Thursday, December 17, 2009

"New Advent Rosaries?"

Has anyone else heard of this?

A friend sent around an email warning about "New Age Rosaries." The content was as follows:

> This is a warning to our Catholic friends about New Age Rosary. They SHOULD NOT keep them. I know the following is true because my sisters were in Medjugorje (pilgrimage) and they were given this New Age Rosary for free. There are people giving these away for free on the streets. A priest who is an exorcist at Medjugorje told my sisters to throw it out right away.
> Here's the excerpt of an email I received recently: One of the things I must mention is that there are now going around in the world, plastic new age rosaries in white, blue and pink. I had no idea about them until this was mentioned on the trip. Upon arriving home I went through my own ollection of plastic rosaries and found 2 that had a snake wrapped above Jesus' head with the mouth just besides his face. Also, no INRI sign and I think it is pentagons that surround each point. On the back, are also puncture marks of some kind on the cross? Please remind everyone to look carefully for these. Maybe you are already aware but it would be a good idea to tell Catholics what is now happening. One priest said it would be OK once it's blessed but another priest, whom I trust explicitly and who is a Marian priest said even though it may be blessed, it has not been exorcised and evil may still persist........
> These rosaries have appeared on sale at pilgrimage centers across Europe and are in most cases are given away for FREE. They are made from cheap plastic and come in white, blue or pink, stamped as having been made in Italy , yet no one knows who has produced them.
> Since they are available at places of pilgrimage this makes people automatically think they are fine to use. Information regarding the danger of these rosaries was given at the Marian Cenacle in Limoges , France on 14th March 2005. Why are they considered New Age?
> They are considered New Age due to their symbolism which is not too easy to see except by close inspection of the crucifix, which shows a very sinister story. Behind the figure of Christ there can be seen a caduceus, which is an upright pole, representing mediation between Heaven and earth. It is an ancient herald's wand which was carried by messenger gods like Hermes or Mercury. The rod is also a divining rod to measure the earth and it's energies of power. The serpent Satan is shown behind the figure of Christ and is depicted by a coiled serpent which means latent power, concealed but not yet fully manifest, a dormant power. It may also represent to Satanists that the devil is co messianic, co redeemer and co Christ etc. The circles on the crucifix are from Egyptian Graeco-Roman, Phoencian, Baal symbols called the Pentagram, which is a major occult sign. The circles or pentagrams have five points, which represent, spirit, fire, earth, water and air. The pentagram at the bottom is upside down represents the devils goat. The four circles with dots in the centre signifies gold or the sun in alchemy. In general the meaning is "The resolution of all possibilities." Christ does not share any platform with any other god, philosophy or belief system or minor deity least of all Satan. The depiction of Christ on the cross is the most prominent place of worship, adoration, veneration, glorification, for Catholics and many other Christians and now Satanists or 'new agers,' have placed Satan alongside Christ. Some have even said that if these rosaries are blessed, they loose any negative power, however this cannot be assured, for it cannot be known what curse, spell or hex has been placed on these rosaries, and what do you think? There is some debate going on about this at the moment.
> Anyway Does anyone really want to pray on a rosary that depicts Satan? What we need to be asking ourselves who has made these rosaries with these symbols that should not be there.!!
> What do I do if I am given one of these rosaries?
> If you are offered or given one of these rosaries break it and throw it away that way it will loose its power when incomplete. There are a small minority of UK suppliers who have bought some of these rosaries and are trying to push people to buy them, I assume they do not completely understand the seriousness of this symbolism. Also tell your friends about these rosaries so they are aware of its dangers.
> Why has this happened?
> Over the years especially through the last century Our Lady has been firm and very explicit regarding the power of the Holy Rosary being the weapon against Satan, therefore would it not be fair to say that the New Age rosary, is a sign that dark powers are trying to undermine her crusade!

Is there such a thing or is it a hoax? Snopes has nothing on the subject. I cannot find anything on the internet beyond what is printed above. I asked a friend of mine who is a good Catholic bishop. He had never heard of such a thing.

But! A couple of years ago I had bought a few cheap plastic pink rosaries for the girls. I had figured, the girls could learn on them and if they broke them, well, who cares, they are not blessed and are cheap plastic. So, out of curiosity, I went to check them. ALL FOUR were as described in the "warning." I was stunned. Regardless of whether it is true or not, I thought it best to be on the safe side and have cut them up and thrown them out. Why wouldn't I, and thus my children, pray on a rosary that has the "INRI" and no pole or strange circles, etc. The only real difference is that mine said they were made in Ecuador. I emailed pictures of the "crucifix" to my friend and, just from looking at the pictures, he said, "They look a little strange to me."

