Monday, May 31, 2010


A rosary as fashion statement.  Who are you, Madonna?


David O'Neill said...

Thank God they aren't Catholics!!
David O'Neill

Paula said...

It is probally a Goddess rosary.

Anonymous said...

Or a cross attached to Moslem worry beads as a sign of cross-cultural understanding and respect. {shudder}

Anonymous said...

The Rosary is NOT to be worn as an article of jewelry or clothing. The nuns bludgeoned that into my Dad's head so well that when we got to our Rosary unit when I was in 2nd Grade, he verbally bludgeoned it into my head, and threatened to physically bludgeon it too. Sheesh!

Monika said...

I think the sincerity of wearing a cross as jewelry is worth more consideration that simply mocking this woman - no matter how well-deserved the mockery. How many clerics go shopping for just the right bling? Understated...yet luxey...chain? or simple raffia?

Years ago I met a chaplain who always wore his cross under his shirt because it was a reminder of Jesus' sacrifice and not jewelry. That changed my perception. Ever check out the cost of bishops' pectoral crosses and rings? Ever hear clergy discuss the merits of different vestment manufacturers? It's like Sex in the City with collars.

Therese Z said...

Bishops wear their pectoral cross and ring as a sign of their authority. They wear them for decades, in every circumstance, so they should be durable and beautiful, since they honor the Body of Christ displayed on them.

I've seen more than one up close and many are very modest.

I presume you scoff at everything but the cheapest wedding and engagement rings since they are only reminders of the pledge made between spouses, right?

Monika said...

And you in turn, I suppose, would scoff at modest wedding and engagement rings between those who can't afford more expensive ones? Or perhaps those who when they see a diamond see the blood of children? Wedding and engagement rings are personal choices and not paid for with diocesan funds.

I scoff at bishops and clerics who are so unsure of their authority - which is given through election and appointment only with all the screwiness that comes along with those processes - that they need a ring or a pectoral cross. I've seen my share of them up close too, having been involved with the House of Bishops and been forced to hang out at 815 2nd Ave. for over a decade, and I can tell you that the best of them don't opine about Almy's versus Whippel's and understand that being a servant of God has nothing to do with your outfit. And the pectoral crosses are kept in the left breast pocket most of the time so when the bishop is on the subway, the guy hanging on the strap next to him and part of the Body of Christ is glorified by seeing a freakin' chain.

Isn't the theme of this blog that Christian worship not supposed to be about you?

George said...

Well, let's look at some of the facts:

Technically speaking, you can't use a rosary while it is around your neck. Difficult to get at as opposed to your pocket.

Rings and crosses were supposed to be 'awards,' like a soldier's medals and ranks. Now we live in the era of the self-appointed, and so these traditional meanings have been lost.

Tradition governs what is to be worn during services and what isn't. Rosaries are not to be worn like that in any tradition, Episcopal or otherwise.

To me, this smacks of the rampant decadence that has become mainstream Western Christianity. God help us all.

Anonymous said...

Ho ho ho ... Roman exclusivism, hints at pagan worship, appeals to hoary tradition, this one has set the cat among the pigeons. Though surely "the rampant decadence that has become mainstream Christianity" sets a new standard!

Point of fact - the Catholic church, being the 'denominational' home of the Rosary, does not prohibit, or even discourage, the wearing of "sacred objects" in connection with worship so long as the purpose is pious. You want the reference: here 'tis: "Sacred objects, which are designated for divine worship by dedication or blessing, are to be treated reverently ..." (Canon 1171).

So this instance, while it may not be to everyone's taste - including mine, I hasten to add! - is fair enough as a matter of piety.

Though if the beads are those splendid glow-in-the-dark ones, all bets are off!

I am personally much more interested in making fun of bad vestments, not the wearers, nor their gender ...


Dave H said...

Be all that as it may, the rosary is still ugly. And her cincture looks like a two-yer-old tied it while blindfolded.

George said...

@ Anonymous - your reading of Canon 1171 is way off.

"Can. 1171 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."

