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Entries on the Scapular

Entries on the Scapular

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Published by SaintsSQPNcom
A brief, illustrated history of the development of the sacramental small scapular, and a description of each type of scapular that has Church approval. From SQPN Books.
A brief, illustrated history of the development of the sacramental small scapular, and a description of each type of scapular that has Church approval. From SQPN Books.

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Published by: SaintsSQPNcom on Jun 05, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Entries on the Scapular
Meaning and Origin
, shoulder-bladeThe scapular forms a part, and now the mostimportant part, of the habit of the monastic
Entries on the Scapular 1Saints.SQPN.co
orders. Other orders and numerous religious congregations(both male and female) have also adopted the scapular fromthe monastic orders. It is usually worn over the habit or soutane and consists of a piece of cloth about the width of the breast from one shoulder to the other, and long enough that italmost reaches the feet in front and behind. In the middle of the cloth is the opening for the head, the scapular thus hangingdown from two narrow connecting segments resting on theshoulders. Originally the segments were connected by cross pieces under the arms.This scapular, like the whole monastic habit and the liturgicalvestments of the priest, developed from the ordinary clothingof the laity. Just as the stole is the special sign of the priestlydignity and power, the scapular is now the sign of the monk. Inthe West, in the case of Saint Benedict, the scapular was atfirst nothing but a work garment or apron such as those used by agricultural labourers. From this developed the specialmonastic garment to which a hood could be fastened at the back. In fact, the original scapular of the Dominican Ordewas made so that it covered the head.
Ceremony and Symbolism
Western monastic formulae from the 9th century make nomention of the investment with the scapular. It was onlygradually that it became one of the important part of themonastic habit, and later it was solemnly presented during theclothing, and the symbolism of the scapular is emphasized inthe formula used during this ceremony. The scapular was oftencalled simply
) due to its shape, and symbolism wasintroduced accordingly. It was thus natural to term thescapular 
 jugum Christi
the yoke of Christ 
); it was also called
), as it was laid over the head, which itoriginally covered and protected with one portion (from whichthe hood afterwards developed).The rules of the religious orders expressly required thescapular must be worn, even at night. Carmelites have now aspecial smaller scapular which they wear at night, and it is
Entries on the Scapular 2Saints.SQPN.co
likewise prescribed in the Servite Constituion. After SaintBenedict required appropriate dress while sleeping, thescapular became required for Benedictines, and appears tohave become a portion of the night clothing of all monks.
Third Order Use
In the early Middle Ages, many lay people had already joinedthe Benedictine Order as oblates, and often received the entiremonastic habit which they wore either constantly, or at leastduring Divine Service. It was a great grace and privilege to dieand/or be buried in the monastic habit, which was frequentlygiven to the dying or placed on the deceased before burial.The 1891 and 1904 statutes of the Benedictine Oblates statesthat "Oblates may be buried in the black habit of the order,with scapular and girdle, wherever the conditions allow thefulfilment of this pious wish". By the Decree of the SacredCongregation of Bishops and Regulars in 1616, the Bizzochewho lived in the houses of relatives could wear the tertiaryhabit, but without veil, pectorale, and scapular. Later, thewearing of the special habit of an order became unusual, andconstantly wearing one was regarded as a privilege.Gradually the most distinctive article of the monastic habit, thescapular, was given in an ever smaller form. Eventually thethird orders for the laity, such as those of the Franciscans,Servites and Dominicans, began to wear as their special badgeand habit a "large" scapular, consisting essentially of twosegments of woollen cloth (about 4.5 by 2.5 inches, althoughno particular length or breadth is prescribed) connected witheach other by two strings or bands. The best known scapular isthat of the Third Order of Saint Francis, or, as it is simplycalled, the
Scapular of Saint Francis
; it is brown, grey, or  black in colour and generally has on one of the woollensegments the image of Saint Francis and on the other that of the little church of Portiuncula. For these large scapulars, thesame general rules hold good as described in detail below inthe case of the small scapulars. It is especially necessary that persons who desire to share in the indulgences and privilegesof the third orders shall wear the scapulars constantly.
Entries on the Scapular 3Saints.SQPN.co

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