Hello Rosary Lovers! In this post we will look at the brown Scapular and showering, the Scapular and swimming, and the Scapular and making love.

The Brown Scapular

The Brown Scapular is a very popular Catholic devotion and it is incredibly simple.

You buy a Scapular and then you get enrolled into the Confraternity of the Brown Scapular by a Catholic priest. The priest puts it on you and you never take it off.

So the Brown Scapular is pure and simply designed to be worn. That’s it. You wear it and you get all the blessings (assuming you’re in a state of grace).

The best of these blessings is that by wearing the Scapular, you can be assured that you will not go to hell. You will eventually be saved someday, even if you have to spend some time in Purgatory.

This is the great promise Our Lady of Mount Carmel gave us when she revealed the Scapular to St Simon Stock.

Another amazing benefit is being part of the Carmelite order. All who wear the Scapular are wearing a Carmelite habit. All who wear the Scapular participate in all the spiritual blessings and prayers of the Carmelite order.

That’s awesome, right?

Our Lady of Mount Carmel promised us this if we wear the Scapular:

‘Whoever dies invested with this Scapular shall be preserved from the eternal flames. It is a sign of salvation, a sure safeguard in danger, a pledge of peace and of my special protection until the end of the ages.’

From this website, we read:

‘Please note that there are no special prayers or good works that are necessary to receive the promise. The Scapular is a silent prayer that shows one’s complete consecration and dedication to the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Scapular is a devotion whereby we venerate Her, love Her, and trust in Her protection, and we tell Her these things every moment of the day by simply wearing the Brown Scapular.’

So the Brown Scapular is a wonderful, wonderful Catholic devotion.

I have often said at Rosary Lovers that the Brown Scapular is one of the easiest ways to become a saint.

We would do well to make use of easy ways to become saints.

I’ve written other posts on the Scapular; check them out here.

Now, by its very nature, the Brown Scapular is designed never to be taken off. So we sometimes wonder are there exceptions to this fixed rule?

As if happens, yes there are. We will look at some now.

Can I take off the Scapular to shower/get in the bath?

Yes, this is acceptable, see here.

Can I take off the Scapular to go swimming?

I will respond as a member of the laity. Please be aware I am not a member of the Catholic hierarchy.

My opinion is, yes, this is fine.

We all need exercise. Even St Paul says ‘bodily exercise profits little’. That is, it does do us some good to exercise, so long as it doesn’t become more important to us than spiritual things or praciticing godliness.

Since we need exercise, does this mean we cannot participate in exercises which may make it hard to wear the Scapular?

Does it mean we can never go swimming, or swim in the sea, or on holiday, without getting our Scapular soaked and finding it uncomfortable to wear?

I do not believe so. I think common sense dictates that yes, we can and probably should remove the Scapular for such occasions.

Or else it wouldn’t make sense that we are permitted to remove the Scapular when bathing/showing.

Can I remove the Scapular when making love?

This is a question that many Catholics can surely relate to, but perhaps many don’t wish to ask.

Again, I am not a member of the Catholic hierarchy, so as a member of the laity I simply give my no doubt fallible and imperfect impression.

My opinion is that this also is fine.

Sex between a married couple, by its very nature, can involve a lot of movement, not to mention intense physical closeness. For this reason at least, it would seem that it is justifiable to remove the Scapular during such occasions, so that the Scapulars don’t get tangled up or get in the way of each others bodies/faces, etc.

Do we have to remove our Scapulars for such occasions? No, of course not. Blessed be the couple who wear their Scapulars whilst making love!

When is it not right/appropriate to remove the Scapular?

I would say that it would be inappropriate to remove the Scapular if you are consciously about to sin, and you simply don’t wish to bring Mary and the Scapular into the sin with you. This would be wrong.

The Scapular is there to remind you of Mary TO KEEP YOU FROM SIN. By removing it, you are simply telling Mary you prefer sin to her and her Son Jesus. This is surely a grave insult to the Mother of God and her holy Offspring.

I would also say that it would be wrong to remove the Scapular out of fear or shame for wearing it, because you think people will mock you or because you’re ashamed of being a true child of Mary.

I also don’t think one is following the spirit of this wonderful devotion if they remove the Scapular in hot weather when they’re walking across the beach topless or trying to get a tan. This would be a sort of vanity, I think.

We have no need at all to be ashamed of the Scapular. It is a glorious sign of devotion to Mary and it shows outwardly that we are Catholic through and through.

