Hot Burning Fire


Back A.D. 1973 or thereabouts, when the movie The Exorcist came out and the kids in my Catholic school started to freak out about Satan, I came to own my very own scapular and wore it all the time. For the uninitiated, scapulars are postage stamp-sized cloth flaps, connected by string, that you wear over the shoulders such that one flap lays against your back and one against your chest.

The first time I encountered a scapular was when I was playing with this kid from down the street and saw one peeking out from under his shirt collar.  He explained the concept: if you suddenly got creamed by a car (which kids my age were known for doing back then) while wearing a scapular, there was no way you could go to hell. It was, like, physically impossible. Look, it was printed right on the scapular: “Whosoever dies wearing this scapular shall not suffer eternal fire.” That's totally awesome! Also implausible, but what he hell, might as well wear one just in case.

There was a catch, however: you could still end up in purgatory, which is quite like hell in several respects – fire and agony and so forth – but falls a little shy of eternity.

Don’t know what became of my scapular, but I know where I can snag a new one: The Catholic Company (“Because Faith Matters”).

The Aleman Cometh


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Sunday, 26 September 2021

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