Of scapulars, devotions and Russian jet fighters

Some people are quite disciplined in the matter of wearing a scapular. This comes from Latin scapulae, shoulder blades. Scapulars are garments, usually associated with religious habits, which fall down from the shoulders, mostly over the rest of the habit. Another kind of scapular is small, on strings, which symbolically substitutes for the larger scapular. There are different kinds of scapulars which are spiritual aids in various ways. They generally are a symbol of a relationship through which we derive spiritual protection and aid. Probably the most commonly used scapular is the brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

BTW… once you are “enrolled” and given the brown scapular, if and when your scapular wears out, simply replace it. You don’t have to have the new one blessed.

I am not sure if Eastern Catholics and Orthodox have such things, but a reader alerted me to something which she thought was rather like a Western scapular.

At The Daily Mail there are many photos concerning the destruction of a Russian jet fighter by the Turks. The pilots were killed as they parachuted. Among the photos are the pilots’ effects, including this, which I flipped and cropped:


Lots of people wear religious items without necessarily being devout in any way.

I hope that this young man was indeed devout and that Our Lady helped him to his end.

That said, reflect now for a moment on your own end, your death, which could come at any moment, whether you regularly are in “harm’s way” or not.

Use well the sacramentals that Holy Church provides for your spiritual benefit.  Devout use of the brown scapular is a common devotion because it is an effective devotion.

Use well the sacraments that Holy Church provides.  Examine your consciences and GO TO CONFESSION.  Make good Holy Communions.  Call upon the graces of the your Confirmation and Matrimony and Holy Orders.

Use well other devotional practices which can be of spiritual benefit to you and others.  Perform indulgenced works, such as making the Way of the Cross, reading Scripture, praying the Rosary.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. taffymycat says:

    i have heard the efficacy of a sacramental is according to the devotion of the user

  2. Sonshine135 says:

    I also ponder if the Pilot was actually martyred. It appears that the overflight was a mere 18 seconds (if it was even and overflight). It also appears that Turkey wanted to make a point and were waiting for the jet to pass closely. I very much hope that the US admonishes Turkey for shooting down this fighter, but we probably won’t. I see this as the Muslim world versus Western Civilization.

  3. Catholic_Convert2 says:

    Amen. The poor pilot… the footage of the parachute turkey shoot, and then the coward insurgents deploying and firing the TOW at the grounded and secured helicopter…

    I have to admit that in a vacuum for courageous leadership, my sympathy for Putin and the Ruskis grows daily.

    But either way, the Lt Col and Capt got a raw deal.

  4. Mike says:

    Blessedly, I was enrolled in the Brown Scapular on the day of my first Holy Communion, although I had little idea “how it worked” until decades later. In the spirit of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, I’m striving to develop the practice of praying the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary, to which devotion great benefits accrue.

    Through Our Lady, may we all seek the grace to die happily and well, and protection from sudden and unprepared death.

  5. Gerard Plourde says:

    Dear Sonshine135,

    The situation concerning the Russian intervention in Syria is more complicated. The Russian fighter planes have been primarily attacking opponents of the Assad regime. These opponents are mostly groups that have been very effective in countering ISIS/ISIL. Therefore the question arises: What are the actual aims of former Soviet KGB Officer and current President Vladimir Putin whose forces are currently destabilizing the Ukraine? Remember also that the Orthodox Churches of Russia and the Ukraine (being heavily invested in nationalism) bear long-standing animosity to the Catholic Church.

  6. ReginaMarie says:

    Many Eastern Catholics wear scapulars. Sometimes a leather paraman is worn, embossed with an image of Christ, the Cross, or the Theotokos & the Christ Child. The word paraman originally & strictly referred to a monastic “scapular” in the Byzantine Church, but is often used interchangeably as a “Byzantine scapular” worn by the faithful.

  7. Solid, practical advice. Thank you, and happy Thanksgiving.

  8. Obama has already condemned not Turkey, but Russia

  9. Ed the Roman says:

    Russia has been pushing in a lot of places, has been dropping large numbers of dumb bombs primarily on regime opponents and not ISIS, and needed a good shove back.

