The Sign of the Scapular

July 16, 2014 | 21 comments

Soon after becoming a Catholic, I started collecting "Catholicana" to hang about my neck. Eventually I was wearing a brown scapular, a crucifix, and a "dog tag" chain with twenty or more holy medals. No joke, people could always tell when I was approaching by the clinking of my medals. I liked to think of that necklace as my "cloud of witnesses." One day the chain broke, and I never replaced it. The only sacramental I continued to wear was my brown scapular.

Why was the brown scapular special to me? Frankly, it was not because of the so-called "scapular promise" attached to the scapular, attributed to Our Lady of Mount Carmel, in which she is believed to have promised St. Simon Stock that "Those who die wearing this scapular shall not suffer eternal fire." No, the brown scapular was special to me because I had the privilege to be enrolled in the Confraternity of the Scapular during a visit to the Carmelite monastery on Mount Carmel in Haifa, Israel, while on pilgrimage to the Holy Land during the Jubilee Year 2000.

Unfortunately, many Catholics treat the promise attributed to the brown scapular quite superstitiously, as I was reminded recently by the reaction to my essay on superstitious prayers to St. Jude. In that blog post, I wrote:

For example, the brown scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel is sometimes promoted with the promise that wearing it will ensure that the person who wears is guaranteed heaven. This guarantee is based on a misunderstanding of Our Lady of Mount Carmel's promise to St. Simon Stock that "whosoever dies clothed in this scapular shall not suffer eternal fire." (In fact, that promise has been so misconstrued, even to this very day, that Carmelites now downplay that promise.)

My assertion that Carmelites today downplay the promise attributed to the brown scapular was scandalous to some readers, one of whom commented:

How does this sacramental stir up devotion in a person if there are no special promises or a special message attached to it? And what about those Carmelites who pushed the promises for a very, very long time? Were they fibbing? . . . You know, there are plenty of Protestant sites out there that mock the scapular. They would love to see that the Carmelites are now saying, "Oops!"

I hate to disillusion my reader, but while Carmelites of old cannot be said to have "fibbed," modern Carmelites have been saying "Oops!" for quite some time now about some of the more extravagant claims made by Carmelites down through the centuries about the origins of the Carmelite order and the scapular entrusted to the Carmelites. Being a secular Carmelite myself, I have been one of the modern Carmelites who have said "Oops!" and tried to set the record straight.

From its very founding, the Carmelite order was unique from other orders founded at about the same time in history in that it had no known saintly founder. The Franciscans had St. Francis of Assisi, the Dominicans had St. Dominic; but the Carmelites' exact historical origins have become obscure. To the best findings of current scholarly research, the Carmelites were founded by veterans of the Crusades, laymen and their military chaplains, who chose to retreat to Mount Carmel to live in peace as hermits. Sometime between 1206 and 1214, these men petitioned the Latin patriarch of Jerusalem, Albert Avogadro, to give them a rule of life. The result was the Rule of St. Albert, which inspires and guides Carmelite life to this day.

By the end of the 13th century, the Carmelites had become established in Europe, and simultaneously the remaining hermits on Mount Carmel were martyred during the fall of the region to the Saracens. Carmelites would not be able to return to Mount Carmel until the 17th century. One of the casualties of that tragedy was the loss of any archives that might have been maintained by the hermits living on Mount Carmel before their dispersion to Europe and eventual martyrdom. This in turn meant that the Carmelites have no known saintly founder, which was considered scandalous.

To fill that void, stories began to circulate that the Carmelites could trace their origins back in a direct chain to the prophet Elijah, who had long been associated with Mount Carmel and was believed to have lived as a hermit there (cf. 1 Kings 18); to all the prophets who followed him; and to Christ and his followers, some of whom it was asserted to continue to live as hermits on Mount Carmel down through the ages. This origin story sparked a great deal of vigorous debate among historians for centuries, until eventually the weight of historical evidence indicated that there was no direct link between the prophet Elijah and the Carmelites (although Elijah is still considered a spiritual father to the order).

