Is wearing the Rosary to show Catholic solidarity and also to show support for religious freedom a misuse of the Rosary? I’ve done a little research and the answer is… it is O.K. — seriously!
What does the Church say?
The Rosary is a sacramental whose purpose it is to “prepare men to receive the fruits of the sacraments and sanctify different circumstances of life.” (Catechism #1677) . This is a very open ended “purpose” I think with the intention of allowing some freedom in the use of the Rosary. The word “sanctify” does hold the use of it in check to a holy or religious intent. I want to make it clear that I am only advocating for CATHOLICS to wear the Rosary and for the intent of religious freedom.
What does a Priest say?
I asked a popular blogging Priest his opinion on if it was a misuse of the Rosary and if he thought I could wear the Rosary and also ask others to do so and he said “Go ahead!”
What does a Saint say?
In the book “The Secret Of The Rosary” by St. Louis De Montfort (perhaps the most well known, loved, and influential saint when it comes to devotion to Mary and to the Rosary) there is the following passage:
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.”  Ecclus. 24:31
Blessed Alan relates that a man he knew had tried desperately all kinds of devotions to rid himself of the evil spirit which possessed him, but without success. Finally, he thought of wearing his rosary round his neck, which eased him considerably. He discovered that whenever he took it off the devil tormented him cruelly, so he resolved to wear it night and day. This drove the evil spirit away forever because he could not bear such a terrible chain. Blessed Alan also testifies that he delivered a great number of those who were possessed by putting a rosary around their necks.
Father Jean Amat, of the Order of St. Dominic, was giving a series of Lenten sermons in the Kingdom of Aragon one year, when a young girl was brought to him who was possessed by the devil. After he had exorcised her several times without success, he put his rosary round her neck. Hardly had he done so when the girl began to scream and cry out in a fearful way, shrieking, “Take it off, take it off; these beads are tormenting me.” At last, the priest, filled with pity for the girl, took his rosary off her.
The very next night, when Fr. Amat was in bed, the same devils who had possession of the girl came to him, foaming with rage and tried to seize him. But he had his rosary clasped in his hand and no efforts of theirs could wrench it from him. He beat them with it very well indeed and put them to flight, crying out, “Holy Mary, Our Lady of the Rosary, come to my help.”
The next day on his way to the church, he met the poor girl, still possessed; one of the devils within her started to jeer at him, saying, “Well, brother, if you had been without your rosary, we should have made short shrift of you.” Then the good Father threw his rosary round the girl’s neck without more ado, saying, “By the sacred names of Jesus and Mary his holy Mother, and by the power of the holy Rosary, I command you, evil spirits, to leave the body of this girl at once.” They were immediately forced to obey him, and she was delivered from them. These stories show the power of the holy Rosary in overcoming all sorts of temptations from the evil spirits and all sorts of sins, because these blessed beads of the Rosary put devils to rout. via: http://forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=80700
There are issues with wearing the Rosary; for instance the use of it as a gang symbol or simply for fashion. It is, I have been told, a “contentious” issue. However, we are living in a time where we need to not only pray for our religious freedom but enlist the help of the most Blessed Mother in doing so. If we can show our solidarity to the world through events during the Fortnight For Freedom, then certainly we can also do so individually by wearing and praying the Rosary. In fact I think this goes beyond the fortnight. It would be a powerful display of courage to the world to wear the Rosary at any time we feel the need to profess our faith as Catholics. And maybe, just maybe this would spark an interest in others, promote questions, and bring others into the faith and glory of God who would then experience the blessings of praying the Rosary for themselves.