  10. acardnal says:

    “Turkey” is definitely in the headlines today!

  11. SKAY says:

    Turkey is a member of NATO and that also complicates things for the US.

    Turkey says that their pilot asked the Russian pilot ten times to leave Turkey’s air space but the
    Russians are saying that is not true.
    Gerard Plourde pointed out some of the other complications with the situation over there in his comment. Putin and the Turkish President both have their own particular agendas. Putin is there to
    prop up Assad and gain a foothold in the Middle East.

  12. stuart reiss says:

    When IS turn up to cut your throat who would you rather have next to you? The glorious leader of the free world or Putin?

  13. Elizabeth D says:

    How the Brown Scapular “works”: There are NO practices associated with it. It entails only the practice of Carmelite spirituality. I have been told this directly by a Carmelite Friar who was my spiritual director and the currently approved regulations for this devotion can be read in a booklet published by the Carmelite friars and titled “Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catechesis and Ritual” It is the Carmelite habit, a devotion to Our Lady as patroness of the Order, who prays for us now and also after our death if we are in purgatory. Like someone else said, the definition of a sacramental is that it disposes you to receive God’s grace (whereas, the definition of a sacrament is that it is a sign that actually makes present the grace that it signifies).

    The person “enrolled” as a child who only recently found out “how it works” and thinks they are required to pray the Little Office is going by old information that has been superceded. There is no “extraordinary form” of this like there is no “extraordinary form” of indulgences (ie, if you think you can still get an indulgence of 250 days for praying a prayer to St Etheldreda because it mentions that in an old prayerbook, this is not the case because the list of indulgenced prayers has changed and partial indulgences are no longer for specific numbers of days). Pray the Little Office if you like to include that in your spiritual life, but the Little Office was the laity’s version of the Latin Divine Office and today the Carmelites advocate praying the actual Liturgy of the Hours (this is stated in the booklet I mention). Although, I could understand someone who only attended the EF who didn’t want to pray the “new” LOTH because it doesn’t correspond to the form of the Mass they attend, and used the Little Office. The point, vis a vis Carmelite spirituality and the Brown Scapular, is more to simply be devoted to Our Lady and to the Eucharist regardless of exactly how you express it, and to seek to grow in prayer and holiness.

    GREAT story about the witness of the downed pilot through his sacramentals.

  14. Gerard Plourde says:

    Dear Stuart Reiss,

    I have no desire to turn this into a political forum. However, I would point out that the Ukranians, Lithuanians, Latvians, Estonians, Poles, Czechs, Slovaks, Hungarians and former subjects of the German Democratic Republic would probably surprise you with their answer concerning the sort of “help” Russia provides.

  15. Veritatis Splendor says:

    If I recall, I am approaching two years of 24/7 wear of my Brown Scapular. That and the Montfortian devotion to Our Lady that I have practiced during these years have helped me to grow more Holy as nothing else has.

  16. bookworm says:

    Here’s another entry in the “In case you need another reason to worry/pack your bug-out bag/go to confession” file:

    A series of 7 to 12 small earthquakes were reported yesterday in the Missouri Bootheel along the New Madrid Fault. The biggest one was magnitude 3.0, barely enough to be felt, but still, it seems to have got some people concerned:


    Amid the usual drivel in the comment section (it is Facebook, after all) about everything from fracking to racism, we find this gem:

    “Everything that is born, dies. That includes you. If you don’t want to die, then don’t get born. Having said that, whether it’s an earthquake, a car accident, murder, disease, whatever, it’s not how you die, it’s how you LIVE that matters.”

  17. JARay says:

    I have wondered about Our Lady’s promise that Russia would be converted. I have no doubt at all that what Our Lady promises will indeed happen. My wondering has turned rather more into just what sort of conversion this will be. We simply assume that it means that the Russians will become Catholics but what if it means that they will become more religious and actually turn to the church which they know i.e. the Russian Orthodox Church?

