can non-Catholics pray the rosary…

can non-Catholics pray the rosary… October 7, 2011

… while the Rosary may be a strictly Catholic devotion that certainly doesn’t exclude non-Catholics. In fact, I firmly believe that non-Catholics can benefit from the practice, so much so I recommend the Rosary to anyone regardless of religious affiliation.

In 2003 I was first introduced to the Rosary, years before my conversion to Catholicism. Since then I have given away Rosaries to people suffering from insomnia, recovering in the hospital, dying in hospice, or merely struggling with prayer… just about anyone who needs a device to help them find comfort or quiet an over stimulated mind. Many like the soothing repetitiveness of the Rosary and find themselves taking up the habit daily.

Naturally my secret intent is to have the Blessed Mother win their souls for Her Son through the powerful prayers of the Rosary, but you don’t need to mention all that when you suggest the devotion to your friends.

Once, a very proud agnostic friend accused me of trickery in this regard. I simply explained that all I did was supply the Rosary and a little ‘how to’ pamphlet and let the Lord do the rest. I failed to mention that sometimes I also leave medals, holy cards, and scapulars under the hospital mattresses of patients… eh, minor details.

As a result, he had no one to blame for any resulting conversion but Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary and informed him to take his beef up with Them. Whether he did or not I do not know. He is still an agnostic, bless his heart… that’s Southern for ‘poor bastard’.

I still have in my possession the very first Rosary I ever owned. A little red plastic thing that was given to me by some Nashville nuns and I prayed that thing every day with a heart full of fervent un-baptised heathen zeal. It took over a year, but eventually I became the Papist you know me as today.

October is the month of the Rosary and today is the memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary. So clack those beads and give your Mother a call. More importantly, spread the devotion of the Rosary to non-Catholics and even those not-so-practicing Catholics who need gentle nudges and concrete reminders that, by God, they’re Catholic.

Browse Our Archives

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • M Richer

    Also some of our closer separated brethren (High Church Anglicans) didn’t throw Mom out with the bath water. Also, the Our Father and the 1st half of the Hail Mary are from the Scriptures so they can’t complain about those. Besides, covert ops are so much fun…

    • Aren’t they though… like baptizing your Uniterian Univeralist friend’s baby while you babysit.

  • Short answer in order: I did. Now I’m Catholic.

  • Ad Orientem

    St. Seraphim of Sarov (who was most decidedly not Catholic) was a great devotee of the Rosary though I doubt he called it that. In Orthodoxy we use a prayer rope. The prayers and formula vary somewhat from the western tradition but the substance is the same.

  • Catholic GADFLY

    I am Catholic but, thought I’d mention that at the Anglican Lincoln Cathedral here in England (the finest Gothic Cathedral in Europe and home to the Lincoln Imp – I know you’re not interested but, I mentioned it anyway) they always say the Rosary at the far end of the transept every Wednesday afternoon. There is normally the Bishop leading and half a dozen there with their rosaries.

  • When my wife & I were Lutherans, we started praying the rosary after losing our son to miscarriage.

    We made sure to tell everyone that that didn’t mean we were Catholics, oh no.

    Fast forward 7 years: We’re now no meat on Friday, bead clacking, TLM going, Vatican flag flying Papists.

  • Mike Potemra

    Let me offer my own endorsement here also. I’m an adult convert from Catholicism to Protestantism — but the rosary remains a part of my life, and I think it’s a practice that can be of great benefit to Christians in n0n-Catholic denominations. It’s both a truly Scriptural prayer and a truly contemplative prayer. Mary is the Second Eve and the Mother of the redeemed human race, so it’s entirely appopriate to reach out to her and ask her for support in our common worship. If you are especially low-church and worry that doing so might amount to praying to a mere creature, you can substitute another brief prayer like the one Katrina mentioned, that the Eastern Orthodox use — “Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on me a sinner.”

    The specific strength of the Rosary comes not from particular prayer texts, but from the unusual combination in one prayer of addressing God and contemplating Him. You are at the same time petitioning God — “forgive us our trespasses,” “have mercy on us sinners,” etc. — and meditating on specific events in salvation history. (Even in the traditional Catholic Rosary, 13 of the 15 mysteries meditated upon come directly from the Bible. Pope John Paul II added five more, all from the Bible; and you can add as many of your own as you like.)

  • “agnostic” is Southern for poor bastard? Well, you learn something every day!