And, if it wasn't enough to link themselves directly to Elijah, the Carmelites also began asserting a supernatural origin for their scapular—not the little piece worn by many Catholics today, but the large, full-length scapular that constituted a significant part of the Carmelite habit. When the order was establishing itself in Europe, the garb then worn by the hermits was appropriate to a Palestinian mountaintop but strange in Europe and looked upon with suspicion. Effort was made to alter the habit to something more suited to the society in which the Carmelites now had to live. Instituting the change was slow-going—that is, until the claim was made that the Virgin herself had handed a scapular to St. Simon (who, not coincidentally at all, was an early prior general of the Carmelites in Europe) and promised that "whosoever dies clothed in this scapular shall not suffer eternal fire."

Although the supernatural origins of the brown scapular have become as historically suspect as the origin story that names Elijah as direct founder of the Carmelites, the promise of eternal salvation attributed to the scapular ensured that it would eventually become a treasured sacramental—not just for the Carmelites but for all Catholics. Which, in turn, raises questions when modern Carmelites do their part to set the record straight. Such as:

Were the Carmelites of old "fibbing" about the brown scapular?

No, they firmly believed the origin story handed down to them. It's taken centuries of historical research to sort out fact from pious fiction, and for centuries the pious fiction was passed on as God's truth (literally).

Why would St. Simon Stock tell such a story about an apparition of the Virgin if it did not actually happen?

He may not have been the one to start the story. He may simply have passed on the word to his brother hermits that "This is your new habit, and you are to wear it as a matter of obedience or face the possibility of eternal damnation for refusing obedience to a lawful superior" (a means of binding consciences that would not have raised eyebrows during that time period in Church history). From there the directive could have been gilded in legend. Something similar happened with the origin story of St. Dominic and the rosary.

History ultimately is a story retold down through the centuries according to the unique perspective and personal agenda of its tellers. That doesn't mean history is false, or a lie; it only means that history is not free of the effects of human frailty. If you are interested in reading more about the origins of the Carmelite order, I recommend Journey to Carith by Peter-Thomas Rohrbach, from which much of the history I recount here was drawn.

What has been done by the Church to clear up misconceptions about the brown scapular?

Not long after Vatican II, the feast day of St. Simon Stock was removed from the liturgical calendar of the Carmelite order. It was eventually decided that this step was not necessary, and so the feast day was restored—with the condition that the liturgy for his feast day could not contain mention of the vision of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and the scapular that had been attributed to him.

Does the brown scapular have any value if there is no guarantee that the wearer will be saved?

Ah, and now we are back to the point of my original essay on superstition. As I said about the so-called "never-fail" novena to St. Jude:

As a rule of thumb, any time someone promises you that a prayer is never known to fail, or that participating in a devotion will guarantee you salvation, that should be seen as a red flag warning you of superstition. Even when the devotion is otherwise encouraged by the Church, you can be certain that the Church will never sanction "guarantees of salvation." . . . Any prayer said sincerely, with love for God and devotion to his Mother and his saints, may be fruitful for the salvation of souls. What matters is the love and devotion offered by the person praying, not the words of the prayer or the formula of the devotion.

In 2000, as part of the commemoration of the 750th anniversary of the brown scapular, representatives of the Carmelites of the Ancient Observance and the Discalced Carmelites worked together to produce A Catechesis on the Brown Scapular. The purpose of the document was to clear away misconceptions and misunderstandings about the brown scapular, and to explain the true importance of the scapular:

The brown scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel is best understood in the context of our Catholic faith. It offers us a rich spiritual tradition that honors Mary as the first and foremost of her Son's disciples. This scapular is an outward sign of the protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary, our sister, mother, and queen. It offers an effective symbol of Mary's protection to the Order of Carmel—its members, associates, and affiliates—as they strive to fulfill their vocation as defined by the Carmelite Rule of Saint Albert: "To live in allegiance to Jesus Christ."

