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THE ROSARY - A PROFANE VANITY BORNE OF INSTRUCTIONAL ERROR

detail of prayer beads in one of the hands of Shiva, circa 185 B.C.

   We of the ecumenical examiner have been accused of hating Catholics, but in fact nothing could be further from the truth. Some of our best friends, neighbors, and even family members belong to this blasphemous religion. We love them just the same, and wish them nothing but the best, in this life and the next. We especially appreciate some of the animated and enthusiastic debates over dinner tables, and backyard barbecues.

   One such debate recently gave voice to the cringe-worthy practice of praying the rosary, and from that - this study. Indeed, the arguments of the true believers demonstrate both the power of early indoctrination, and the impotence of Catholic instruction.

   What we mean by impotence is simply, an instructive teaching that may sound reasonable to the untrained ear, but cannot stand up to close examination. In other words, a teaching that is essentially Sophist, and fundamentally weak.

   A Sophist was one trained in rhetoric from a Greek philosophical school of oratory known for winning debates with the use of clever, specious arguments or emotional manipulation, rather than plain, sound reasoning. In other words, they're skilled at using atrocious intellectual dishonesty to support erroneous assertions that cannot stand when faced with opposing facts from inspired scripture. 

a study on Christian prayer, as taught by Yeshua, the teacher whose word is the final word

from the Latin Rosarium, a garland of roses.

or, as in this case, a garland of little footballs

   In spite of what the men in the roman collars, and coveted red hats, would have you believe, the Roman Catholic use of prayer beads did not originate with Saint Dominic in the 13th century. Most scholars are pretty sure that the use of prayer beads originated in ancient India with the Hindus. 

   The Jewish people, by contrast, have no tradition involving the use of prayer beads. They have prayers for every occasion, or simply pray from the heart. They have no need to memorize lengthy prayer routines, such as repeating prayers over and over and over to the point of needing an aid that they don't lose count. Neither do they lose themselves in a prayerful daily recitation of the entire book of Psalms. The Jewish view is that such a practice would render the prayer mechanical, meaningless, and lacking in any sense of heartfelt sincerity.

   The point of this study being, that Christian tradition should be built upon Jewish tradition, not those of the Eastern religions. Yeshua, the Messiah, spoke to this very issue during the Sermon on the Mount, when he was giving instruction to the crowds and the apostles on the proper ways to pray. Apparently, the Lord was already aware of the Eastern traditions of praying the mala.

"And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. Therefore do not be like them." - Matthew 6:7,8

   As the Roman Catholic church adopted this rosary manner of prayer, they invented many fables, traditions, and Sophist arguments meant to justify the practice, since it had no justification in scripture. They even have the brazen audacity to dismiss the words of Yeshua, the Messiah, the teacher of teachers, for the purpose of promoting an activity not sanctioned in scripture.

   For example, the above scriptural quotation is taken from the New King James Version, but they will point out that other translations do not even mention "vain repetitions." This is true. The New International Version reads, "And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them." The Catholic Bible, the Douay-Rheims, renders the passage, "And when you are praying, speak not much, as the heathens. For they think that in their much speaking they may be heard. Be not you therefore like to them.."

   Other classic examples of  'roman collar' Sophistry on this point include, "but this question is found in Biblical Hermeneutics: What, exactly, counts as a “vain repetition?”" Or, "The words of the Hail Mary prayer are taken right out of scripture (Luke chapter 1), why wouldn't a Christian want to repeat these words as much as possible? Did not the apostle Paul exhort us to pray continually?"

   They fail to point out that these words of scripture are salutations, or greetings, not prayers. There's a difference. What's the point of repeating a salutation 150 times? Next time you see the priest, shake his hand and say, "Hello, hello, hello, hello. . . " 150 times. See if he's impressed. In fairness however, the 150 'Hail Marys' are interrupted periodically with 15  Our Fathers', also known as 'the Lord's Prayer', an example of an actual prayer.