Here are a few of the pictures:

If you have any further information on the subject, I'd be interested to hear it. My husband teaches theology and he had never heard of anything of the sort either. And, if you have any plastic rosaries, might want to check them, just in case.


  1. For starters, you should know that satan has no power over the Rosary. This scare story began circulating over three years ago. It came out of France and then the UK. It’s just the result of someone’s fertile imagination.

    The crucifix is the Triumphant Cross. It is purposely embellished to represent Christ’s triumph over death. You see them most often used in processions.

    And the pentagon symbol. God created all shapes and sizes, not satan. Just because satanists choose to adopt a pentagon for their symbol does not make it “new age”. Pentagon shapes that appear as part of nature, be in in flowers and crystals, can’s be said to belong to satan. They are God’s creation.

    The priest who distributes these rosaries has spoken about this silly story. You can read his comments at the link below.

  2. Satan has no power over THE ROSARY, which is a set formula of prayers, but a string and plastic are not "the Rosary," or do you not think someone who wanted to could use a rosary for an evil purpose? And God has given Satan the power to do many things. Perhaps it is only someone's imagination or even a deliberate hoax, but then why the design, especially without any INRI?
    I've seen many crucifixes used in processions, works of art, etc. I've never seen one like this before.
    Yes, God created shapes, but that doesn't mean they can't be used for evil, like most everything. Are you trying to say that just because God created something it therefore can ONLY be used for good and NEVER evil? Also, when has the Church ever used the pentagon for a symbol?
    I do want to emphasize again that mine were not blessed, but I'd also like to say that if an object, any object has been used for devil purposes, had a curse put upon it, etc., a simple blessing might not be enough to undo the spiritual damage of the object. Read Fr. Gabriel Amorth's An Exorcist Tells His Story.
    You say this priest distributes these rosaries. Does he make them? Did he design them? Why the design without the INRI?

  3. Did you read the article I linked to?

    If you did, then I have no further need to comment.

  4. Perhaps if you were more specific instead of unkindly dismissing my concerns...

    Also, Fr. Jozo, of your article link, had his faculties suspended in 2004. So, as a faithful Catholic, I cannot say as I would personally find him the most credible authority. Do you know of any one who is a specialist on the accult or perhaps an exorcist who has more experience with the demonic who might have commented?

  5. Katherine,

    This has all the hallmarks of an urban legend. The rosaries are so cheap the details are hard to make out. It seems to me people seeing satanic symbols there are like the people who see Jesus in a tortilla or on their iron. For example, the "snake" could just as easily be a vine as in "I am the Vine you are the Branches," not an unknown motif for crosses and crucifixes. As for praying with a devotional that depicts Satan, I do it all the time. My statue of Our Lady of Grace has an image of the snake crushed under her foot and my image of St Michael shows him thrusting Satan through with a spear. Even if you granted, for the sake of argument, that the plastic rosary has Satan on it, why not see it a something akin to these images? Unless you are looking for conspiracies. And further if you did grant that Satanists were for some obscure reason making rosaries with Satanic symbols, how would that harm a devout Catholic praying it? Unless you invite Satan in, he's not going to take possession of you. Especially not when you are praying the rosary. This is a kind of magical thinking as if God's magic could be overtaken by Satan's magic. Especially the bit about it losing its power if you cut it up. That just sounds so superstitious like burying St Joseph upside down. The truth is that Satan has no power over us if we hold fast to Christ. If you are praying the rosary and meditating on the Gospel how is it possible that some cheap piece of plastic made in China is going to overcome your will and turn you away from God?

    What really disturbs me about this is the sort of magical thinking that pervades the warning.

  6. Fr Jozo has dealt with possessed people. But he is not the priest that your article link refers to.

    And I am not being unkind. The new-age rosary story was floating around four years ago. It’s a nonsense story without any foundation. Fr Jozo explains this and some of the reasons why. In my opinion he is far more creditable than the author of the new-age story you have posted.

    But I accept it must be difficult for you to back-track on this one as you have perpetuated the myth by posting the article on your blog without checking sources.

  7. Melanie,
    I agree it does sound like an urban legend and it very well might be. The symbols described could be as innocent and arbitrary as any others. But I have never seen one with a vine intertwining around a stick behind Christ any more than I've seen one with a pole and a serpent. I quoted the exact message as it was given to me so anyone could read it as I got it. My primary concern is not, "Does it depict Christ defeating Satan?" but rather, "Could someone have produced these beads with any sort of evil intentions such as to put any sort of curse on them?" Possession is not my primary concern since, as you say, one must invite the devil in for that. But the devil has other means of harming human beings, such as Oppression or Obsession, both of which God allows. The language could be read in terms of magic. Personally I read it more in terms of a demonic curse. For example, why is it not possible for a person trying to devoutly pray the rosary to have the devil constantly striving to distract the person, invade their thoughts, and disrupt their prayers? Would a cursed object be necessary for that? Of course not, but that doesn't mean a cursed object couldn't propagate it.