  18. jacobi says:

    We now know that the observer survived. Accounts conflict. The Russians say they did not cross into Turkish space. If they did cross the “spike” , that would have been for 19 seconds. I know something of radio procedures. 19 secs would allow just one warning if at all.

    Conclusion. This was an ambush deliberate well planned, well thought out, intended to produce a Russian reaction on a NATO country.

    More to the point is the meeting today between Hollande and Putin. Hollande fully supported the Russians. Putin made it clear that the Russian bomber did not have defensive equipment but in future they, and protecting fighters will, including longe range seek and destroy weaponry. That is the Russians, if they are fired on again, will strike at Turkish fighters, wherever they are.

    Hollande, I presume has the task of conveying this message to President Obama, the implications being that the Turks have got to, be sorted out – or else!

  19. Viva Cristo Rey says:


  20. Viva Cristo Rey says:

    My guardian angel :)

  21. Viva Cristo Rey says:

    That’s so great! Women scapular regularly now 2047 I take it off sometimes though but also have been reading devotion to Mary By St. Louis de Montfort Haven’t read it straight through yet but it’s so rich I have to take it in little by little

  22. lmgilbert says:

    Is there a good book somewhere titled something like, “On the use of sacramentals”?

    Reason I ask is that maybe twenty years ago we had a guest who told us of putting cloth Sacred Heart medallions in the racks of a local magazine store that sold pornography in her area. Shortly, the store burned down.

    Taking my cue from this, I dropped St. Benedict medals, maybe 20 of them, in the racks of a local magazine store that sold pornography hoping frankly for a similarly spectacular result. Shortly thereafter the place was bought by a good Catholic woman who cleaned out all the bad stuff and brought in a lot of good stuff.

    I haven’t experimented with this further, but maybe we should explore this a little bit, with sacramentals left at abortion clinics and all the many other sin industries in our society, in voting booths also, in chanceries, in the bedclothes of our children, everywhere where we hope for divine influence etc.

    Some would say this is superstition, and of course that is a danger, but if one approaches it with the right attitude, in a spirit of prayer, with the idea that one is invoking Divine power to rectify the situation and is leaving a concrete token of one’s prayer, which being a blessed sacramental one hopes and trusts will exert divine influence, what would be the matter with that?

  23. Pingback: Of scapulars, devotions and Russian jet fighters | Fr. Z’s Blog | Deaconjohn1987's Blog

  24. Maltese says:

    Read, “Preparation for Death”, by Saint Alphonsus De Liguori. Sobering. Every temporal molecule in our body is in preparation for eternal life…or, eternal damnation.

  25. wised says:

    I was enrolled as a student in a Carmelite high school . I wore a cloth scapular until it disintegrated. Since then, I have worn a scapular medal 24/7. It reminds me often of why I wear it. I do not believe a cloth scapular is mandated. I could be wrong. The intent is still there.

  26. Grumpy Beggar says:

    I was enrolled in the Brown Scapular about 17 years ago. The only time it comes off is for the duration of a shower.

    Our Blessed Mother made promises to those who wear her Brown Scapular – just as she made promises to those who pray her Rosary. The Sisters of Carmel (cloistered contemplative Carmelite nuns) provide us with a little window into those and into the benefits of being enrolled in the Brown Scapular in their piece It is a Gift From Your Heavenly Mother

  27. Mr. Graves says:

    Some years ago, I read a booklet about the Brown Scapular indicating the cloth scapular was the “normal” use, but an exception had been made for a metal scapular when wearing the cloth one was impractical, e.g., in jungle conditions where scapulars would disintegrate due to heat and humidity. Since reading that, I’ve worn only the cloth one, but if the booklet was wrong, I would happily switch. Does anyone know if the cloth one is mandated for normal circumstances?

    The Brown Scapular has been a crucial weapon in my ongoing conversion. Before enrolling in the scapular confraternity, I struggled with habitual sin, becoming greatly discouraged with each fall. After enrollment, although still struggling with several besetting sins, I was never again tempted to separate myself from the Church because of discouragement from the falls. It was a tremendous grace, received at the hands of Our Lady herself. Since then I’ve never questioned the promises of Our Lady regarding the scapular and the rosary.