In short, the brown scapular is not a lucky charm or a guarantee of heaven. Rather, it is a sign of the devotion of Carmelites to Our Lady of Mount Carmel and her Son; and it is a sign of Our Lady of Mount Carmel's love for and protection of the order that honors her as sister, mother, and queen.

Note: A version of this essay originally appeared on the blog, Peace, Joy, Pancakes (6/24/14). It is republished here with permission.


Michelle Arnold is a staff apologist at Catholic Answers. You can visit her personal blog or contact her online through Facebook.

Comments by Catholic.com Members

#1  Elayne McIntee - Louisville, Ohio

Thank you for the clarification. The brown scapular has always been a bit confusing for me. I have always been leery of any "teaching" which guarantees heaven. Your article puts everything in perspective.

July 16, 2014 at 8:05 am PST
#2  Lee Harris - Milwaukie, Oregon

Thank you, Michelle. Very helpful. It seems so easy to turn private devotions into superstition. The only value in these practices at all is expressing and growing in the love of God, and uniting with Him for the salvation of the souls He sent His Son to die for.

July 16, 2014 at 9:44 am PST
#3  Mark Jeffords - Ceres, California

Pope Pius IX -

"This most extraordinary gift of the Scapular from the Mother of God to Saint Simon Stock, brings its great usefulness not only to the Carmelite Family of Mary but also to all the rest of the Faithful who wish, affiliated to that Family, to follow Mary with a very Special Devotion."

Pope Paul V -

“It is permitted to preach ... that the Blessed Virgin will aid the souls of the Brothers and Sisters of the Confraternity of the Blessed Virgin of Mount Carmel AFTER THEIR DEATH by Her continual intercession, by Her suffrages and merits and by Her special protection, especially on the day of Saturday which is the day
especially dedicated by the Church to the same Blessed Virgin Mary ...”

Pope Benedict XV -

“... The Scapular of the Blessed Virgin Mary ... enjoys THE SINGULAR PRIVILEGE of protection even after death.”

Pope Pius XI -

"The Sabbatine Privilege is the greatest of all privileges of the Mother of God, even extending after death"

Pope John Paul II -

"The Scapular is essentially a habit which evokes the protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary in this life and in the passage to the fullness of eternal glory."

July 16, 2014 at 10:12 am PST
#4  Arturo Ortiz - Anaheim, California

Thanks Michelle for posting this article. However once again I simply have to disagree with your analysis.

"Why would St. Simon Stock tell such a story about an apparition of the Virgin if it did not actually happen?

He may not have been the one to start the story. He may simply have passed on the word to his brother hermits that "This is your new habit, and you are to wear it as a matter of obedience or face the possibility of eternal damnation for refusing obedience to a lawful superior" (a means of binding consciences that would not have raised eyebrows during that time period in Church history). From there the directive could have been gilded in legend. Something similar happened with the origin story of St. Dominic and the rosary."

Once again just as in the previous article regarding Saint Jude, in my opinion this is an unhealthy means of historical revisionism which is predominant in today's culture. We have seen this with regards to biblical scholarship, and obviously in regards to the tradition of the Catholic Church. I just can't accept the fact that things such as the Rosary and the Brown scapular which have existed for various centuries did not have "supernatural beginnings" What I mean by this is the various visions that correspond with these great sacramentals.

It makes sense as to the rosary having been given by Our Lady to saint Dominic during the heresy of the Albigensens, or the Brown Scapular to Saint Simon Stock during the beginning of the Carmelite Order.

Various popes, and saints have often written about these great sacramentals by speaking about their supernatural origins. To detract from this origins and apply nothing other than natural ones, including disregarding visions and apparitions is to me a great disservice. We live during times where modernism and like things reject the supernatural, or simply cast doubt upon people. Is this sort of historical revisionism which looks down on these events really helping.