  8. If you read the article I linked to, it says, "Bishop Peric confirmed the suspension of the faculties of the other priest, Father Jozo Zovko, in 2004." Fourth paragraph from the bottom.

    I realize the story goes back a few years and this is the first I've heard of it. It may very well be completely without foundation. I've not said it was sound or sure or propagated it as truth as you so condescendingly suggest ("But I accept it must be difficult for you to back-track on this one as you have perpetuated the myth by posting the article on your blog without checking sources.") In fact I searched online and asked a friend who is a bishop about it trying to find out more. I stated little information seems to exist to confirm or deny it. Hence I asked if anyone had any further information on it. I was just hoping for better than condescension and a link to a priest who had been suspended. And since I have yet to hear or read anything authoritative on the subject, I would rather be safe than sorry. I have wonderfully beautiful and blessed rosaries I can pray with. I don't need cheap plastic ones so I thought it was better to be safe than sorry. I don't see anything wrong or shameful in that.

  9. "...Could someone have produced these beads with any sort of evil intentions such as to put any sort of curse on them?"

    As I understand, the beads supplied to Fr Jozo come from Italy, a supplier and manufacturer for many years who also supplies the Vatican. The new-age story almost put the man out of business.

    As to the serpent and the stick, you need to refer to the commandment God made to Moses to a bronze serpent and put it on a pole to cure the sick.

    In the New Testament, the bronze serpent on the stick is Jesus on the Cross.

    John writes: ...and the Son of Man must be lifted up as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.

    And this brings us back to the Triumphant Cross

    There are numerous depictions of the serpent and the stick in Catholic churches and art.

  10. Why the smoke-screen? Isn’t the discussion about your article on new-age rosaries, not Medjugorje and its priests?

  11. Do you know the name of the supplier, out of curiosity? Mine says Ecuador on the back, so it wouldn't pertain to mine, but I'm curious.

    "As to the serpent and the stick, you need to refer to the commandment God made to Moses to a bronze serpent and put it on a pole to cure the sick." That is the best argument you have given so far; although I have never seen such imagery on a crucifix before, it would make sense. Thank you!

  12. And I apologise if my post came across as condescending. It wasn’t meant to be.

  13. I don't know what you mean about a smoke screen. My discussion is on these questionable rosaries, whether they are labelled "New Age" or something else. The only source you gave me on the subject was a priest who had been suspended.

  14. Without wishing to enter into discussion of priests and Medjugorje, I can tell you that Fr Jozo is in good standing with his OFM Provincial – and all that you read with Simon Caldwell’s byline is not necessarily fact or even truth.

    I gave you a priest’s name because he had spoken openly and publicly about the confusion created by this new-age rosary story, and also because he distributes this type of rosary.

  15. Apology accepted.

    Honestly, I know very little about Medjugorje or those priests associated with it. I just went looking to find out more about the source you gave me and was disappointed by what I found in the article to which I linked.

    I can appreciate you linked him because he is a person you know to have spoken on the subject, but, to me, given the circumstances, his credibility is questionable.

  16. Judge as you wish. You obviously don’t know the priest and just relying on what you have read, as you did with the new-age rosary story. But the given circumstances that you quote do not tell the whole story. I repeat, Fr Jozo is in good standing with the Order of Friars Minor. For a priest once gaoled by the Communists because of his belief and faith, I say this in itself speaks volumes for his credibility.

  17. No I don't know him. What I have read is that his faculties were suspended. Are you saying they weren't? Or do you know why they were? I understand he may be in good standing with his Order, but, unfortunately, in this day and age, that doesn't always mean all it should. I'm not saying it doesn't, but I cannot know. Why has the suspension not been lifted? Do you know?

  18. I mentioned earlier I did not want to engage in discussion on Medjugorje and its priests. I came to your blog only to try and correct the misleading story you presented regarding new-age rosaries.

  19. Okay. God Bless. Merry Christmas.

  20. And I wish you peace and every blessing for you and your family as well.

  21. What really marks this as an urban myth is the vagueness of the claims. It doesn't trace the rosaries to a specific group or explain who these "Satanists" are and why they're making rosaries. All the symbolism they claim is Satanic can be explained in perfectly innocuous ways. Plenty of crucifixes in many churches don't include the INRI, it isn't universal or necessary.The so-called puncture marks are I'm sure the kinds of holes you see in plenty of cheap plastic goods, traces of the manufacturing process. No names are given to the exorcist or the priests.