The Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel is a power spiritual weapon and sacramental. The Blessed Virgin Mary promised Pope John XXII in a vision, that She will deliver Her faithful children who have worn the Scapular devoutly from purgatory soon after their death, notably the first Saturday after death. “As a tender Mother, I will descend into purgatory on the Saturday after their death, and will deliver them into the heavenly mansions of life everlasting.” (Words of the Blessed Virgin Mary to Pope John XXII). This Sabbatine Privilege was promulgated and taught through the famous Bull Sacratissimo Uti Culmine (Sabbatine Bull) of Pope John XXII in 1322 and given definitive ratification in 1908 by the Holy See.
Investiture with the Brown Scapular
To be eligible for the scapular promise, one must be enrolled in the Brown Scapular Confraternity. This is a simple ceremony which can be performed by any priest. Once done, the brown scapular can be simply replaced if worn down with wear, without the need for the ceremony to be repeated. Please click here for the prayers for the blessing and investiture of the brown scapular.
The requirements for obtaining the Sabbatine Privilege:
- To wear the Brown Scapular continuously (after being invested with it the first time).
- To observe chastity according to one’s state in life.
- The daily recitation of the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary OR observe the fasts of the Church together with abstaining from meat on Wednesdays and Saturdays OR with the permission of a priest say 5 decades of the Holy Rosary OR with permission of a priest, substitute some other good work.
The scapular must consist of two pieces of brown cloth with one segment hanging on the wearer's chest, and the other hanging on his/her back. These pieces are joined by two straps which overlap each shoulder. Religious pictures or symbols, though unnecessary, may be sewn on; this custom began in the eighteenth century. It is normally worn under the clothes but not pinned to undergarments.
Though the scapular medal has been approved in 1910 due to deterioration of fabric in tropical climates, the Sisters of Carmel maintain:
The Scapular Medal can also be worn in case of real necessity or for very serious reasons, such as an allergy to wool. But if the Scapular Medal is worn for insufficient reason, such as vanity or convenience, the wearer runs the risk of not receiving the benefit of the Scapular promise. It is important to remember that the small Scapular worn by the lay faithful is meant to be a miniature version of what the Carmelites wear as part of their Religious Habit, which is never substituted for anything else.
Pope Pius X expressed his preference for the cloth scapular. Pope Benedict XV proclaimed the church's strong preference for the cloth rather to be worn than the medal. This preference is because cloth is important to the sign value of the scapular as a garment, a habit.