Hello everyone and happy new year!
Michael Brown over at Spirit Daily has mentioned my research for Pope Leo XIII and the Prayer to St. Michael.
For some reason though, Brown provides no link to my book in the article. Instead, he provides a link to another book entitled Saint Michael and the Angels in the “resources” section at the bottom of his article.
Here is what Brown had to say in the article about my research:
That the Pope had an experience has been well-documented by a seminarian from Wisconsin named Kevin Symonds, who did yeoman’s work researching it and initially assuming a skeptical approach.
But in fact it’s what he found occurred: in some way, between 1884 and 1886, the great Pontiff had some sort of mystical episode “during the celebration of Mass. Several different reports relate that Pope Leo had a visible change come over his face during the vision and one claims that his face was ‘pale and fearful,’” writes Symonds.
No one is quite sure exactly what the experience entailed; we know only that afterward, and although he did not invent it, Leo XIII revamped and tweaked the Prayer to the Archangel Michael, and asked that it be recited at the conclusion of Mass. The popular rendition of the event has Satan vowing he could destroy the Church if allowed extended power and being given seventy-five to a hundred years to try just that.
I am grateful for Brown’s mention and thank him for the mention. A few clarifying notes:
- I am a seminarian studying for the Diocese of Marquette, Michigan–not Wisconsin.
- It is not accurate to say that I was “initially assuming a skeptical approach” with the claim of Leo’s vision. I have known since 2006 that Leo had a vision. I was skeptical of the details attributed to that vision. I decided to research the matter more deeply in May, 2012.
- Brown attributes this quote to me: “during the celebration of Mass…. was ‘pale and fearful,'”. These words are not in either the first or second edition of my book.
- I found them in an article from Philip Kosloski over on Aletheia. It seems that Brown simply misunderstood what Kosloski was summarizing.
- Pope Leo XIII DID compose the prayer to St. Michael said after Low Mass from 1886 onward. He did NOT “revamp and tweak” it.
- In 1884, Leo completely refashioned the prayers after Mass that were initially given by Pope Pius IX in the late 1850s. In 1886, Leo further revised the 1884 prayers to include (among other changes) the prayer to St. Michael.
- Leo composed the prayer to St. Michael sometime between 1884 and 1886.
- Leo ordered the prayer to St. Michael to be recited after, not at, the conclusion of Mass.
- There is no proof that Leo’s vision entailed a conversation between Jesus and Satan. It may or may not have happened. Until, however, we have bona fide proof, it is best to exercise caution.
Again, I thank Brown for mentioning me. I just want to ensure that the record is accurate.