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Author Topic: Need help identifying Catholic Religious Objects.  (Read 3413 times) Average Rating: 0
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David
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« on: April 08, 2003, 06:52:11 PM »

From another thread:

Quote
I have removed my Scapular, Medals, and St. Philomena's cord.

As someone who was never Roman Catholic, I have no idea what a Scapular or a St. Philomena's cord is.  I've seen medals before, but have no idea at their function for Catholic faithful. Are they just small icons that you wear or is there some specific devotion for them?

Thanks!
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« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2003, 08:06:20 PM »

Amator Dei,

The scapular gets its name from the scapula or shoulder-blade bone; it's the piece of cloth that hangs front and back (over the shoulders) in some Catholic religious habits - just like the paraman worn by Orthodox schemamonks (the piece of cloth with the embroidery showing the symbols of the Crucifixion).

Scapulars are worn in miniaturized form as two bits of cloth connected by two ribbons or cords by some Roman Catholics devotionally because some monastic orders had visions (of Mary, for example) promising blessings on all who wear the habit of the order.

St Philomena's cord is unique (symbolizing chastity, as St P was said to be a virgin martyr) but parallels the cincture (rope belt) that's part of Roman Rite liturgical vestments and the zone or belt that's part of Orthodox liturgical vestments.

Quote
I've seen medals before, but have no idea at their function for Catholic faithful. Are they just small icons that you wear

Exactly! And they're far from foreign to Eastern Orthodoxy. I have one from Russia of St Elizabeth Feodorovna that sits in my icon corner.
« Last Edit: April 08, 2003, 08:11:49 PM by Serge » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2003, 11:02:18 PM »

Serge<<The scapular gets its name from the scapula or shoulder-blade bone; it's the piece of cloth that hangs front and back (over the shoulders) in some Catholic religious habits - just like the paraman worn by Orthodox schemamonks (the piece of cloth with the embroidery showing the symbols of the Crucifixion).>>

The "Brown Scapular," in particular, is promoted by the Carmelite Order of the RCC, as Carmelites wear a brown scapular as part of their religious habit.

As I recall, there is also a "Green Scapular," but I don't remember its significance or if it is worn as part of the habit of any RC religious order.

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« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2003, 02:08:26 AM »

Serge is correct in his description of these religios articles. However he failed to mention that when one is envested in the Scapular of a particular religious order he is supposed ot share in the spiritual benefits of that order.

Hypo is also correct.  Actually there are any number of scapulars and a new one comes onto the scene every now and then.  They are

Brown--Our Lady of Mt. Carmel--Carmelite Order
Black--Seven Sorrows of Mary--?HuhHuh
Green--Immaculate Heart of Mary--?HuhHuh?
Blue--Immaculate Conception--Vincentian Order (similar to Miraculous Medal)
Red--Passion of Christ--?HuhHuh??
White--Most Holy Trinity--Trinitarians

If you look at a Monk or Nun in traditional RC habit, the long straight peace of cloth going down the front and down the back (usually all the way to the ankles or below) is the Scapular.  In the envesting into the religios life (taking of the habit for men, veiling for women) it symbolizes the Cross thus the reason it is worn over the shoulder.

But all of this is of post schism RC invention so has little to no consequence for the Orthodox Church.

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« Reply #4 on: April 09, 2003, 08:33:26 AM »

It is taught that if one dies wearing the brown scapular and/or the "Miraculous Medal of the Immaculate Mary" that one will go to heaven when one dies as well.
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« Reply #5 on: April 09, 2003, 09:52:10 AM »

Quote
Serge is correct in his description of these religious articles. However he failed to mention that when one is envested in the Scapular of a particular religious order he is supposed ot share in the spiritual benefits of that order.

Right. That's what I was trying to say when I was describing the blessings promised by some private visions to all who wear the habit of certain orders.

Quote
Green--Immaculate Heart of Mary--?HuhHuh?

