Laypeople wearing a rosary

Is it frowned upon or considered impious to wear a rosary as a layman? Hanging out of the pocket or wrapped around the belt loops.
Kind of like how some religious wear it as their spiritual “sword”.

The rosary isn’t intended to be worn in the fashion of a necklace, but insofar as it is a private devotion, if it is worn with piety, I can’t see anything “wrong” with it.

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Welcome to the forum. I pray we can be of service to you.

I have heard that wearing a rosary under the clothes was the equivalent of wearing all scapulars approved for wearing.

I personally wouldn’t wear it outside of the clothes due to it getting caught on something. Nuns and monks who wear a “habit rosary” will also wear an apron of some sort to cover it when working.

In your circumstances, I would also strive to look like an ordinary layman. Let your aura of devotion betray you. Unless you’re starting a new congregation, which would permit a uniform of some sort.

The Catechism says each person is a charism - a gift to the world. You can discern what the Holy Ghost wants you to wear. I don’t know how old your son is, but keep his impression-able-ness in mind. If he ends up having a married vocation, how do you want your grandchildren to be treated?


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I’ve never heard that before. If it is true, that would be a powerful argument in favor of wearing the rosary in the fashion of a necklace.

She was wearing it under her clothes, not outside.

The rosary should never be worn as adornment, unless part of a habit. Just look at what Madonna did in her early days.

There have been necklaces that look like the rosary, but are not of the same configuration.

I meant inside the clothes, following your comment. Sorry I didn’t make that clear.

But if someone wants to wear it outside their clothes, as a statement of piety or witness (as opposed to a mere fashion statement), I’m not going to second-guess that. It’s a private devotion and the faithful are free to choose.

I don’t pretend to know Madonna’s reasons for wearing a rosary. She needs to keep in mind her beautiful name, and how the rosary is connected to that. Her song “Papa Don’t Preach” contained a powerful pro-life message.

I dealt with many spiritually impoverished folks in my days as an emergency responder. Among some of them, I would see Rosaries being worn in the manner of the amulets described in 2 Maccabees - a superstitious practice in which the Rosary was held to offer some sort of protection to those whose lifestyles were replete with poor choices. I advised them that it was meaningless unless actually prayed.
There are many rock stars and Hollywood celebs seen wearing conspicuous crosses. We can only pray that they were spiritual jewelry rather than merely corporal. However, we can fall into the long tassels and broad phylacteries mindset of the hypocrites.
I do occasionally allow the cross or crucifix to hang outside of a pocket and get some positive comments and likely a few sideways glances.

I don’t mean to be offensive, but was responding to a medical emergency the best time to be exercising fraternal correction? You were in the right, but I have to think that the person experiencing the emergency would be upset by this, or else have a verbal response that probably shouldn’t be repeated on a Catholic forum.

Many people are ignorant and superstitious, and may well think that they are doing something good and even holy, in using sacramentals as amulets and “lucky charms”. The misuse of Catholic things in Santeria comes immediately to mind.

It was while they were being booked into jail, if that matters.

I did not realize that. I thought you were referring to people having some kind of medical emergency, such as poor, uneducated, superstitious people who were in immediate distress (such as a heart attack or even an overdose, WRT the former, people can ruin their health by irresponsible living and be more at risk for that sort of thing), who knew no better than to rely upon a rosary as a kind of amulet.

I suppose being put in jail could put a little different coloration upon the matter.

Mostly druggies. They seemed to believe that the Rosary protected them. Well, it did by calling to them if they were listening.

I guess there are stories of all kinds concerning this issue. A small group of volunteers from my parish weekly went to the local jail to offer a Bible Study, and the leader took Rosaries to give away. He has great devotion to Mary, and was seeking ways to call others into devotion to her. The Rosaries were very inexpensive, plastic and multi-colored. A few weeks after this began, the authorities there forbade any distribution of Rosaries and the wearing of them outwardly - the different colored Rosaries were being worn and used as Gang “colors”, to define who was a member of which gang in lockup. And to wear the colors of a gang to which one did not belong was very seriously “not good”.
If I remember correctly, any Rosaries since were confiscated. All gang identifiers are very problematic around gang cultures.

There are “prison rosaries” which are black and made to fall apart if used in a choking or hanging attempt.

I used to purchase rosary parts from a group in KY. Their newsletter said not to send red rosaries to prison because the prisoners were faking blood with them.

Docility to the commands of prison officials is not only edifying to the prisoners, but builds rapport with the admin. A prompt and humble “Yes, sir” (or ma’am) with slight bow could go a long way when asked to either leave or do something. Obedience is an exorcism.

IMHO, a St Benedict Medal needs to be under each prisoner’s mattress. Or sealed into the concrete that they’re sleeping on. Deliverance should be done the minute they walk into booking. If that doesn’t work, then the social worker/Psychologist would be next.

We are tempted to superstition. I am not drawn to the scapular, as that is not currently my devotional direction. Yet, I always have Rosary in pocket and pray it when in various places of waiting. Not obvious, but visible. At other times, I allow the crucifix to hang out of my pocket. I have gotten positive comments (and no doubt a few sideways glances).

In all things, prudence.

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