ASK FATHER: Can I wear a Rosary like warriors wear weapons?

Combat Rosary right to bear armsFrom a reader…

I wanted to hear your thoughts on this… I’m fascinated by the rosary and the idea that it is our weapon. I’m not a religious (nun or monk) but is it still OK for me to wear the rosary on the left hip as they do (like a sword)? I love the rosary and would love to keep one with me always but I’m not sure if it’s wrong for a lay person to wear the rosary this way.


However, I would not make it in any way ostentatious, if you do not wear the religious habit.  I recommend carrying concealed, to borrow a term from a related field.

For example, when I use my clerical BDUs, I carry my Rosary concealed along with my oil stock and stole in the spare mag pouch on my left leg.  It seems an appropriate place.

Perhaps use a small pouch on your belt, like a holster or scabbard.  You’ll know it’s there and it’s there when you need it, and others don’t have to know.  If you need for them to know… well….

Remember that the Rosary isn’t a decoration or jewelry, though they can be as beautiful as jewelry.    They are not for mere ornamentation.  They are sacramentals and they are for use.

Don’t play with rosaries, pray with rosaries.

Say one for me, please.


I had questions about my “clerical BDUs” or also “tactical clericals”.

I generally wear 5.11 gear, the shirts modified to the Roman collar, which is actually a development of the military collar.  For the pants US HERE – UK HERE.  For the shirts, modified, read this HERE for an old backstory and US HERE – UK HERE.  The 5.11 gear is super durable and comfortable. The black dye lasts longer than the waaay over-priced clerical shirts so, over time, you are ahead buying these and modifying them. I took mine to a tailor with a model of a “tab” shirt and a “band” shirt to be used for the attachable collar and, for a small price, had them modified.  They are great for travel, too, with their handy concealed pockets.  If you are on the road and need to rinse them or wash them, they will be dry by dawn. I also use a 1.75″ belt with a plastic buckle (good for TSA) and which can bear a clipped-on load (if you get my drift).  As an aside, for my white shirts for use with the cassock or vest, I have lately ordered inexpensive double-cuff shirts via amazon (US HERE) and, having removed the collar, with my own sewing machine (thanks to the reader who sent it), sewn a button hole into the outer layer of the remaining band.  Cheaper and better quality by far.  Whenever you can, DIY!

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Felipe says:

    My brother wraps his rosary around his belt and tucks it in his pocket sometimes. It sort of reminds me of carrying a pocket knife with the clip sticking out of your pocket so people are aware of it. I need a real durable rosary. I keep one in my pocket every day and they’re constantly breaking or getting ruined. I work in construction so you could imagine.

    [Need a strong rosary? You can pull a truck with this.]

  2. MitisVis says:

    @ Felipe
    Combat Rosary, link is here in the Z Bunker
    I very much like the reference to the extra mag pouch as the rosary is a true spiritual weapon.
    And like any real weapon it must be respected, but also needs to be used and requires training
    to master.
    I believe it can also be a deterrent much as a sidearm, not frivolous or showy but belying you are the warrior who wields it and is not afraid to use it even if meek and humble of heart. Like to see a few more of us men start to carry.

  3. Tradster says:

    I carry a small blessed rosary finger ring in my pocket. It’s easy to carry and perfect for use in my hand without being conspicuous when outside walking and softly murmuring the prayers, in Latin.

  4. The Masked Chicken says:

    The history of wearing the Rosary is somewhat complex. If memory serves, bl. Alain de la Roche hoped to put his Rosary around notorious sinners so as to either deliver them from demonic influence or convert them. Similarly, St. Louis de Montfort recommended wearing the Rosary. Dominicans who read this blog can comment and clarify better than I.

    Wearing the Rosary around the neck, in modern times, is culturally specific. It seems to be a common practice among some Latino groups. Personally, I counsel against it. Given the number of rock musicians who sacrilegiously wear a Rosary around the neck, it is hard to tell if a given person is wearing it out of devotion or mimicking a rock musician.

    Wearing the Rosary like a Wild West gunfighter or a Religious is, similarly, open to misinterpretation. Secular Carmelites and Dominicans do not wear their scapulars outside their clothing except in certain circumstances and by permission, as similar confusion as to religious status may occur. I recommend getting a pouch and keeping the Rosary in a pocket. In the old days, men used to have a pocket for pocket watches. Maybe that should be brought back as a Rosary pocket.

    The Chicken

  5. rwj says:

    Concealed-carry! Love it! Perfect recommendation for all Catholics and the Rosary.

    I have found that I’m least likely to destroy those ubiquitous inexpensive plastic/rope rosaries for carrying in pocket. I break everything else I keep in my pocket.

  6. dbf223 says:

    This site also offers very good quality and durable rosaries:


    Their rosaries are made from military paracord, and they definitely appeal more to masculine sensibilities than the cheap, dainty, pastel-colored ones floating around. Mine is pretty bulky, though, so it might not practical to carry in one’s pocket.

  7. Matt Robare says:

    I keep one in my backpack, so I guess that’s like my ancestor Pepin the Short carrying a sword longer than he was on his back.

