By Fr Hugh S. Thwaites
“It seems to me that a principal cause of the loss of faith is the dropping off in the practice of the family rosary.
In Austria, after World War II, there was a complete collapse of vocations. One year, apparently, no one at all entered the seminaries. So the bishops held a synod, to find out how it could be that this had happened. The conclusion they reached was that the war had so disrupted family life that the centuries-old practice of the rosary in the home had stopped, and had just not started up again. This is my experience, too; when the rosary goes, the faith soon collapses.
I remember someone telling me of a friend of his, a great Catholic, the pillar of the parish, whose children had all lapsed, one after the other. They had all fallen away from the sacraments and from attending Mass. So I said to him, “I wouldn’t mind betting that your friend had been brought up to recite the family rosary when he was a boy, and that his children haven’t.” The next time I saw him, he said that this was indeed true. His friend had recited the family rosary at home when he was a boy, and when he had got married and started his own family they had all said the rosary. But then, one evening when they were about to start the rosary, one of the children switched on the television, and that was that. The custom of the family rosary was dropped and in due course the children gave up the practice of the faith.
On the day of Judgement that one unrebuked action will be seen to have affected the eternity of many people. God sent His Mother to Fatima to tell us that we had to say the rosary every day. There were no other prayers She asked us to say. Accordingly, we should do what She asked…
In that most holy home at Nazareth, do you think that Our Lady had to ask for anything twice? If we want in any way to be like Jesus, we must do what His Mother asks. If we do not, can we expect things to go right? We cannot with impunity disobey the Mother of God. She knows better than we the dangers of this spiritual warfare. She sees more clearly than we do the dangers that beset us. She warns us: You must pray the rosary every day.
If the garage mechanic warns you that your car needs repairing or else it will break down, surely you would heed that warning. If the petrol gauge warns you that you need more petrol, do you do nothing about it? A friend of mine ran out of petrol halfway through the Blackwall tunnel. His wife told me it was quite an experience. But I am sure that ever since then he has kept a careful eye on his petrol gauge.
So if Our Blessed Lady comes to Fatima and tells us, not just once, but six times, that we must say the rosary every day, do we disregard that warning? If we do, then we have only ourselves to blame when we find that our children have lapsed from the faith…
So I think that the abandonment of the family rosary is a main reason why so many Catholics have lost the faith. It seems to me that the Church of the future is going to consist solely of those families who have been faithful to the rosary. But there will be vast numbers of people whose families used to be Catholic.”