“If I take off my scapular prior to surgery and die on the operating table, will I still go to Heaven?”

This morning I was listening to the 1/13/17 podcast of the “Calling All Catholics” talkmg radio show broadcast on the Station of the Cross, 101.7 FM, Buffalo, NY, with Catholic priest, Dave Baker, and moderator, Mike Denz, taking questions from listeners.

Towards the end of the show, Mike read a question sent in from “Kim” in Rochester, NY regarding the brown scapular. But first, a little background:

Catholic tradition posits that the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to Carmelite friar, Simon Stock, in Aylesford, England in 1251 and presented him and his religious order with a brown scapular (a ceremonial apron), proclaiming, “the one who dies in it will be saved.” A smaller version of the scapular, basically two strings with patches of wool on each end that is draped over the head and rests on the shoulders (see photo of Catholic traditionalist, Mel Gibson, wearing his scapular), was created in the late-1500s so that lay people could also benefit from the scapular. A priest must first bless the scapular in order for it to transmit its advantages to the wearer. Untold millions of Catholics have worn the small, brown scapular over the last 430 years, believing that wearing the sacramental would earn or help earn their salvation as the Marian apparition had allegedly promised.

Okay, now let’s get back to Kim’s question. She asked, “If you have the brown scapular but you are having surgery and aren’t allowed to wear it, do the protections and benefits that it provides still apply if something happens?”

Priest Dave and Mike discussed this one for several minutes and concluded that while it’s extremely important to wear the scapular in order to gain Mary’s promise of salvation, there are probably some circumstances when it’s permissible to remove it temporarily such as during surgery, taking a shower, or while swimming. However, they acknowledged that some priests would advise that the benefits of the scapular would only be in effect if it was being worn. Dave and Mike also made sure to add in that the scapular wouldn’t do a person any good if they weren’t following the other teachings of the church. Dave also said that if a scapular becomes worn out, it can be replaced with a new one which does not need to be blessed. The blessing of the old one is grandfathered to the new. But hold on!!!! If the wearer of a brown Carmelite scapular switches to a different color scapular (red, black, blue, white, or green), Dave said they will need to have a priest bless the new one because each of the different colored scapulars has its own distinct protocols. Got that? Are you dizzy yet?

Can this ex-Catholic and born-again follower of Jesus Christ ask just a couple of questions?

1) Dave and Mike said a person needs to be following the prescribed teachings of the church for the scapular to be effective, but if a Catholic were already following the teachings of the church  – receiving the sacraments and obeying the Ten Commandments (impossible!) and church rules – why would they need a scapular? Well, in works-righteous Catholicism the thinking goes that every little bit helps.

2) Dave opines that an individual who dies without the scapular can still earn the promise of salvation if it was removed for a “legitimate” reason (surgery, swimming, showering, etc.), but other priests disagree and say the promise is null and void as soon as the scapular is removed. Who is right?

If you’re a blood-bought, born-again follower of Jesus Christ, you know all of the above is sheer anti-Scriptural superstition. But to a Roman Catholic trying to merit their way to Heaven, it all makes perfect sense.

“This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men. You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.” Mark 7:6-8

Come out of religious legalism and ritualism and accept Jesus Christ as your Savior by faith alone.


25 thoughts on ““If I take off my scapular prior to surgery and die on the operating table, will I still go to Heaven?”

  1. I am reminded of Muslims with this, actually. I had a Muslim friend once who lived by the Five Pillars as best he could, but had no idea whether it was enough. That is the fear that is generated by legalism, and that’s why I would hate to be part of those faiths. Thanks be to Christ who became our entry ticket for us!

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Yeah…would like to see what they think of it…and seeing how some Evangelicals pick up Catholic things to be cool and hip, wonder if some would even wear it…probably they will too since Evangelicalism is so weak today.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. There’s You Tube videos of Rick Warren saying he watches the Catholic channel nightly and the saying of the “divine mercy chaplet,” a series of repetitive prayers using the rosary. Saint Faustina, a nun, claimed Jesus visited her many times and directed her how to say the “chaplet” among other things.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Good one! He’s also part of the SBC, Southern Baptist Convention, and I read somewhere those initials stand for Slowly Becoming Catholic. I can attest to that after attending an SBC church for one year. But, yes, I do admit there are still some solid pastors in the SBC although it has to be getting increasingly uncomfortable for them.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Tom, thank you! I wish I could read all the comments before commenting but can’t right now. Just want to say that I thought of the scapular, which I wore without understanding most of it, as well as the rosary as some kind of talisman to keep me safe. Gripped the rosary or kept it under the pillow while I slept; hung the scapular on the bedpost. Sad, frightened child and woman seeking safety in falsehoods! My trust is now in Jesus Christ Who has everything covered, literally. I particularly enjoyed this post cause of my experience. Bye for now!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks for relating your memories, Maria. My older sisters had quite a few sacramentals scattered throughout their bedrooms. Many of those sacramentals were used as good luck charms.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. People who practice religious superstition naturally don’t view it as such. There’s nothing in the New Testament resembling the scapular fetish.


    1. May the Lord open your eyes to the genuine Good News of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone and lead you out of the Roman Catholic false church.


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