Yes, the IHM. I don't think that one has to do with an order but comes from a private vision of Mary to a French nun whose name I can't remember.

I think Benedictine oblates might have a black scapular, too.

Quote
If you look at a Monk or Nun in traditional RC habit, the long straight peace of cloth going down the front and down the back (usually all the way to the ankles or below) is the Scapular.  In the envesting into the religios life (taking of the habit for men, veiling for women) it symbolizes the Cross thus the reason it is worn over the shoulder.

Again an interesting possible parallel to the paraman worn by Orthodox schemamonks, which has the cross and symbols of the crucifixion embroidered on it.

Quote
But all of this is of post schism RC invention so has little to no consequence for the Orthodox Church.

Oh, Joe, dear Joe! You haven't written one positive posting about anything in Eastern Orthodoxy that has 'grabbed' you, and you couldn't go for more than a few days without writing in detail about some Roman Catholic practice.

Don't change churches - even if only canonically to an Eastern Catholic church.

Quote
It is taught that if one dies wearing the brown scapular and/or the "Miraculous Medal of the Immaculate Mary" that one will go to heaven when one dies as well.

Reminiscent of the Sacred Heart devotion to Jesus from 17th-century France (IMO a western manifestation of Jesus as Lover of Mankind), in which the person who goes to Communion for nine consecutive first Fridays of the month will be given the gift of final penitence. Note the difference between that and a superstitious 'free pass' into heaven regardless of what one has done. (A corruption of Catholicism a lot like some evangelicals' OSAS doctrine, 'once saved, always saved'?)

(The possible taunt 'you worship a heart' is IMO is of the same stuff as the Protestant taunts against Orthodox and Catholics alike, 'you worship paintings' or 'you worship a piece of bread'.)

Devotions started by private visions aren't part of Catholicism per se - they're tolerated by the church if they can't be proved hoaxes and if their content isn't heretical. IOW, Catholics don't have to believe in any of them.

I think the scapular and medal can be understood in the same way as the 'final penitence' promised in the Sacred Heart devotion.

Is it really screwball to hold that one going to Communion regularly would be given the gift of final penitence? I don't think so.

The Carmelite Order today AFAIK is trying to dismiss the 'sabbatine privilege' (after death, particular judgement and the holding pen/purification that western Catholics call purgatory, the soul goes to heaven the first Saturday after death) as theologically indefensible.

But IMO such can be seen in an orthodox way but needs a LOT of explaining lest people think in terms of a free pass/lucky charm.

I don't see it as much different from the claims one sees in some Russian Orthodox writing (like Fr Seraphim Rose) that at face value border on the heretical where people in hell are saved through the prayers of the living.

(If hell in this case is sheol, not gehenna, it's not a problem. Same deal - it's orthodox but the writers have a lot of 'splainin' to do.)

Some ignorant ROs wrongly think the prayer of final absolution the dead person in the casket holds in his hands is a free pass into heaven. (Not what ROxy or EOxy in general teaches.)
« Last Edit: April 09, 2003, 01:14:42 PM by Serge » Logged

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« Reply #6 on: April 09, 2003, 10:04:59 AM »

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I don't see it as much different from the claims one sees in some Russian Orthodox writing (like Fr Seraphim Rose) that at face value borders on the heretical where people in hell are saved through the prayers of the living.

Woh there Serge, let's be careful about our language here. Someone posted on the Indiana List a few months ago hymns of the Church which--it would seem--would be called "at face value borderline heretical" by you. The doctrine in question perhaps doesn't have the majority of our Tradition on it's side... but, neither does the idea that sex is for more than procreation and to curb lust. Let us not so easily dismiss as "borderline heretical" things taught by revered men, and even saints of the Church!

And please stop telling Joe to stay Catholic. He's becoming Orthodox, his mind is made up, he's gone through the preliminary stages for that journey, you aren't going to turn him around. If you think he's making the wrong decision then pray for him. Personally, I think you have a lot of nerve trying to direct other people to the group you think they should be in when you are so secretive about your own affiliation. I like you Serge (which probably hasn't come out in my posts of late), but I think you are one confusing fellow (and I fear that the confusion might cause others to stumble).

