“Ask a Priest: Is It Wrong for a Non-Catholic to Wear a Rosary?”

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Q: I grew up in the Lutheran faith but no longer identify myself as such. Over time I’ve struggled with my faith, but as of the last few years I finally feel comfortable with where I’m at in my relationship with God. As part of that I’ve been wearing a rosary for quite some time because for some reason it brings me comfort, and I feel a sense of protection by wearing it. Is it wrong or hypocritical of me to be wearing it even if I’m not Catholic? I don’t mean any disrespect by wearing it, but I’ve had several people get upset with me for “false advertisement.” Even some say that I don’t deserve to wear it. Am I really disrespecting anyone by doing this, and is it wrong in the eyes of God? -J.M.

Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC

A: Trying to decide the appropriateness of wearing a rosary might depend on a number of factors, for instance, your intention and the impression the rosary makes on others.

Your intention leans in the right direction. Your interest in the rosary might be a sign that the Holy Spirit is leading you closer toward the Catholic Church and possibly a devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

The second point deals with whether you are giving scandal to others. Now, we can’t always be responsible for how people react to us. Yet it might be worth asking whether your use of a rosary might be offending Catholics who know you aren’t Catholic. I don’t have an answer here; it is something you might want to take to prayer and see where the Spirit is leading you.

As for Our Lord, it is good to remember that you are a beloved son of his. He only wants the best for you. Given your journey of the past few years, it might be a good time to consider doing a retreat (non-Catholics are usually welcome at Catholic retreat centers).

For further reading about wearing rosaries, see my colleague Fr. Edward McNamara’s column.

Oh, and yes, feel free to pray the rosary too. Online guides will help you. I hope this helps. God bless.

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