I ask this with the utmost Charity.

God Bless
Arturo

July 16, 2014 at 10:55 am PST
#5  Michelle Arnold - El Cajon, California - Catholic Answers Blogger

Mark—

From "A Catechesis on the Brown Scapular," which was "prepared in 2000 under the direction of the North American prior provincials of the Carmelite Order and the Order of Discalced Carmelites" and given an imprimatur in 2000 by the then-Archbishop of Washington, D.C., Cardinal James Hickey:

"What is the official status of the Sabbatine Privilege?

"Historical research has shown that the alleged fourteenth-century appearance of the Blessed Mother to Pope John XXII is without historical foundation. As a matter of fact, in the year 1613 the Holy See determined that the decree establishing the 'Sabbatine Privilege' was unfounded and the Church admonished the Carmelite Order not to preach this doctrine. Unfortunately, the Order did not always comply with this directive of the Holy See.

"At the time the Carmelites were instructed to stop mentioning the 'Sabbatine Privilege' the Holy See acknowledged that the faithful may devoutly believe that the Blessed Virgin Mary by her continuous intercession, merciful prayers, merits, and special protection will assist the souls of deceased brothers and sisters and members of the confraternity, especially on Saturday, the day which the Church dedicates to the Blessed Virgin.

"Consistent with the Catholic tradition, such favors associated with the wearing of the brown scapular would be meaningless without the wearers living and dying in the state of grace, observing chastity according to their state in life, and living a life of prayer and penitence. The promises traditionally tied to the scapular offer us what the Second Vatican Council says about the role of the Blessed Virgin Mary: 'By her maternal love, Mary cares for the brothers and sisters of her Son, who still make their earthly journey surrounded by dangers and difficulties, until they are led to their happy fatherland.'"

July 16, 2014 at 10:57 am PST
#6  Michelle Arnold - El Cajon, California - Catholic Answers Blogger

Arturo—

There's a difference between "historical revisionism" and making known the fruits of authentic historical research. No Catholic should fear the results of authentic historical research, and no good can come of deliberately persisting in propagating pious legends now known to have no solid historical foundation.

"If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free" (John 8:31–32).

July 16, 2014 at 11:02 am PST
#7  Jack Andrew Hughes - Bristol, Bristol City of

Dear Ms Arnold

What historical resarch do you speak of? please do not just assert that we are 'so much smarter now' and that all that the stuff our forefathers believed was rubbish . Forgive me if I do not take the words of mondernist religious as gospel truth.

Moreover if the Rosary is not of Divine origin then why did the Blessed Mother ask us to pray it every day at Fatima? she clearly wants us to pray the Rosary as opposed to lets say the seven penitential psalms.

Lastly this urge to remove anything supernatural from small T tradition is dangerous, for if lets say Our Lady did not give the scapular to St Simon Stock then whast to stop someone from taking the denial of the supernatural to its logical conclusion and say (as sadly some priests do) that the miracle of the loaves and the fishes was really 'Jesus getting everyone to share' or that the Ressurection was 'spiritual' in nature ?

July 16, 2014 at 11:17 am PST
#8  Usulor Kenneth - Lagos, Lagos

Michelle,

"This saying is" really "hard, and who can hear it?". (Jn. 6:61). Are you and your quoted source now saying that the brown scapular (and the rosary) are fabricated superstitious fictions?

July 16, 2014 at 3:31 pm PST
#9  Jennifer Fraser - Niagara Falls, Ontario

As a history major (of long ago), I don't think Michelle is revising history or trash talking Catholics of old. I think she is merely saying that the good things God gives us have a habit of taking on a life of their own over the years rather than keeping the life and place in our lives that God himself intended for them. And that is because these things are attached to human beings who are rather excitable, sometimes a bit enthusiastic and given to exaggeration all in an effort to promote these good things among His people. Sometimes we humans can go a bit overboard.

