Melanie Dziengo, Youth Speak News

Wear the cross with respect and reverence

By  Melanie Dziengo, Youth Speak News
  • May 15, 2012

The cross is a sacred symbol of Christianity. It represents Jesus dying on the cross for our sins and is the most important symbol we have. However, it can be used in a disrespectful manner, especially when it comes to the fashion and entertainment industries. 

A few years ago, some friends and I were shopping in downtown Toronto. We walked into an ordinary clothing store and near the front were crosses adorned with fake crystals.

After a quick discussion among my cradle Catholic friends, we came to the agreement that crosses are meant for prayer or expressing one’s religion — not as a fashion accessory.

Those who believe in the meaning behind the cross and other symbols should be free to wear one as they please. But wearing these symbols means doing so with respect. Crosses should be worn with pride since they are an expression of the Catholic religion.

Crosses, rosaries and the like should have their intended meaning remain in tact when worn.

When the fashion industry creates crosses with fake crystals on them and markets them as fashionable, the crosses and other such items like rosaries can lose their religious meaning as the symbolism behind them is not always understood. In other words, the reason for the cross and rosary becomes lost in a fashion statement.

Many designers want to cross the line, especially when it brings media attention.

However, when it comes to religion, the line between controversial and tasteless can often be blurred.

Since religion is sensitive and extremely personal, seeing companies gain profits from religious items they market as fashionable can cause the wrong type of controversy.

In Lady Gaga’s 2010 video for the song “Alejandro,” she can be seen swallowing rosary beads. With this blatant disrespect from a celebrity who was raised Catholic, it can lead one to wonder what sort of influence this has on young people.

Ultimately, in situations like these, the line between respect and disrespect has been crossed.

When crosses and rosaries are seen in mainstream clothing stores, one should think about the deeper meaning behind them and the message these stores are trying to send to shoppers. Since the religious meaning is taken away from these items, it leaves one to wonder if these symbols are meant for praying or if they are meant for consuming.

No matter what symbol one chooses to use to express their Catholic religion, it should be done with respect, with the deeper meaning behind it intact and without wrongful intent.

(Dziengo, 21, is a media studies and journalism student at the University of Guelph-Humber in Toronto.)

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