Pope Benedict says rosary beads are “experiencing a new springtime,” and the signs of the season are unexpected—American men. They're creating beads out of ball bearings or nylon, giving their sons rosaries with football-shaped beads, and using iPhone apps to pray. In Texas, the pickup-driving, camo-bedecked founder of Prayer Warriors drives his oversized rosary to different houses.
The founder of the “Real Men Pray the Rosary” Facebook group has 6,000 friends, and the Rosary Army, which takes a DIY approach, uses nylon twine to make the weapons of “spiritual warfare.” Says a theologian: “These practices are ways to actually use your body and your surroundings as part of your prayer.” That’s all well and good “if all these things lead to the heart of what the rosary is about,” a church official tells the Wall Street Journal. “If they become a distraction that is another issue.”