Assurance of Salvation in the Roman Catholic Church
THE BROWN SCAPULA
According to the RCC this little wonder above has some awesome benefits. Read the words on it. Lets take a little look at what is meant by these words and how the RCC backstrokes its way from what they say.
At first glance it seems like a pretty blanket statement, "Whoever dies wearing this scapular shall not suffer eternal fire" Our Lady's scapular promise
Well, I didn't see any caveats, addendums, or exception clauses on the scapular but to be fair I want to let you know how a RCC priest of the Carmelite Order explained it.
Context is everything, right?
He said - In 1251 Simon Stock was the superior general of the Carmelites. This religious order had been undergoing persecution, and he had been praying for some time to the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Patroness of the order, for help and protection. In answer to his prayer, Our Lady appeared to him on July 16, 1251, holding in her hand a garment called a scapular, a word which comes from the Latin word scapula, for shoulder. To Simon Stock, who is now a canonized saint, the Blessed Virgin said: "Take, beloved son, this scapular of thy Order as a badge of my confraternity, and for thee and for all Carmelites, a sign of grace. Whoever dies in this garment will not suffer everlasting fire. It is a sign of salvation, a safeguard in dangers, a pledge of peace and of the covenant."
According to the Carmelites the original garment Mary supposedly gave St. Simon Stock reached down from the shoulders down nearly to the feet. The Catholic Church has since reduced the size of the scapular, as most of you know, to a very small size so that everyone can easily wear it over their shoulders under their clothing. It must be the new and improved edition.
He said - But, as this promise was made only to the members of St. Simon Stock's order, how can people, who are not Carmelites, receive the fulfillment of this promise? Their answer, "We can have a priest enroll us in the Confraternity of the Brown Scapular." This is done in a short ceremony in which any baptized Catholic who wishes to wear the Brown Scapular can become associated with the Carmelite Order, and thereby qualify to receive the fulfillment of the Blessed Virgin Mary's promise. (Aha, but with a twist right?)
He said - Whoever dies wearing this garment will not suffer eternal fire - may sound rather presumptuous. It may even seem to contradict what Jesus says in today's Gospel: "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven shall enter the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 7:21). Does the scapular promise mean that we can do our own will rather than God's will? That we can live a sinful and worldly life and trust that we will go to heaven when we die because we wear the Brown Scapular? Nay, nay, they say to thee.
He said - First of all, if a Catholic chooses to wear the Brown Scapular, day in and day out, it should be an outward sign of his or her trust in the Blessed Virgin Mary. (Hey, what happened to Jesus?) Such a one should be confident that Our Lady will use her powerful intercession with her Divine Son Jesus to obtain for him special graces to live a good Catholic life and remain in the state of grace. In fact, Pope Pius XII said that wearing the Brown Scapular should be an outward sign of one's consecration to the Blessed Virgin Mary, indicating that the one wearing the Scapular has a childlike dependence upon the Blessed Virgin as a model of virtue and as an intercessor, trusting that she will obtain special graces for him to live a virtuous life and especially to avoid mortal sin. (If you study RCC teachings, any Roman catholic that wasn't a Carmelite and practiced all the things mentioned above would be considered devout Catholics and would make heaven anyway, at least after a little burning in purgatory for a few hundred years. So in a since the scapula means nothing by this explanation)
Secondly, this promise means that at the hour of death, if we are wearing the Brown Scapular, our Blessed Mother will intercede with God to obtain the graces we need to remain in the state of grace in God's friendship so that we can save our souls (Huh?). Or, if we have the misfortune of being in the state of sin, she will intercede for us that we might receive the Holy Ghost and sanctifying grace back into our soul before we die. Perhaps she will obtain for us the grace to make a perfect act of contrition, or she may obtain from God's Providence an arrangement such that a priest will come to hear our confession and perhaps even administer the sacrament of Extreme Unction before we die. (Wow, thanks Mary, You're great! Not! Stop and think about this a minute. If you don't wear it, then Mary may not come to your aid and let you die and go to hell? Only by wearing her little cloth (that doesn't contain such caveats, but is actually loaded with them after it is re-explained by the RCC) can one get a little better position with Mama Mary. Are you kidding me? And where is this concept found in scripture? No place! But hey, what difference does it make to the RCC, if the church teaches it, it must be so. Wrong!)
I say - Ok, what have we discovered? This little clothe is for Roman Catholics alone, and even then it is only for those who belong the Carmelite Order. Oh yes, don't forget there is a catch, you have to keep doing everything the church told you to do in the first place. The only real benefit is that when Mary has to choose between a Carmelite scapular carrier and a non-Carmelite scapular carrier, the Carmelite carrier is preferred over the non-Carmelite carrier. Whew! Saved by the bell, eh, I mean clothe.
Where’s the authority and Proof?
The priest says, “A critical or skeptical person might say, “Well, that sounds fine in theory, but what proof is there that it actually works that way in practice?” Actually, there are many stories that have been recorded and approved by the Church as worthy of belief that verify the truth of this promise. I will tell you about a few of these cases.” (Stories? - 1Ti 4:6 - Having suggested these things to the brothers, you shall be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the Words of Faith and by the good doctrine which you have followed. 1Ti 4:7 But refuse profane and old-womanish tales, and exercise yourself to godliness.
I say - Is that all you have? Tales? Experiences and testimonies? That’s right up there with the burning bosoms of Mormons. All religions have spiritual experiences. Is their validity based solely on the authority of tales and experiences. Not a mention from scripture. Fire insurance from a piece of Carmelite clothe. What does the bible say about escaping the ravages of fiery torment? Any mention of a clothe, or Mary, or the RCC, or anything else of man.
Joh 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
The priest goes on to say, “Many Catholics, even among those who wear the Brown Scapular, are not aware of the second part of the Blessed Virgin Mary’s promise, namely that the scapular will be “a safeguard in danger.” (Sorry, didn’t see that on the scapular. It must be the new and improved edition) Apparently the dangers referred to are not only those of a spiritual nature, but temporal or physical as well. Again, let us look at a few examples that illustrate this.”(The priest goes on to tell more cute stories that make their followers go ooh and ahh - I plead to the readers not to put any trust in the fables of men over the word of God)