We’ve all probably seen someone wearing a rosary around their neck at some point in our lives. Is that disrespectful or inappropriate? Is it a form of mockery or devotion? As a devotional article that may or may not have been blessed, it is worth discovering the proper way to care for such an object.
Recently on The Patrick Madrid Show, Carmen called in to ask about the legitimacy of wearing devotional items like a rosary around your neck or a t-shirt with an image of Our Blessed Mother on it. “My question is: Is it wrong or disrespectful to wear my rosary as a necklace. I heard years ago that you should not do that. And I’ve also seen some beautiful t-shirts that have been for sale that have the picture of the Virgin Mary or something religious and I want to know if that’s okay.”
Patrick answered the rosary question first and he qualified his response with the concept of intention. “Ok, well let’s say you’re wearing the rosary out of devotion and you just want to be reminded of your devotion to Our Lady and you have it around your neck, whether it’s visible or not, I would not think that would be any problem at all.” In other words, genuine intent to wear it as a reminder of your faithfulness to Our Lady is not an issue.
However, on the other hand, he said that if you were to wear it for other intentions, it could potentially become an issue and possibly even a sin. He referenced the use of it by musicians and other celebrities who make a point of using crucifixes, rosaries, and other religious imagery as ornamental pieces. When wearing such an object, it should be done out of respect and if it is instead done out of mockery, vanity, or blasphemy, it would certainly be considered a sin. “It could be sinful under the wrong circumstances, but it doesn’t sound like what you’re describing would fit in that regard.”
Addressing her question about the t-shirts, Patrick had a very similar answer for Carmen. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with wearing a shirt that displays a blessed or sacred image of Our Lord or Mary and in fact, it can be a very good thing. The point at which involving sacred images might become a problem is when it becomes a form of mockery or blasphemy, like photoshopping somebody’s face over Jesus’s.
In summary, it should all come down to personal discretion and intent. If the intention is to show love, honor, and devotion for Our Lord and it is done in a respectful manner, wearing articles or accessories should not be a problem. When it ceases to be about the devotion and starts becoming about vanity, novelty, or mockery, it becomes dangerous and sinful.
Listen to the full question and answer below:
Tune in to The Patrick Madrid Show weekdays 8am – 11am CT