______________

Anyway, back to the subject... Smiley  I remember hearing about the "say this and do that and you go to heaven" type of thing on Web of Faith once (if you don't know what that is, it's a Q&A show on EWTN where two Priests answer questions that are emailed to them... it's actually a pretty entertaining and informative show--regarding a Catholic perspective anyway ). I was, to be honest, astounded the first time I heard about something like that. The one priest said something to the effect that you didn't have to believe in the validity of the practice in question, but that he did personally. I always take statements about "doing x, y number of times, to get to heaven," somewhat loosely (I know there are Orthodox versions of this type of belief). To literally believe that doing something on earth will guarantee you a place in heaven (so long as you "hold out" after you've done the deed) seems like a strange concept to me. Did any of the saints of the Church teach such a concept (to be taken literally)?
« Last Edit: April 09, 2003, 10:10:05 AM by Paradosis » Logged
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« Reply #7 on: April 09, 2003, 11:10:33 AM »

Justin,

All Serge has been saying is that "gee, if you [Joe] are so sincere about Orthodoxy then prove it because we don't want you to convert for the wrong reasons*.  A few months of practice should clear the matter up" and "what's the point of continuously trashing everything from your former affiliation."

Nothing in his posts indicates a desire for Joe to stay Catholic, but rather a desire for Joe to make decisions based on the right motives.

Sincerely,

anastasios

* A man on another forum once converted to ROCOR from RCism and within 2 years was right back where he started--only with a big, anti-Orthodox chip on his shoulder.  Serge is merely trying to help Joe avoid this from happening.
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« Reply #8 on: April 09, 2003, 11:39:49 AM »

Thanks a million, anastasios - you're the friend I was referring to a while back on this thread. A man truly taken with Eastern Orthodoxy for positive reasons, who 'knows his stuff' (I don't pretend to know the writings of the great Eastern theologians - you know them!) and whose hypothetical future decision to convert would earn my respect.

Quote
Woh there Serge, let's be careful about our language here. Someone posted on the Indiana List a few months ago hymns of the Church which--it would seem--would be called "at face value borderline heretical" by you. The doctrine in question perhaps doesn't have the majority of our Tradition on its side... but, neither does the idea that sex is for more than procreation and to curb lust. Let us not so easily dismiss as "borderline heretical" things taught by revered men, and even saints of the Church!

I thought this was a message board for discussion and debate about Eastern Christianity, not a cult where the infallible holy gurus' writings can't be discussed or questioned. (I have a lot of respect for Fr Seraphim Rose, for example, but he's not my guru.) On the contrary, I thought a feather in EOs' caps was the belief that no one person is ex officio infallible, which makes your 'defence' of EO saints' opinions seem very hypocritical, or like you're afraid they can't stand up to scrutiny in a debate.

Quote
And please stop telling Joe to stay Catholic. He's becoming Orthodox, his mind is made up, he's gone through the preliminary stages for that journey, you aren't going to turn him around.

Justin, it's manifestly obvious to everyone here - except perhaps self-righteous, one-sided converts more interested in netting more converts than in somebody's mental health/well-being - that Joe isn't interested in Eastern Orthodoxy for itself at all. He's just angry at some people in the Catholic Church, perhaps understandably and justifiably - nothing more. anastasios has put it well - how will you look or feel if Joe goes through with it in his current frame of mind, then bags it and reverts to Roman Catholicism in a year?

I would no more encourage Joe in his current frame of mind to change churches than I would encourage an R.C. Sproul-quoting evangelical who's thinking of 'poping' mainly to spite his minister, with whom he's just had a terrible row.

Quote
If you think he's making the wrong decision then pray for him.

Joe made it public by posting, which is the only reason I've written about it here.

Quote
Personally, I think you have a lot of nerve trying to direct other people to the group you think they should be in when you are so secretive about your own affiliation.

