Q. How should rosaries be disposed of when they become to come apart?
A. Here’s a reply from Father Reginald Martin:
After the Catechism of the Catholic Church reflects on the sacraments, it considers additional liturgical acts that “bear a resemblance to the sacraments. They signify effects, particularly of a spiritual nature, which are obtained through the intercession of the Church” (No. 1667). These acts (and objects) are called “sacramentals” because they remind us, outside of formal liturgical celebrations, of God’s love and mercy. Among the Church’s sacramentals are the prayers and beads we call the Rosary.
The Church’s Code of Canon Law does not specifically mention rosaries when discussing sacramentals, but a commentary on the text remarks, “There is scarcely any proper use of a material thing which cannot be directed toward the sanctification of people and the glory of God” (Canon 1166). The text also observes, “Sacred things which are destined for divine worship through dedication or blessing are to be treated with reverence…even if they are under the control of private individuals” (Canon 1171). The commentary on this text states, “When sacramentals can no longer be used, they are usually destroyed….” The example given is burning unused holy oil. Should burning prove convenient, it would serve for disposing of a rosary that cannot be repaired. Burial is another option.