BRING BACK THE SAINT MICHAEL PRAYER
Removal Of St. Michael Prayer Came As Church Encountered The ‘Smoke’ Of Satan
By Michael H. Brown
It has to be considered a mistake. It has left the Church without a vital safeguard. Someday, it may well be aligned with great smoke that rose in the sanctuary.
We speak here of the Prayer to the Archangel Michael. It’s a prayer that was promoted and refined by Pope Leo XIII after some sort of mystical experience in which the Pontiff was given to understand that Satan was in a special period of aggression.
It was then, in a more emphatic way, that the prayer was promulgated, and in 1886 Leo XIII ordered it said at the conclusion of Mass, which was done until the fateful 1960s — when a torrent of evil suddenly poured into the world.
In 1964, in the first wave of post-Vatican II changes — in what was known as the Instructio Prima — this magnificent and potent invocation to the archangel who threw Lucifer from heaven was removed from low Mass in the Catholic Church along with a reading of a last Gospel.
Since that time, what have we seen? Priests who have left the priesthood. Pews that emptied. And now, scandal. A fantastic abuse scandal. Aridity. Vacant pews. Across society, Christianity and particularly the Catholic segment became the focus of disdain in a culture that opened itself to infernal legions. Removal of the prayer– along with the near-elimination of exorcism — allowed an influx of evil. In 1972, speaking in the aftermath of Vatican II, Pope Paul VI himself said “the smoke of Satan has entered by some crack into the temple of God.”
He was speaking at least in part about the pervasive scientism in society, but that there were problems in the sanctuary soon became obvious. It was in 1964 that a new standard was directed, and in 1968 that the new liturgy, minus the prayer, was authorized. A shield was removed. A shield and a sword!
What happened in that specific period?
Our youth strayed. The choir was replaced by rock bands. Priests were made to feel outcasts. There were even songs dedicated to the devil. Television replaced the majesty of religion. Free sex. Drugs. Abortion. The psychiatrist’s couch replaced the Confessional — and the exorcist. Instead of public prayer there was now public profanity. Madalyn O’Hair won in the courts. No more Bible-reading. But soon: abortion. In the same chronological window that saw elimination of the Michael prayer, the first Church of Satan rose (1966) in the U.S. and the satanic Bible three years later.
It was against such things that the prayer was potent, as was the practice of deliverance, something Jesus had commanded. Most of the exorcisms were taken out of baptismal rites, and the Church eliminated the minor order of “exorcist” (which young men received on the way to priesthood). Exorcism became rare at the same time that the influence of the devil became pervasive.
John Paul II tried to stem this tide. Father Gabriel Amorth, the official exorcist of Rome, said:
“I believe that it was a mistake to have eliminated, without a suitable replacement, the prayer to Saint Michael the Archangel that we used to recite after every Mass. I am convinced that allowing the ministry of exorcism to die is an unforgivable deficiency to be laid squarely at the door of bishops. Every diocese should have at least one exorcist at the cathedral, and every large parish and sanctuary should have one as well. Today the exorcist is seen as a rarity, almost impossible to find. His activity, on the other hand, has an indispensable pastoral value, as valuable as that of the preacher, the confessor, and those who administer the other sacraments. The Catholic hierarchy must say a forceful mea culpa. I am personally acquainted with many Italian bishops; I know of only a few who are adequately aware of this problem.”
It’s time to bring Saint Michael back. Evil can not stand in his presence.