If a person wears the scapular, but has no formal association to the Order, does that person still gain the benefits associated with the scapular?
A person who wears the scapular and practices the spirituality of the Carmelite Order has an affiliation, loose as it may be, to the Carmelite family and so shares in the graces traditionally associated with the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. However, simply to wear the scapular without accepting the responsibilities attached to it would be to reduce this precious sacramental to the status of a charm or good-luck piece.
**What is this Carmelite spirituality that one must practice in order to have an affiliation with the Carmelite Order?
** The spirituality of the Carmelite Order is one of the pre-eminent spiritual traditions of the Catholic Church. It is difficult to reduce this spirituality to a few sentences. One who wears the scapular should certainly reflect upon the teachings of the great Carmelite saints, three of whom are doctors of the Church.
A few basic introductory principles of Carmelite spirituality would be;
1. frequent participation in the Mass and reception of holy Communion;
2. frequent reading of and meditation on the Word of God in Sacred Scripture;
3. the regular praying of at least part of the Liturgy of the Hours;
4. imitation of and devotion to the Mary, the woman of faith who bears the Word of God and puts it into practice;
5. the practice of the virtues, notably charity, chastity (according to one’s state of life), and obedience to the will of God.
**What is the official status of the Sabbatine Privilege?**
Historical research has shown that the alleged fourteenth*-century appearance of the Blessed Mother to Pope John XXII is without historical foundation. As a matter of fact, in the year 1613 the Holy See determined that the decree establishing the “Sabbatine Privilege” was unfounded and the Church admonished the Carmelite Order not to preach this doctrine. Unfortunately, the Order did not always comply with this directive of the Holy See.
At the time the Carmelites were instructed to stop mentioning the “Sabbatine Privilege” the Holy See acknowledged that the faithful may devoutly believe that the Blessed Virgin Mary by her continuous intercession, merciful prayers, merits, and special protection will assist the souls of deceased brothers and sisters and members of the confraternity especially on Saturday, the day which the church dedicates to the Blessed Virgin.
Consistent with the Catholic tradition such favours associated with the wearing of the Brown Scapular would be meaningless without the wearers living and dying in the state of grace, observing chastity according to their state in life, and living a life of prayer and penitence. The promises traditionally tied to the scapular offer us what the Second Vatican Council says about the role of the Blessed Virgin Mary: “By her maternal love, Mary cares for the brothers and sisters of her Son, who still make their earthly journey surrounded by dangers and difficulties, until they are led to their happy fatherland.”
I have replied to this question several times on this forum. My reply is not nearly as good as that of Vico, but it does add a couple of things to also consider. Here is my usual reply to this question:
Tradition holds that the words of the “promise” on each Scapular were dictated by St. Simon Stock to his secretary, Peter Swanyngton, in 1251. However, although the Scapular itself is well documented, there is no historical record of this “promise” before 1642 - nearly 400 years later!
In all likelyhood, the “promise” was added much later as a pious expectation of the wearer’s disposition and fate if the wearer lives in accordance with the principles of the Carmelite Order. But the “promise” almost surely did NOT originate with Our Lady or St. Simon Stock. As such, it has no place on the obverse of the Scapular. The obverse should be empty.
IMHO, this “promise” has given rise to much superstition. I wish it would be removed from the Brown Scapular - it has no place there.
The Document says,"… any priest or deacon has the faculties for blessing the scapular.
A person given authority to act in the name of the Order may receive people into the confraternity of the scapular."
So the priest or deacon may bless the brown scapular.
But it will take someone special who has authority for investiture, to invest a person with this scapular and not just anyone including the parish priest. It seems as though this special person must be appointed to do this investiture.
How does someone know who this is, and how to contact this person for investiture?
I received a form to designate a priest from the Confraternity of the Immaculate Conception (Marians) for the Blue Scapular. The name of the priest was registered with the Confraternity and he invested me with the scapular using the ritual that was included.
i dont know. Im just a regular guy. Alot of these devotions sound really promising and I dont have time to embark on research for a quest for truth. Alot of promises from prayer cards but what is really true or whats not?
Is not the reason we follow these devotions and pray these prayers are because of the incentives? the promises made for following these devotions?
Here’s the thing about devotions, prayer cards, scapulars and Miraculous Medals - they call us to live our faith. They serve as methods of constantly reminding us how we should act. They are not magic charms that will protect us from sin by their very nature - that is superstition that attempts to absolve the individual from responsibility for his or her own soul.
If you are invested with the Brown Scapular, it is expected that you will live in accordance with the principles of the Carmelite Order. If you do truly adopt those principles, take them to heart, and live them in your daily life, then you may find the rich prayer life it entails to be rewarding. The Church does not officially recognize the “promise” of release from Purgatory (also known as the Sabbatine Privilege as detailed by above by Vico, and which falls in the realm of private revelation), but if you faithfully embrace that prayer life you could find your time there shortened by virtue of having lived a life filled with faith.
I can understand your frustration in this matter, I have experienced it somewhat myself.
The brown scapular has been around for centuries and it is similiar to keeping straight the historical events of the church after 2000 years. It is very hard to do. And even tho I wish misunderstandings didn’t happen, it is just the erosan of mother time.
