RL asks: “Do you know anything about a rosary called the “Rosary of Liberation”. I was given a book with that title. It’s published by Raboni Publishing House. Just wondering if this passes the smell test.”
It took me a while to answer this question because I did not have research on hand and had to order the book and contact the publishing house, Raboni Editora, which is located in Brazil.
The book has definitely “passed the smell test.” It has received two imprimaturs stating that nothing in the book is contrary to the Faith. In addition, the authors, Regis and Maisa Castro, received glowing letters of support from Rev. Gilberto Pereira Lopes, now Archbishop Emeritus of the Diocese of Campinas, Brazil, and Evarist Pinto, Archbishop of Karachi, Pakistan.
The book, which is quite popular, has sold more than 3 million copies in over 120 countries.
The Rosary of Liberation is prayed on Rosary beads and begins with the Apostles Creed. On the place of the Our Father on the large beads, a person will say a prayer based on John 8:36 “If the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed” such as “If Jesus makes me free, I will be free indeed” or “If Jesus makes (my friend Jane) free, (Jane) will be free indeed.”
In place of the Hail Mary, the person repeats: “Jesus, have mercy on me! Jesus, heal me! Jesus, save me! Jesus, free me!” or “Jesus, have mercy on (my friend, Jane)! Jesus, heal (Jane). Jesus, save (Jane)! Jesus, free (Jane)!”
It ends with the Hail, Holy Queen.
The authors recommend that the rosary be prayed first for oneself, “that we may be purified in the Blood of Jesus” before praying it for others. It should be said for only one intention at a time, such as conversion, marriage, family, health, work, friends, etc.
The purpose of the rosary is to lead one, in faith, to accept the work of salvation which was fully realized in Jesus on Calvary, “because in our spiritual life, all is obtained through faith in Jesus and in the power of His Word and His redeeming Blood.”
The authors go on to warn that “The Rosary of Liberation is not a magic formula . . . but a proclamation of faith in the Word of God. And accepting in faith this Word, we can move the hand of God in our favor.”
According to the publisher, the Castros are the founders of the Catholic Alliance of Tess in 1984, a communications apostolate which has the backing of the Archdiocese of Campinas. Their radio show, “Radio Programas de Jesus loves you” is now broadcast on 160 stations in Brazil and the U.S. along with a television program, “Raboni and You.”
Apparently, the verse that most inspired the preaching of Regis Castro was from John 8: 31-32, 36. “And Jesus said to the Jews who believed in him: ´If you stay in my word, be my true disciples; know the truth, and we deliver you.” “If therefore the Son you free, be truly free.”
Regis would often meditate on these verses, along with “Lord, save me!” from Matthew 14:30, “O God, have mercy on me, as a sinner!” from Luke 18:13 and “Sir, if you want, you can heal me,” from Matthew 8:2.
This formed into a prayer that he often said while preaching, “Jesus, have mercy on us! Only Jesus heals. Only Jesus saves. Only Jesus frees.”
Eventually, it became the basis for the Rosary of Liberation. The book is filled with testimonials from people who have prayed it for a variety of causes and received great favors and graces from God.
However, the reader should be warned that there are other “Rosaries of Liberation” out there – and not all of them have Church approval.
For example, the Rosary of Liberation composed by Barry Norris of the We Are Church movement in UK. (see http://www.we-are-church.org/uk/prayer/rosary.htm ) prays for a variety of liberal causes. This rosary remembers “the parents of priests and religious who have seen their children’s lives blighted by the repressive regime of the Church. . . ” and prays for the Church to affirm the “primacy of the individual person’s conscience in the making of moral decisions. . . .” It also wants the Church to have a new attitude toward women which will allow them to “have access to leadership and sacramental ministries, including the ministerial priesthood and the episcopate . . . .”
It should also be noted that the Castros do not recommend that the Rosary of Liberation become a substitute for the Rosary. As they say on page 12 of the book,”The Rosary of Liberation in no way excludes the wonderful devotion to the Rosary of Our Lady.”
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