Rosary and scapular

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Statue of the Virgin Mary giving the Scapular to St. Simon Stock, Santa Maria della Vittoria Basilica, Rome, by Alfonso Balzico, 19th century
Rosary and Scapular

The exact origins of both the Rosary and Scapular are subject to debate among scholars. Catholic traditions maintain that both devotional articles were given by the Virgin Mary to Saints during the 13th century.[1][2][3] Historical records document their growth during the 16th and 17th centuries in Europe. By the early 20th century they had gained such a strong following among Catholics worldwide that the Catholic Encyclopedia of 1914 stated: "Like the Rosary, the Brown scapular has become the badge of the devout Catholic."[4]

Since the Second Vatican Council the more appropriate term for these items is "devotional articles", in order to distinguish them from liturgical actions and items used therewith, such as candles, chrism, or holy water. The sacramental related to them would be the rite of blessing, rather than the object blessed.[5]

As with all religious articles, the use of the Rosary and the Scapular are optional for Roman Catholics. They have been supported, encouraged and linked by a number of Catholic figures such as popes, saints and cardinals.[6] Specific indulgences have been associated with them.[7] This article reviews the history, Mariology and the development of the Rosary and the Scapular as important expressions of popular piety in the Roman Catholic Church.

Devotions[edit]

The Rosary and the Scapular are viewed as devotional elements of Catholicism. Some historians suggest that the combined effect of the devotional elements and the benefits of salvation associated with them made the Rosary and the Scapular favored among Roman Catholics.[8] However, although many of the faithful choose to pray the Rosary and wear the scapular, and various Catholic figures encourage their use, the linking of the Rosary and the Scapular is not formally reflected in Church doctrine.

"St Dominic Receives the Rosary from the Virgin Mary", Glengarriff Church of the Sacred Heart

Traditional accounts[edit]

St. Dominic[edit]

Main article: Rosary

Scholarly debates on the origins of these religious articles are not conclusive. According to the tradition of the Dominicans, the rosary was given to Saint Dominic in an apparition by the Blessed Virgin Mary in the year 1214 in the church of Prouille, the Marian apparition receiving the title of Our Lady of the Rosary.[9] However, many scholarly researchers suggests a more gradual and organic development of the rosary, and some attribute it to Bl. Alanus de Rupe.[10] Some sources question the authenticity of the apparition to Saint Dominic[11][12] but others lend their support.[9]

A key element in the spread of the Rosary in 16th century Rome was the Battle of Lepanto (1571), in which the Christian side included the Papal States. Pope Pius V requested Catholics to pray the Rosary prior to the battle, held a rosary procession in St. Peter's Square and then instituted the feast of "Our Lady of Victory" to commemorate the victory.[13]

Rosary promises[edit]

A time-honored Dominican tradition holds that the Blessed Virgin Mary made fifteen specific promises to Christians who pray the rosary.[14][15] The fifteen rosary promises range from protection from misfortune to meriting a high degree of glory in heaven.

St. Simon Stock[edit]

statue of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, (Chile)

Carmelite tradition holds that the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to St. Simon Stock at Cambridge, England in 1251 in answer to his appeal for help for his oppressed order and recommended the Brown Scapular to him.[16] Originally, the scapular was a broad band of cloth over the shoulders, serving as an apron, worn still as part of the religious habit by a number of orders of monks and friars. The Brown Scapular has been a key element of Carmelite history since the late 13th century. The Carmelite Constitution of 1294 considered it a serious fault to sleep without the scapular, as the scapular was seen as symbolizing the "yoke of Christ" which signified obedience, therefore removing it was likened to rebelling against authority. The Constitution of 1369 stipulates automatic excommunication for Carmelites who say Mass without a scapular.[17]

