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Beliefs associated with the Scapularconsecration to Mary. In 1951 Pope Pius XII wrote in an Apostolic letter to the Carmelites on the 700th anniversary of the vision of St. Simon Stock, that he hoped the Scapular would "be to them a sign of their consecration to the most sacred heart of the Immaculate Virgin."
One of the beliefs most influential in popularizing the brown scapular devotion was a promise known as the Sabbatine privilege. It was associated with an apocryphal Papal Bull allegedly written in 1322 by Pope John XXII. It states that Pope John XXII had a vision of Our Lady granting that through her special intercession, on the Saturday following their death, Mary will come down to personally deliver the souls of Carmelites and Confraternity members out of Purgatory on the first Saturday after their death ("Sabbatine" means Saturday), as long as they fulfill certain conditions including wearing the brown scapular. The Vatican has denied the validity of this document since 1613, but didn't forbade the Carmelites "to preach that the Christian people may piously believe in the help which the souls of brothers and members, who have departed this life in charity, have worn in life the scapular, have ever observed chastity, have recited the Little Hours [of the Blessed Virgin], or, if they cannot read, have observed the fast days of the Church, and have abstained from flesh meat on Wednesdays and Saturdays (except when Christmas falls on such days), may derive after death — especially on Saturdays, the day consecrated by the Church to the Blessed Virgin — through the unceasing intercession of Mary, her pious petitions, her merits, and her special protection." These elements are reflected in older versions of the requirements of enrollment in the Confraternity of the Brown Scapular.
Today, the Carmelite Orders, while encouraging a belief in Mary's aid and prayerful assistance for their souls beyond death and commending devotion to Mary especially on Saturdays which are dedicated to her, explicitly state in their official catechetical materials that they do not promulgate the Sabbatine privilege, and are at one with official Church teaching on the matter. But the Church didn't condemn anyone who believe in the Sabatine privilege, which belongs in the field of private revelations.
Teaching of the Catholic Church about the Brown ScapularCarmelite scholar Fr. Kieran Kavanaugh, OCD summarizes the Catholic Church's official position about the Brown Scapular thus:
- With regard to the scapular as a conventional and sacred sign, the Church has intervened at various times in history to clarify its meaning, defend it, and confirm the privileges.
- From these Church documents there emerges with sufficient clarity the nature and meaning of the Carmelite scapular.
- 1. The scapular is a Marian habit or garment. It is both a sign and pledge. A sign of belonging to Mary; a pledge of her motherly protection, not only in this life but after death.
- 2. As a sign, it is a conventional sign signifying three elements strictly joined: first, belonging to a religious family particularly devoted to Mary, especially dear to Mary, the Carmelite Order; second, consecration to Mary, devotion to and trust in her Immaculate Heart; third an incitement to become like Mary by imitating her virtues, above all her humility, chastity, and spirit of prayer.
- This is the Church's officially established connection between the sign and that which is signified by the sign.
- No mention is made of the vision of St. Simon Stock or of that of Pope John XXII in relation to the Sabbatine privilege, which promises that one will be released from Purgatory on the first Saturday after death.[14
Today, scholars affirm that this document was a forgery and Fr. Cheron himself the likely author. Shortly after Vatican II, the historical uncertainties revealed by 20th century scholars such as Fr. Ludovico Saggi, O.Carm of the "Institutum Carmelitanum" in Rome, resulted in the Church briefly striking the feast day of Saint Simon Stock from the Carmelite liturgical calendar, though it was restored in 1979 as an optional memorial, on the condition that no mention be made of the scapular vision. Devotion to the Brown Scapular remains widespread and recommended by the Catholic Church, and the Carmelites continue to find meaning in the traditional story and iconography of Saint Simon Stock receiving the scapular, particularly as reflecting their filial relationship with Mary. When Pope John Paul II addressed the Carmelite family in 2001 on the occasion of the 750th anniversary of the bestowal of the Scapular, he said that "Over time this rich Marian heritage of Carmel has become, through the spread of the Holy Scapular devotion, a treasure for the whole Church. By its simplicity, its anthropological value and its relationship to Mary's role in regard to the Church and humanity, this devotion was so deeply and widely accepted by the People of God that it came to be expressed in the memorial of 16 July on the liturgical calendar of the universal Church," the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.
Colosians 2:8. Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
9. For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.
10. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:
11. In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:
12. Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.
13. And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;
14. Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;
15. And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.
16. Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:
17. Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.
18. Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind,
19. And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God.
20. Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances,
21. (Touch not; taste not; handle not;
22. Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men?
23. Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh.