

The St. Michael the Archangel Prayer was recited after Masses from 1886 until its 1964 suppression.

Thirty years after the Vatican II liturgical revolution, Pope St. John Paul II, in his Regina Coeli address on April 24, 1994, recommended the Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel due to the prayer’s aid in fighting evil in the world.

“Although this prayer is no longer recited at the end of Mass,” John Paul II said, “I ask everyone not to forget it and to recite it to obtain help in the battle against the forces of darkness and against the spirit of this world." 

Bishop Robert . Morlino of Madison, Wisconsin, asked Catholics in his diocese late last November to fight the evil in our world by praying the St. Michael the Archangel prayer at least after Sunday Masses.

Archbishop Naumann joined a number of other U.S. bishops who in recent weeks have re-implemented the St. Michael the Archangel Prayer regularly after Masses following the last several months of shocking revelations in the Church’s sexual abuse crisis.

Archbishop Alexander Sample of the Archdiocese of Portland sent a letter to his priests last week encouraging them to lead the prayer to St. Michael the Archangel after all Masses. 

Bishop Frank Caggiano of Bridgeport, Connecticut, announced August 24 that effective September 15 the St. Michael the Archangel Prayer will be recited after every Mass celebrated in the Bridgeport diocese.

Bishop David Zubik of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Bishop Rick Stika of Knoxville, Tennessee, have also asked their priests to lead the Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel after all Masses going forward. 

Other instances of the prayer being temporarily resuscitated to battle Satan have occurred as well.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York asked Catholics in his archdiocese to pray a novena with the St. Michael the Archangel prayer after each Mass from September 21, the feast of St. Matthew the Evangelist, through St. Michael’s feast day on September 29. Dolan requested that Catholics not attending daily Mass say the prayer privately.

The cardinal said many people had told him St. Michael’s intercession was needed.

“Now I hear from so many of you, God’s People, that we need again the weapons of prayer, reparation, and penance, ammunition the Devil dreads,” he said. “Enough of you have suggested this to me that I’ve concluded it’s from the Lord: that we seek the help of St. Michael the Archangel in fighting Lucifer’s invasion of the Church.” 

Following Dolan’s lead, Bishop Robert Baker of Birmingham, Alabama, instituted a novena with the St. Michael the Archangel Prayer recited after Masses beginning September 29 and ending October 7, the Feast of the Most Holy Rosary.

Over the past 10 years a diocesan gathering was held on the first Sunday in October at the Lourdes Grotto at the Poor Clare Monastery in Hanceville, Alabama, to pray the Rosary with the special intentions of life and vocations, he explained. This year, though, the prayer intention would be in reparation for the suffering of abuse victims and for reconciliation in the Church.

“How well we are aware of the causes of evil in our world -- the world, the flesh, and the devil,” Baker said. “There is no escaping our own personal responsibility for evil and, in the context of the recent scandals, the responsibility of some of the clergy. That is a reality!”

Click the link to sign the LifeSiteNews petition asking bishops to restore the prayer.

Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel:

St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him we humbly pray; and do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the Power of God, cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits, who prowl through the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

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