Like the purported vision of Mary to St. Dominic, the earliest mention of Simon Stock's vision comes over 100 years later, and there is a lack of documentary evidence that would demonstrate the truth or historicity of the apparition. While Richard Copsey questioned the fact that any apparition took place with respect to the Scapular,[18] Benedict Zimmerman proposed that an apparition did take place in the 13th century, but was to another Carmelite brother, which was later attributed to St. Simon Stock, and that the vision was not of the Virgin Mary, but of a recently deceased Carmelite.[19] Devotion to the Virgin Mary expressed by wearing the Brown Scapular developed over time. Over time the Scapular took an increasingly Marian tone, became identified with Carmelite piety toward The Virgin Mary and the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel began to be called the "scapular feast". [20] Although the historicity of the scapular vision is rejected, the scapular itself has remained for all Carmelites a sign of Mary's motherly protection and as a personal commitment to follow Jesus in the footsteps of his Mother, the perfect model of all his disciples.[21]

Scapular promise[edit]

Carmelite tradition has held that in 1251 the Virgin Mary made the "Scapular Promise" to St. Simon Stock regarding the Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, namely: "whoever dies clothed in this habit shall not suffer the fires of Hell."[22] This ia understood to mean that anyone who remains faithful to the Carmelite vocation until death will be granted the grace of final perseverance.[23]

The long-standing tradition of the Church has approved the vision of St. Simon Stock as an acceptable cult, but that is distinguishable from authenticating it as a historical experience. "The question then, from a historical perspective, is not whether Mary appeared to Simon Stock and gave him the scapular, but rather did Simon Stock perceive the Mother of God bestowing this sign of her protection on him and his brothers in Carmel.[23] The likelihood is "probably not". However, the scapular itself remains a valuable sacramental as a sign of one's commitment to Mary, and a pledge of her protection.

Sabbatine privilege[edit]

The Sabbatine privilege, was associated with an apocryphal Papal Bull allegedly by Pope John XXII. As early as 1613, the Vatican has denied the validity of this document[24] but has given the Carmelites permission to preach that Mary's merits and intercession would help those "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." [25][23] However, the introduction of the Sabbatine Privilege had a positive impact on the popularity of the Scapular, and the growth of the Carmelites, and over the centuries helped the devotion to the Scapular reach a height that the Encyclopedia of the Middle Ages called it "one of the main Marian devotions of Christendom".[26]

Historical developments[edit]

Main article: History of the Rosary

Confraternities[edit]

The beginning of the 18th century witnessed a significant growth in Marian confraternities, such as the Confraternities of the Rosary. A small number of such confraternities had started sometime in the 15th century, through the preaching of Alan de Rupe. Their numbers began to grow under the supervision of the Dominicans, which also helped create a more uniform format for the Rosary. An important Apostolic Constitution on the Rosary Confraternity was issued by Pope Leo XIII in 1898.[27]

The approval of the "Confraternity of the Scapular" for every diocese helped the spread of that devotion, reaching its culmination in 1726 via the extension of the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel (July 16) to the universal Church.[28][29]

Marian apparitions[edit]

In the 19th century, the reported Marian apparitions of Our Lady of Lourdes gathered significant attention, and provided momentum for the spread of the Rosary.

The spread of the devotion to both the Rosary and the Scapular was influenced by Marian apparitions of Our Lady of Fátima reported by three Portuguese children in 1917.[30] The Fatima messages placed a strong emphasis on the Rosary and in them the Virgin Mary reportedly identified herself as The Lady of the Rosary.[31] The visions and messages also encouraged the wearing of the Brown Scapular. In the final Fátima appearance on October 13, 1917 the Virgin Mary had a brown scapular in one hand and a rosary in the other.[32]

Associations[edit]

The 20th century witnessed the development of a number of Marian organizations. The Blue Army of Our Lady of Fatima was formed in 1946 in the United States and through "Scapular Magazine" helped enroll one million Americans to pray the Rosary based on the Fátima messages regarding the Consecration of Russia. The Blue Army eventually reached a larger audience of several million members.[33][34][35]

Mariology[edit]

Basis and grace[edit]

Pope Leo XIII, also known as the Rosary Pope, presented a similar Mariological view in his encyclicals Supremi Apostolatus Officio and Octobri Mense, that were devoted to the Rosary, in which he called the Virgin Mary the mediator of peace with God and stated that she was the "dispenser of all Heavenly graces."[36][37]

As stated by Christian P. Ceroke: "The wearing of the Scapular fosters a true devotion to Mary that is based on her supernatural mission in the redemption of mankind. Two Marian doctrines are proposed in the devotion of the Brown Scapular: Mary's Spiritual Maternity and her Mediation of Grace."[38]