Personally, I think you have no manners and are very self-righteous for taking my postings from this forum and gossiping about my church membership on another forum. Do you think reading Byzantine theology, keeping fasts and insisting that women hide their attractiveness all the time by dressing like old maids entitles you to treat people like that?

Quote
I like you Serge (which probably hasn't come out in my posts of late), but I think you are one confusing fellow (and I fear that the confusion might cause others to stumble).

That's nice. I don't like you. Which is fine since 'liking' someone isn't necessary for salvation. People like you give Western converts to Eastern Orthodoxy a bad name.

Quote
The one priest said something to the effect that you didn't have to believe in the validity of the practice in question, but that he did personally.

Like I wrote, Catholics don't have to believe in any of that stuff.

Quote
I always take statements about "doing x, y number of times, to get to heaven," somewhat loosely

Which is the substance of what I was trying to say.

Quote
(I know there are Orthodox versions of this type of belief)

Exactly.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2003, 11:49:39 AM by Serge » Logged

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« Reply #9 on: April 09, 2003, 11:40:13 AM »

Answer to Anastasios Removed
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« Reply #10 on: April 09, 2003, 11:45:54 AM »

Pot,

I've not quite gotten the monastic practice "down pat" yet, where you can take an unjustified slight without a word of defense (hence the reason for this post). One of your charges was correct though, I am unfortunately a self-righteous person.

Still liking you,

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« Reply #11 on: April 09, 2003, 11:53:11 AM »

<sarcasm>

Holy Martyr Justin Kissel, pray to God for us.

</sarcasm>
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« Reply #12 on: April 09, 2003, 11:55:54 AM »

Hey all,

Can this RC poke her nose in and say summat ?

Instead of playing pots and kettles etc please could we concentrate on supporting Joe with our prayers , and pray that he will, in the fullness of time, come to know where the Father wishes him to be whether it is as an RC, EC, or Orthodox Christian.

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« Reply #13 on: April 09, 2003, 12:07:17 PM »

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please could we concentrate on supporting Joe with our prayers , and pray that he will, in the fullness of time, come to know where the Father wishes him to be whether it is as an RC, EC, or Orthodox Christian

Of course.

Let me offer two hypothetical examples of conversions:

1. I was born a Roman Catholic but then I read the Spiritual Conversations of St Seraphim of Sarov and The Way of a Pilgrim and they blew me away. Since then I've been visiting a Russian Orthodox church Sundays and am as taken with the beauty of the Liturgy as St Vladimir's envoys were in Hagia Sophia. I've now got some paper icons of Our Lord, Our Lady, St Seraphim and a few others, and just bought a small Orthodox prayer book and started praying like 'my heroes'. (I may even try learning some Russian.) I am getting some books on Orthodox theology through interlibrary loan and am considering contacting the local Russian Orthodox priest about possible instruction and even conversion.

2. I am so angry at Pastor Smith at Christ Lutheran Church here in town. I was born a nominal Methodist but converted to Missouri Synod Lutheranism a year ago. Pastor Smith is going against so much in the Book of Concord and traditional Lutheran liturgy it's not funny! Why, he's even stopping kneeling at Communion and I positively hate the new hymnal. Why, I'll show him... I'll become Orthodox!

Both 1. and 2. intend to go to the same place. Which person is healthy? Which one is considering changing churches for the right reasons?

The answer shows why I have been posting what I have been posting here. My aim is to help.
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« Reply #14 on: April 09, 2003, 12:18:49 PM »

Serge

I'm in total agreement with you - I kid not.

However I have this sneaky feeling that the more we go on about things it is not helping. Your second example comes into play here.

Joe has many many questions to put to himself and then answer and some of those are very painful if he is totally honest with himself.

I think he now needs time-- and our prayers more than ever before
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« Reply #15 on: April 09, 2003, 12:23:13 PM »

Hey all,

Can this RC poke her nose in and say summat ?

