Is there a priest who can answer this question? I pray there is..

I was encouraged by a religious sister, to ask this question of a Catholic priest. Sadly, she didn’t feel that she could adequately solve my dilemma. I hope that it can be answered here.

I have a particular problem… with the wearing of my Brown Scapular. First, let me say… I’ve been invested in the Brown Scapular devotion for a long, long time. And have worn my scapular, faithfully… and in every situation for many, many years. It has literally become a part of me.

Recently, however… I was hired by the local public school district in the Food and Nutrition Services department. I fought, long and hard for this job. And I’m finally starting this work as soon as school begins.

Here’s the dilemma. They have a rule. Absolutely NO jewelry of any kind may be worn on the job… with one exception. Married people are permitted to wear a plain, gold wedding band. Other than that… we are prohibited from wearing any other type of jewelry, even including wrist watches.

This being a public, secular school… they would not understand the importance or significance of the Brown Scapular (I’m not speaking of individual Catholics, who may work there. I’m speaking of the Public School Board, as a whole). They would consider this a necklace, as it is worn around the neck. And therefore, it would be prohibited. There would be no special exceptions made for me. I could try to conceal the cloth Scapular, under my shirt. But anyone who wears the Brown Scapular consistently… knows… that the back panel on the scapular tends to pop out of the collar, now and then. If it were detected at work… I would be subjected to some sort of discipline… possibly, even the loss of my job.

I’m wondering if the cloth Scapular could be replaced (only during work) with a Scapular MEDAL… which would be easier to conceal under my shirt. Would this be acceptable? Or, given the rule of the school district… should I simply remove the scapular, altogether… for work… then put it back on, when I leave?

One last question. Whatever the response, do I need to get the permission of my parish priest for any of this?

I hope that I will receive an answer, as I start to work soon. Thank you so much. And God bless.

From EWTN , Questions About the Brown Scapular

One final note, investing MUST be done with the cloth scapular. Those who wish to wear the medal can do so after investment. The scapular blessing attaches to each subsequent scapular. A new blessing is NOT required. This is not true of the medal, each of which must be blessed by a priest or deacon.

A medal scapular is an acceptable substitute. We (Carmelites) are told, the substitution has to be for a good reason, i.e. allergies. An employment rule qualifies as a good reason.

Carmelite-in-Formation, getting ready to make my Temporary Profession this September.

Thank you so much! This is very helpful… and a great relief. God bless you, as you prepare to make your profession. I will keep you in my prayers. :slight_smile:

I’m just wondering, wouldn’t it be easier to conceal a brown scapular worn under the shirt, rather than a chain with a medal? Or do you mean that it slips out easily at the back?

Personally, I’ve found the cloth scapular is actually more difficult to conceal; because the back panel tends to pop out of the collar now and then (at the back of the neck).

With a medal, there wouldn’t be that concern… as it is just one medal, and would hang down the front. I’m very glad to know that this is an option for persons in my circumstances.

You are most welcome. Thank you for the prayers.

I know what you mean about the back popping out of your shirt. My scapular gets all twisted sometimes. The strings start showing.

The chain around your neck may visible from the back, under some kinds of clothing also, so you might want to start wearing your shirt buttoned up or get something with a high collar.

My mother pinned her cloth one to her bra. No one ever knew.

I am a little confused by your reasoning. The scapular is not jewelry. period. Yes, you may substitute the medal for the cloth scapular. But to me it would seem that the wearing of the medal around your neck would cause more of a stir among your non-Catholic co-workers and boss regarding the wearing of jewelry than the cloth scapular even if the back panel occasionally sticks out. It does not even resemble jewelry.

Wandering out on my tangent, it would be assumed these rules are for safety and for good reason, as there are many jewelry related injuries each year.

It makes little sense to exempt wedding bands. In 1975 my brother lost a finger due to a wedding band in a work related accident.

I agree. That’s why my husband and I don’t wear our rings.

Our priest told my kids that he always carried his scapular in his pocket. The strings on their scapulars always break so they asked him for advice on how to prevent them from breaking. Father said that the best way is to keep it in your pocket or even your shoe if you have no pockets. He says a wallet or purse works as well. Father said he always carries his in his pocket, but as a kid when he played sports he had no pockets, so he would keep it in his shoe. Now all of us keep ours in our pockets and honestly it’s much better. They never get caught on anything anymore, never get ripped, and there’s no chance of accidental choking with the little ones.