That was intended to prevent the neglect or abuse of sacred objects, but it does not sanction the misuse of an item (see above). Rosaries are spiritual tools rather than 'bling.' It cannot be worn as such and used according to its intended purpose. Just like wearing your Bible as a hat might not be impious (just as 'wearing' a Rosary like a pectoral cross), but it certainly is ludacrous and impractical... and pretty much, by Roman standards, uncanonical. Of course, most folks don't let pesky stuff like tradition and respect and common sense deprive them of having a really good time 'expressing' themselves.

In which case, I advise folks to read Quentin Crisp's "Manners from Heaven."

Fr. John said...

Although I think wearing rosaries as necklaces is a rather silly practice and one that shouldn't be encouraged, I can find no law extant in the the Codex Juris Canonici (1983) that specifically forbids the practice.

All things considered, I would much rather see a rosary adorning someone's neck than some pagan symbol.

Another thing that shouldn't be forgotten, the laws that bind those of the Roman Church, have no standing with those who are outside that Communion.

George said...

Yes, Fr. John, you are correct about the canons (which I didn't bring up). There also isn't a canon that specifically forbids a priest from holding a balloon during the Mass ( That does not mean you can. You could also read the Gospel with a strange accent, but that does not mean you should. Along with the canons, clergy and faithful are expected to act reverently, and treating a rosary is irreverent. It is not jewelry, but a spiritual tool.

The point of this site is the lack of 'good taste' which is so often depicted here. The canons don't describe 'good taste' or 'fashion sense,' but the photos we see are clearly violations of what are really important norms of behavior in the presence of the Holy.

The fact is that wearing the Rosary as such in fact makes it a pagan symbol, because it is no longer being used as intended. Let's not forget there are plenty of folk magic practitioners who burn candles with pictures of saints and invoke Biblical angels, but that does not make their acts Christian.

This site is important because it points out the creeping paganism in certain Christian climes. No longer are vestments, Rosaries, etc. about the tradition they were passed down through, but rather the will of those who wear them. Thus, vestments here do not speak of God, but are expressions of the wearer.

That's the big problem, subtle as it is.

Fr. John said...

If the person depicted in the picture in question were Madonna or some other pop singer and he or she were wearing a rosary or dozens of them, then I would certainly be suspect of their intentions. The fact that the person pictured is a member of the clergy, she might be excused for thinking it appropriate to wear a rosary..I think it could be counted as a plus that she has one at all.

We cannot sit back and attack a persons intentions simply by looking at a photograph, that is not only unethical it is uncharitable as well.

George said...

"Unethical"... now that's funny, Fr. John! I'm sure you have always sent people notifications before criticizing them. There is nothing unethical about it, and it is quite expected for clergy to get criticized for their public actions.

What is uncharitable is the fact that she and others like her (featured here) routinely flout decorum and even common decency, making a mockery of Christianity. No longer is the Church about Christ, but just another opportunity for people like her to 'express themselves.' Wearing a rosary as a means of self expression, dear father, is paganism: it is a worship of the self before God.

To be silent while Christianity is turned into a South Park episode is a sin. We who take Christianity seriously remained silent for too long. Look at what happened to Christianity in Europe, and look what is happening now in the US. It ain't growing, and the drop coincides with the mainline denominations losing their reverence in worship and the seriousness of the Gospel.

Fr. John said...

I hardly think that that poor misguided woman was showing any intentional disrespect to the rosary or to the faith in general.

Remember in order for something to be considered a sin, intention is one element that must be present.

There is a difference, in my mind at least, between someone being tacky and ignorant and purposely flouting the faith. I can't sit in judgement of that woman, as I have no idea what here intentions were.

I take the faith as seriously or even more so than most. I do not approve of what that woman is doing nor do I approve of 99 44/100% of what goes on in the church as a whole, but I won't make disparaging remarks about someone I don't know. It simply isn't the right thing to do.

George said...

Fr. John, I don't look at this the same way you do, I'm afraid. This is a priestess who dares to 'serve' God with absolutely no reverence. We expect clergy to be educated, but wearing a Rosary like some personal bling just shows that whatever it was she was stuying didn't involve any degree of personal responsibility for finding out what something really is before one uses it in an inappropriate manner.