  28. Dr. Edward Peters says:

    You don’t have to have a new one blessed? I’m intrigued. Why not, if I may ask, should you have a spare minute or two to reply. Best, edp.

  29. The Masked Chicken says:

    The cloth scapular is the normal form of the Brown Scapular. The scapular medal does not carry the same indulgences and is supposed to be substituted only in case of necessity, such as in humid climates where the scapular could disintigrate or if one is allergic to wool. There are no specific prayers attached to the Brown Scapular, but it does presuppose an intention of conversion of life. The Sabatine Privilege (that those who die wearing the Scapular will be delivered to Heaven on the first Saturday after their death) has been called into question by the Carmelite Friars due to historical reasons (the claim is that the Pope never signed the Bull authorizing the belief). Those who are enrolled become members of the Scapular Confraternity, which has a loose association with the Carmelite Order. Those who become Secular Carmelites are not enrolled in the Scapular Confraternity (and, if they already are, the enrollment is suspended), but become true members of the Order and are clothed in a large Scapular, which may be worn under clothing and against the skin. The large Scapular is an actual habit for the Third Order (Secular Order) and may be worn externally at death. It used to be that one could be buried in the full habit of a monk or nun, but that practice has been all but abrogated. Secular Carmelites may wear the little Scapular instead of the large one, which is a ceremonial habit, which may be worn externally with permission of the superiors (council or Provincial).

    The Brown Scapular is, technically, the two cloth squares, not the connecting strips. Ideally, they should be made of serge wool, but other wool may be used and the Friars have given permission (I merely report the fact, don’t argue with me) for brown cotton to be substituted, I think. The woolen squares may be covered with a plastic sleeve, but the connecting strips, per Vatican directive, are not supposed to be covered and must be of original material, which does not have to be wool (although one would suspect that this is preferred in keeping with the nature of the Scapular). The Scapular squares may have paper pictures overlaid or sewn into the fabric, such as is done by the Rose Scapular Company (which the Friars consider very highly).

    If the connecting straps break, they may be sewn back to the squares, so one does not have to throw away a Scapular because the strap breaks. Ideally, woolen thread is best to use, but any thread suffices. If the squares fall apart, the Scapular, being a sacramental, should be disposed of by being buried or burnt, although breaking the strap from the squares so that it no longer resembles a Scapular is also possible.

    The legend of the Scapular being given to St. Simon Stock has also been called into question in recent years because if lack of historical evidence. The original habits if the Carmelites were black and white stripped (zebra-like), but when they fled from Jerusalem, where Mt. Carmel is located, to Europe when the Moslems invaded, people were afraid of their habits and the Friars replaced the with the brown habits. By the way, St. Simon Stock is called that because he lived in a hollow tree – thus, St. Simon of the Stock.

    The Chicken

  30. The Masked Chicken says:

    A couple of more points – the Rose Scapular Company does not use paper pictures, but sews pictures into the Scapular with thread. They are expensive, but worth it. They come with free blessed Cross and St. Benedict medal (blessed by Benedictines).

    As for the necessity of only blessing a Scapular once, the reason is that there is a continuity of blessing – each new Scapular participates in the original blessing. It is the same way for the larger Scapulars of the Secular Carmelites, Nuns, and Friars, I believe.

    Finally, there is the so-called Five-fold Scapular that contains Brown, Red, Black, White, and Blue Scapulars of various Marian Orders. One is enrolled, separately, in each of the Scapulars at the time of clothing. St. Alphonsus, Ligouri was fond of this sacramental.

    The Chicken

  31. The Masked Chicken says:

    Let me clarify: the Scapular is the sign of the Confraternity or the Order and as it constitutes a singular sign, a new Scapular is not a separate sign, but a continuation of the original sign, so carries the original blessing with it.

    The Chicken

  32. jacobi says:

    Scapulars never figured much in my Jesuitical upbringing but I am now intrigued. But I will not be separated from my Rosary!

