Should Rosaries Hang off Necks and Car Mirrors?
Question: I’m troubled when I see people wearing the rosary around their necks or hang it from their cars’ rearview mirrors. What is the Church saying about these practices?
Answer: You are right to be troubled when people wear the rosary as a fashion accessory. That is neither the purpose nor function of the rosary, and certainly not when it is profaned as a provocative statement, as singer Madonna used to do. In such cases, Church leaders voice their objection.
But many others, including priests, wear the rosary around their necks for reasons of their faith. These reasons may be different from one person to another, but they all have in common a need to keep Our Lady and her rosary close to them. The Church has no objection to the rosary being worn around necks for devotional reasons.
The Church has no opinion either on rosaries hanging from rearview mirrors (road safety experts may voice concerns though). Again, the reasons why motorists have the rosary hanging from their mirrors are diverse.
For some, doing so has devotional value, perhaps fostering prayer in potentially stressful traffic situations. For others it is a visible statement of their love for the Catholic faith. What most may have in common is their need to have a constant reminder of Our Lady’s presence in their lives. As rosaries are blessed objects, their appropriate use for sincere purposes is always commendable.
There is a practical value, too. If a motorist is involved in a serious accident, a rosary on the mirror may alert rescue personnel that the victim is a Catholic and therefore in possible need of appropriate pastoral care, including the sacrament of the last rites.