ROME, JUNE 14, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Answered by Legionary of Christ Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy at the Regina Apostolorum university.
Q: I have seen people wear the rosary as a necklace and, in fact, I had a fifth-grader ask me during CCD if that was a sin. I told her that I didn’t believe it was a sin per se, but that as it is a wonderful prayer and most favored by the Blessed Mother, that I thought it disrespectful, not very reverent (regardless if the rosary is blessed or not). The student promptly asked about my decade rosary bracelet, “What about wearing it like a bracelet?” It’s a good question, in light of the cross and rosary “look-alikes” that seem to be ubiquitous these days in fashion jewelry. What do we tell young girls? — J.M., Leavenworth, Kansas
A: 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.
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