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Who decides if a type of prayer is consistent with the Gospel?

Grupa ludzi trzyma się za ręce i modli się przy Pismie Świętym

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Philip Kosloski - published on 02/17/24

There are many types of prayer in the Catholic Church, but that does not mean that all types of prayer are accepted or in accord with the Gospel.

Throughout the Church’s 2,000-year history there have grown many types of prayer that Catholics can freely take part in.

Whether memorized formulas, charismatic prayer, or spontaneous prayers, the Church accepts a wide array of prayers.

However, there is a line that has to be drawn to discern if a prayer is consistent with the Gospel.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains that it is up to the magisterium of the Church to make that decision:

In the living tradition of prayer, each Church proposes to its faithful, according to its historic, social, and cultural context, a language for prayer: words, melodies, gestures, iconography. The Magisterium of the Church has the task of discerning the fidelity of these ways of praying to the tradition of apostolic faith; it is for pastors and catechists to explain their meaning, always in relation to Jesus Christ.

CCC 2663

This means that the pope, along with the bishops in union with him, discerns new types of prayers and determines if they are consistent with the Gospel.

For example, prayers asking for a guardian angel’s name have been discouraged by the magisterium of the Church. This is because only three angelic names have been revealed to us through the scriptures and it is difficult to know whether or not a name revealed to us is from God or from the devil.

While there is a great amount of freedom in developing our own prayers, we have to keep in mind that there does exist a “right” way to pray and a “wrong” way. It’s up to the magisterium of the Church to properly discern the guidance of the Holy Spirit in this matter.

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BibleCatholic PrayersPope
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