Malorum (Pius XII) On Reciting the Rosary
Encyclical of Pope Pius XII
promulgated on September 15, 1951.
To Our Venerable Brethren, Patriarchs, Primates, Archbishops, Bishops, and other
Ordinaries having Peace and Communion with the Apostolic See.
Venerable Brethren, Greetings and Apostolic Benediction.
Ever since We were raised, by the design of Divine Providence, to the supreme
Chair of Peter, We have never ceased, in the face of approaching evils, to
entrust to the most powerful protection of the Mother of God the destiny of the
human family, and, to this end, as you know, We have from time to time written
letters of exhortation.
2. You know, Venerable Brethren, with what zeal and with what spontaneous and
unanimous approval the Christian people everywhere have answered Our invitation.
It has been magnificently testified many times by the great demonstration of
faith and love towards the august Queen of Heaven, and above all, by that
manifestation of universal joy which, last year, Our eyes had the pleasure to
behold, when, in St. Peter's Square, surrounded by an immense multitude of the
faithful, We solemnly proclaimed the Assumption into Heaven of the Virgin Mary,
body and soul.
3. The recollection of these things comes back pleasantly to Us and encourages
Us to trust firmly in Divine Mercy. However, at present, We do not lack reasons
for profound sorrow which torment and sadden Our paternal heart.
4. You know well, Venerable Brethren, the calamitous conditions of our times.
Fraternal harmony among nations, shattered for so long a time, has not yet been
re-established everywhere. On the contrary, here and there, we see souls upset
by hatred and rivalry, while threats of new bloody conflicts still hover over
the peoples. To this, one must add the violent storm of persecution, which in
many parts of the world, has been unleashed against the Church, depriving it of
its liberty, saddening it very cruelly with calumnies and miseries of all kinds,
and making the blood of martyrs flow again and again.
5. To what and to how many snares are the souls of so many of Our sons submitted
in those areas to make them reject the Faith of their fathers, and to make them
break, most wretchedly, the bond of union which links them to this Apostolic
See! Nor can We pass over in silence a new crime to which, with utmost sorrow,
We want earnestly to draw not only your attention, but the attention of the
clergy, of parents, and even of public authorities. We refer to the iniquitous
campaign that the impious lead everywhere to harm the shining souls of children.
Not even the age of innocence has been spared, for, alas, there are not lacking
those who boldly dare to snatch from the mystical garden of the Church even the
most beautiful flowers, which constitute the hope of religion and society.
Considering this, one cannot be surprised if peoples groan under the weight of
the Divine punishment, and live under the fear of even greater calamities.
6. However, consideration of a situation so pregnant with dangers must not
depress your souls, Venerable Brethren. Instead, mindful of that Divine
teaching: "Ask and it shall be given to you; seek and you shall find; knock, and
it shall be opened to you" (Luke 11, 9), fly with greater confidence to the
Mother of God. There, the Christian people have always sought chief refuge in
the hour of danger, because "she has been constituted the cause of salvation for
the whole human race" (St. Irenaeus).
7. Therefore, we look forward with joyful expectation and revived hope to the
coming month of October, during which the faithful are accustomed to flock in
larger numbers to the churches to raise their
supplications to Mary by means of the Holy Rosary.
8. O Venerable Brethren, We desire that, this year, this prayer should be
offered with such greater fervor of heart as is demanded by the increased
urgency of the need. We well know the Rosary's powerful efficacy to obtain the
maternal aid of the Virgin. By no means is there only one way to pray to obtain
this aid. However, We consider the Holy Rosary the most convenient and most
fruitful means, as is clearly suggested by the very origin of this practice,
heavenly rather than human, and by its nature. What prayers are better adapted
and more beautiful than the Lord's prayer and the angelic salutation, which are
the flowers with which this mystical crown is formed? With meditation of the
Sacred Mysteries added to the vocal prayers, there emerges another very great
advantage, so that all, even the most simple and least educated, have in this a
prompt and easy way to nourish and preserve their own faith.
9. And truly, from the frequent meditation on the Mysteries, the soul little by
little and imperceptibly draws and absorbs the virtues they contain, and is
wondrously enkindled with a longing for things immortal, and becomes strongly
and easily impelled to follow the path which Christ Himself and His Mother have
followed. The recitation of identical formulas repeated so many times, rather
than rendering the prayer sterile and boring, has on the contrary the admirable
quality of infusing confidence in him who prays and brings to bear a gentle
compulsion on the motherly Heart of Mary.
10. Let it be your particular care, O Venerable Brethren, that the faithful, on
the occasion of the coming month of October, should use this most fruitful form
of prayer with the utmost possible zeal, and that it become always more esteemed
and more diligently recited.
11. Through your efforts, the Christian people should be led to understand the
dignity, the power, and the excellence of the Rosary.
