Given from the Catholic Broadcasting Station 2SM Sydney Australia
Choose a topic from Vol 2:
Your difficulties show that this brief statement was given without the explanation with which Catholics are familiar.
I certainly do not believe that a scapular has any magic power. Nor does any Catholic. Nevertheless, I myself wear a brown scapular, and hope to benefit by its blessings.
No Catholic believes that the mere wearing of the scapular has that effect.
Again, no Catholic believes that that is all that is needed. Now let me explain, briefly. The scapular is a small piece of cloth which is part of the religious habit of the Carmelite Order. Those who join the Confraternity of the Scapular are ina certain degree affiliated with that Order and share in all their prayers and good works. And as the Carmelite Order is established in honor of the Mother of Christ, those who wear the scapular in a spirit of true devotion and love have a special claim to her intercession and protection. Historical documents tell us that our Lady appeared to St. Simon Stock, an English Monk, and promised a special protection of all who would wear the badge known as the scapular. But the promise that one's soul would be preserved from hell supposes sincere dispositions and excludes absolutely the sin of presumption. If anyone were to wear the scapular andpresumptuously think that enough, and that despite any and every sin salvation would be secure, such a one would certainly not be preserved from hell. And every Catholic knows this. But granted sincere devotion to our Lady and sincere efforts to live a life worthy of Christ her Son, the scapular does give the well-founded hope that Mary will obtain for one the privilege of death in God's grace and friendship,and consequently preservation from hell, even though the soul must yet endure purification in purgatory. The additional promise of release from purgatory on the Saturday following one's death—it is called the Sabbatine Privilege—supposes additional conditions of prayer and Christian mortification throughout life, conditions not easily fulfilled.However, it is enough to say that all presumption is excluded; that no magic power attaches to the scapular or the wearing of it; and that the spiritual privileges are strictly dependent upon the dispositions of soul with which one adopts the scapular and tries to live a good Christian life.
You would have more cause for wonder if I could, since the scapular devotion arose in the Church some thousand years after the Scriptures were written. But there is nothing in the idea of scapulars which in any way contradicts any principle in Scripture. It is in perfect harmony with Gospel principles. A piece of cloth worn with piety and devotion is just as able to convey a blessing to the wearer as clay made from earth and spittle was able to be an agent of blessings to the blind man cured by Christ, or as the handkerchiefs and aprons which had touched the body of St. Paul were able to heal the sick and convey spiritual benefits. Acts XIX., 12.
You have got the wrong Pope. The report attributes the apparition of ourLady, not to Pope John XXIII., but to Pope John XXII., who was said to have published a Papal Bull proclaiming the Sabbatine Privilege, popularly believed to mean that the soul of one faithful to certain conditions would be released from purgatory through our Lady's intercession on the first Saturday after death.
John XXIII. was an anti-Pope. But he is not connected with this matter. As I have said, the Bull was attributed to Pope John XXII., who certainly was not ananti-Pope. So even if all were historically true, there would be no question of our Lady appearing to an anti-Pope. But, as a matter of fact, all is not historically true. It is certain that the supposed Papal Bull was never issued even by Pope John XXII. He was said to have issued the document in 1322. But the document is first heard of in the collected works of Leersius, who lived 100 years after Pope John XXII. Some unknown author, overendowed with imagination, probably ascribed the vision of our Lady, and the Sabbatine Privilege to Pope John XXII.; and Leersius, coming across it, embodied it in his work without critical examination, and taking it for granted. So, not only is there no question of our Lady appearing to an imposter, she did not even grant the Sabbatine Privilege to her people through the lawful Pope, John XXII.
The Papal Bull attributed to Pope John XXII., is not of doubtful origin. It is certainly not authentic. It did give rise to the popular idea of release from purgatory on the first Saturday after one's death. Later Popes never asserted the Bull to be genuine. But, owing to the widespread belief of so many people in good faith, they decided on their own proper authority to grant certain indulgences, and to sanction the devotion to a limited extent.To get an idea that is really authentic we must go, not to the spurious document attributed to Pope John XXII., but to the authentic decrees of later Popes, and above all, to the decree issued by Pope Gregory XIII. in 1577. That decree has been ratified by the Congregation of Indulgences, and by several modern Popes. And it makes no mention of any certain release of the soul from purgatory on the first Saturday after death. It simply says that people who manifest a special devotion to Mary, the Mother of Christ, by wearing the Brown Scapular of Mt. Carmel, by ever observing chastity according to their state, by reciting daily the Office of our Lady, or, alternatively, by abstaining from meat on Wednesdays and Saturdays, may reasonably hope for her special protection, and a particular share in her merits both in this life and the next, above all on Saturdays. Whether the departed soul would be released from purgatory in virtue of these special favors is not stated, though it would not be an unreasonable hope, were the conditions I have mentioned fulfilled throughout life. ------ In view of later literature on the subject, we add this to the above answers.In 1923, P. E. Magennis, O. Carm., Prior General, published "The Sabbatine Privilege" New York: Connolly, 1923. And there have been several articles in the "Analecta Ordinis Carmelitarum," and the "Analecta Ordinis Carmelitarum Discalceatorum," both official organs.Leersius wrote in 1483 —therefore some 161 years after 1322. He refers to copies of the Bull of John XXII —and these were found about 1575. John XXII did give the Sabbatine Bull on March 3, 1322. Alex. V in 1409 repeated its contents and confirmed it. A copy of Alexander's Bull was made in 1421, sealed and signed by public notaries and Carmelite officials. In 1430 a copy of the 1421 was made, signed and sealed, and other copies have been discovered in the Vatican archives. If such official copies cannot be trusted, actum est de historia. Another document, written in 1461, has also been discovered recently—so Leersius is not the first to mention the Sabbatine Bull. Although no original copy of John XXII's Bull is extant, there are unquestionable legal duplicates.When Pope Pius XI allowed the Medal to be worn in place of the Scapular, he specified that all the indulgences of the Scapular "That which is called the Sabbatine, not excepted" could be gained with the Medal. See also R.R. Vol. I, Nos. 1335-1440