By the fruit of their labors…

I often feel torn between worlds, as it were. For the academics, I’m too Catholic. For the Catholics, a lot of the time I’m too secular. One of the tactics I picked up from studying gender theory in literature is that some things need to be taken back, whether a thought, language, or an idea. One of these is the rosary.

A lot of Catholics my age think the rosary is something irrelevant, something that doesn’t apply to them, and is old-fashioned. With as many groups that are reactionary towards their faith, I can’t blame them, which is why I feel it needs to be more visible as a popular devotion. I make mission rosaries–ones given to anyone who wants one, and won’t sell it (offer goes for anyone reading this, too. You need some, send me an email.) We need more “normal” Catholics taking back this part of their heritage–ones who don’t hang on every word out of EWTN, ones who question, ones who doubt, ones who are obedient to the Church without blindness, but ones who–above all–are as much as a part of the Body of Christ as anyone else.

It’s hard to find an online forum for rosary making that isn’t taken over by rampant commercialism. If you don’t use precious gems and sterling silver while charging four times your material cost, you don’t matter, to most of them. They wouldn’t consider making wire rosaries for missions, as I do, because it’s “too much work” for “too little profit.” Frankly, rosary making is like composing music–if you’re in it for the money, you’re in it for the wrong reasons. So I found the Rosary Army’s website. Their podcasts were mundane, but nothing overly questionable. I do object to their militaristic language, but they seemed to be into what they do.

Then other things became apparent–for instance how in a recent thread that they were more concerned with Wal-Mart supporting a homosexual rights group than how the company exploited their workers. (A boycott was called because of a bunch of gays…I guess the fact that someone who can’t eat, afford health insurance, or provide for a family while working at WalMart doesn’t matter.) Other threads slammed a recent DFL candidate from Minnesota, because he’s Muslim (“apostate Catholic”). How is that different than what JFK faced in the 1960’s? I was told by one member–and supported by others–that I should try to convert my non-Catholic fiancé. He’d be a lousy Catholic, honestly.

And then, in another recent thread, someone called into question the mods’ practice of subjecting any site linked to scrutiny by this website. If it doesn’t get a “green,” you can’t link to it. Guess what? I’m a Benedictine oblate (currently unaffiliated). Because the OSB’s site got a “red,” I’d be unable to link to any site of theirs, or discuss it.

Problem is, groups like this have multimedia outlets, spots on EWTN, and a lot more capital than your average Catholic does. They become “good” Catholics, while the rest of us who dare to disagree are the “bad” ones. In reality, they pick and choose from the steam table as much as anyone else. I’m sure any of the RA people possibly reading this will make sure I’m banned from their site, and that they’ll chalk any opposition up to “spiritual warfare.”

Maybe the real reason why they’re afraid to look at the OSB website is because of this passage in the Rule of St. Benedict:


We believe that the divine presence is everywhere
and that “the eyes of the Lord
are looking on the good and the evil in every place” (Prov. 15:3).
But we should believe this especially without any doubt
when we are assisting at the Work of God.
To that end let us be mindful always of the Prophet’s words,
“Serve the Lord in fear” (Ps. 2:11)
and again “Sing praises wisely” (Ps. 46:8)
and “In the sight of the Angels I will sing praise to You” (Ps. 137:1).
Let us therefore consider how we ought to conduct ourselves
in sight of the Godhead and of His Angels,
and let us take part in the psalmody in such a way
that our mind may be in harmony with our voice.

Apologies for the tone. And if you need rosaries, send me email.

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~ by Jen on November 10, 2006.

7 Responses to “By the fruit of their labors…”

  1. Ah, the Rosary Army! I really do need to take them off my sidebar. They were real nice to me… until they figured out I was an Anglican. I mean, apostate. *rolls eyes*

  2. I don’t get them. It’s like the Catholic Stepford Wives Association.

  3. LOL @ Catholic Stepford Wives.Cheer up about the red rating. The entire Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops site gets only a yellow. (do you think they know that Canadian churches have a dispensation to use inclusive language at mass? Oh no!! — here comes the red rating!!)I think it’s very cool that you make rosaries. I “took back” the rosary myself and now feel quite an affection for it. It’s the prayer I pray when I don’t know what to say – a meditation technique that helps to still my mind so that I can just listen.Nice blog. 🙂

  4. Yup, I like the rosary when I can’t sleep at night. I was talking with a friend from Canada over election night, and she said her bishops would *never* do the kind of political pandering that ours have been doing the past 6 years. (All but telling which candidate to vote for.) Maybe it’s just the US Church that needs a priority check.

  5. Awesome. I didn’t even know you had a blog, ciaviel! Shows what I know. I love your attitude about making rosaries. Seems like something one should never profit from except in the most rudimentary way. Now I have to go add your blog to my ‘blogs of note’ page at cascadia catholics.

  6. Thanks. 🙂 I can understand being compensated for *some* time and materials. Generally if I get asked to make one for someone who can afford better parts, it’s parts plus whatever they think it’s worth. I can’t see charging 4 times material cost, when they take maybe 90 minutes to make, from start to finish. I use a coil of wire, instead of eyepins, so I’m making all the chain myself. But I have a hard time charging for labor when A.) it’s a form of prayer and B.) I generally make rosaries while watching Doctor Who or Law & Order.

  7. I use a modified Anglican rosary — I think of it as my “Methodist” rosary. I’ll post a picture one day…***Yeah for Dr. Who! I love Sci Fi Friday.

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