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Kristy Chen wrote:

Hello,

I have been reading the literature sent to me by Mike Humphrey and have a couple of questions. My first question is:

  • Why do you prefer the Brown Scapular of Mount Carmel when there are other saint's scapular's that could be worn?

I read the literature [MS-WORD] [PDF] about the Brown Scapular and understand it's importance.

I also wanted to know what the difference between them is.

Kristy

  { Why do you prefer Mary's Brown Scapular over the Scapulars of other saints that could be worn? }

Mike replied:

Hi, Kristy —

You said:

  • Why do you prefer the Brown Scapular of Mount Carmel when there are other saint's scapular's that could be worn?

Because the most perfect yet human model of holiness for us is our Blessed Mother, Mary.

As men and women who all struggle with concupiscence, whether our struggle is as single men or women or married men or women outside the marital embrace, she will always be there to help and assist us.

Unlike Jesus, Mary is a human person who was conceived without sin; Jesus is the divine Person who took on human nature.

If worn with the correct inward intention, the promises of the Sabbatine Privilege are also very appealing.

The name Sabbatine Privilege is derived from the apocryphal Bull Sacratissimo uti culmine of John XXII, 3 March, 1322. In this Bull the pope is made to declare that the Mother of God appeared to him, and most urgently recommended to him the Carmelite Order and its confratres and consorores. The Blessed Virgin asked that John, as Christ's representative on earth, should ratify the indulgences which He had already granted in Heaven (a plenary indulgence for the members of the Carmelite Order and a partial indulgence, remitting the third part of the temporal punishment due to their sins, for the members of the confraternity); she herself would graciously descend on the Saturday (Sabbath after their death and liberate and conduct to Heaven all who were in Purgatory.

Other specific scapulars include the following:

Also Our Blessed Mother said at Fatima: More souls go to Hell because of sins of the flesh than for any other reason. Now, Fatima is not doctrine nor dogma, but the Church has approved this important apparition for the faithful to follow . . . if they choose.

Probably the second most popular Scapular is the Green Scapular known as the Scapular of Conversion.

For readers interested in the various types of Scapulars, I've put together a group of various scapulars below along with some corresponding information about them.

The Brown Scapular and Important Specific Scapulars

Though many different specific scapulars are recognized by the Church, the best known is the Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, also known as the Brown Scapular or even "the Scapular."

It is probably the oldest scapular and served as the prototype of the others. According to Catholic tradition, the Blessed Virgin appeared to St. Simon Stock at Cambridge, England, on Sunday, 16 July, 1251. In answer to his appeal for help for his oppressed order, she appeared to him with a scapular in her hand and said:

"Take, beloved son this scapular of thy order as a badge of my confraternity and for thee and all Carmelites a special sign of grace; whoever dies in this garment, will not suffer everlasting fire. It is the sign of salvation, a safeguard in dangers, a pledge of peace and of the covenant".

The Brown Scapular thus carries with it the promise never to die without the opportunity to confess or otherwise achieve forgiveness of sins. It also carries the second promise of being freed from Purgatory on the first Saturday (the day of Mary) after death. Like the rosary, the Brown Scapular has become the badge of the devout Catholic and the true servant of Mary. Any priest can invest a layperson with this scapular.

Whether this happened exactly in this way or not (St. Simon's original descriptions of the vision are not extant and the wording may not be exact), the Scapular was given to St. Simon Stock, and the devotion spread and was well-known by the 16th c. What can be safely believed because of papal decree is the promise known as the "Sabbatine Privilege." The Sabbatine Privilege is the promise that Our Lady will intercede and pray for those in Purgatory who, in earthly life:

  • wore the Scapular in good faith;
  • were chaste according to their state in life;
  • daily recited the Divine Office OR, with the permission of one's Confessor, the Little Office of Our Lady [a shorter form of the Divine Office in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary, used by certain religious orders and laity. It is similar to the Common of the Blessed Virgin Mary from the Roman Breviary] or the Rosary; and
  • departed earthly life in charity.

You can be enrolled in the Confraternity of our Lady of Mount Carmel by any priest. Just obtain a scapular, take it to him to have it blessed, and express your desire for enrollment.

Warning: Some falsely believe that wearing the Brown Scapular offers some sort of guarantee of salvation because of the legendary words attributed to Our Lady. This is against Church teaching, is superstitious and a grave error. Sacramentals are not magical ways to manipulate God; they are Church-instituted rituals/objects that remind us of what we are supposed to be doing/thinking of, that depend on the faith, hope and love of the user, and which help prepare us to receive God's saving grace. One must do more than "wear the scapular"; one must wear it worthily.