Good idea!

I can understand you not wanting to take off your scapular at work, but it is a rule, and they do have a right, probably for safety and health reasons, to tell people they can’t wear certain items. Ask yourself if you should be disobeying your employer in this way, even if it’s a religious item. If you were found out, you could possibly be suspended or terminated, and your employer is your rightful authority when you go to work, unless you are asked to do something illegal or immoral or dangerous, which they have not. We are to obey our rightful authorities, which is covered in the 4th Commandment.

This is my take on it since you asked. Just because it’s a scapular does not mean it’s ok to break the rule and then try to cover it up. That is a deception, and there really is no other term for it. Your employer has a reason for the rules, and they should be respected. If you were an employer, you would expect the employees to follow them. There are other ways to carry a scapular if you feel you must.

I noticed, though, that no priest has chimed in, which is what you asked for. Perhaps you need to talk to your own priest about this.
God bless you in your new job.

Just a note, you mentioned they wont understand. But I work secular and public gov and where there is no hats etc the muslims and jews can wear their things etc…

You may want to seek clarification as this sounds like they would even if a little effort is needed allow it. There are some laws and stuff…

My husband carries his scapular in his wallet because, due to numerous surgical scars, wearing any kind of cord or chain around his neck and shoulders is extremely uncomfortable (he’s very careful of the kind of shirt collars he wears as well.)

I would think pinning the cloth scapular to an undergarment to be the best solution. After all, even if not visible, wearing a medal on a chain violates the “no jewelry” rule, in my opinion.

Can’t you pin it inside your clothing, so it would be out of the way, and not a safety hazard?

If you’re handy, you could sew a pocket inside your slacks or skirt or dress and store it there. What’s under your clothing is your own business.

You might want to read this directly from the carmel order:

I still would advise you to talk to a Catholic Priest if possible I would recommend a discalced Carmelite Priest but is not a must. However what is most important is that you talk about this to a priest they will help you and advise you in the best interest to God’s Kingdom. We laymembers can say anything and still be wrong.
I can tell you that I work for the government and there is not a day that goes bye without wearing my scapular. I’ve not had issues I always keep it inside, and have the right and privilage to practice my catholic faith.

The Sisters of Carmel are not affiliated with the Carmelite order. They look like Carmelites, but have no official recognition. The sisters are a renegade organization not in communion with Rome, the Bishop of Colorado Springs, and the Carmelite order. I am in a neighboring Archdiocese, we have been praying for them for a long time.

Their scapular information is very dated. Here is the latest information from the Carmelites prepared in 2000 under the direction of the North American prior provincials of the Carmelite Order and the Order of Discalced Carmelites as the Carmelite Family prepared to celebrate the 750 anniversary of the Brown Scapular.

Scapular Catechesis

I am not sure why you specify the Discalced Carmelites. I have every bit as much confidence in the O. Carm. friars as I do in the O.C.D. friars…in fact I have worked with many O. Carm. friars personally over the decades; it is they, for example, who have the Shrine of Aylesford with the relics of Saint Simon Stock; I have far fewer encounters with the O.C.D. friars, who are assuredly quite lovely friars – but the O.C.D. is not greater or lesser than the O. Carm. when one is speaking of Carmelites.

The O. Carm, chose not to adopt the reforms which emerged from Spain. They each have their respective prior general who resides in Rome, just as the different branches of the Franciscans do.

The O.C.D. run the Teresianum in Rome while the O.Carm. run the Institutum Carmelitanum which is under the auspices of the Centro Internazionale Sant’Alberto

In any event, the website you recommend involves a group which is tragically in schism.

The things they relate about the discipline of the scapular, moreover, are not correct; these changed under the Blessed Pope Paul VI and subsequently.

In any event, the website you recommend involves a group which is tragically in schism.

Eliazer, it is true that the group of Carmelite Nuns you linked to are not officially a part of the Discalced Carmelite Order. They were begun by a former SSPX priest who left the SSPX in the mid-seventies and went out on his own starting his own group in Colorado Springs. In the late eighties, he started this little group of Carmelites.

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