QUAERITUR: non-Catholics reciting the Rosary

From a reader:

Me and a group of my friends try to go weekly to a nearby nursing home to visit and pray with the people there. We usually go around the rooms asking if any of them want to join us for the Rosary. Some decline but some accept, seemingly regardless of their religion. My only question is, Is there any problem with praying the Rosary with non-Catholics who might not know exactly what they are doing? It just seems a little odd to ask people to do something that might go against their beliefs (asking for intercession from the dead), especially if they seem to only be doing it for the company or because they don’t really know what is going on. What do you think?

I can see no problem with that at all, provided that no one is being constrained to recite the Rosary.  If their beliefs make reciting the Rosary hard for the, then they won’t do it.

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  1. JohnE says:

    I was pleasantly surprised a couple years ago when my non-baptized, non-Catholic wife asked for a rosary so she could join us when we attended a funeral Rosary. She asked if we brought one for her when we attended another funeral Rosary a few months later. I guess we should try to attend funerals more often!

  2. Brian Day says:

    Why not? If there is noting in the prayers that they really object to, who knows what kinds of graces would be affecting(*) their lives?

    (*) Effect/affect: forgive me if I messed up the usage.

  3. MWindsor says:

    Over the years, I’ve known several Anglicans that prayed the Rosary on a fairly regular basis.

  4. Jacob says:

    OT: Brian, you got it right. I find affect/effect to be one of the easier ones. Who/whom is pretty easy once you know the rule, but what always gets me is further/farther.

    On topic: Reciting the Rosary with non-Catholics is great. Now if only we could get actual Catholics reciting the Rosary too. My old parish had recitation before every Sunday Mass, but not any of the others I’ve attended. I think having a full hour before Mass rather than a half hour makes all the difference.

  5. Henry Edwards says:

    An elderly non-Catholic lady I once visited in a nursing home told me she was very devoted to “Mother Mary”, and asked if I could get her a rosary. I brought her one on my next visit, and was just showing her how to use it — I’d just pointed out the difference between the Pater and Ave beads, and we’d just started reading the Hail Mary aloud — when her evangelical pastor walked in unexpectedly. After an awkward moment, I attempted to break the ice by recalling that an attendant in our local Catholic bookstore had mentioned that among their most popular items was a booklet entitled “The Rosary for Protestants”. In reply to my low-key inquiry as to whether this phenomenon had come to his attention, he was pretty emphatic in denying any knowledge of it.

  6. AnAmericanMother says:

    Anglicans/Episcopalians of the ‘high church’ variety regularly recite the Rosary. There is something called an “Anglican Rosary” that was created (when else?) in the Sixties, but it has never really caught on.

  7. Nathan says:

    The Holy Rosary, IMO, has the potential to be a powerful means of bringing non-Catholics to the Church.

    While the situation was completely different from that of the correspondent in this post, I am convinced that it was the Blessed Mother, through the Rosary, who brought me to the Catholic Church 30 years ago. I had found the arguments supporting the Church appealing, but once I received the grace to start praying the Rosary, there was no turning back. In fact, I can think of no earthly reason why I should be Catholic, given the circumstances of the time–it was the Blessed Mother who did the work, and the Holy Rosary was the tool by which she took me to meet the Bride of her Son–the Catholic Church.

    In Christ,

  8. Philangelus says:

    So far I’ve helped a Jewish friend and a Presbyterian friend find a way to pray the rosary in a way that fits with their faith, although I’ve warned both that now Mary will probably consider them to be “in her camp” and will pray for them. LOL!

    My Jewish friend uses Jewish prayers and meditates on mysteries from the Old Testament. She makes rosaries to donate to a local Catholic church. My Presbyterian friend decided the Fatima prayer was just right for the Hail Mary beads, the Our Father works for the OF beads, and she changed some of the mysteries around to better suit her beliefs.

    At its heart, the rosary is a series of guided meditations that involve all the human senses. I’m delighted whenever someone expresses interest in it because it’s infinitely flexible, and God can certainly use that to deepen His relationship with a soul wherever that soul happens to be.

  9. Taquoriaan says:

    I have recited the Rosary for years as a non-Catholic Calvinist. It didn’t hurt me a bit. I even became a Catholic after a while. The latter was mostly Fr. Vonhögen’s fault, but still…

  10. VivaLaMezzo says:

    My husband and I were Anglicans and yet we prayed the rosary for years before we became Catholic. We also went to Adoration (even though we didn’t have the full Catholic understanding of the True Presence). Oh, and we also wore scapulars… One thing seemed to lead to another, but it all began with the rosary. I’m sure Our Lady’s intercession is why we are Catholic today! So, let ’em pray! Don’t forget the promises associated with praying the rosary!

  11. jaykay says:

    As I understand it, practically all Protestants, apart from hard-line Evangelical types, shouldn’t have a problem with most of the Rosary except that they might not pray the second part of the Hail Mary and the Salve Regina would also be out of bounds, as well as the last 2 glorious mysteries? But the High Anglicans mightn’t have a problem there.

    The scriptural basis of the Rosary of course should attract them, but much explanatory work undoubtedly needs to be done in that regard. Now couldn’t that new Evangelisation body work there? Hmmm…?

  12. Taquoriaan says:

    Try introducing them to the Scriptural Rosary first, it helped me to meditate on the mysteries back when I was a Calvinist (one of those supposedly hard-line Evangelical types)…
    Most Protestants won’t have a problem with the Hail Mary, since it consists of parts of the Gospel of Luke and a general question or the Salve Regina. You just need to make sure they get the difference between worshipping God and asking intercession from saints.

  13. jaykay says:

    Not to flog the point too much, but there is also the form of the Rosary known as the ‘Scriptural Rosary’ on which the Dominicans have issued a publication (can’t post link but there is much online about it). It’s apparently very traditional and should be attractive to Protestants.

  14. Melody says:

    If your Protestant friends have persistent trouble with the rosary, I’ve found reciting the Divine Mercy makes a good introduction and helps them adjust to the style of prayer.

  15. catholicmidwest says:

    I can’t see what would be wrong with anyone saying the rosary, as long as they weren’t mocking it in some way. I think more protestants than you might imagine revere Mary.

  16. AJP says:

    praying the rosary was the turning point for my husband when he was considering converting to Catholicism.

  17. Gaz says:

    Mother Theresa was pretty clear. It all begins with prayer. “If you are searching for God and do not know where to begin, learn to pray” (A Simple Path). She suggests this for Catholics as well as non-.

  18. Supertradmum says:

    I know several college age youth who have said the rosary for years as Protestants, and are now entering the Church. The Blessed Mother loves all her children and leads them to Christ and the true Church.

  19. Austin says:

    Use of rosaries is quite widespread in some Protestant circles (the sort of people who go on retreats). Some are variations on the Catholic version, others are idiosyncratic “prayer beads.” The Roman rosary is almost routine for Anglo-Catholics.

    There is a rather good book on the rosary (Five for Sorrow, Ten for Joy) by a Methodist minister, J Neville Ward. I don’t know how well it was received by his fellow Methodists.

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