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Catholic Company / Magazine

Catholic Jewelry and Non-Christians: A Good or Bad Mix?

Jun 30, 2012 by

Nichole Richie and Paris Hilton wearing rosary necklacesShould just anyone wear a piece of Catholic Jewelry?  This is a question that I have been wondering lately.  For example, some non-Catholics wear Catholic jewelry regularly.  For instance, if you type “rosary necklace celebrities” into Google images, then you’ll find many non-Catholics wearing a rosary necklace.  One can assume that at least some if not most of these celebrities are wearing their rosary necklaces as purely a fashion accessory.  Is that acceptable? How are we as Catholics called to react to that?

At first I thought, what’s the big deal?  Hopefully a non-Catholic wearing a rosary necklace or rosary bracelet will have a good influence in their life in the item, even if they don’t have the right intent in wearing it.  But maybe that’s not the right way to think about it.  If someone is wearing a rosary necklace, or any piece of Catholic jewelry, as simply a fashion accessory, then are they demeaning the Christian or Catholic faith?  In fact, wearing Christian jewelry without the proper intent seems blasphemous and sacrilegious.  The free online dictionary defines "sacrilegious" as “grossly irreverent toward what is or is held to be sacred.”  If someone were to wear a rosary bracelet and not have the intent of honoring Christ and His Holy Mother, then that seems like sacrilege to me.

What are we as Christians called to do when we see someone who isn’t Catholic wear a rosary necklace?  This is the tough question.  I first considered this when my sister told me a disturbing story.  One day, when we were in high school, my sister observed one of her friends wearing a beautiful rosary necklace.  She knew she wasn’t Catholic and asked her why she was wearing it.  She said she was wearing it because it looked cool and because the top of the crucifix actually screwed off and one could put something very small in it.  My sister asked her what people normally put in there, since the space was so small.  Her friend said cocaine!  When I heard this story I was appalled.  I wanted to find my sister’s friend and rip the rosary necklace off her neck. To me, that was clearly sacrilege and was not acceptable. I think that we are called to at least educate people because I would hope that they would not do something sacrilegious intentionally. Perhaps they do not know how important that rosary necklace is or that piece of Catholic jewelry.  Perhaps they do not know what it means to believers in Christ Jesus and what a piece of Christian jewelry means to a Christian.  What do you think we should do when we see non-Christians wearing Christian jewelry?  Or when we see non-Catholics wearing Catholic jewelry?

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