Monday, June 2, 2008

Rosaries: A Fashion Accesory?

In terms of things that are going on in the world and in the Church, this topic is of low importance but nonetheless baffling. Since when do we wear Rosaries around the neck? Never (and I'm going all the way back to my childhood) have I been instructed or taught that it was okay to wear the Rosary around your neck, or, even more unacceptable, as a fashion statement. Yet I'm seeing more and more of this practice than ever before.

Actor Mark Wahlberg is Catholic and has a Rosary tattooed around his neck and on his chest. Is this anymore acceptable than if it had been a real Rosary instead of a painted one? Don't ask me what's at the end of it.





What about this guy? Singer George Michael wears not one, but TWO Rosaries around his neck. Is he even Catholic? Is he making a political statement? This type of Rosary-wearing reminds me of some of the sacrilegious stunts Madonna used to pull off in the early to mid eighties during her incipient fame.


Sister Mary Martha wrote a post dealing with this same topic not too long ago. According to her, it might not be as wrong as you think. It might depend on the intentionality of the person who wears it.

13 comments:

Thom said...

Well....

I agree.

BUT...

A lot of Catholic retailers aren't going to like this post, because it also begates the use of the "rosary bracelets" and "rosary rings."

(Oh, and, Marky Mark can do whatever the hell he wants to do, I s'pose. He typically does, no?)

Thom said...

*negates, of course, not begates

Terry Nelson said...

Thom has a point on the bracelets thing. Although, wearing the rosary around the neck is a matter of intention/devotion and cultural background. (Even multiple rosaries - very popular in Spain amongst the peasants for feast days.)

Many South American religious, male and female, wore their rosaries around their necks, as did the pious faithful. The rich wore bejewled rosaries as well - it was "fashionable" as well as pious.

In NYC, the men in the AIDS hospice run by the Missionaries of Charity wore the rosaries the nuns gave to them around their necks - somewhere there is a quote from M. Teresa about the practice.

There is actually an added indulgence, or was, for wearing the rosary - which is why many religious wore the rosary on their belts.

Perhaps former Catholics, or lax Catholics have an unconscious need/desire to be more devout, and that is why they become attached to the rosary as a fashion accessory.

Terry Nelson said...

I should have said wearing multiple rosaries in Spain was once a very popular custom for feast days - before the Civil War.

Tom in Vegas said...

Thom-

Good point my friend. We forget that there is more than one type of Rosary, some of which are NOT worn around the neck and completely permissible.

Terry-

Reading Sister Mary Martha's post on this subject matter was like a prelude to the points you made. I was aware that many religious orders wear the Rosary around their belts, but I didn't know about the other conditions that permitted the practice. I found the information you wrote about the men suffering from aids and wearing the Rosary around their necks both fascinating and touching. I have no problem with anyone wearing the Rosary around their neck, or in a way that is respectful and edifying. Having said that, what is George Michael doing wearing a Rosary? I’m not passing judgement in anyway.

Thom said...

Well, with George Michael, it gives people something to hold onto.

Feel free to delete this comment.

Regarding wearing the rosary, I wear a chotki bracelet, so I'm not above contempt on this.

:-)

Adrienne said...

I'm not planning on wearing a rosary around my neck any time soon. Imagine a chubby older lady in 3" heels with a rosary around her neck. Not a pretty picture. Madonna - eat your heart out ;)

Terry Nelson said...

Thom! LOL!

Cathy_of_Alex said...

I don't know why George Michael would wear a Rosary around his neck. I believe he is of Greek descent so he's probably Greek Orthodox if not Anglican. In his case, it's probably a fashion statement/insult since if he was Catholic he's obviously not doing the "Gotta have faith" with his gay lifestyle.

Wahlberg: *drool* what were we saying? In his case, it's probably just an eye catcher. Really.

Terry Nelson said...

Cathy, Cathy, Cathy.

Tracy said...

I don't get the rosary wearing either and think it is very disrespectful!

Jennifer said...

I personally think it is disrespectful because I am not in the religious life (nun, monk etc). Didn't some of them wear wooden ones around their necks?

And for the record...Madonna did wear rosaries around her neck.

Lindsay said...

I think George's mom might have gone to a Catholic school, so perhaps they are his mother's he's wearing.