   However, the Lord's Prayer wasn't meant to be repeated word for word over and over, as some sort of mental memory exercise. At the Sermon on the Mount, Yeshua was giving instruction in how to pray (Matthew 6: 9-13). He presented this prayer as a 'model', so to speak. Yeshua was being instructive. If you break it down into its constituent parts, you find the first thing to remember, as taught by the Lord, is to address God the Father and bless His holy Name. Unfortunately, most Christians today don't even know God has a name (see - Purging God's name from the Bible). That's a defective weakness that the men in the Roman collars should be pointedly correcting, rather than encouraging Eastern religious prayer practices.

   Secondly, pray for the Kingdom to come. This was in fact, the core message of Yeshua's ministry. Then ask the Father to continue to provide the sustenance you need for life. Then ask forgiveness for your sins, debts, trespasses (depending on translation) understanding that you must likewise forgive others their sins, debts, and trespasses against you. Finally, ask the Father to provide you with protection from temptation and from the machinations of the evil one.

   The Lord's Prayer brings out important elements of proper prayer when communicating with Yahweh, the Father, but there is much more to Yeshua's instruction on the matter of prayer than just the Lord's Prayer. And as for God's name, yes, He has a Name, though Yeshua normally referred to Him as 'Father', because Yeshua always presented himself as subordinate. God's Holy Name is Yahweh. His name isn’t God, Lord, Ba’al, Amen Ra, Osiris, Isis, Zeus, Jupiter, Jesus, Jehovah, Apollo, Allah, Shiva, Buddha, or Satan. God has a name. It's Yahweh, and now you know it.


   The Catholic Rosary has 150 beads, corresponding to the 150 psalms. They teach that the practice originated with monastic monks, who would pray (recite) the 150 psalms each day as a devotional meditative dialogue on the mystery of Christ. The laity began to imitate this practice, but most (including the monks) were illiterate, and did not know or could not memorize the psalms, so they substituted the simpler recitations. The Hail Mary (Ave Maria), and the Our Father. This, simplification then, is called the 'Marian Psalter'.

   It is also said that the use of knotted prayer ropes in Christianity, as a precursor to beads, goes back to the desert Fathers in the 3rd and early 4th centuries, where they possibly may have been influenced by accounts of Hindu monks. These knotted counting devices were used for prayers such as the 'Jesus prayer' in Christian monasticism. The Jesus prayer is a short formulaic prayer still esteemed and used within the Eastern Orthodox churches: "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner." A nice, brief little prayer, but in being repeated over and over in a mechanical fashion, one might fear the power of heartfelt sincerity would come across like a dead duck.

   However, these early monastics of the desert were basically reclusive hermits and not generally considered church 'fathers' as if their devotional practices were something to be imitated. These were men that deliberately isolated themselves in the wilderness because they did not want to be bothered with the duties of priests, or the demands of keeping a wife and raising children. The period after the First Council of Ephesus in 431 AD witnessed a gradual growth in the use of Marian prayers during the Middle Ages, allowing the Hail Mary (Theotokos) to gradually replace the Jesus prayer in the Western church.


   The most popular of the mythical fables validating the Rosary as a Catholic tradition involves Dominic de Guzmán from Old Castile, Spain, born in 1170. In 1203 or 1204 he accompanied Diego de Acebo, the Bishop of Osma, on a diplomatic mission which took them though Aragon in the south of France. Here, Dominic came face to face with the so-called  heresies of the Albigensians (Cathars) whose heretical practices were spreading throughout the Languedoc region of southern France. Dominic realized the need for the church to combat these heresies, and wound up getting commissioned to be part of the preaching crusade against it. The Cathari movement in France first took hold in the town of Albi, hence Cathars were often called Albigensians, and the terms are used interchangeably. 

   He saw immediately why the preaching crusade had not been succeeding. He noted how the ordinary people admired and followed after the devout, ascetic luminaries of the Cathars. The people were understandably not impressed by the Catholic preachers who traveled with horses and retinues, stayed at the best inns, and had servants. Dominic therefore, along with three Benedictine monks, began an itinerant preaching mission following the gospel ideal. He continued this work for 10 years, enjoying some success with the ordinary people but not with the leaders.                  