You can get well-made, wool, traditionally-designed Brown Scapulars from Rose Scapular Company.

Green Scapular
Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul (Paulists)
A.D. 1840

In 1840, Mary appeared to Sister Justine Bisqueyburu (a Seminary Sister of the Daughters of Charity) in Paris, France and commended the Green Scapular to her. It's known as the Scapular of Conversion, and its promises are the strengthening of faith, protection against Satan, a happy death for Catholics, and, most of all, for conversion for those outside the Church. It's to be worn or carried by the faithful, or given to an unbeliever for their conversion. The following prayer is to be said daily by the wearer:

Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us now and at the hour of our death

If the scapular is given to an unbeliever for their conversion, the person giving the scapular prays the prayer for them if the unbeliever does not want to pray the prayer himself. If the unbeliever does not want the scapular, it may be hidden in their vicinity and the prayers said for him. Enrollment in a Confraternity is not necessary for this scapular, but the scapular should be blessed by a priest before use.

The Green Scapular is connected with devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Strictly speaking, this is not a scapular, because it is not connected with the habit of a religious congregation, but it has the same form as a scapular and is perhaps the second-most popular such devotional object after the brown scapular. There is no investiture for this scapular, but each scapular must be blessed by a priest. The person wearing the scapular must daily pray, "Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us now and at the hour of our death." The promises connected with this scapular are almost identical with the brown scapular.

The Scapular of The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus

  • Form: White woolen cloth, on which is embroidered or sewed in red a picture of the Heart of Jesus.
  • Order: Order of the Visitation of Holy Mary
  • Origins: The constant wearing of a small picture of the Heart of Jesus was already recommended by Blessed Margaret Mary Alacoque, who herself made and distributed them. This badge was especially employed during the plague at Marseilles as a protection against the pest. During the terrors of the French Revolution it also served as a safeguard for the pious faithful.
  • Use: Although this badge is often called a scapular, it is not really such; consequently the conditions governing scapulars do not apply to it. It was only in 1872 that an indulgence was granted by Pius IX for the wearing of this badge.

The Scapular of the Most Blessed Trinity (The White Scapular)

  • Form: Small white scapular with a blue and red cross
  • Order: Confraternity of The Most Blessed Trinity (Trinitarians)
  • Origins: To Innocent III, who sanctioned the Order of the Trinitarians on 28 January, 1198, an angel is said to have appeared wearing a white garment and on his breast a cross of which the transverse shaft was blue and the longitudinal shaft red.

The Scapular of our Lady of Ransom
Order of Our Lady of Mercy and the Redemption of the Captives
In Latin: Ordo Beatae Mariae de Mercede Redemptionis Captivorum

  • Form: White cloth with an image Our Lady of Ransom on the front and a smaller segment of white cloth in the back.
  • Order: Fathers of the Order of Our Lady of Mercy for the Ransom of Prisoners
  • Origins: The order was founded by St. Peter Nolasco (1256).

The Black Scapular of the Seven Dolours of Mary (The Black Scapular)

  • Form: black cloth, usually with an image of the Mother of Sorrows on the front
  • Order: Servite Order (sanctioned by Alexander IV in 1255); Confraternity of the Seven Dolours of Mary
    Added note: The Passionists also have a Black Scapular The Black Scapular of the Passion ca. A.D. 1720
  • Origins: Gradual tradition
  • Use: This scapular must be worn constantly if one wishes to gain the indulgences of the confraternity. Priests may obtain from the General of the Servites the faculty to receive the faithful into the confraternity and to bless and invest with the scapular.

The Black Scapular of the Passion

  • Form: Black cloth bearing bears an exact replica of the badge of the Passion, namely a heart above a cross, on which is written Jesu XPI Passio and below sit semper in cordibus nostris. The back portion consists simply of a small segment of black woolen cloth.
  • Order: Congregation of the Passionists
  • Origins: It is related in the life of St. Paul of the Cross that before founding the Congregation of the Passionists he received in apparitions the black habit of the order with the badge on the breast.
  • Use: At various times, indulgences have been granted to the faithful who wear this scapular. The Superior-General of the Passionists communicates to other priests the faculty to bless and invest with the scapular.

