Faith/Spirituality Forum: Rosary etiquette

Rosary etiquette QUESTION from Mary on January 17, 2003 Dear Bro. Ignatius,
Very recently I have started noticing more and more people wearing rosaries around their necks like pieces of jewelry. In a recent issue of People magazine, Jennifer Lopez was wearing a rosary along with several chain necklaces. In our local courts, two inmates appearing for an arraignment were wearing plastic rosaries around their necks.
I was always taught that rosaries are not to be worn like jewelry, with the exception of the rosary bracelets that are available.
Is there a rule here?
Thank you, and God Bless You,
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius, OLSM on January 24, 2003 Dear Mary:
Thanks for the question. The Rosary is a personal devotion and as such the Church does not regulate it. Thus the Rosary can be said anyway a person desires -- presuming that it is not done in a profane or sacrilegious way.
The only specific regulation of the Church, beyond the general respect that religious symbols should receive, deals with any item that has been blessed. A blessed item must be respected and not profaned. Most Rosaries are blessed, thus the Canon law on this would apply as it does for anything that has been given a blessing.
As for wearing a Rosary, I see nothing inherently wrong with that. I cannot find anything about Rosary that would make wearing it as a necklace sacrilegious. The Crucifix is a more holy symbol than a Rosary and we wear those around our neck all the time.
But.... wear religious symbols contrary to the purpose of that symbol, which is to be an outward expression of faith, is disrespectful and wrong.
It has become a fad to wear crosses and Rosaries among performers and gang members, and the like. If these people are wearing the jewelry as fashion and not as an expression of their faith, then I believe it is profaning God or the Saint represented by the jewelry and us thus an act of disrespect to God and to Christians. It is wrong and immoral. If, on the other hand, the item were actually blessed, then it would be a sacrilege -- a Grave sin.
But a person of faith could wear a Rosary as a sign of his faith.
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