The scapular and dumb superstition


Hello there,

I read something about the brown scapular and the “promise” that ties to it, that whosoever dies wearing it will not suffer in the everlasting fire.

I just wanted to hear what the Vatican’s position on this is, because -frankly- it sounds like dumb superstition to me.

You don’t get saved by wearing two pieces of wool :confused:

  • CB


I think there is quite a bit more to it than wear two pieces of wool and “poof” you make it to heaven.

There is a detailed discription of the History of the Brown Scapular here, the link points ot the section on the “promise”.


**The Brown Scapular of Our Lady:
Its Origin and Promise


…First, Mary does not mean by Her promise that anyone dying even in mortal sin will be saved. Death in mortal sin and damnation are one and the same thing. Mary’s promise naturally rewords itself: “Whosoever dies clothed in this Habit shall not die in mortal sin.”…


I think you need to look at what it means if you wear it.
Lots of stuff in Catholicism is about reminding you of what you are and where you are. If you read your Lutheran Bible you are reminded of all the same stuff (more or less) as is some Catholic who sees a religous picture, statue, medal, sacred music, scapular, hairshirt, chains, cards, books, prayers, habits, dog-collars, and etc. If you are constantly reminded to live a certain path you can have confidence in arriving at the end safely, thats logical, - you also benefit in an extra way from the help of others on the same path whether they are alive on this pilgrimage or whether they are Saints in heaven rooting for you.


Yeah a lot of people think it’s just “wear the scapular, and it’s an instant get-out-of-hell-free card/fire insurance”.

The thing is, there are promises YOU have to make too; one has to (if I remember right) Attend Mass every Sunday, make frequent use of the Sacrament of Reconcilliation, pray the Office of Our Lady daily (or the rosary if you get the OK from your confessor) and maintain celebecy in accordance with your station in life.

Most people I know who wear it, wear it for the promise that you’ll be released from Purgatory the Saturday after you die more than to keep themselves from Hell because really, if you keep up your end, it’s almost guaranteed you’ll make it to Heaven.


I am reading that website, and it says that the priest has to write you name in the register of the Carmellite Order. I want to start wearing the brown scapular asap, but I want to make sure that it is done right. Some people say to just go buy one, others say a priest has to just bless you, and yet others say that you have to go through a specific prayer formula. I am kinda confused, and I am still waiting for the local priest to get back to me about this. What do I do?


There are different kinds of Brown Scapulars. The one for the Carmelite Order is not the kind you can get at the bookstore - it’s actually a big apron, like a woodworker’s apron, and it is only worn by Carmelites; not by anyone else.

The kind you get at the bookstore (two little tiny pieces of brown wool attached with a yoke of string) is not the Carmelite Scapular; this is the one that any priest can enroll you into, after you have received your First Holy Communion - it has a little picture of St. Simon Stock on it.

Both Scapulars have duties attached to them, and obviously if we don’t fulfill our duties, any promises attached to them would not apply to us.


Ok, the small one is the one I am refering to. When people say “invest”, do they mean that the priest gives, or the priest blesses? Other than living a righteous life, what other duties are we to perform to stay in the good graces of Our Lady? I apologize for so many questions, I am just trying to grasp the Catholic faith better, and this scapular would REALLY help me stay on the right track.


Yup it’s true! Believe me if you are a sinful person you WON’T die wearing it!!!


The recommendations for the Brown Scapular of St. Simon Stock are:

Pray the Rosary every day.
Pray the Little Office of the Virgin Mary every day.
Abstain from meat every Wednesday and every Friday.
Go to Confession at least monthly.
Receive the Eucharist as frequently as possible.

It’s not necessary to be legalistic about these things, but as you point out, doing them will certainly help us to advance in our spiritual life. You can also just wear the Brown Scapular as a sign of devotion to Our Lady without any specific regimen or routine, but obviously, we need to live our lives as good Catholics, so that those who see us wearing the Brown Scapular won’t be put off the Catholic faith by seeing us wearing this emblem of purity while doing something impure or sinful.


Could be some truth in that Br.Rich SFO, I heard the story of a prostitute who hadn’t given up her sinful life yet wore it.

Well on her death-bed so the story goes, it started to burn her, and she either pulled it off her, or shouted to the nurses to take it off.


I always assumed that it meant you would escape purgatory — you still have to be in a state of grace to enter heaven, the brown scapular just got you out of having to go to purgatory, and that’s what it means by “whoever wears it will enter heaven” – that’s only if you’re in a state of grace.

My Mother-in-Law wore one for years, but when she lay dying in the hospital, her relatives let them take it off her because they didn’t know what it was. :mad: So she died without it on. So if you plan on wearing one, you might mention to your loved ones what it is!


You also don’t get saved by saying the magic words, “I’m saved!”.

Talk about superstition.


:smiley: :thumbsup:


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