Instead of playing pots and kettles etc please could we concentrate on supporting Joe with our prayers , and pray that he will, in the fullness of time, come to know where the Father wishes him to be whether it is as an RC, EC, or Orthodox Christian.

Thanks for saying this, Slave.  A voice of reason at last!

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« Reply #16 on: April 09, 2003, 12:28:19 PM »

OK Friends--

Everyone has said his comments.  No more discussing Joe, OK?  We've discussed him enough.  This discussion has recently gotten negative and I think it's better for us all if we just stop talking about Joe.  I will not close this thread because it is supposed to deal with questions about RC liturgical items BUT if anything else is said about Joe in this thread, *it will be erased*.

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« Reply #17 on: April 09, 2003, 02:12:14 PM »

From the Association of the Miraculous Medal:

hen Mary spoke to Catherine: “Have a medal struck upon this model. Those who wear it will receive great graces, especially if they wear it around the neck.”  Catherine explained the entire series of apparitions to her confessor, and she worked through him to carry out Mary’s instructions.  She did not reveal that she received the Medal until soon before her death 47 years later. With approval of the Church, the first Medals were made in 1832 and were distributed in Paris.

And from another site for the Brown Scapular:

WHY SHOULD I WEAR THE BROWN SCAPULAR?

      Everyone, young and old alike should wear the Brown Scapular because it is a gift from Our Heavenly Mother. Our Lady promised, "WHOSOEVER DIES WEARING THIS SCAPULAR SHALL NOT SUFFER ETERNAL FIRE. IT SHALL BE A SIGN OF PEACE AND A SAFEGUARD IN TIMES OF DANGER."
 
 WHAT OTHER BENEFITS ARE ATTACHED TO THE BROWN SCAPULAR DEVOTION?
 
      The wearing of the scapular draws us closer to Mary in a spiritual bond which identifies us as belonging to her, just as the bracelet on a new born baby identifies that child as belonging to a particular mother. When we wear the Brown Scapular we are recipients of special graces from Our Blessed Mother and because of such are called to a new life of thinking and acting like Mary.

      It is a silent prayer, no words need be spoken. We share in the prayers and good works of millions belonging to the Family of Carmel. We are assured of the continual assistance of Our Heavenly Mother as we travel through this life.

 MUST I BE ENROLLED? WHO CAN ENROLL?

      Our Lady gave this promise of salvation to all those in the Family of Carmel. One must be enrolled to obtain this promise.

 A priest is the ordinary who enrolls members into the Scapular Confraternity.
 
 IS THE SCAPULAR DEVOTION ENDORSED BY THE CHURCH?

      Pope Paul VI said in 1965: " ...Ever hold in great esteem the practices and exercises of the devotion to the Most Blessed Virgin which have been recommended for centuries by the magisterium of the Church. And among them we judge well to recall especially the Marian rosary and the religious use of the Scapular of Mt. Carmel."
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« Reply #18 on: April 09, 2003, 03:37:55 PM »

Nicholas has posted what is standard RC belief regarding these objects.  Or I shouldn't say standard anymore as the vast majority (at least here in the states) are more interested in Buddhist centering prayer and quasi pope-worship (no I am not attacking the Pope here.  It is a symptom of the neo-cons who run the RCC here in the states that they believe "the pope can do no wrong."  so if the pope went to the bathroom at 12:15 on tuesday all people must do the same, that sort of thing).  These practices actually appear most often in the Charismatic and Traditionalist movements (somewhat Ironically).

Actually the Brown Scapular is part of official Catholic Belief because it has been endorsed by any number of popes.  Also the Canonization of Simon Stock (and numerous other Scapular propagators) is an endorsement of the Brown Scapular.  Sort of like the Canonization of Sr. Maria Faustina of the Most Blessed Sacrament was an automatic endorsement of the Divine Mercy devotion.  Canonization is, according to RC belief, is an exercise in papal infalibility.  

Thank you Slave and Anastasios.  I will not respond to the comments made.

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