I’ve asked several Catholic friends about this (some cradle Catholics; some converts), but none of them seem to know what I am talking about. So I was wondering if any of you have heard of this:
My mom, who is Protestant, has cousins who are Catholic. When they were growing up, the cousins would come to visit their grandma and grandpa, and my mom would see them there. They were never allowed to attend a Protestant service (their grandma and grandpa were also Protestant), their priest had to bless them specially before each visit, and they wore little sacks around their necks for the duration of the visit. I don’t know what they were for, but my mom thought they were some sort of talisman against their non-Catholic family members.
I know the Church used to be more strict about Catholics attending Protestant services, but the special blessing and neck sack-things confuse me. What are they? What are they supposed to do? The cousins are from a very traditional Italian Catholic family; is it perhaps a cultural thing?