Rosary and scapular

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Ros­ary and scap­u­lar


Ros­ary and scap­u­lar
The exact ori­gins of both the ros­ary and scap­u­lar are sub­ject to debate among schol­ars. Pious tra­di­tion main­tains that both the ros­ary and the brown Scap­u­lar of Our Lady of Mount Car­mel were given by the Vir­gin Mary to saints Domin­ic and Simon Stock respect­ively dur­ing the 13th century.[1] 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 Josef Hil­gers, writ­ing in the Cath­olic Encyc­lo­pe­dia of 1914 stated: ““Like the Ros­ary, the Brown scap­u­lar has become the badge of the devout Catholic.””[2]

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.[3]

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, saints and cardinals.[4] Spe­cific indul­gences have been asso­ci­ated with each of them.[5] 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.

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 asso­ci­ated with them made the ros­ary and the scap­u­lar favored among Roman Catholics.[6] How­ever, although many of the faith­ful choose to pray the ros­ary and wear the scap­u­lar, 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
St. Domin­ic
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.[7] How­ever, many schol­arly research­ers sug­gests a more gradu­al and organ­ic devel­op­ment of the ros­ary, and some attrib­ute it to Bl. Alanus de Rupe.[8] Some sources ques­tion the authen­ti­city of the appar­i­tion to Saint Dominic[9] [10] but oth­ers lend their support.[7]

A key ele­ment in the spread of the Ros­ary in 16th cen­tury Rome was the Battle of Lepan­to (1571). 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.[11]

Ros­ary prom­ises
time-honored Domin­ic­an tra­di­tion holds that the Blessed Vir­gin Mary made fif­teen spe­cific prom­ises to those who pray the rosary.[12] [13] The fif­teen ros­ary prom­ises range from pro­tec­tion from mis­for­tune to mer­it­ing a high degree of glory in heav­en.

St. Simon Stock

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.[14] 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.[15]

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,[16] 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.[17] 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””. [18] 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 for all his dis­ciples.

Scap­u­lar prom­ise
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.””[19] This is under­stood to mean that any­one who remains faith­ful to the Car­mel­ite voca­tion until death will be gran­ted the grace of final perseverance.[20] 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.[20] The like­li­hood is ““prob­ably not””. How­ever, wear­ing the scap­u­lar remains a valu­able devo­tion as a sign of one’s com­mit­ment to Mary, and a pledge of her pro­tec­tion.

His­tor­ic­al devel­op­ments
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.[21]

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.[22] [23]

Mari­an appar­i­tions
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.[24] 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.[25] 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.[26]

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.[27] [28] [29]

Basis and grace
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.””[30] [31]

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.””[32]

Pap­al endorse­ments
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.[33]