  33. Veritatis Splendor says:

    Chicken, another way I’ve heard it is that there is the special blessing for induction into the Confraternity, which is a blessing that applies to you and is never repeated. Each new scapular participates in the original blessing that way. There is also the blessing of the sacramental itself (simple sign of the Cross), which can and should be repeated for each scapular. If there is a crucifix or St. Benedict Medal or Miraculous medal attached (my current one has the first two), those need their own blessings as well.

  34. moconnor says:

    The Russians have one goal in Syria and that’s to protect their interests (the Assad regime). A secondary goal is no doubt getting intel on the nearest NATO country. It’s hard to know what to believe over there, but I’ve heard that the Russian planes had made numerous incursions across the border. The Turks finally had enough. While I hate seeing a Christian killed by Muslims, religion played no role in this avoidable incident. I pray for the young man’s soul and I take heart that he seemed to be a faithful person.

    I’m saddened to see so many falling for the “Putin effect”. He has no primary interest in protecting Christians and would kill them in an instant, if they stood in his way. Like so many other dictators, he has effectively coopted a state church for his own ends. Trust only in the Lord. There is NO divine right of kings.

  35. Grumpy Beggar says:

    Pope St. John Paul II “received the brown scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel when he was about 10 years old” : ” ‘I, too, received the scapular, I think at the age of 10, and I still wear it,’ he wrote.”

    “When Pope John Paul II was shot and operated on in 1981, he told doctors not to remove the brown scapular he was wearing.”
    Marian Information Center ; John Paul II and the Brown Scapular

    The Brown Scapular of Our Lady , Its Origin and Promise ; Venerable Fulton J. Sheen


  36. adriennep says:

    Of course, the big thing also is that the brown scapular is a major part of the Fatima message. Our Lady appeared to the children in a Carmelite habit, holding a scapular, in the third October 1917 apparition. I was reminded of a life-changing book by Fr. Michael Gaitley of the Marians of the Immaculate Conception. It is called The Second Greatest Story Ever Told, Now Is the Time of Mercy. He ties together all the threads of the Divine Mercy, Fatima, and the life of John Paul II (who, of course, was formed early in Carmelite spirituality and never took off his scapular).

    From the World Apostolate of Fatima web site:
    “There are 5 things Our Lady asked of each of us during her apparitions at Fatima. They are:
    1. Daily Reparation; 2. Daily Rosary; 3. Brown Scapular; and 4. 1st Saturday Communions of Reparation and 5. Spread the Message of Fatima to others. . . .
    The wearing of the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel as one of Our Lady’s Fatima requests is based upon her last appearance on October 13, 1917. During what has come to be known as The Miracle of the Sun, while the crowd was witnessing the solar phenomena, there were three apparitions only the children saw. During the 3rd Our Lady appeared as Our Lady of Mount Carmel. The Brown Scapular is, in fact, a miniature version of the Carmelite habit.

    We are not, however, simply asked to wear the scapular. We are called to embrace and live the consecration to Our Lady it signifies. We wear the scapular 1st as a sign of our consecration; 2nd as a reminder of that consecration; and finally as a protection against the snares of the Devil.”

  37. Lynn Diane says:

    Wall St. Journal, Nov. 25, 2015: Turkey’s Warning Shot
    Putin may be testing NATO’s resolve, and the Turks need U.S. support.

    A pair of Turkish F-16s shot down a Russian Su-24 over Turkish airspace on Tuesday, and Russian President Vladimir Putin called it a “stab in the back” that would have “serious consequences for Russian-Turkish relations.” This is what we mean when we say the last months of the Obama Administration will be the most dangerous since the end of the Cold War.

    Turkish military officials said the Russian pilots ignored 10 warnings over five minutes to return to Syrian airspace before their plane was shot down. That rings true given Ankara’s warnings against previous intrusions. Russian planes twice violated Turkish airspace in early October, incidents NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said did “not look like an accident.” Around the same time a Russian MiG-29 locked its radar on a pair of Turkish jets patrolling the Syrian border for more than four minutes. Next a Russian-made drone entered Turkish airspace and was shot down. Moscow denies it was one of theirs.