I think you and I would both agree that being serious about the faith is important, and one ought not simply pick and choose one's beliefs at random, but rather study and learn so that one has diligently sought the truth. This photo is indicative that some folks have either stopped the journey too early, or never started it to begin with.

It still comes down to paganism, which places personal desire before God and the Church.

Therese Z said...

Part of the issue is that the woman, who is wearing her stole like a priest and must consider herself one, is therefore educated and should know better than to wear a rosary as a pectoral cross or pious decoration. In fact, should there be anything worn over a stole and alb except a cope or chausable?

If a humble Episcopalian peasant (I just typed that to see what it looked like) did it, having learned their faith from reading Scripture at their mother's knee, I would give them a total pass.

(and Monika, we are not understanding each other: "I scoff at bishops and clerics who are so unsure of their authority - which is given through election and appointment only with all the screwiness that comes along with those processes - that they need a ring or a pectoral cross."

First, I think you must be referring to Piskie bishops because you mention the House of Bishops, so I don't know and I don't care what they wear. I'm only looking at us RC's, and the bishop's crosier, pectoral cross and ring are signs of his ordination as bishop, an outward sign of an inward and permanent change. He becomes bishop through the laying on of hands by the power of the Holy Spirit, a grave and beautiful thing. What could be the problem with wearing the symbols of his office? And having those symbols be the best he (or his family giving them) could afford to give honor to the office and the responsibility?

midwestnorwegian said...

She is not a priest. She only likes to think she is. Women cannot be priests. Period. End of discussion.

Anonymous said...

@ midwestnorwegian, an alternative reading would be: "She is a priest. She knows she is. Women can be priests. Period. End of discussion." You graceless goose!

Get thee to the New Liturgical Movement website!

Can we return to discussing bad vestments, please?

midwestnorwegian said...

Anonymous - You're wrong. Period. End of discussion. Listen better next time. Thanks for playin'.

George said...

Well, I don't think that it is any coincidence that the devolution of clerical garments and the ascendency of female ordination occured at the same time. I think they are tied together. Let's not forget the ordination of women came not from a need of the church, but rather women clamoring for it because they 'felt' called. Having validated the 'feeling,' one has opened the door to all kinds of 'equally valid feelings,' such as bad vestments and inappropriate liturgics. Mainstream Western Christianity is decadent precisely because it has abandoned centuries of tradition to chase after 'feelings,' those same feelings that more often than not land us in the lap of sin.

Anonymous said...

What Would Jesus Do? Clearly the answer is: make mean-spirited, small-hearted snide remarks about a woman's jewelry. Yeah, that's it. I'm sure of it.

The fact that some of you are clergy, in any denomination, is really disturbing.

Anonymous said...

Jesus would probably made much less politically correct comments. He was clear in condemning misrepresentations of the faith. We prefer to ridicule blasphemous representations of the Christian faith as it really shows how evil and silly people can be when they follow korahs rebellion.

Anonymous said...

This blogsite had me in fits of laughter! What a mockery! Blahahahaha!

BillyD said...

Actually, in some parts rosaries *have* been worn around the neck on an ordinary basis (although I'm not sure about the use of it with Eucharistic vestments). I believe that St Francis Xavier encouraged his converts to wear them, especially in times of danger or temptation.

Anonymous said...

My guess is that she doesn't really know what the rosary is for. So, why not use it for jewelry?

LA Episcopal priest (not for long)

MaryO said...

Actually, in NYC Latino gangbangers wear them (maybe in LA also).

Anglicat said...

Much late here, folks, but let me try to elevate this discussion a notch or two. The lady pictured grew up Roman Catholic, so I imagine she knows what a rosary is used for. As we should always seek to speak well of and defend our neighbor, let us simply suppose that some devout parishioner from the Hispanic congregation she serves gifted her with the rosary, expecting her to wear it immediately, as I have seen innumerable times in Mexico. The lady graciously is wearing the rosary, so as not to offend the gift-giver. Ya never know--could have happened! :)