Here at the Pro-Life Action League, we often receive inquiries about pro-life ministries or devotions from people around the world.
But the post on our blog that has received more comments than any other over the years is a post about the “Rosary of the Unborn,” a rosary produced by Holy Love Ministries in Elyria, Ohio that claims to bear certain promises from the Blessed Virgin Mary through messages given to purported visionary Maureen Sweeney Kyle.
Specifically, Maureen was allegedly promised that “. . . each Hail Mary prayed [on a Rosary for the Unborn] from a loving heart will rescue one of these innocent lives from death by abortion.”
It’s not hard to see why people of faith, especially Catholics, would be attracted to such promises. But the sad truth is that the Church has declared that these promises do not have a supernatural origin.
Since we continue to receive inquiries about this devotion, we thought it would be helpful to link our readers to our exhaustive examination of the Rosary of the Unborn and the Catholic Church’s response to it.
A Brief Summary of the Rosary of the Unborn Controversy
The brief summary of the situation is this:
- Maureen Sweeney Kyle has reportedly received visions—almost daily—from the Blessed Virgin Mary, other saints and Christ Himself over the course of decades.
- After repeated inquiries, the Vatican asked the local bishop, His Excellency Richard Lennon of the Diocese of Cleveland, to look into the matter and issue his opinion on the alleged visions.
- Bishop Lennon issued a letter [PDF] and a decree [PDF] in November 2009 making clear that the visions were not of supernatural origin, the faithful were not to pray at the apparition site and the clergy were forbidden from visiting or celebrating any sacraments there.
- Holy Love Ministries responded saying that Bishop Lennon’s words were not to be heeded.
For Catholics, this should be the end of the story. The Church has spoken and, even if one suspects that Bishop Lennon is wrong, he should be obeyed. But Holy Love’s response urging the faithful to disregard their bishop’s counsel is quite telling.
Throughout the history of the Church, no true supernatural vision has urged the faithful to disobey the hierarchy, and such urgings have been a hallmark of visions that were found to be untrue or of demonic origin.
One can think of the apparition at Guadalupe, when the bishop did not believe St. Juan Diego’s claims to have seen a vision of Our Lady. Mary did not instruct him to disobey his bishop, but rather convinced the bishop herself with signs and wonders.
Holy Love’s calls for disobedience should be reason enough to avoid the Rosary of the Unborn, even if one is skeptical of Bishop Lennon’s claims about the apparitions.
Avoid Holy Love Ministries and the Rosary of the Unborn
It is our recommendation that pro-lifers follow Bishop Lennon’s directives to avoid Holy Love Ministries, and further, since the Church has declared that the visions and promises in them have no supernatural origin, to abandon the Rosary of the Unborn altogether and urge others to do the same.
There are so many pro-life devotions that are encouraged by the Church and so many wonderful pro-life works toward which the $25 cost of the Rosary of the Unborn could go. Getting involved in Church-condemned ministries is simply unnecessary.
If you’d like to learn more about the Rosary of the Unborn and Holy Love, see my detailed post from 2011 on this topic, and if you have questions, feel free to contact the Pro-Life Action League.