Papal endorsements[edit]

The destruction of the ethical order would then lead to disaster and war, so Leo XIII dedicated the human race to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. But in his analysis (based on the writings of Louis de Montfort who was beatified by Leo XIII) the re-Christianisation was not possible without Mary. So Leo XIII promulgated Marian devotions via ten encyclicals on the Rosary and instituted the Catholic custom of daily rosary prayer during the month of October. In 1883 he also created the Feast of Queen of the Holy Rosary.[39]

Leo XIII also approved a number of Scapulars. In 1885 he approved the Scapular of the Holy Face, (also known as The Veronica) and elevated the Priests of the Holy Face to an archconfraternity.[40] He also approved the Scapular of Our Lady of Good Counsel and the Scapular of St. Joseph, both in 1893, and the Scapular of the Sacred Heart in 1900.[41]

Pope Pius XI encouraged the wearing of Scapulars and said: "The Sabbatine Privilege is the greatest of all privileges of the Mother of God, even extending after death"[22]

Saint Teresa of Avila wearing the monastic Carmelite Brown Scapular, depicted by Rubens, 1615.

Pope John Paul II stated that: "Scapular is essentially a habit which evokes the protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary in this life and in the passage to the fullness of eternal glory."[42]

Pope John Paul II stated that he received his own first Brown Scapular of Mount Carmel at age ten when his Marian devotion was taking shape and he continued to wear it into his papacy. When he gained consciousness before being operated on to remove the bullet that wounded him in St. Peter's Square on 13 May 1981 he instructed the doctors not to remove his Brown Scapular during the operation.[43][44][45]

Role of the saints[edit]

St. Louis de Montfort, who in the 18th century was but an unknown young priest, is widely known for his promotion of the Rosary, and his influence on the Mariological thinking of popes such as Leo XIII, Pius XII and John Paul II. His books God Alone and the Secret of the Rosary are classics in Marian spirituality and are referred to in papal encyclicals. St. Louis de Montfort developed specific methods of praying the rosary to help the meditative process and emphasized the need for purity of intention, attention and reverence in prayers.[46][47] [48][49]

St. Theresa of Avila, St. Thérèse of Lisieux and St. John of the Cross were all Carmelites and wore the monastic Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. St. Alphonsus Liguori of the Redemptorists and St. John Bosco of the Salesians had a very special devotion to Our Lady of Mount Carmel, and were both buried wearing their Brown Scapulars. St. John Bosco's Brown Scapular was later exhumed in very good condition and is kept as a relic at the Basilica of Our Lady Help of Christians, Turin.[50]

Saint Claude de la Colombière, the confessor of Saint Margaret-Marie Alacoque, had a strong devotion to the Brown Scapular and considered it one of the most favorite and effective Marian devotions. He also stated that:

"If a person wants to die in his sins, he will die in his sins, but he will not die wearing the Brown Scapular"

suggesting that stubborn sinners will somehow be separated from their Brown Scapulars.[51][52]

In the 20th century, St. Faustina Kowalska introduced a new Rosary form with the Chaplet of Divine Mercy and is also quoted by the Vatican and John Paul II.[53]

Meditative basis[edit]

Saints and popes have emphasized the spiritual and meditative benefits of the Rosary and the Scapular. Pope Pius XII said of the Brown Scapular: "Let it be your sign of consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary".[54] And in his encyclical Ingruentium Malorum on the Rosary Pius XII stated:[55]

"And truly, from the frequent meditation on the Mysteries, the soul little by little and imperceptibly draws and absorbs the virtues they contain, and is wondrously enkindled with a longing for things immortal, and becomes strongly and easily impelled to follow the path which Christ Himself and His Mother have followed."

Although Pope John Paul II is best known for his devotion to the Rosary, he also wore a Brown Scapular since age ten and stated that he viewed the Scapular as a "habit" to orient one's Christian life:[56]

"The sign of the Scapular points to an effective synthesis of Marian spirituality, which nourishes the devotion of believers and makes them sensitive to the Virgin Mother's loving presence in their lives... devotion to her cannot be limited to prayers and tributes in her honor on certain occasions, but must become a "habit", that is, a permanent orientation of one's own Christian conduct."

