The great rosary debate!

There’s a great and terrible battle tearing apart the heart of Catholicism, and you must choose a side.

Well, actually, there’s something I’ve noticed. Those who pray the rosary fall into two camps: “On the bead” and “between the bead.”

Allow me to demonstrate. On-the-bead looks like this:


Between-the-bead looks like this:


On-the-beaders position each bead between the pads of their thumbs and forefingers. They physically shift their fingers up the rosary whenever they finish with one bead and proceed to the next.

Between-the-beaders position each bead with the chain between the pad of the thumb and the side of the first knuckle on the forefinger. They crawl or walk up the rosary when it’s time to proceed to the next bead.

It’s my personal opinion that those who do the rosary daily will eventually shift to a between-the-bead hold because it’s more comfortable. My Patient Husband disagrees with me; he says between-the-bead is more confusing because you’re never sure if you’re on the bead before or after your thumb.

My stepfather was the one who pointed this out to me, accosting me one day with the demand that I choose sides. I’ve been a between-the-beader for as long as I can remember, and yes, sometimes I’ve gotten confused. But for the most part, it’s easier, and I’m all for easy.

I polled one group of Catholics to find OTBers by far outnumbered BTBers. And if you’ve got this far, no, there’s really no animosity. Just me being a wiseacre, and some good-natured joking around between people who have nothing worse to disagree about.


  1. christopher

    This is incredible… I’ve never even HEARD of “between the beaders”!!! I’ve never even CONSIDERED that this might be a licit practice!!! What’s happened to us?!!! It’s these novelties that’s destroying us…

    I enjoy your blog, by the way… BTBer…

    1. philangelus

      LOL! I never even thought of the licit/illicit aspect! Man, maybe all those rosaries haven’t counted! **oh noes** 😀

      Or is it just a defect of form?

  2. Jenni

    I’m an OTB’er. Something reassuring about holding an actual bead and not getting confused. But now I’ll be paying attention and trying it both ways to see if I stay that way. 😀

  3. Pingback: Rosary mania! « Seven angels, four kids, one family

  4. jaed

    For some reason, this strikes me as a very geeky controversy. It’s just tailor-made as an example for explaining fencepost errors…

    1. philangelus

      Oh, I like that!

      At mom prayer group, sometimes the kids will disrupt us and we’ll have to take a quick poll of which prayer we think we’re on. 🙂