And it came to pass yours truly was in London for professional reasons, and at lunch time happened to darken the doors of the local Catholic Church. A typical example of V II wreckovation, the Church was not as badly disfigured as one could have feared (note: not run by Jesuits).
The Rosary was being recited by a bunch of pious women. Yours truly kneels in the pew and decides to accompany the good women for a couple of decades.
The recitation is simply atrocious. The pious woman reciting the first part of the Hail Mary is still fine as she is the only one reciting; but the second part is a cacophony of the least coordinated bunch of deaf people I have ever heard.
It is as if everyone lived in her own little planet, uncaring of the words of the others. To say that they don't follow the time is an understatement . They simply ignore it, several seconds separating the fastest from the slowest, with everything under the sun in the middle. The result is utterly and completely unintelligible; even then, when you know the words already. I heard the massacre in horror and wondered whether this happened in the good old, pre-V II time too. But I doubt, as in past, pre-TV and pre-videogame times people used to sing together a lot more, and it was allowed to tell people they were lousy singer and had better keep the time.
I wonder if the women are exacting their revenge for being kicked out of the school choir when girls. Another idea is that they are fighting each other for the supremacy in leading the second part of the Hail Mary. The thought also strikes me that they might be saboteurs actually sent around by Jesuits to instil in the faithful the hate for traditional devotions as offensive to everything that is beautiful and pleasant.
But the worst is still to come. At the end of the decade, the “Glory be” causes an explosion of unbounded anarchy, not recognisable as common prayer by any stretch of the imagination. The Fatima Prayer is the final straw, bringing the level of uncoordinated chaos to up to then unimaginable level.
And then it dawned on me: the cacophony was so horrible that the only way for the pious women to survive it was to completely shut out the outer world. Therefore, each one of them prayed completely on her own, hoping not to hear her “rosary neighbour” at all. There can be no other logical explanation besides deafness, masochism or utter enmity with the Church.
I left the Church in haste, vowing never to return. But I will say a prayer for the old women, that God may give them some small sense of timing, or at least give them the grace of temporary deafness whenever they pray the rosary in church.
I trust the Blessed Virgin doesn't mind the chaotic din.
As to me, I finished my rosary on my own.