Where is the Virgin Mary in the modernized Roman Catholic Church of the third millennium? She is not in the mass: The widely beloved “Salve Regina” prayer, which had been recited at the close of every mass around the world for centuries, was yanked by liturgical “reforms” forty years ago. She is often not even mentioned during the sermon on her few remaining holy days. She is not in the churchyards: Most of her statues are long gone or relegated to marginal locations. In many of the weekly parish bulletins, she is nowhere to be found: No group recitations of the rosary or novenas or other contemplative practices that further spiritual communion with her are included in the schedule. She is barely covered at all in the education that most young nuns and priests receive. Her image was even deleted from the commemorative rosary issued by the Vatican to pilgrims during the Jubilee Year 2000 in Rome. Since the rosary is the central contemplative device in Marian spirituality, a rosary without Mary is nearly unthinkable, yet this one was produced as a symbol of the Roman Catholic Church at the dawn of the new millennium.
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