The wearing of a Scapular has been viewed as constant meditation by Bishop Leo De Goesbriand: "Wherever I am, whatever I am doing, Mary never sees me without seeing upon my body an evidence of my devotion to her."[57]

From a venerative viewpoint, Father Etienne Richer points out that the Rosary and the Scapular as the key Sacramentals that harmonize with Catholic Liturgy in the meditative process of the veneration of the Blessed Virgin Mary.[58]

Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Gerald M. Costello, 2001, Treasury of Catholic Stories, OSV Press, ISBN 978-0-87973-979-9, page 128
  2. ^ Saunders, William. "History of the Rosary", The Arlington Catholic Herald, October 6, 1994
  3. ^ Donovan, Colin B., "Brown Scapular - History", EWTN
  4. ^ Hilgers, Joseph. "Scapular." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 13. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912. 22 Dec. 2014
  5. ^ Catechism of the Catholic Church §1674
  6. ^ Zenit News 2008 Cardinal Urges Devotion to Rosary and Scapular
  7. ^ Vatican website for Pope Paul VI's Apostolic Constitution Indulgentiarum Doctrina [1]
  8. ^ Henry Charles Lea, 2002, A History of Auricular Confession and Indulgences in the Latin Church, Adamant Media Corp. ISBN 1-4021-6108-5 page 263
  9. ^ a b Beebe, Catherine Beebe, St. Dominic and the Rosary, Ignatius Press, 1996, ISBN 0-89870-518-5
  10. ^ Thurston, Herbert, and Andrew Shipman. "The Rosary." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 13. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912. 22 Dec. 2014
  11. ^ Winston-Allen, Anne. Stories of the Rose Penn State University Press, 1997, ISBN 978-0-271-01631-3 p. 72
  12. ^ Butler, Alban. Lives of the Saints, Forgotten Books, 2007, ISBN 1-60506-312-6 p. 65
  13. ^ Calendarium Romanum, Vatican, 1969, p. 105
  14. ^ Tassone, Susan. The Rosary for the Holy Souls in Purgatory OSV Press, 2002, ISBN 978-1-931709-42-2 page 163
  15. ^ Geoghegan, G. P., A Collection of My Favorite Prayers, 2006, ISBN 978-1-4116-9457-6, page 128
  16. ^ Bunson, Matthew. The Catholic Almanac, 2008, ISBN 978-1-59276-441-9 page 155
  17. ^ Most, William. "The Brown Scapular", EWTN
  18. ^ Copsey, Richard. Simon Stock and the Scapular Vision, The Journal of Ecclesiastical History, 50:4:652–683, 1999
  19. ^ Zimmerman, O.C.D., Benedict. The Carmelite Scapular, "The Month", Vol. 150, 1927, pp. 323–237
  20. ^ Kavanaugh, Kieran. "Brown Scapular: a 'Silent Devotion'", Zenit, July 16, 2008
  21. ^ http://www.ocarm.org/pls/ocarm/consultazione.mostra_pagina?id_pagina=648 Saint Simon Stock[dead link]
  22. ^ a b Petrisko, Thomas.Inside Heaven and Hell, St. Andrews Press, 2000, ISBN 978-1-891903-23-6 page 105
  23. ^ a b c Morello, OCD, Sam Anthony and McMahon, O.Carm., Patrick. "A Catechesis on the Brown Scapular", The Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel: Catechesis and Ritual, 2000
  24. ^ Christ the King Catholic Church
  25. ^ Hilgers, Joseph. "Sabbatine Privilege." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 13. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912. 22 Dec. 2014
  26. ^ Vauchez, Andre, Encyclopedia of the Middle Ages, Fitzroy Dearborn Press, 2001, ISBN 978-1-57958-282-1 p. 1314
  27. ^ Thurston, Herbert. "Confraternity of the Holy Rosary." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 13. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912. 22 Dec. 2014
