Hi Mark, Have you heard of the “satanic rosary” before?
Somebody at a website called “Do The Harder Thing” created a 24-page document that claims to make a convincing argument regarding the evil embedded in hundreds of thousands of cheap plastic rosaries.
Even though I find the evidence lacking and said so, a bunch of my TLM friends have opted to “not chance it” and destroy the ones they found in their homes based solely on the problematic symbolism on the crucifix.
This is very much like the situation that confronted the early Church when it came to the issue of eating meat. Some Christians of extremely tender conscience fretted that eating meat gave them idolatry cooties, since meat in pagan cities was typically sold at market after the animal had been sacrificed to some pagan deity or other in one of the local shrines. Their fear was that by partaking, they were somehow entering into the sacrifice to the god and committing the sin of idolatry. Paul basically said, “Don’t worry about it. Thank God for your meal and bless it in his Name.” But he also said that if his brother was troubled in conscience about it, he himself would forego eating meat so as not to tempt him to violate his conscience. Similarly, he told those who were troubled in conscience not to sit in judgment of those who were not. (See Romans 14 for his discussion of such matters). The point is those who ate, ate to the Lord and those who abstained, abstained to the Lord, so we should live in peace and not judge each other. Therefore those who understand Christian freedom of conscience about such matters should be gentle toward those weighed down with scruples and those filled with fear of somehow incurring ritual impurity from a cheap rosary should not appoint themselves the Inquisitors of those who disagree with their fears (and this is, by far and away, the more likely–and more toxic–problem in Traditionalist circles).
As to the objective question of whether a rosary can be “satanic”, I think it is nonsense. Rosaries can’t give you cooties any more than hamburgers can. Unfortunately, many Traditionalists live in such paranoid terror that they are prone to imagine devils in every nook and cranny. And they tend to see unbelievably trivial aesthetic issues (like plastic rosaries) as being of far greater importance than big, obvious sins (such as slandering some humble rosary maker as a demon worshipper). If I were the devil, what sort of idiot would I have to be to make thousands of rosaries that move countless Catholics to pray to the Blessed Trinity and seek his face in the stupid hope that a crucifix not to the taste of some purist might seduce and innocent to worship demons? Wbo in their right mind thinks such a thing possible, much less likely? The real thing that is insidious and deadly to Faith is not a crudely made Rosary, but the paralyzing fear and poisonous slanders directed at innocent people praying a rosary some superstitious inquisitor declares to be “satanic” on the basis of a rumor on the net. Such spiritual oppression of the scrupulous and tender-hearted by the cocksure and inquisitorial is a far graver danger than a piece of plastic.
Am I crazy for thinking they are crazy?
Nope. You are very, very sane. Continue trusting God and not letting these fear-filled people sit in judgment of you. Pray for them, that they be delivered from their superstitious terror to the peace of Christ.