If the Papacy itself asked the Carmelites not to preach these doctrines, and if it with its own research dismissed some of these enthusiasms, who are you to argue with it?

I'd say who are "we" to argue, but I'm not Catholic (yet...), I'm Protestant (but I think not for too much longer).

July 16, 2014 at 4:55 pm PST
#10  okhai gabriel - alabama, Edo

Before reading this post, i have been wearing scapulars but i did not knw anything about it. I want to thank you for taking your time to enlighten us on this. Please i will like to know if the scapular can render protection to those who wear it.

July 17, 2014 at 3:31 am PST
#11  Ged Narvaez - Daraga, Albay

To wear the brown scapular is to trust in Our Lady who has great power of intercession before her Son.

It's not an auto-machine itself.

Same with consecrated objects, it must be taken care in a right and proper manner (under the Church teaching). Thus, you are right! Indeed it helps when wearer has faith and tries to live a life of virtue.

God bless all of you. =)

July 17, 2014 at 5:51 am PST
#12  Ged Narvaez - Daraga, Albay

Hi, the scapular is the topic here, just to emphasize a bit, fellow faithful and loving Christians. =) But regarding rosary, i recommend to read the book of St. Louis de Montfort, -the Secret of the Holy Rosary. And the book about Our Blessed Virgin Mary, Our Mother, -True Devotion to Mary. I love to read his book. That's all, thank you and Peace of God to us all.

July 17, 2014 at 6:09 am PST
#13  okhai gabriel - alabama, Edo

Thanks Narvaez. For the rosery, is it right to wear it on the neck ? I am asking this question because my parish priest said the rosery is for prayers and not supposed to be worn on the neck.

July 17, 2014 at 7:10 am PST
#14  Arturo Ortiz - Anaheim, California

okhai Gabriel

I myself wear my rosary in the neck a lot, namely because it is quite larger than a regular rosary. The problem comes when you wear it simply as a means of "bling" or jewelry. I myself pray the rosary. Various saints had there rosary around the neck.

My advise is that if you wear it around your neck do it for the right reason, meaning don't wear it to simply show off, rather use it to actually pray it

I think this goes for any other religious type of necklace such as a crucifix or pendant. As long as you use it as a means of evangelizing and not or any means of mere vanity

July 17, 2014 at 11:49 am PST
#15  Daniel O'Connor - Albany, New York

What nonsense.

So the Divine Mercy Devotion and the Sacred Heart Devotion are also superstitious? (The former - "whosoever venerates this image shall not perish" - the latter "... [they] shall receive the grace of final repentance: they shall not die under my displeasure.")

A warning to any Catholic who wants to sound intellectual and please modernists by snubbing their nose at the latter promise: Fr. Garrigou LaGrange (and no, you aren't more orthodox and learned than he, whoever you are) asserts in no uncertain terms that we must simply conclude that whoever satisfies the conditions of the 9 First Friday devotion is indeed by that very fact among the elect.

Promises of salvation are not superstitious. Nor is there any ground for your claim that we can be "certain" the Church will "never sanction them," by which you imply that the Church disputes them.

Nor does your analysis of the Brown Scapular in any way respect the fact that Our Lady appeared at Fatima presenting us again with the brown scapular, the sensus fidei, or the countless miracles attributed to the Brown Scapular.