    More recently, the Turks summoned Russia’s ambassador to Ankara after an attack on ethnic Turkmen in Syria. “It was stressed that the Russian side’s actions were not a fight against terror, but they bombed civilian Turkmen villages and this could lead to serious consequences,” according to Turkey’s foreign ministry. This fits the Russian pattern of bombing enemies of the Assad regime except Islamic State—a useful reminder that Mr. Putin is not a fit partner in the coalition to fight ISIS.
    The larger question is why Mr. Putin would risk provoking Turkey, with its powerful military and NATO ties. Part of the answer may lie with Moscow’s alliance with Iran and its Shiite Muslim proxies in Damascus and Beirut, who see themselves as competing with the Sunni Turks for regional dominance.

    Mr. Putin may also be testing NATO cohesion. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is an impulsive leader who has alienated his allies with his autocratic instincts and Islamist sympathies. If Russia continues to prick Turkey and NATO fails to support Ankara, it will expose the hollowness of NATO’s Article 5 collective-defense obligations.

    The Obama Administration failed to invoke Article 5 on France’s behalf after the Paris massacre. And on Tuesday President Obama said that while Turkey had the right to defend its airspace, his priority is to “discourage any escalation.” But what if Mr. Putin retaliates against Turkey? Mr. Obama should have said that the U.S. will stand with its NATO partner.

    At his Tuesday press conference with French President François Hollande, Mr. Obama also said his visit to Paris later this month for a global-warming summit would be “a powerful rebuke to the terrorists.” We can only imagine what Mr. Putin makes of that.

  38. Elizabeth D says:

    Someone mentioned the “Sisters of Carmel” who sell sacramentals. While they are good at promoting themselves and how traditional they appear, they are NOT a canonical group of Catholic nuns, they are associated with a group of “independent” traditionalist priests that broke off of the SSPX. After some people had bad experiences, the local bishop made warnings that they were not an approved group and not to be involved with them. So these poor “Sisters of Carmel” women do not even have access to sacramental Confession in their cloister because those priests lack faculties. They also promote obsolete and inaccurate information about the Brown Scapular devotion. I would suggest not buying things from them.

    However there ARE Traditional Latin Mass Discalced Carmelite nuns (real ones) in Valparaiso, Nebraska and a daughter house of theirs in Elysburg, PA. I believe in both places they are assisted by the FSSP.

    Another note: the Confraternity of the Brown Scapular is an actual canonical organization, but it exists in very few places outside of Europe. I have never met anyone who was an actual member of the Confraternity of the Brown Scapular. You have to join a canonically erected local chapter of the Scapular Confraternity to belong to it. In the US the Secular Carmelites (OCDS, associated with the Discalced Carmelites) and Third Order Carmelites (TOC, associated with the Order of Carmel) are far more common.

  39. The Masked Chicken says:

    “Chicken, another way I’ve heard it is that there is the special blessing for induction into the Confraternity, which is a blessing that applies to you and is never repeated. Each new scapular participates in the original blessing that way. There is also the blessing of the sacramental itself (simple sign of the Cross), which can and should be repeated for each scapular. ”

    The blessing for induction into the Confraternity does not, in itself, get passed on to the Scapular. The blessing is for the person, as it is the intention of the blessing. The Scapular is blessed, separately, because it is a sign. The blessing for the Scapular reads:

    “Receive this Scapular. (Through this Scapular you become a member of the Confraternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel. [n.b. – not through the blessing of the individual – Chicken ]) Full of faith in the love of such a great Mother, dedicate yourself to imitating her and to a special relationship with her. Wear this sign as a reminder of the presence of Mary in your daily commitment to be clothed in Jesus Christ and to manifest him in your life for the good of the Church and the whole of humanity, and to the glory of the Most Blessed Trinity. R/. Amen.”

    So, what I said, above, seems to be right. The Scapular, as a sign, has the blessing passed on from Scapular to Scapular because it is the same sign.