The Blue Scapular of the Immaculate Conception

  • Form: Blue cloth, which normally has a symbolization of the Immaculate Conception on one side and the name of Mary on the other.
  • Order: Order of Theatine Nuns
  • Origins: Vision of the Venerable Ursula Benicasa, foundress of the Order of Theatine Nuns, in which Jesus Christ had promised great favors for her order. She begged the same graces for all the faithful who should devoutly wear a small sky-blue scapular in honor of the Immaculate Conception and to secure the conversion of sinners, and her request was granted.

The Scapular of the Most Precious Blood

  • Form: Red cloth scapular or a red girdle. The scapular as used in Rome bears on one portion a representation of the chalice with the Precious Blood adored by angels; the other segment which hangs at the back is simply a smaller portion of red cloth.
  • Order: Confraternity of the Precious Blood
  • Use: No special indulgences are connected with the wearing of this scapular, and the wearing of it is left optional to the members of the confraternity.

The Red Scapular of the Passion

  • Form: The scapular and bands must both be of red woolen material. On one woolen segment Jesus Christ is represented on the Cross; at the foot of the Cross are the implements of the Passion, and about it are the words: "Holy Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ Save us." On the other are represented the Hearts of Jesus and Mary, and above these a cross with the inscription: Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, protect us.
  • Order: Sister of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul
  • Origins: a vision of a Sister of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul in 1846 in which Jesus Christ showed the sister the scapular and promised to all who should wear it on every Friday a great increase of faith, hope, and charity.

The Scapular of the Blessed Virgin Mary under the title of Help of the Sick

  • Form: Black woolen cloth, with the a copy of the above picture of the Mother of God and at her feet Sts. Joseph and Camillus, the two other patrons of the sick and of the confraternity, on the front. On the small segment at the back is sewed a little red cloth cross; although this receives separate and special blessing for the sick, it does not constitute an essential portion of the scapular.
  • Order: Order of St. Camillus; Confraternity of the Mother of God for the Poor Sick, founded 15 June, 1860.
  • Origins: Based on a painting in the Church of St. Magdalene at Rome of the Blessed Virgin, which is specially venerated under the title of Help of the Sick.

The Scapular of the Immaculate Heart of Mary

  • Form: The scapular is of white woolen cloth; on the front is represented the burning heart of Mary, out of which grows a lily; the heart is encircled by a wreath of roses and pierced with a sword.
  • Order: Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary
  • Origins: This scapular originated with the Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in 1877, and was sanctioned and endowed with indulgences by Pius IX on 11 May of that year. The scapular was later approved by the Congregation of Rites in 1907, and its form more exactly decreed; in the same year it was assigned new indulgences.
  • Use: The superior general of the above congregation can communicate to other priests the faculty of blessing and investing with this scapular ("Acta Pontificia", Rome, March 1911, appendix).

The Scapular of the Mother of Good Counsel

  • Form: Two segments of while woolen cloth, usually with white bands. The front segment bears the image of the Mother of Good Counsel (after the well-known picture in the Augustinian church at Genazzano) with the inscription: "Mother of Good Counsel". The back segment has the papal arms (i.e., the tiara and the keys of Peter) with the inscription: "Son, follow her counsel. Leo III".
  • Order: Augustinian Order
  • Origins: At the petition of the Augustinian monks this scapular was approved and endowed with indulgences by Leo XIII in a Decree of the Congregation of Rites of 19-21 December, 1893.
  • Use: The faculty of blessing and investing with the scapular belongs primarily to the Augustinian monks, but the General of the Augustinians communicates this privilege to other priests.

The Scapular of St. Michael the Archangel

  • Form: In outward form this scapular is different from the others, inasmuch as the two segments of cloth have the form of a small shield; of these one is made of blue and the other of black cloth, and of the bands likewise one is blue and the other black. Both portions of the scapular bear the well-known representation of the Archangel St. Michael slaying the dragon and the inscription Quis ut Deus.
  • Order: Archconfraternity of the Scapular of St. Michael
  • Origins: While this scapular originated under Pius IX, who gave it his blessing, it was first formally approved under Leo XIII. In 1878 a confraternity in honour of St. Michael the Archangel was founded in the Church of St. Eustachius at Rome, and in the following year in the Church of Sant' Angelo in Pescheria (Sancti Angeli in foro Piscium). In 1880 Leo XIII raised it to the rank of an archconfraternity, which was expressly called the Archconfraternity of the Scapular of St. Michael.
  • Use: The scapular is so associated with the confraternity that each member is invested with it.

