Sabbatine Privilege

– Answered by Father Johann Roten, S.M.

Q: What is the Sabbatine Privilege?

A: The Sabbatine privilege is a promise given to people wearing faithfully the scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, and complying with the following requirements:

• Observe chastity according to their state of life
• Recite daily the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary, or
• Abstain from meat on Wednesdays and Saturdays, or
• Accomplish faithfully some other similar sacrifice.

Given this pledge and its faithful execution, the person so committed will be helped "by Mary's unceasing intercession, devout pleadings, merits, and special protection--especially on Saturday, 'the day dedicated to the Holy Virgin'." (Bull of the Holy Office, 1613, referring to a privilege purportedly recorded in the bull, Sacratissimo ubi culmine, March 3, 1322, by Pope John XII, a bull no longer considered authentic-- See F. Beringer, Les Indulgences, vol. II, #239, pp. 189-90).

Pius XII mentioned this privilege in 1950 and thus lent it credence and authority. In his words: "This most kind mother will not be tardy in using her intercession with God to open the gates of heaven as soon as possible for those of her children who are expiating their faults in purgatory, a truth that is based on the promise known as the Sabbatine privilege." (Letter Commemorating the seven-hundredth anniversary of the Mount Carmel Scapular, February 11, 1950, AAS XLII, 390) Already in 1910, Pius X had reconfirmed the indulgences attached to the Sabbatine Privilege (AAS III, 22-24).

People sometimes ask if the privilege implies that Mary will free the soul from purgatory on the Saturday following death. 'Saturday' is to be understood as symbol of Mary's prompt succor. As Pius XII stated:

• Mary is a "most kind mother."
• She will "not be tardy in using her intercession with God."
• to "open the gates of heaven as soon as possible."

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