The Brown Scapular & Other Scapulars

The following is taken from the Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy: Principles and Guidelines of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, 2002.

The history of Marian piety also includes “devotion” to various scapulars, the most common of which is devotion to the Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Its use is truly universal and, undoubtedly, it is one of those pious practices which the Council described as “recommended by the Magesterium throughout the centuries.”*

The Scapular of Mount Carmel is a reduced form of the religious habit of the Order of the Friars of the Blessed Virgin of Mount Carmel. Its use is very diffuse and often independent of the life and spirituality of the Carmelite family.

The Scapular is an external sign of the filial relationship established between the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother and Queen of Mount Carmel, and the faithful who entrust themselves totally to her protection, who have recourse to her maternal intercession, who are mindful of the primacy of the spiritual life and the need for prayer.

The Scapular is imposed by a special rite of the Church which describes it as “a reminder that in Baptism we have been clothed in Christ, with the assistance of the Blessed Virgin Mary, solicitous for our conformation to the Word Incarnate, to the praise of the Trinity, we may come to our heavenly home wearing our nuptial garb.”**

The imposition of the Scapular should be celebrated with “the seriousness of its origins. It should not be improvised. The Scapular should be imposed following a period of preparation during which the faithful are made aware of the nature and ends of the association they are about to join and of the obligations they assume.”***

* Lumen gentium 67; cf Paul VI Letter to Cardinal Silva Henriquez, Papal Legate to the Marian Congress in Santo Domingo, in AAS 57 (1965) 376-379.

** Rituale Romanum, De Benedictionibus, Ordo benedictionis et imporitionis scapularis, cit., 1213.

*** Congregation for Divine Worship, Circular Letter Guidelines and proposals for the celebration of the Marian Year, 88.