The Scapular of St. Benedict

  • Form: A small blessed piece of black cloth. One of the segments usually has a picture of St. Benedict but no picture is necessary.
  • Order: Benedictine Order; Confraternity of St. Benedict
  • Origins: To associate the faithful, who were not Oblates of St. Benedict, in a certain measure with the Benedictine Order, a confraternity of St. Benedict was founded in the second half of the nineteenth century, at first by the English Congregation. The confraternity was endowed with indulgences in 1882 and 1883.

The Scapular of St. Dominic

  • Form: It is made of white wool, but the bands, as in the case of so many other scapulars may be of another material. No image is prescribed for the scapular, but the scapular given in the house of the Dominican General at Rome has on one side the picture of St. Dominic kneeling before the crucifix and on the other that of B. Reginald receiving the habit from the hands of the Mother of God.
  • Order: Dominican Order
  • Origins: Approved on 23 November 1903 by Pius X.
  • Use: On 23 November, 1903, this scapular was endowed by Pius X with an indulgence of 300 days in favor of all the faithful who wear it, as often as they devoutly kiss it. The General of the Dominicans communicates to other priests the faculty of blessing and investing with the scapular.

The Scapular of St. Joseph (Capuchin) A.D. 1880

Form: A gold and violet-colored scapular with a white cord, the front shows St. Joseph holding the child Jesus in one arm and a staff of lilies on the other. Underneath are the words, "St. Joseph, patron of the Church, pray for us." On the back of the scapular are the papal crown under a dove as the symbol of the Holy Ghost. Underneath those are the Cross, the keys of Peter, and the inscription: Spiritus Domini ductor eius (The Spirit of the Lord is his Guide).
Order: Order of Friars Minor Capuchin
Origins: In 1898, Pope Leo XIII granted the Capuchins the right of blessing and investing this scapular.
Use: The scapular is to remind us of St. Joseph's virtues (humility, modesty, purity); to remind us to pray to St. Joseph, asking him to pray for the Church; and to assist the dying since St. Joseph is the patron of a happy death.

In addition to the above benefits, there is a plenary indulgence for those who confess, receive Holy Communion and pray for the intentions of the Holy Father on the following feast days:

  • December 25th (the day of investment of the scapular)
  • January 1st
  • January 6th
  • February 2nd
  • March 19th
  • March 25th
  • Easter
  • Feast of the Ascension
  • August 15th
  • September 8th
  • December 8th
  • Third Sunday after Easter, and
  • at the time of death.

It is recommended also to say 5 Our Fathers, 5 Hail Marys and 5 Glorias before the Blessed Sacrament at these times.

Five-Fold Scapular

The Five-Fold Scapular is made of 5 of the following Scapulars above:

Any priest can invest you in the Brown Scapular with these instructions:
[MS-WORD][PDF]

You can get well-made, wool, traditionally-designed Brown (as well as other) Scapulars from
Rose Scapular Company.

Tell them Mike Humphrey from AskACatholic.com sent you!

Hope this helps,

Mike

Kristy replied:

Hi, Mike —

After some reading and searching, I have found that the only scapulars approved by the Vatican for everyday wear are the wool ones.

  • Is this right?
  • I know the metal ones were only approved for harsh circumstances but why not the wooden ones?
  • Am I missing something?

Kristy

Mike replied:

Hi, Kristy —

You said:
After some reading and searching, I have found that the only scapulars approved by the Vatican for everyday wear are the wool ones.

  • Is this right?

Yes!

You said:

  • I know the metal ones were only approved for harsh circumstances but why not the wooden ones?
  • Am I missing something?

As I said, the wool ones are the Vatican's preference. It has to do with what Our Blessed Mother gave to St. Simon Stock.

The woolen scapular is a miniaturized form of the bigger scapular that consecrated religious, like Benedictine Monks, wear.

  • The front side of my scapular lies on my chest.
  • The front side of the larger scapular that Benedictine monks wear covers the entire front of their body.

  • The back of my scapular lies on my back near the back of my neck.
  • The back side of the larger scapular that Benedictine monks wear covers their entire back.

Pope Pius X originally granted the use of the Scapular Medal as a concession to Missionaries in Africa, who found the cloth Scapular did not hold up in the climate, in addition to other reasons, but as he later stated when he found the medal becoming widespread: I never intended that Medal be used in Europe and America.

If there are good and serious reasons, e.g. extreme allergies to materials, it is true, the Medal can be worn.

  • Make sense?

Mike

Kristy replied:

Yes.

Thank-you.

Kristy

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