   The prayer beads are commonly used in Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism, and Buddhism for the spiritual practice of keeping count while reciting, chanting, or mentally repeating a mantra or the name of a deity, or even the breathing rituals associated with yoga. The Hindus offer a  variety of reasons for the significance of the number '108' as the number of beads in the mala, depending on which of the Eastern religious traditions is considered. One such explanation suggests the individual numbers 1, 0, and 8 represent 'one thing', 'nothing', and 'everything' (infinity). Thus, 1-0-8 defines the ultimate reality of the universe paradoxically, as simultaneously representing Oneness, Emptiness, and Infinity --- Nirvana.

   There are at least two versions of the Rosary story as it goes from there. Dominic was discouraged by his lack of success and deeply afflicted. In one version he was praying in the church at Prouille, when an apparition of the Virgin Mary appeared. She comforted him and instructed him, "Wonder not that you have obtained so little fruit by your labors, you have spent them on barren soil, not yet watered with the dew of Divine Grace. When GOD willed to renew the face of the earth, He began by sending down on it the fertilizing rain of the Angelic Salutation. Therefore preach my Psalter composed of 150 Angelic Salutations (Hail Marys) and 15 Our Fathers, and you will obtain an abundant harvest." When he began to preach the Rosary, it is said, his success in conversions was astounding.

   Although an apparition, it is catechized that she gave him a material, physical string of prayer beads, consisting of 150 beads, divided into three groups of fifty, representing the trinity. This account describes a highly unusual instance of the 'Church Triumphant' (deceased Christians, or in this case a deceased Jewish woman) interacting directly with the 'Church Militant' (living Christians) with what amounts to a material exchange of a physical piece of handiwork. 

   Another version has him in the forest near Toulouse, grieving and fasting for three days over his lack of success. During this time he did nothing but weep and subject himself to harsh penances in order to appease the anger of God. He punished himself with disciplinary abuses to such an extent that his body was lacerated and weakened, until he finally fell into a coma. At this point, the Virgin Mother appeared to him, accompanied by three angels, and she said, “Dear Dominic, do you know which weapon the Blessed Trinity wants to use to reform the world?”
   “Oh, my Lady,” answered Saint Dominic, “you know far better than I do, because next to your Son Jesus Christ, you have always been the chief instrument of our salvation.”

   Then the Blessed Virgin replied, “I want you to know that, in this kind of warfare, the principal weapon has always been the Angelic Psalter, which is the foundation-stone of the New Testament. Therefore, if you want to reach these hardened souls and win them over to God, preach my Psalter.”

   Although it's acknowledged that Rosaries or knotted ropes were in fact being used by monks prior to the time of Saint Dominic, the new tradition nonetheless credits  Dominic with the origination, in the 13th century. This revelation of the origin of the Rosary being attributed to Saint Dominic was affirmed by Pope Leo XIII, and the tradition that Mary first revealed the Rosary to St. Dominic is supported by 13 Popes. We know, of course, that the popes are infallible (let the reader use discernment). So it was that St. Dominic now found great success in this new devotional prayer gimmick, and by this, brought about the conversion of the Albigensians.

   Revisionist history notwithstanding, the conversion of the Cathars had nothing to do with the Rosary, or the repetitious salutations of the Marion Psalter. The truth is, the preaching and conversion mission was faltering and yielding no measurable success, and so Pope Innocent III became impatient. Finally the church turned to it's real "principal weapon" - launching a crusade against the Cathars in Southern France. First, unofficially, in 1204, then Pope Innocent III 'officially' announced the ‘Crusade against the Albigensians’ (Cathars) in 1208. The official proclamation grants the crusaders indulgences against sins, among other things. The Massacre at Béziers took place in July 1209, and was the first major military action of the Albigensian Crusade. 

