The Black Scapular of the Passion
The earliest official date concerning the
Black Scapular of the Passion is February 12, 1840 (S.C. Indul. Dec.
279). By this decree the use of the Black Scapular is defined. On
September 22, 1861, the privilege of being enrolled in the Black
Scapular for all the Faithful was granted by extension by Pope Pius IX.
On November 17, 1933, all the privileges and indulgences for wearing the
Black Scapular were reconfirmed by Apostolic Letters of Pope Pius XI.
This historical note underlies the rest of the information regarding
The Black Scapular of the Passion of Our
Lord Jesus Christ is distinguished from other scapulars in that it is
made from black cloth, and must be oblong in construction. An oval or
circular form has been prohibited (S.C. Indul. August 18, 1868, Dec.
423). Its principal emblem to be worn over the breast is the Passionist
Sign or Badge, viz. the figure of a white heart, surmounted by a cross,
with the inscription JESU XPI PASSIO (The Passion of Jesus Christ): with
three nails underneath, the whole in white upon a black background.
This Scapular represents, in small
reproduction, the Sacred Habit which St. Paul of the Cross received from
Heaven when he cherished the design of founding a new religious family
in the Church, devoted in a special manner to the Sacred Passion of the
Lord Jesus Christ. On the dorsal part there is the image of Jesus on the
Cross. Incorporated into the corners of each part are the instruments of
the Passion of Jesus Christ, the chalice of Gethsemane, the Veil with
Christ's Face imprinted upon it, the Crown of Thorns and the Stone
Column at which Jesus was scourged. These portray the principal
Sorrowful Mysteries. On the lower half of each panel is written, Sit
Sempre in Cordibus Nostris. May it (The Passion Jesus Christ) be
always in our hearts. The two panels are joined with black cords.
On December 16, 1910, Pope St. Pius X
decreed that once having been enrolled with the proper scapular and
according to the prescribed rite, a medal of metal could be worn
instead. This medal, now called the scapular medal, must have an image
of The Lord with His Sacred Heart on one side, and any image of the
Blessed Virgin Mary on the reverse.
Those who are validly enrolled in the Black
Scapular share in all the spiritual graces and indulgences of the
Congregation of the Passion. It would seem originally the Black Scapular
was intended for and restricted to the members of the Confraternity of
the Passion. Since 1861 this is no longer so. Anyone can be validly
clothed in the Black Scapular. Meanwhile it is not required on Members
of the Confraternity of the Passion but is strongly recommended for
The faculty of investing the Faithful in the
Black Scapular is reserved in the first place to the Superior General of
the Congregation of the Passion, to any Passionist Father, to any priest
who is appointed Director of a particular Confraternity of the Passion
whether a Passionist or not, and finally to any priest to whom the
faculty is granted. During Missions Passionists can enroll with a single
sign of the cross made over the congregation as well as with the Papal
Blessing given at the end of the Mission (Rescript Sac. Penit. January