Someone told me he read an article discouraging Catholics from praying the Rosary in public. He said the article referred to this Scripture passage as evidence that its wrong to pray in public:
“And when ye pray, you shall not be as the hypocrites, that love to stand and pray in the synagogues and corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men: Amen I say to you, they have received their reward.
“But thou when thou shalt pray, enter into thy chamber, and having shut the door, pray to thy Father in secret: and thy Father who seeth in secret will repay thee” (Matthew 6:5-6).
Of course, by this, we cannot infer that public prayer is wrong.
We could never practice our faith in private, behind closed doors, to such an extent that all of our acts of piety are completely hidden.
Nor does God want this.
So, the meaning of this passage is that Our Lord did not condemn the act of praying in public, but the bad intention of those who pray in public for the wrong reasons.
As is evident by the context of the parables that Our Lord used, He colored the situation to its darkest to teach us a lesson. He did not censure people who prayed in public, nor did He ask the apostles to keep their faith exclusively indoors.
Much to the contrary! Our Lord commanded His apostles:
“Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” (Matthew 28:19)
Our Lord Himself prayed in public on several occasions. Two of the most pungent examples of which we contemplate with holy veneration in the Garden of Olives and at the foot of the Cross:
“And going a little further, he fell upon his face, praying, and saying: My Father, if it be possible, let this chalice pass from me. Nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt” (Matthew 26:39).
“And Jesus said: Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. But they, dividing his garments, cast lots” (Luke 23:34).
Holy Mother Church shows us the importance of public prayer in Her magnificent public processions. More recently, people have gathered to pray the Block Rosary with excellent results.
Furthermore, Saint Louis de Montfort in his book Secret of the Rosary, says:
"When people say the Rosary together, it is far more formidable to the devil, than one said privately, because in this public prayer, it is an army that is attacking. It is very easy to break a single stick, but if you join it to others to make a bundle, it cannot be broken. In union, there is strength."
Finally, Saint Louis de Montfort states:
“Public prayer is far more powerful than private prayer, to appease the anger of God, and to call down His mercy. Holy Mother Church, guided by the Holy Ghost, has always advocated public prayer in times of public tragedy and suffering.”
So why would anyone recommend that the public praying of the Rosary is wrong?