  8. Amerikaner says:

    I second the Combat Rosary. I have around 6 or 7 in various places around the house. An excellent, durable Rosary!

  9. Masked Chicken wrote:

    >Wearing the Rosary like a Wild West gunfighter or a Religious is, similarly, open to
    >misinterpretation. Secular Carmelites and Dominicans do not wear their scapulars outside their
    >clothing except in certain circumstances and by permission, as similar confusion as to religious
    > status may occur.

    Depends on the local superior: some permit for special events the full third order habit, some don’t even give the scapular in a form than can be worn. Again, depends. When I was accepted for the regional OP “secular” order, on first promises, was given the belt rosary (which is BIG), subsequently the alb, capuche, and long scapular. You are right, we’re not to wear it other than at times and places we have permission to do so, which was a change to the rules in the 60s.

    >I recommend getting a pouch and keeping the Rosary in a pocket. In the old days, men used
    > to have a pocket for pocket watches. Maybe that should be brought back as a Rosary pocket.

    All my jeans have the watch pocket, but my normal rosary is too bulky (I have minor loss of sense of touch on my fingertips, so, my beads are a bit larger than what you find at the local religious goods emporium) so I just keep in a leather pouch in my pants pocket or backpack.

  10. Mathieu says:

    In French, the Rosary designs specifically the 20 mysteries (or 15 Dominicans), and you can find 15 or 20 decades Rosaries, although they are not that common. If it has only 5 decades, it’s a chapelet.

    Some people wrap their chapelet around their wrist, although it can get cumbersome… and talking about combat rosaries, my brother has a super-durable chainmail chapelet.

    Pray your Rosary for me everyone!

  11. Worm-120 says:

    I keep them in my purse, or pocket, or car. Sometimes I wrap them around my wrist. I often forget a rosary so my solution is to own a million and leave them everywhere, so even if I forget to “carry” there’s at least 2-5 somewhere on my person that I forgot about.

  12. Poor Yorek says:

    Some fine hand-wound and customized rosaries may be found here: . One will note there that one of the examples was a “mother of a priest” rosary.

  13. padredana says:

    What about priests wearing them attached to their fascia in the fashion of religious? I have seen some priests do this. I like the idea, but then again I secretly want to be a religious just so I can wear the habit and put my hood up while I pray ;)

    [It seems to me that the garden-variety diocesan priest, in choir or house cassock and fascia is fine just as he is.]

  14. Mary Jane says:

    I like the “conceal carry” option, unless you’re in a group of Catholics praying the rosary in a procession or whatnot.

    We have some inexpensive plastic rosaries, but I really like to own a good, beautiful rosary. My hubby and I each have a beautiful, well-made rosary. I find I can concentrate a little better when I hold the rosary while I pray it. But remember, you don’t need to own – or even have a rosary handy – to pray the rosary! If you want to say one, just do it. :) If we want to say one and we don’t have a rosary with us, hubby counts the Ave’s on his one hand, using binary. :) Helps to keep the count right.

  15. MWindsor says:

    Clerical BDU’s?!? [Yep. AKA Tactical Clericals]

    Ripstop and everything? Clerical LBE’s that can hold an entire exorcism kit and portable altar?

    You gotta post a picture of that.

    [Now that is a great idea. I suppose a plate carrier could be use for a portable altar mensa with altar stone or antemensium. Some custom designed modules could be molle’d in place on a chest rig (with a aspergilum cross-draw) or in a pack.]

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  16. MrsMacD says:

    From St. Louis de Montfort’s, “Secret of the Rosary.”;
    Alphonsus, King of Leon and Galicia, very much wanted all his servants to honor the Blessed Virgin by saying the Rosary. So he used to hang a large rosary on his belt and always wore it, but unfortunately never said it himself. Nevertheless his wearing it encouraged his courtiers to say the Rosary very devoutly.

    One day the King fell seriously ill and when he was given up for dead he found himself, in a vision, before the judgement seat of Our Lord. Many devils were there accusing him of all the sins he had committed and Our Lord as Sovereign Judge was just about to condemn him to hell when Our Lady appeared to intercede for him. She called for a pair of scales and had his sins placed in one of the balances whereas she put the rosary that he had always worn on the other scale, together with all the Rosaries that had been said because of his example. It was found that the Rosaries weighed more than his sins.

    Looking at him with great kindness Our Lady said: “As a reward for this little honor that you paid me in wearing my Rosary, I have obtained a great grace for you from my Son. Your life will be spared for a few more years. See that you spend these years wisely, and do penance.”

    When the King regained consciousness he cried out: “Blessed be the Rosary of the Most Holy Virgin Mary, by which I have been delivered from eternal damnation!”

    After he had recovered his health he spent the rest of his life in spreading devotion to the Holy Rosary and said it faithfully every day. People who love the Blessed Virgin out to follow the example of King Alphonsus and that of the saints whom I have mentioned so that they too may win other souls for the Confraternity of the Holy Rosary. They will then receive great graces on earth and eternal life later on. “They that explain me shall have life everlasting life.” [1] Ecclus. 24:31

  17. Charlie says:

    Are these rosaries available in Canada. Getting anything through the border is time consuming and can be very expensive…as well as the US$ V Canadian$

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