The Brown Scapular


I am having a hard time understanding the meaning behind the Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. It states that if you die wearing it you will not suffer eternal fire. However, as Catholics we believe that if you die in the state of mortal sin you will be denied heaven. So what happens if you die in the state of such a sin but have worn the scapular faithfully throughout your life and at the moment of death. I have been told that it offers you special graces and helps in final preservation, but why would Our Lady make such a direct promise if she did not mean exactly that? Thanks in advance for all responses.


The Brown Scapular does not trump the doctrine of the Church.

One would hope, as you mentioned, that one would receive the special graces to repent before one’s final moments of earthly life.

Legends exist of unrepentant persons who lead terribly immoral lives wearing the brown scapular as a sort of ticket into Heaven. The legends say that they have either dies in ways in which the scapular was torn from their bodies, OR that the person violently removed their scapular themselves moments before death.

In either case, it is important to remember that the scapular is not a get into Heaven card. Rather, it is a sign of devotion to our lady. One wears a wedding ring as a sign of faithfulness and devotion to one’s spouse, and one wears a brown scapular as a sign of faithfulness and devotion to the blessed mother.

I hope this helps! God bless you.


That’s a great question, not sure I can fully answer. But maybe part of the graces we receive are to help us to avoid mortal sins through out our lives (thus keeping us free from that sin at moment of death). And maybe having the opportunity to confess them before it’s too late?

So by being faithful to God and our Lady, we will also be doing everything we can to avoid offending God by committing mortal sins.

That make sense or circular reasoning?


Thanks. God Bless!


Believe me if you are in a State of Mortal sin when you die, you will not be wearing the Scapular when you die.


This makes sense, Mary will give us special graces to help avoid sin and if you truly believe in the scapular and its promises then you will be loving and faithful to Mary. I also agree with the other posters and have heard the same stories of the scapular being torn from the necks of those who die in separation of God. Thanks for the helpful responses. God Bless!


It NEVER meant “put this on and go indulge in sin”, it is a devotion that encourages prayerful and penitent living which directs you away from the temptations to sin and facilitates repentance should you fall into sin. There could even be a special grace given for the hour of death for those who wore it faithfully.

A quick & easy read:


I think it might be helpful to read what the Catechism teaches about sacramentals:

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.”

… so I would say that the Brown Scapular is only as “powerful” as the person wearing it. If they are “well-disposed” (ie not in mortal sin) then wearing the scapular will be an aid in their sanctification. Our Lady would never make such a promise to those who are in mortal sin… she always first directs us towards her Divine Son, and anything she said about the scapular should be predicated with the understanding that a state of grace and full communion with her son and his Church is needed.

Peace be with you,


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