  28. ^ Lea, Henry Charles. A History of Auricular Confession and Indulgences in the Latin Church, 2002, Adamant Media Corp. ISBN 1-4021-6108-5 p. 498
  29. ^ Forster, Mark. Catholic Revival in the Age of the Baroque, 2001, Cambridge Univ Press ISBN 0-521-78044-6 page 145
  30. ^ de Marchi, John. The True Story of Fatima, Catechetical Guild Educational Society, St. Paul, Minnesota, 1952
  31. ^ Bunson, Matthew. Encyclopedia of Catholic History, OSV Press, 2004, ISBN 978-1-59276-026-8 p. 348
  32. ^ Santos, Lucia. Fatima in Lucia's Own Words, Ravengate Press, 1976, ISBN 0-911218-10-6
  33. ^ Stravinskas, Peter. Catholic Dictionary, OSV Press 2002, ISBN 978-0-87973-390-2 page 141
  34. ^ Becchio, Bruno. Encyclopedia of World Religions Foreign Media Books, 2006, ISBN 1-60136-000-2 page 127
  35. ^ Lederhendler, Eli. Jews, Catholics, and the Burden of History Oxford University Press, 2006, ISBN 0-19-530491-8 page 98
  36. ^ Vatican website: Supremi Apostolatus Officio
  37. ^ Vatican website: Octobri Mense
  38. ^ The Scapular Devotion, EWTN, [2]
  39. ^ Remigius Baumer, 1988, Marienlexikon, St. Ottilien, pp.41
  40. ^ Henry Charles Lea, 2002, A History of Auricular Confession and Indulgences in the Latin Church, Adamant Media Corp. ISBN 1-4021-6108-5 page 506
  41. ^ Francis de Zulueta, 2008, Early Steps In The Fold, Miller Press, ISBN 978-1-4086-6003-4 page 317
  42. ^ Vatican website, General Audiences
  43. ^ Pope John Paul II, 1996, Gift And Mystery, Doubleday Books ISBN 978-0-385-40966-7 page 28
  44. ^ Lo Scapolare del Carmelo Published by Shalom, 2005 ISBN 88-8404-081-7 page 6
  45. ^ HelpFellowship
  46. ^ Antoine Nachef, 2000 Mary's Pope Rowman & Littlefield Press ISBN 978-1-58051-077-6 page 4
  47. ^ Joseph Jaja Rao, 2005, The Mystical Experience and Doctrine of St. Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort Ignatius Press ISBN 978-88-7839-030-0 page 7
  48. ^ J. Augustine DiNoia, 1996, The love that never ends OSV Press ISBN 978-0-87973-852-5 page 136
  49. ^ Tim Parry 2007, The Legacy of John Paul II Intervarsity Press ISBN 978-0-8308-2595-0 page 109
  50. ^ Joan Carroll Cruz, 1984, Relics, OSV Press ISBN 978-0-87973-701-6 page 162
  51. ^ Claude de la Colombière, 1997, Spiritual Direction of St. Claude de la Columbiere, Ignatius Press ISBN 978-0-89870-682-6
  52. ^ Discalced Carmelites
  53. ^ Vatican biography
  54. ^ Robert Fox, 2004, Prayer Book for Young Catholics, OSV Press ISBN 978-1-59276-098-5 page 135
  55. ^ Pope Pius XII Rosary encyclical Ingruentium Malorum on the Vatican website [3]
  56. ^ John Paul II Scapular Message at the Vatican website
  57. ^ L. De Goesbriand 2008, Meditations for the Use of the Secular Clergy ISBN 978-1-4086-8655-3 page 408
  58. ^ Raymond Burke, 2008, Mariology: A Guide for Priests, Deacons,seminarians, and Consecrated Persons, Queenship Publishing ISBN 1-57918-355-7 page 667

References[edit]

  • Garry Wills, 2005, The Rosary, Viking Press, ISBN 0-670-03449-5
  • Augusta Drane, 1998, The Life of St. Dominic, TAN Books, ISBN 0-89555-336-8
  • Kevin Johnson, 1999, Rosary: Mysteries, Meditations, and the Telling of the Beads Pangaeus Press ISBN 0-9653660-1-4
  • John Paul II, 1999, Mysteries of Light, Meditations on the Mysteries of the Rosary Ligouri Publications, ISBN 0-7648-1060-X
  • John Paul II, 2002, The Rosary Hour Simon and Schuster, ISBN 0-7434-7061-3

External links[edit]