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Wearing the Rosary as a Necklace




Wearing the Rosary as a Necklace; is it okay?

The closest resemblance to a norm on this topic is found in Canon 1171 of the Code of Canon Law. To wit: “Sacred objects, set aside for divine worship by dedication or blessing, are to be treated with reverence. They are not to be made over to secular or inappropriate use, even though they may belong to private persons.”

It is probable that this law does not fully apply to our case, since it refers primarily to sacred objects for liturgical worship such as chalices and vestments rather than to rosaries. At the same time, the intimation to treat sacred objects with reverence and respect can logically be extended to rosaries, crosses, medals and similar items.

Also, wearing a sacred object is not the same as using it in a secular or inappropriate manner. In fact, many religious congregations wear the rosary as part of their habit, usually hanging from a belt. There are also several historical cases of laypeople wearing the rosary for devotional purposes. For example, in his book “The Secret of the Rosary,” St. Louis de Montfort illustrates the positive results of this practice in an episode from the life of King Alfonso VI of Galicia and Leon.

I think that the key to answering this question can be found in St. Paul: “So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). In other words, there should be no indifferent or irrelevant actions in the life of a Christian.

If the reason for wearing a rosary is as a statement of faith, as a reminder to pray it, or some similar reason “to the glory of God,” then there is nothing to object to. It would not be respectful to wear it merely as jewelry.

This latter point is something to bear in mind in the case of wearing a rosary around the neck. In the first place, while not unknown, it is not common Catholic practice.

Second, in relatively recent times, certain controversial public figures have popularized the fashion of wearing the rosary as a necklace, and not precisely in order to “do all to the glory of God.” It would also appear that in some parts of the United States and elsewhere, wearing rosary beads around the neck has become a gang-related badge of identification.



Compiled by Ben Chang


Source - Answered by Legionary of Christ Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy at the Regina Apostolorum university.



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