Saint Dominic accompanied by Simon de Montfort, 

raising the crucifix against Albigensian heretics

   A crusader army consisting of knights with their retinue (mostly from  northern France), professional soldiers, mercenary groups, and pilgrims, all of whom assembled and departed from Lyon in early July 1209. Béziers was a stronghold of Catharism, and was the first major town the crusaders encountered on their advance into Cathar territory. Thousands were massacred by the sword, burned at the stake, and tortured to death without mercy. This even included innocent Catholics caught up in the zealous, indiscriminate bloodbath. (see also -  Devil's Handmaiden on the Warpath)

   After this great massacre, the remaining castles and towns of the Languedoc region submitted without resistance as the crusaders advanced. However, the crusaders never gained the support of the local Catholic population, and thus became a hated occupying force. The war became protracted (20 years), and eventually the French king entered the war and took control over the Languedoc.

   The Inquisition, which was led by the Dominican Order, the Order of Preachers founded by Dominic, then took up the duty of hunting down any remaining Cathars and later, the Waldensians, robbing them of all property and possessions, subjecting them to all manner of torture, to kangaroo courts, and putting them to death. They accepted this sacred duty with the passionate zeal of rabid dogs. The true legacy of Dominic de Guzmán was the creation of the 'Order of Preachers' popularly known as the Dominican Order, and the disgrace this group brought upon the names of  Yahweh, the Father, Yeshua the Messiah, and Christianity in general.

   The men of this Order became the sadistic and savage churchmen who presided as the judges in the dungeon courts where the ordinary principles of law and justice were disregarded and perverted. Thus, they carried out the inquisitions across Europe, eventually enveloping many other dissident or non-Catholic Christian groups. This too, being an activity not sanctioned by scripture.

"And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. Therefore do not be like them." - Matthew 6:7,8

   Only one teacher? Really? The proud, all-knowing men in the roman collars might find such a notion laughable. They have declared that these words of the Lord they claim to serve ring hollow, empty, and unworthy of thoughtful, pointed instruction. For a certainty, they believe they have learned a better way, and are intent on fooling the flock of Yeshua into following after them, using Sophist reasoning, and popular myths and fables, rather than the hard, simple, realities of Scripture. Tickling the ears of the Lord's flock, as it were. Is it instructional error, or something else, when a teacher knows the truth of something, but will not teach it? Rather, teaching their students that they should turn a deaf ear, and a blind eye to the inspired word of truth as taught by the Lord Yeshua himself. Shame on y'all.

"Why do you call me 'Lord, Lord,' and not do what I tell you? Every one who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep, and laid the foundation upon rock; and when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house, and could not shake it, because it had been well built. But he who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation; against which the stream broke, and immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great." - Luke 6: 46-49

"And do not be called teachers; for One is your Teacher, the Christ." - Matthew 23:10

   The Roman Catholic 'Holy Blessed Rosary' is in truth, an adaptation, influenced by, if not copied directly from, much older Eastern pagan religious traditions, which the Lord Yeshua himself, our only true teacher, warned his followers not to imitate when praying to God. It's a meaningless waste of verbiage which Yahweh doesn't pay any attention to. There is no record of Yeshua or any of the apostles praying in such a manner, and it is their examples that Christians are supposed to follow. Don't be like the heathen pagans.

   For a fee, you too can purchase a string of rosary beads, actually blessed by the 'Holy Father' himself, meaning the pope, not God. You can find them at the online Vatican Gift Shop, with prices ranging from around $40 to $125.00, plus shipping. He's not blessing every single strand of course, but when they come in from the manufacturer, he blesses them by the crate-load, as they're taken off the truck at the Vatican's loading dock. If it's blessed by the pope himself, you see, the beads are thought to have extra special devotional power. A tricky snow-job, of course, but glory be - it's a money-maker. 

INCIDENTALLY 

   In India, sandstone representations dating from 185 B.C. show people holding prayer beads, a practice believed to have been widespread as far back as the 8th century B.C. The traditional strand of Hindu prayer beads, called a mala, was designed for wear around the neck and consists of 108 beads for repeating mantras or counting one's breath, a practice later adopted by the Buddhists. The word mala means 'garland' in Sanskrit.