Most of us wear the Scapular under our clothes anyway, and so it is hidden most of the time, unless we remove our tops, such as in hot weather.

And to be quite honest, I think the Scapular looks quite cool when worn properly.

Are there any other occasions when we might remove the Scapular?

Not that I am aware of, in my experience. I have been wearing the Scapular for over a year, and I cannot think of anything else, but perhaps you can.

If so, please get in touch and leave us a comment. We’d love to hear your thoughts, and we will get back to you asap.

Rosary Lovers constantly promotes the glory of Mary and her Rosary. As such, we often direct readers to this gorgeous collection of long-lasting paracord rosaries.

God bless.

6 Replies to “The Brown Scapular and Swimming”

  1. Does you lose the benefits for ever of the promised of the brown scapular and especially the sabbatine privilege promisses if you sin (grave), or they will be restored through confession.

    Can you send a reply to my email address pls. Thanks

  2. Can I take the scapular off when going to sleep? During the night, the scapular tangles up a lot and often wakes me up to fix, therefore disrupting my sleep. I know that the brown scapular is supposed to be worn at all times, with few exceptions, but am I allowed to take it off while I sleep?

    1. Hello there! Thank you for your question. Please be aware that I am not a priest and so my answer is my own opinion, after prayer to the Mother of God. Perhaps it will prove useful to you.

      In my opinion, yes you can take the scapular off when you go to sleep because of the reason you have described. Mary doesn’t want us to do anything that might hinder our sleep and activity during the day.

      Personally, I sleep with the scapular when I wear a T-shirt, because I find it doesn’t bother me and I like having it on all the time. I do, however, remove it before I sleep if it is a hot night and I don’t have a shirt on, because I get the same issue as you.

      So I would think the principle of mercy and what is sensible is best applied here.

      However, I believe it is the ideal that the scapular should be worn when we sleep for two reasons. Firstly, because it is supposed to be worn throughout the day, and sleep takes up a long part of the day. Second, because the Carmelite monastics (as I understand) sleep with their habits on, and the scapular is a mini Carmelite habit.

      That said, we aren’t monastics, and we need to be sensible, so do what works for you my friend 🙂

      God bless you!

  3. I’m surprised no one brought this up yet, but I experienced quite a scare near a main street and, yes, I swore, using a cuss word. A man driving by me (I was on foot) blared his horn twice and way too close for comfort. Even though I swore, I was not looking at this person when I said it. Still, I’m aware that God heard me. I took off the scapular as soon as I got home. I will wear it after I go to confession. I was very disappointed in myself. But, we’re sinners after all.

    1. Hello there! Thank you for sharing your experience and for your honesty.

      Before I address this, I would recommend you talk to your priest about this, since I am not a priest and what I say doesn’t have the same weight.

      However, I would like to offer a couple of points.

      Firstly, as you say, we are all sinners. It sounds like you are a very thoughtful and conscientious person, so I doubt you go out of your way to sin. That matters. If you swore by accident, or because you were in the moment and just got a bit carried away, I’m not sure this constitutes a full-blown sin. That’s a question for your priest. To be a proper sin, you would really need to fully consent to swearing.

      I personally sometimes let out the odd swear word when I’m shocked about something, like when driving and missing something. I don’t think about it, it just comes out. I know that I haven’t really sinned when this happens, because for something to be a sin you HAVE to consent to it. Your will has to be involved.

      This is why if you ‘sin’ whilst you are dreaming, you haven’t sinned. Because when you dream, you aren’t in control, you don’t choose things, your mind just makes stuff happen. St Thomas Aquinas deals with this. Without consent, there cannot be sin, because sin is located in the human will and choice.

      It sounds like you felt bad about what you believe to have been a sin and so removed the Scapular, but I’m unclear this was the most useful approach. The Scapular is a sign and signal of God’s love for us and of Mary’s care for us, and to remove it means we are thinking we are not worthy to wear it.

      That is correct! We are not at all worthy to wear such an item, or to know such loving care from the Mother of God. But we are all in this situation, because we are all sinners.

      The crucial thing to realise, I think, is that if we are conscientiously seeking God, trusting in him and love him, then when we slip up it is probably only going to be through some kind of accident. We probably haven’t fully chosen to sin. Maybe we have, and maybe that needs to be confessed. But if we don’t really mean to sin and hurt God, then I think we need to realise that He is a loving and Kind Father and holds nothing against us. Especially if we simply ask him briefly to have mercy on us.

      I find these Ten Commandments for the Scrupulous incredibly liberating and perhaps you will too:


      God bless you!

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