The Brown scapular is a devotion that has been around a number of centuries and sometimes over enthused people get carried away and start to add things just as they have to the bible. But even tho the Saturday privilege is one of these, by joining the Carmelites with the investiture of this scapular, a person will have the prayers of their associates after their death in a special way and therefore do participate in purgatorial benefits. That is a very wonderful thing in itself. But in addition, very many of these people who join this Carmelite association, enter into a group that has set higher target for their spiritual lives which is a higher caliber of faith and devotion than the average. That also is a great thing for we know that “…the heartfelt prayer of a good man works very powerfully.” James 4;16-17
This is why when one is invested with the brown scapular that the person takes upon themselves certain devotional obligations as well as the priveleges of this association.
This is one of the finest devotional groups around if lived up to.
And belonging to one devotional group does not prohibit someone from belonging to also another one.
The three devotions I am most familiar with are the Brown scaplar, Green scapular, and the Miraculous Medal.
The purpose of the Green scapular is multiple but for the most part it is given to someone who is experiencing a problem in their spiritual life, or lack of it. And the person giving this scapular must say daily the prayer “O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.” It is given in many cases to obtain a conversion, a change of heart, to a catholic or non catholic. And the effectiveness lies with the giver not the one having it. The more the giver has trust in Mary to obtain this conversion, the greater the power this will have on the one having it.It is a wonderful gift from our dear mother Mary to help us to help those we love who have gone astray. And it is powerful if the giver really has great trust.
The purpose of the Miraculous Medal is also multiple, but mainly for our spiritual advancement. If the catholic is fallen, or fallen away, her prayers will restore them.
If the catholic is lukewarm, her prayers will elevate them to living a meaningful spiritual life and to a desire to do better. If they are better than average in thir love of God, she will lift them to an even higher life with her Son. It also is a great consolation and strength, thru her promise, that she will help us in times of temptation. But again it depends on how we use it, with trust it will produce wonderful results. It is a wonderful gift to all of us, and she has asked that everyone wear one.
And according to St. Catherine Laboure that is her very own wish.
There are so many other good devotions and practices that have been given to us over the many centuries of the church. I am truely greatful for them for they have made a definite impact in my own life. My thanks to Mary for so many helps we now have.
The Brown Scapular is “real” it comes from the Habit of the Carmelites and is a devotion towards Our Lady and a help to follow Christ. Just because certain aspects from hundreds of years ago are in question …does not make it not “real”. It is a real blessed sacramental.
As for the Miraculous Medal and the Divine Mercy -those we have no historical doubt about. Such are recent --and are extremely well documented.
About “Private Revelations”:
67 Throughout the ages, there have been so-called “private” revelations, some of which have been recognized by the authority of the Church. They do not belong, however, to the deposit of faith. It is not their role to improve or complete Christ’s definitive Revelation, but to help live more fully by it in a certain period of history. Guided by the Magisterium of the Church, the sensus fidelium knows how to discern and welcome in these revelations whatever constitutes an authentic call of Christ or his saints to the Church.
About Sacramentals per se:
1667 "Holy Mother Church has, moreover, instituted sacramentals. These are sacred signs which bear a resemblance to the sacraments. They signify effects, particularly of a spiritual nature, which are obtained through the intercession of the Church. By them men are disposed to receive the chief effect of the sacraments, and various occasions in life are rendered holy."173
The characteristics of sacramentals
1668 Sacramentals are instituted for the sanctification of certain ministries of the Church, certain states of life, a great variety of circumstances in Christian life, and the use of many things helpful to man. In accordance with bishops’ pastoral decisions, they can also respond to the needs, culture, and special history of the Christian people of a particular region or time. They always include a prayer, often accompanied by a specific sign, such as the laying on of hands, the sign of the cross, or the sprinkling of holy water (which recalls Baptism).
1669 Sacramentals derive from the baptismal priesthood: every baptized person is called to be a “blessing,” and to bless.174 Hence lay people may preside at certain blessings; the more a blessing concerns ecclesial and sacramental life, the more is its administration reserved to the ordained ministry (bishops, priests, or deacons).175
1670 Sacramentals do not confer the grace of the Holy Spirit in the way that the sacraments do, but by the Church’s prayer, they prepare us to receive grace and dispose us to cooperate with it. "For well-disposed members of the faithful, the liturgy of the sacraments and sacramentals sanctifies almost every event of their lives with the divine grace which flows from the Paschal mystery of the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Christ. From this source all sacraments and sacramentals draw their power. There is scarcely any proper use of material things which cannot be thus directed toward the sanctification of men and the praise of God."176
What about Fatima? It was my understanding that Sister Lucy said the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared holding a Brown scapular and a rosary. I could be wrong, but I’d think that would be validation not so much of when the Brown scapular promises came into being, but that she approved of them.
Does anyone else know anything about the Brown Scapular and Fatima?
I am really confused. Pope Gregory X died in 1276. When they opened his tomb 550 years later, his flesh, bones, priestly garments had all turned to dust, except that little scapular which is still extant today. Yet the same item occurred also with St. Alphonsus Ligouri and St. John Bosco. I guess there is something to be said about that tradition in this Church and the signs for those who believe!
“One day through the Rosary and the Scapular I will save the
World,” the Blessed Virgin Mary told Saint Dominic. Our Lady of Fatima
during the Miracle of the Sun on October 13, 1917, held out the Brown
Scapular. She wants us all to wear it always and to pray at least five
decades of the Most Holy Rosary each day.
Every Pope since the year 1280 A.D. has worn the Brown Scapular
of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.