“Praying the Rosary for Intercession” is a new book by Catherine M. Odell published by OSV. This book like so many that came before it has a standard format. A history of the Rosary followed by meditations for each mystery and lastly specific instructions on praying the Rosary along with guidelines for intentions.
The reflections are mostly pretty good and on target.
What makes this book stand out for this type of book is both its strength and and its weakness. After the scriptural reference and reflection on the mystery follows a section called “The Rosary in our lives”. This section includes personal stories on how the Rosary has affected the lives of people. There are modern conversion stories along with stories on the Saints and their devotion tot the Rosary. This puts the Rosary in the context of people’s lives and thus would be quite helpful for the audience of this book.
The weakness of the “The Rosary in our lives” is not the actual content of it, but the references to some dubious sources and apparitions.
For example four of the stories in this section relate to Medjugorje. The introduction to one of these stories refers to Medjugorje as a place where “some people” think Mary is appearing. Now there is a lot of controversy regarding this alleged apparition and I am definitely in the skeptical if not outright thinking it is a fraud camp. Regardless I think a writer who brings up Medjugorje has a duty to say more than that “some people” accept them. They have a duty to note that both Bishops of Medjugorje have not approved them and that the Bishop’s conference of Yugoslavia also did not approve them. I believe that there are true conversion occurring in Medjugorje since wherever there is the Mass and the Sacraments and people looking for God there are conversions. Even apparitions that were condemned by the Church had movements of conversions surrounding them. So I have no problem with printing stories of conversion regarding Medjugorje, I just think there should be a firm disclosure regarding the current status of Medjugorje in relation to the Church.
The dubious sources I refer to is in one example referring to Dutch professor Fr. Edward Schillebeeckx O.P. in glowing terms. Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued a caution in 1986 that his theories regarding the laity were at odds with the teachings of the Church. Under Cardinal Ratzinger this was somewhat cleared up in interactions by letters to explain himself, but he was drop the reference to lay ministry from any subsequent publications. This is just one of he controversies surrounding him. Fr. Rolheiser is also referenced and I find that he certainly flirts with heterodoxy with an oversexualization of everything. For example he writes on St. Therese who he calls a a very lonely person “More deeply than we long for a sexual partner, we long for moral affinity—our deepest longing is for someone to sleep with morally.” Really that is our deepest longing? So much for “Our hearts our restless until they rest in you.”
I certainly might be too critical on this in that the use of material from these two men were not problematic in themselves. People can read this book to their good, though if it interests them in Medjugorje or the writings of these two men in my mind that is not to the good.
Trouble is, more people might be more distracted by the Medjugorje business than interested in the rest of the book. Sometimes I’m glad I’m a Protestant.
My guess is there aren’t many people who would be interested in both a book on praying the Rosary for intercession and the writings of Fr. Schillebeeckx.