The Original Scapulars "Escapularios"
Scapular Medals & Jewelry
A scapular (from Latin, scapula, “shoulder”) used to refer only to the religious pendant of cloth worn under the clothing, which is usually adorned with the picture of a saint as a part of Roman Catholic devotion.
When we hear the word scapular, we often think of a necklace constructed from two wool patches of cloth. Scapulars, however, originated from the habit of monastic orders and started off as a work apron. From this “apron” developed a special monastic garment to be worn by specific religious orders.
The four oldest scapulars originated from four confraternities, the Carmelites, Servites, Trinitarians, and the Mercederians. Today there are many more kinds of scapulars, and not all of them associated with a particular confraternity.
The scapular, in its original form, was often referred to as jugum Christi, or the yoke of Christ, and was worn at all times.
During the early Middle Ages, the laity began to associate themselves with various monastic orders and formed Confraternities, secular oblates that would receive the scapular to wear upon death, as a sign of great honor.
Eventually, this tradition transformed into the small sacramental scapulars of today that are worn daily under or over regular clothing as an overt sign of devotion.
The Scapular Medal
In 1910, Pope St. Pius X introduced a scapular medal which may be substituted in most cases for any of the various scapulars. Valid enrollment in the scapulars must, however, be made before the substitution.
Anyone can wear a scapular and receive its blessings, even someone who is not Catholic.
However, as a Catholic, you want to be enrolled in the scapular: this can be done by any priest through the “Rite for the Blessing of and Enrollment in the Scapular of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel”. So, once you have your scapular it is important to have it blessed by a priest in order to receive its full indulgence.
Those who wear the Scapular of the Immaculate Conception will receive a Plenary Indulgence from the Catholic Church.
Still, the blessed scapular must then be worn at all times in order to share in the indulgences and privileges of the particular scapular.
Should you remove the scapular for any period of time you are no longer eligible for its associated blessings until you resume wearing the scapular. Then, you are reinvested in its indulgences.
What is a Plenary Indulgence
An indulgence is not a quick ticket to heaven, as St. John Paul II once said; rather, it is an aid for the real conversion that leads to eternal happiness.
Sins are forgiven through the sacrament of penance, but then there is a kind of debt still owed by the sinner, the late pope explained during a general audience in 1999.
God’s fatherly love “does not exclude chastisement, even though this always should be understood in the context of a merciful justice which reestablishes the order violated,” he said.
The Journey of Purification
John Paul said the “temporal” punishment that remains after forgiveness is a special grace aimed at wiping away the “residues of sin,” and offering the reformed sinner the chance of complete the healing through “a journey of purification” that can take place in this life or in purgatory.
By God’s grace, participation in a prayer or action that has an indulgence attached to it brings about the necessary restoration and reparation without the suffering that would normally accompany it. It frees a person from the punishment their sinfulness warrants as it is a remission of the temporal punishment a person is due for sins that have been forgiven.
The granting of an indulgence by the church is “the expression of the church’s full confidence of being heard by the Father when, in view of Christ’s merits and, by his gift, those of Our Lady and the saints, she asks him to mitigate or cancel the painful aspect of punishment by fostering its medicinal aspect through other channels of grace,” the late pope said.
An indulgence, then, is the result of the abundance of God’s mercy, which he offers to humanity through Jesus Christ and through the church, he said.
But this gift cannot be received automatically or simply by fulfilling a few exterior requirements nor can it be approached with a superficial attitude, St. John Paul said.
The reception of an indulgence depends on “our turning away from sin and our conversion to God,” he said.
That is why there are several conditions for receiving an indulgence:
— A spirit detached from sin.
— Sacramental confession as soon as possible.
— Eucharistic communion as soon as possible.
— Prayer for the Holy Father’s intentions.
— Being united spiritually through the media to the pope’s special prayer and blessing on March 27.
Those who are sick and their caregivers can also unite themselves spiritually whenever possible through the media to the celebration of Mass or the recitation of the rosary or the Stations of the Cross or other forms of devotion, according to Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, head of the Apostolic Penitentiary, a Vatican court that deals with matters of conscience and with indulgences.
If this is not possible, “they are asked to recite the Creed, the Lord’s Prayer and an invocation to Mary,” he told Vatican News March 21.
“All others — those who offer prayers for the souls of the dead, those who suffer and plead for an end to the pandemic — are asked, where possible, to visit the Blessed Sacrament or to participate in eucharistic adoration. Alternatively, (they can) read the Holy Scriptures for at least half an hour or recite the rosary or the Way of the Cross,” he said.
The faithful can claim the indulgence for themselves or offer it on behalf of someone who has died.
Indulgences of the Scapular Medal
Indulgences of the Scapular of Mother Mary
Those who wear the Scapular of the Immaculate Conception can receive a Plenary Indulgence under the usual conditions* on the following days:
— The day of investiture with the Scapular of the Immaculate Conception
— The solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, December 8
— The solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, August 15
— Christmas Day, December 25
— Presentation of the Lord, February 2
— The solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord, Easter Sunday
— The feast of St. Cajetan (the founder of the Theatine Order), August 7.
*To gain a plenary indulgence, one must:
— be in the state of grace and free from all attachment to sin, even venial sin;
— have a general intention to gain the indulgence;
— perform acts to obtain the indulgence;
— receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation and Holy Eucharist;
— pray for the intentions of the Holy Father.
The Catholic Scapular Medal Decree
Authored By: CDF (Holy Office)
The Scapular Medal
Holy Office of Rome
The decree, in translation, reads thus:
“For the future all the faithful already inscribed or who shall be inscribed in one or other of the real Scapulars approved by the Holy See (excepting those which are proper to the Third Orders) by what is known as regular enrollment may, instead of the cloth scapulars, one or several, wear on their persons, either round the neck or otherwise, provided it be in a becoming manner, a single medal of metal, through which, by the observance of laws laid down for each scapular, they shall be enabled to share in and gain all the spiritual favors (not excepting what is known as the Sabbatine Privilege of the Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel), and all the privileges attached to each.
“The right side of this medal must show the image of Our Most Holy Redeemer, Jesus Christ, showing His Sacred Heart, and the obverse that of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary. It must be blessed with a separate blessing for each of the scapulars in which the person has been enrolled and for which the wearer wishes it to suffice. Finally, these separate blessings may be given by a single sign of the cross (), whether in the act of enrollment or later at the convenience of those enrolled, it matters not how long after the enrollment or in what order they may have taken place; the blessing may be given by a priest other than the one who made the enrollment, as long as he possesses the faculty, ordinary, or delegated, of blessing the different scapulars-the limitations, clauses, and conditions attached to the faculty he uses still holding their force. All things to the contrary, even those calling for special mention, notwithstanding” (Holy Office, Rome, December 16, 1910).