12. But it is above all in the bosom of the family that We desire the custom of
the Holy Rosary to be everywhere adopted, religiously preserved, and ever more
intensely practiced. In vain is a remedy sought for the wavering fate of civil
life, if the family, the principle and foundation of the human community, is not
fashioned after the pattern of the Gospel.
13. To undertake such a difficult duty, We affirm that the custom of the family
recitation of the Holy Rosary is a most efficacious means. What a sweet
sight--most pleasing tO God-- when, at eventide, the Christian home resounds
with the frequent repetition of praises in honor of the august Queen of Heaven!
Then the Rosary, recited in common, assembles before the image of the Virgin, in
an admirable union of hearts, the parents and their children, who come back from
their daily work. It unites them piously with those absent and those dead. It
links all more tightly in a sweet bond of love, with the most Holy Virgin, who,
like a loving mother, in the circle of her children, will be there bestowing
upon them an abundance of the gifts of concord and family peace.
14. Then the home of the Christian family, like that of Nazareth, will become an
earthly abode of sanctity, and, so to speak, a sacred
temple, where the Holy Rosary will not only be the particular prayer which every
day rises to heaven in an odor of sweetness, but will also form the most
efficacious school of Christian discipline and Christian virtue. This meditation
on the Divine Mysteries of the Redemption will teach the adults to live,
admiring daily the shining examples of Jesus and Mary, and to draw from these
examples comfort in adversity, striving towards those heavenly treasures "where
neither thief draws near, nor moth destroys" (Luke 12, 33). This meditation will
bring to the knowledge of the little ones the main truths of the Christian
Faith, making love for the Redeemer blossom almost spontaneously in their
innocent hearts, while, seeing, their parents kneeling before the majesty of
God, they will learn from their very early years how great before the throne of
God is the value of prayers said in common.
15. We do not hesitate to affirm again publicly that We put great confidence in
Holy Rosary for the healing of evils which afflict our times. Not with force,
not with arms, not with human power, but with Divine help obtained through the
means of this prayer, strong like David with his sling, the Church undaunted
shall be able to confront the infernal enemy, repeating to him the words of the
young shepherd: "Thou comest to me with a sword, and a spear, and with a shield;
but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of Hosts, the God of armies . . . and
all this assembly shall know that the Lord saveth not with sword and spear, for
this is his battle, and he will deliver you into our hands" (I Kings 17, 45-47)
16. For this reason, We earnestly desire, Venerable Brethren, that all the
faithful, following your example and your exhortation should respond
solicitously to Our paternal exhortation, uniting their hearts and their voices
with the same ardor of charity. If the evils and the assaults of the wicked
increase, so likewise must the piety of all good people increase and become ever
more vigorous. Let them strive to obtain from our most loving Mother, especially
through this form of prayer, that better times may quickly return for the Church
17. May the very powerful Mother of God, moved by the prayers of so many of her
sons, obtain from her only Son--let us all beseech her-- that those who have
miserably wandered from the path of truth and virtue may, with new fervor, find
it again; that hatred and rivalry, which are the sources of discord and every
kind of mishap, may be put aside, and that a true, just, and genuine peace may
shine again upon individuals, families, peoples, and nations. And, finally, may
she obtain that, after the rights of the Church have been secured in accord with
justice, its beneficent influence may penetrate without obstacle the hearts of
men, the social classes, and the avenues of public life so as to join people
among themselves in brotherhood and lead them to that prosperity which
regulates, preserves, and coordinates the rights and duties of all without
harming anyone and which daily makes for greater and greater mutual friendship
18. Venerable Brethren and beloved sons, while you entwine new flowers of
supplication by reciting your Rosary, do not forget those who languish miserably
in prison camps, jails, and concentration camps. There are among them, as you
know, also Bishops dismissed from their Sees solely for having heroically
defended the sacred rights of God and the Church. There are sons, fathers and
mothers, wrested from their homes and compelled to lead unhappy lives far away
in unknown lands and strange climates.
19. Just as We love them with a special charity and embrace them with the love
of a father, so must you, with a brotherly love which the Christian religion
nourishes and enkindles, join with Vs before the altar of the Virgin Mother of
God and recommend them to her motherly heart. She doubtlessly will, with
exquisite sweetness, revive in their hearts the hope of eternal reward and, We
firmly believe, will not fail to hasten the end of so much sorrow.
20. We do not doubt that you, O Venerable Brethren, with your usual burning
zeal, will bring to the knowledge of your clergy and people these Our paternal
exhortations in a way which will appear most appropriate to you.
21. Feeling certain that Our sons throughout the world will respond willingly
and generously to this Our invitation, We impart, from the fullness of Our heart
and as an evidence of Our favor and an augury of heavenly graces, to each and
every one of you, to the flock entrusted to each of you and particularly to
those who, especially during the month of October, will devoutly recie the holy
Rosary according to Our intentions, Our Apostolic Blessing.
Given in Rome, at St. Peter's, the 15th day of September, the Feast of the Seven
Sorrows of the Virgin Mary, in the Year 1951, the 13th of Our pontificate.