    I believe I know a sister in the Valparaiso, Nebraska Carmel (I knew her when she was a civilian and when she entered the Order) – if, as I think, the Valparaiso group is a daughter Carmel of the Lincoln Nebraska group (which she joined). It has been a while since I have been in touch with her.

    It is true that actual canonically established Scapular Confraternities are rare in the U. S. This is very sad. OCDS and TOC groups are not confraternities, but true lay associations with Rules of Life and Constitutions. Unlike the Scapular Confraternity, to become an OCDS takes at minimum five years, with a postulancy (where one receives the large Scapular) and a noviciate (where one takes temporary promises), leading to final promises. The promises are of poverty, chastity, and obedience to the the Constitutions and the superiors of the Order. In addition, with the discernment of the Council and the Provincial, the Secular Carmelite may be admitted to simple vows of Chastity and Obedience (but not poverty!) any time after an additional year after the final promise – it is the only Secular Order which permits its members to do so. The so-called Third Orders used to have pride-of-place in any lay procession of groups in the old 1917 Code. Scapular Confraternity members share a relationship with the Order by virtue of the Scapular and share in the good works of its members.

    Pope St. John Paul II was not only enrolled in the Brown Scapular, but he was, at least as I have heard, a Secular Carmelite. I have not, however, heard of any of the Carmelite friars trumpeting this fact, since it would make him the first canonized OCDS, so it may just be rumor. He did write his dissertation in theology on the place of Faith in the writings of St. John of the Cross. I really wish he had lived longer, because he and I both had the same question about something St. John wrote (he mentions it in his dissertation) and I finally had an answer to tell him. Sigh. I never got to. Oh, well, he knows the truth, now, whatever it is, anyways.

    The Chicken

  40. Father G says:

    The devotion of wearing a chotki (prayer rope) around the wrist in order to pray the Jesus Prayer is a devotion practiced by Byzantine Catholics and Eastern Orthodox Christians. The wearing of a scapular is not found among Orthodox Christians but there are Byzantine Catholics who wear it as a sign of being under the Protecting Veil of the Theotokos, whose feast day is October 1st.

    The photo above shows a miniature icon attached to a cord. The icon is of the Panagia “Axion Estin”, “the Mother of God, It is Truly Meet”. The miraculous original is kept in Mount Athos.

  41. Grumpy Beggar says:

    Elizabeth D says:
    Someone mentioned the “Sisters of Carmel. . . ” .

    That would be me.

    Elizabeth D says:
    “. . .the Sisters of Carmel who sell sacramentals. While they are good at promoting themselves and how traditional they appear, they are NOT a canonical group of Catholic nuns, they are associated with a group of ‘independent’ traditionalist priests that broke off of the SSPX. After some people had bad experiences, the local bishop made warnings that they were not an approved group and not to be involved with them. So these poor ‘Sisters of Carmel’ women do not even have access to sacramental Confession in their cloister because those priests lack faculties. They also promote obsolete and inaccurate information about the Brown Scapular devotion. I would suggest not buying things from them.”

    Thankyou for the correction Elizabeth D – should’ve checked my sources more carefully .

    It appears part of the infomation contained in the booklet you mentioned in a previous post, Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catechesis and Ritual , can be read at A Catechesis on the Brown Scapular.

  42. Grumpy Beggar says:

    I believe caution needs to be exercised , especially when treading on that tender ground where we could inadvertently discourage or deter someone from beginning to look into a sound devotion to our Blessed Mother.

    If certain information concerning an approved devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary is not correct and we want to point that out , we should at least present the correct information , or some form of elucidation,otherwise a void is left ; negative generalizations without a positive counterpart all too often group the baby right in there with the bath water.

    The Sabbatine Privilege would present a pertinent case in point: Even reading what is written about the Sabbatine Privilege in the linked article Catechesis on the Brown Scapular ,too hastily, could tend to have someone put no stock (no pun intended St. Simon) in the Sabbatine Privilege. To understand the Sabbatine Privilege, we need to be able to differentiate between what has been recorded historically, and what has been pronounced doctrinally. EWTN has a good thorough article written by Christian P. Ceroke, O. Carm. ,which covers the Sabbatine Privilege and a host of other Scapular-related subjects at The Scapular Devotion.