July 18, 2014 at 1:54 am PST
#16  A L - Montreal, Quebec

i honestly think that we are taking things out of context. the promises of the brown scapular are consequences of our own promises when accepting to wear the scapular. I remember that when I heard of the scapular and read the promises what struck me was what "I" had to promise in order to wear the scapular... Rosary every day, devotion to Mary, offer every Saturday to Our Lady, frequent confession. In other words the promises attached to the Scapular are contingent to our own actions. I remember also wanting to devote myself to Mary but being afraid that I would not be able to fulfill my own promises to Her, and so when my Parish held a Scapular day explaining really well what it entailed to wear it, I looked at the statue of Mary Help of Christians and Jesus in the Eucharist and prayed to them to always help me fulfill my own obligations were I to wear the Scapular. The scapular promises are a consequence to our actions on Earth. To trust in the Scapular is to trust in Mary's ability to help us arrive to "port: home with Christ. The trust is not placed on the blessed object but on the Entity in this case Mother Mary, it represents.
If you wear the Scapular as a talisman, it won't help you one bit, if you wear seriously always trusting in God and His abilities to help you do your job here on Earth then there isa nothing to fear.
Aurelia

July 20, 2014 at 7:29 am PST
#17  Arturo Ortiz - Anaheim, California

Aurelia I think you hit the point very well. No one including I are arguing that we don't have to play our part in any way when wearing a sacramental such as a miraculous medal or the brown scapular for example. That would be presumption and mere laziness. Wearing a particular sacramental and devotion entails that we live out the promises that we ourselves need to make. Whether it is a daily rosary as you mention or anything else.

I think that Michelle did a good thing writing this article attacking superstitious practices that many including I can for into. This is true in regards to people praying certain prayers that are mere superstition such as Chain prayers or 9 times a day for 9 days prayers. However the only thing I have against the article is the fact that it downplays the origins of various devotions such the rosary and the scapular as mere pious legends which I refuse to believe.

July 21, 2014 at 8:59 am PST
#18  A L - Montreal, Quebec

one time not long ago, on a palm Sunday morning, i arrived late at Mass and missed the blessing of the palms. At the end of Mass I approached the priest and asked him to bless my palms too, he smiled and said : It is your faith that has blessed them. This article is about whether Mother Mary actually promised "the alleged" promises on the Scapular or not. However at this point it does not matter anymore. whether Mother Mary promised those promises or not, whether Mother has anything to do with the origin of the Rosary or not, what counts is that she has "adopted" these Sacramentals as Her own. No good catholic can dispute that really saying the Rosary and trying to seriously meditate on the mysteries has not transformed him or her in a more charitable person and literally made him or her fall (even if only a little) in love with Christ. No one can dispute that promises or not, many Saints have adopted the Scapular and seen miracles happen through it. We just need to think of St. JP II, who always wore his Scapular, St.Dominic Savio whom knowing that his mother was at death bed during her delivery, gave her a Scapular and told her not to remove it, that through it she would have Mary's protection. St. Dominic Savio is now the Patron Saint of difficult deliveries (if I am not mistaken).
in any case, my point is the Scapular is a popular Sacramental and like the Rosary, brings you closer to God and that is because of the faith people apply through it. At the end it does not matter whether Saint Stock fell on his head one day and imagined the whole thing or not, what matters is that Mary certainly uses the Scapular to Jesus' advantage, period.
anyways.... my humble opinion.
love
Aurelia

July 21, 2014 at 10:00 am PST
#19  A L - Montreal, Quebec

Also,
I just reflected on it, God keeps His promises, but He also keeps the promises that "HIS" Saints make for Him. Think of St Paul: I do not remember the verse or which Letter exactly but at one point he is talking about the dos and donts of conjugal relationships and he states: This is not God that says it but I. God allowed that statement to be in the Bible, which makes it true even if it was Saint Paul statement.
Saint John Bosco: during the cholera break in Turin he promised to his boys that if they helped the sick and they were not in mortal sin, they would not get the disease. Again, not God's promise but Don Bosco's one; The promise was kept. In other words a different spin on "whatever you bind on Earth will be bound in Heaven"

Obviously, in order to be able to make these kind of statements or promises and having God honor them, you need to be in real communion with Him and not just "regular me" uttering nonsense.
You need to have a contact with Him though grace and prayer and devotion that the regular Joe doesn't have...yet.
Even if we do not know what was promised or not to St Stock. What we know is that his faith along with the faith of the people that have worn the Scapular has been honored.
peace

