Given from the Catholic Broadcasting Station 2SM Sydney Australia
Choose a topic from Vol 2:
The Rosary is not a necessary part of the Catholic religion. It is a very useful form of devotion which Catholics are free to adopt or not. Most Catholics are wise enough to adopt it, and the Church makes use of it in her evening devotions very often.
In what is known as the Rosary, one undertakes to meditate on each of several aspects of the life and sufferings of Christ, each meditation lasting as long as it takes to recite one Our Father and ten Hail Marys. To save us from the distraction of counting these prayers we quietly allow beads, divided accordingly, to slip through our fingers, our lips repeating the prayers, our minds pondering over the significant mysteries of our Lord's life on earth.
They don't. They know just how many beads there are in a Rosary, without having to count them. To save any attention to the counting of their prayers they use Rosary Beads, so that they can attend to their meditation on the Gospels during the time it takes them to say the usual prayers proper to the Rosary. The beads are thus a help to avoid distraction. They also symbolize a spiritual garland of prayers to be laid at our Lord's feet just as one would place a garland of flowers on the Cenotaph for lesser and merely natural reasons of reverence and gratitude. Just because you don't do things, or because they are strange to you, you must not think them foolish, or that there is nothing in them.
No "Rosary symbol" exists among the Hindus or Moslems. The use of beads for the counting of their prayers may exist, and they may attach a symbolical meaning to their beads. But they have not the symbolism of the Rosary. The Catholic Church attaches no symbolism to beads. They have a purely utilitarian value, as a help to completing a certain number of prayers without the distraction of counting them. The Rosary is a series of vocal prayers counted on the beads, accompanied by meditation on the mysteries of the life of Jesus Christ. Its symbolism is that of a garland of spiritual roses offered to God, and this symbolism refers to the prayers, not to the beads. The beads as such stand for nothing. I might point out that the Rosary did not come into existence until the twelfth century, though beads for purposes of other prayers undoubtedly existed before that. But if the Rosary did not exist until the twelfth century, it is not correct to speak of "Rosary symbols" prior to that date.
Firstly, the Rosary is not a fetish. A fetish is an object with a spirit inhabiting it, whose services are at the disposal of the one who possesses that object. Now no Catholic has ever believed Rosary Beads to be inhabited by any spirit or spirits; nor are the beads worshipped in any way at all. Therefore, the Rosary cannot be a fetish. Secondly, how could Catholics take over the Rosary from the Moslems in 560 B.C.? No Christians existed before Christ Himself existed. But perhaps you mean 560 A.D. Yet here again you will be in no small difficulty. For no Moslems existed before 622 A.D., and the Rosary was unknown to Catholics until 600 years after that.