The Rosary, War and Violence

The following was written by Rev. Emmanuel Charles McCarthy and is republished with permission. 



The Rosary of Mary of Nazareth, the Mother of Jesus, the Mother of the Christ, the Theotokos, like so many other aids to salvation offered by the Catholic Church and other Christian Churches, is an often misunderstood and grossly misused sacramental. The above “death-dealing weapon with Rosary attached” picture can be seen in countless variations over the last five hundred or so years. For example, something visually akin to it is to be seen  in the “yet-to-be-removed” stain glass window immediately to the left of the high altar in the Sacred Heart Basilica at the University of Notre Dame, shown below. This particular visage presents Mary in heaven, depicted in the upper left hand corner, supporting Catholics killing Muslims at the naval Battle of Lepanto (October 7,1571). Because  it was allowed to be taught in the Church that Mary, at the request of Catholics reciting the Rosary, gave victory to the Catholics over the Muslims in their mutual slaughter event of  October 7, 1571, October 7 was made the universal Feast Day Our Lady of the Rosary. in the Catholic Church.


Beyond Lepanto, over the last five hundred years the Rosary has been employed many, many times to help Catholics kill better than their enemies in war, and thus obtain homicidal victories for Catholics over earthly enemies. This erroneous and evil understanding of the Rosary has not only been permitted to thrive within the Church, but has also been fostered in the institutional Church over the centuries by popes and every rank of clergy. Everyone of these homicidal pious legends about Mary being on the side of and giving support to Catholics in killing enemies is spiritually fallacious. Neither Mary, nor her Son, nor the God of the New Testament leads Catholics or anyone else in violent victories over historical enemies. It is the evil of blasphemy, “giving dogs [of war] what is holy, throwing pearls before swine ” (Mt 7:6), to say or to teach otherwise, regardless of what office or status one holds in the institutional Church. By of such brutal abuse of the truth of the  Rosary by people high and low in the institutional Church, the Rosary—which is a genuine sacramental capable of being an avenues of a healing prayer to Jesus for the soul and the body, the mind and the heart, the culture and the Church— is all but spiritually inaccessible, for even consideration, to the vast majority of Christians in the world yesterday and today.

So hopefully to clarify once and for all on this Feast Day of Our Lady of the Rosary, October 7, AD 2016, the Divine Truth embedded within the Rosary, all that is necessary is to always remember Mary’s last words in the Gospels, which are the authentic public revelation of the Church: “Do whatever He (Jesus) tells you.” The Rosary is being radically abused when it is employed to pray for anything that Jesus never would have commanded or done. But, when employed to pray with Mary to Jesus for anything and everything that Jesus commanded, then it is an ineffable instrument for encountering grace, God’s Self Communication, God’s Life, God’s Love, God’s Power, God’s Wisdom and God’s living Word through Jesus, the Christ—with the help of the Mother of the Christ, the Theotokos.

Finally let us never forget, that the only Jesus that Mary in the Gospels could possibly be referring to when she speaks for the final time in the Gospels and proclaims, “Do whatever He tells you,” is the Nonviolent Jesus of the Gospels who teaches, indeed commands, a Way of Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies as the Way for those He chooses as His disciples.


From Kansas City, MO


Talked with a priest from Kenya regarding his homily at today’s Mass [Oct.7, 2016]. Our conversation lasted about 5  minutes until he said let’s end it until I read more about the context of the Battle of Lepanto. He laughed at me when I questioned that the victory should not be attributed to Mary. He said that I am the only one–no other scholar or church authority ever questioned that the victory be attributed to anyone other than Mary.



Prayer to the Blessed Mother for Victory

Mary, grant us the victory!” That is sufficient. The whole of the uttered Rosary to you Blessed Mother at Lepanto and at all other battles and wars is compact into those pregnant words: “Mary, Grant us victory.” Elaboration is not necessary. When you have prayed for victory, however, you have prayed for many unmentioned results which follow victory—which must follow it, cannot help but follow it. So upon the listening spirit of the Blessed Mother of Jesus falls also the unspoken part of your prayer to “Grant us victory.”


It says and must say,

O Holy Mary, our young go forth to battle – be near them! Be with them as they go forth from the sweet peace of their beloved firesides to smite the foe. O Holy Mother, help them to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with their shells. Help them, Mary, to cover the enemies smiling fields with the pale forms of the enemy’s dead. Help them, Our Lady Help of Christians, to drown the thunder of the guns with the shrieks of the enemy’s wounded, writhing in pain. O Mother of Mercy, help our side to lay waste to the enemy’s humble homes with a hurricane of fire. Help us, O Mother of Sorrows, to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief. Mother of Jesus help us to turn them out roofless with little children to wander unfriended the wastes of their desolated land in rags, hunger and thirst, sports of the sun flames of summer and the icy winds of winter, broken in spirit, worn with travail, imploring God for the refuge of the grave. And for our sakes who venerate thee as our Mother and Mother of the Church blast our enemies hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter pilgrimage. Mary, Queen of Peace. make heavy their steps, water their way with their tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their wounded feet! We ask  you to intercede with Jesus for all this, in the spirit of your maternal love of Him Who is the Source of Love and Who is the ever-faithful refuge and friend of all who are sore beset and seek His aid. Amen.

(With gratitude to Mark Twain) or

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