July 21, 2014 at 10:21 am PST
#20  James Blazsik - akron, Ohio

"The Scapular is essentially a habit which evokes the protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary in this life and in the passage to the fullness of eternal glory."
Pope St. John Paul II

July 22, 2014 at 10:58 am PST
#21  Zvonimir Tosic - Melbourne, Victoria

In many occasions it was found that after the death of many saintly persons, their robes would disintegrate in the grave but the brown scapular they wore would remain intact. Even centuries after their death. That is not a superstition nor a “symbolic” meaning of the scapular — it is as best scientific evidence to a miracle as any we can get. Because there is no rational explanation why would not a brown scapular also disintegrate with the rest of their garments.

And there are more than enough of stories associated with the brown scapular through the centuries and in recent times that indicate its supernatural origin and protection of a devotee that cannot be objectively explained. Are they all a game of fancy? For example that recent one of a priest shot in the church in Switzerland, only to be found later that the assassin did not miss him, but the bullet was smitten against the priest’s brown scapular. Or the poor fellow had very strong constitution?

Or how we explain then that in approved apparitions of Our Lady (for example in Lourdes and in Fatima) witnesses to Her apparitions describe Our Lady emphasising the importance of the brown scapular.

In the last apparition in Fatima, October 1917, Our Lady, as told by sister Lucy, held a brown scapular in her hand.

“One day, Brother Angelus, to your Order of Carmel the Most Blessed Virgin Mary will give a devotion to be known as the Brown Scapular, and to my Order of Preachers she will give a devotion to be known as the Rosary. And one day through the rosary and the scapular she will save the world”, is a prophecy made by St. Dominic (died in 1221), who lived before Our Lady gave the brown scapular to St. Simon Stock (died 1265, his vision occurred in 1251). St. Dominic had a vision in 1208.

St. Dominic is a canonised saint, his teaching accepted by the Church, and his words bear some value.

So we can wear the brown scapular because of our feelings toward the association with Confraternity of the Scapular, or, perhaps, because it is the desire of Our Heavenly Mother in order for her children to be protected with Her special grace, and remind others of Her. And She repeats that message, verbally or symbolically, in Her apparitions.

However, devotion to Our Lady being not so central but rather secondary in practice of the Christians, Her means of intercession in our lives and Her symbols are tucked aside. And then explained as … oopses.
Thus many will take the brown scapular as, well, a nice garment that we may or may not wear devoutly, but Holy Eucharist as granted. Because we should not superstitiously believe in miracles of the brown scapular, but we must (how? rationally?) believe in the very miracle of the Holy Bread?

Isn’t this a paradox? Those who dismiss Our Lady’s intercession, promises of the brown scapular, apparitions and messages, yet believe in the Eucharist because ‘faith in it will save them’? With such beliefs no one needs atheists to tear them apart — they do that themselves.

We shall not consider an Eucharist to be a mere “symbolical act, rooted in tradition that makes sense to preserve through the confraternity of believers in it — albeit it is not a lucky biscuit that grants heaven”. But yes, we should revere the Holy Eucharist because still some Protestants believe in it and have not explained it away, yet?

How far have we gone indeed. Unfortunately, this is the price we pay for devotion of Our Lady being secondary. And her messages in apparitions being considered as not relevant and with an expiry date soon after they occur.

In the article above, apart from the concluding sentence, you have written very little that adds to the matter of devotion to the brown scapular to deepen its understanding and explore it in detail. The status quo in the blurred understanding of the matter about the brown scapular, and the Protestant dismissing of it in the modern world remains, and in fact your article only emphasises that vague point again.

Interestingly, only science could prove some points of it, but none of it was touched upon in the article.

September 25, 2014 at 8:41 pm PST

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