ASK FATHER: Can I wear a scapular on my bullet proof vest?

From a reader…


I want to wear a scapular on my bullet proof vest. The best way to do this is to sew a Velcro patch onto one, but would doing that be considered impious or a mistreatment of the sacramental?

I think it is a great idea.   Front and back.

Scapular over body armor.   Hmmmm… where have I seen this before?

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. This is a good idea. Could I have a scapular patch made and blessed and either sewn or velcro-ed to my plate carrier? Would that be considered a sacramental?

  2. Philmont237 says:

    My understanding is that a scapular has to e worn “over the shoulder so that one part hangs over your chest and the other side hangs over the back.
    However, that’s how an IOTV is worn. If it is brown (and coyote brown is very popular in the tactical world, then I would say sew (not Velcro) a holy image to the front and back of the best and have the whole best blessed as a scapular. I don’t know if you can do that, but I’d like to think so.

    Source for the quote:

  3. Semper Gumby says:

    A helpful Ask Father. Thanks to Fr. Z and reader.

    On the Crusades see Thomas Madden’s books and Rodney Stark’s “God’s Battalions: The Case for the Crusades.”

  4. Semper Gumby says:

    If I could continue the theme here, another recommended book is James Turner Johnson’s “The War to Oust Saddam Hussein: Just War and the New Face of Conflict.”

  5. Semper Gumby says:

    A friend has remarked on an article from several days ago by the excellent Bradley Birzer.

    Unfortunately, the “Horrors of Modern Public Opinion” apparently relies on a flawed 1944 Christopher Dawson essay titled “Peace Aims and Power Politics.”

    A brief look at Birzer’s article from August 16.

    “During World War II, the United States and the United Kingdom had come to embrace, hone, and rely upon democratic despotism called “public opinion,” Dawson lamented, a concept that seemed democratic but, in reality, did what it could to deprive men of their dignity.”

    Dawson should have known that wartime “public opinion,” economic planning, and state centralization began during WW I. See for example what Woodrow Wilson was up to in the United States. This is an important concept to grasp.

    Then there are these two grotesque statements:

    “By 1944, Dawson asked, could one even spot the difference between the citizens and governments of the Allied governments and the subjects and despotisms of the Axis Powers?”

    “By the hands and willpower of the Allies as well as the Axis, Western civilization was doomed to complete and moral destruction.”

    That was egregiously insulting to the men and women who fought against barbarism and died at sea, in the air, on the beaches, in the deserts, jungles, mountains, and forests, in the back alleys of Occupied Europe and in the concentration and POW camps.

    The excellent Bradley Birzer should rethink using flawed Christopher Dawson material.

  6. Semper Gumby says:

    A friend has pointed out a problematic excerpt in an article titled “How to Think Like a Terrorist” by the excellent John Zmirak:

    “An act of terror is one that targets civilians instead of soldiers. So indiscriminate bombings of cities counts as terrorism. (That’s a point we don’t like to think about when considering World War II.)”

    It is unclear who this “we” is. But, it is important for the excellent John Zmirak to grasp the difference between WW II strategic bombing and terrorism.

    Others have been grappling with this difficult and complex issue of targeting for many decades. Flippancy is counter-productive.

  7. Garth Lucas says:

    Dear SG
    Your friend has missed the subtlety of Christopher Dawson’s analysis.

    Also Dawson did know that WWI had changed the world forcing him to write about the politics which came to dominate things.

    If you read carefully the pages your friend has referred you too you will see that no honest citizen or soldier on either side is dishonoured. Dawson’s insights have been important in warning us before it became so obvious, of the troubling common trends between the left and the right.

    One of the Dawson points was the post war support for Stalin. Such support In the harsh aftermath of WWII saw the British send White Russian allies back to the Gulag or death in Russia and Yugoslav soldiers to certain death under Tito (telling them the trains were bound for Italy).

    [And here I thought this entry about about scapulars. Remember… scapulars?]

  8. Semper Gumby says:

    Philmont237: Thanks for the link.

    Garth Lucas: Take a closer look, you missed quite alot. Cheers.

  9. KateD says:

    F W I W Sometimes one may encounter regulations about jewelry that may cause difficulty for the wearer of a scapular. A couple of years ago as we sat waiting for our son’s soccer game to begin he runs over to the sidelines and sits down with us tears of anger streaming down his face. He said they told him he had to remove his scapular or not play and he wasn’t about to remove his scapular. I approached the coach who said it was the referee‘s call. So after several rounds of ‘no necklaces allowed‘ ‘it’s not a necklace it’s a religious under garment. Are Mormon children required to remove their religious under garments to play?‘ ‘no, but that’s different. That’s a necklace and he can’t wear a necklace in a game‘ ‘it’s not a necklace it’s an under garment made of cloth wool and worn for religious purposes‘, the ref let out a deep sigh and went to confer with the powers that be. It was a long five minutes standing out there under the red hot heat of all the other parents glares waiting for the decision. It seemed an eternity. The ref returned with a verdict of nay. So I ran over to the mom in charge and after a couple more rounds of ‘it’s not a necklace it’s a religious under garment‘ the gal‘s husband leans in and says ‘you’re not ever going to let up are you lady?‘ I turned to him and replied, ‘nope. This is serious stuff and I’m mom. this is my sole occupation 24/7. I will do this all day long and then some ‘. And then I faltered and agreed to have him keep it on his person but not around the neck. Subsequently I have learned it must be worn as the name implies…They won the game and my son feels certain it was because he remained faithful and was able to have his scapular in the game. It was actually deeper. Afterwards our son shared with us the rest of the story. Before the game one of his team mates had noticed the scapular and had tried to yank it off our son’s neck. This obviously caused a kerfuffle in which several team mates circled around our son and his friends and were earnestly going after his scapular. He told me he forgave them because he didn’t feel they even understood what they were doing nor who was prompting them. He felt strongly it was a spiritual attack. After the game the boys apologized and inquired about the scapular. So our son gave them an impromptu history of the scapular and why he wears it. This is a spiritual battle. If you will protect with body armour your flesh and bones that rot and disappear, for heaven’s sake protect your immortal soul as well.

  10. -DN- says:

    What exactly was “strategic” about, say, the firebombing of Dresden?

    [Can you explain, in one sentence, what the topic of this entry is?]

  11. Semper Gumby says:

    KateD: Great comment.

    DN: A bit of research will answer your question. Begin with the Soviet request. Cheers.

  12. -DN- says:

    The Soviet request to do what? Bomb civilians? Your flippancy is counter-productive.

  13. Semper Gumby says:

    DN: That is why you should do your research, I provided you a starting point. Also, note the difference between straightforward and flippant. Cheers.

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