    What we may believe about the Sabbatine Privilege , is fairly well trimmed down by Father John Hardon S.J.’s definition from his Modern Catholic Dictionary :

    The pious belief, approved by the Church that the Blessed Virgin would be specially propitious to those who have worn the brown scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and observed certain other practices. Specifically, Pope Paul V in 1613 authorized the following decree to be published: “It is permitted to the Carmelite Fathers to preach that the Christian people may believe that the Blessed Virgin will help by her continued assistance and her merits, particularly on Saturdays, the souls of the members of the Scapular Confraternity who have died in the grace of God, if in life they had worn the scapular, observed chastity according to their state of life, and recited the Office of the Blessed Virgin or observed the fasts of the Church, practicing abstinence on Wednesdays and Saturdays.” There was an earlier version of the Sabbatine privilege that is now considered certainly erroneous, based on an alleged bull of Pope John XXII, supposedly published in 1322. This apocryphal document has the Pope say that Carmelites and others who wear the scapular would be delivered by the Blessed Virgin from purgatory on the Saturday after their death.

    We should note that Fr. Hardon passed away in 1999 and that the Catechesis on the Brown Scapular came out a year or so afterwards. Subsequently, while praying the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary is commendable ,it is, as Elizabeth D pointed out, the praying of all or part of the Liturgy of the Hours which the Carmelite Spirituality advocates today.

    I personally find it much more compelling to believe that we may be assured of Our Blessed Mother’s assistance after death – particularly on Saturdays , rather than believing we will be “delivered from Purgatory on the first Saturday after our death.”

    My own father , not only wore Our Lady’s brown scapular ever since I can remember, and practised the devotion , he also lived the fruits of this devotion and he showed me, by example, how to live my Catholic faith daily through thick and thin. When he had passed away (still wearing his brown scapular) a close priest- friend of mine, who’s apostolate is to promote devotion and consecration to our Blessed Mother’s Immaculate Heart, asked me, “When did your dad pass away?” “Last Saturday,” I replied. He looked at me, cracked an extremely broad smile, gave me a little punch in the shoulder, and said, “The Sabbatine Privilege.”

    Don’t anybody read too far into this guys, otherwise we’ll have all the people dedicated to our Blessed Mother thinking they’re going to die on a Saturday (a state of grace is what to aim for). As I mentioned earlier, St. John Paul II received the Brown Scapular when he was about 10 years old, and he wore it all his life. Father John Hardon S.J., whom we just mentioned above, also devoutly wore the Brown Scapular . . . two Catholic heavyweights . . . Hmmm. . .

    Oh, BTW, St. John Paul II and Father John Hardon, S.J., also both died on a Saturday . . . just sayin’.
    A Priestly Prophet
    After 26 Year Reign Pontiff Dies at 84

  43. Andrea Mary says:

    I’m happy to see all this information about scapulars! (And thank you, Father Z, as always for giving us something to think about today). My mother encouraged me and my siblings to wear the Brown scapular when we were children, and I have always loved this simple devotion. I even sell hand-embroidered scapulars in my Etsy shop, StellaMarigoldArt (https://www.etsy.com/shop/StellaMarigoldArt). Personally, I stick to the 100% wool tradition (at least for the panels on the back), and I encourage my customers to learn about the enrollment process. There are many different kinds of “small” scapulars, though – such as the St. Michael scapulars (blue and black, shield-shaped), the “Five-Fold” scapular, Black Passion scapular, etc., and each one has its own traditions and requirements.

  44. Danno says:

    It is disappointing for me to learn from Elizabeth that the Sisters of Carmel are not canonical. I have purchased some high quality wall crucifixes, chaplets, rosaries, and brown scapulars from them over the years. The scapulars I have purchased from them have been the most durable I have ever worn…………oh well.

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