Roman Catholicism : Is a Long Life Necessarily Better? The Case of the Green Scapular and, Hezekiah Revisited

Fr. Robert A. Macdonald, C.Ss.R. wrote of a life altering, and life elongating, event.1

He was suffering from pneumonia when a nun came into his hospital room and asked him, “Father, have you great faith in the Mother of God, especially in Her Immaculate Heart? If so, you can be cured.” The nun explained that she had been operated on due to cancer but was thought incurable. She “prayed to Our Lady of the Green Scapular” and was healed and gave Fr. Macdonald a scapular. He followed her advice and was also cured.

There was once another man who was sick and dying, Hezekiah the King of Judah. We find this king in 2nd Kings ch. 20 where Hezekiah prayed to God weeping and saying, “remember now how I have walked before You in truth and with a sincere heart, and have done good in Your sight.”
God sent the prophet Isaiah to speak to Hezekiah and inform him that God would heal him, add fifteen years to his life and would deliver the land of Judah from the king of Assyria.
What a blessed event—or was it?

Note that ch. 20 begins by stating, “…the prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz came to him and said to him, so says the LORD, set your house in order, for you shall die and not live.” But Hezekiah did not do this; he seemed to want something more. The LORD thus, grants him another fifteen years of life which would seem a blessing, except when we find what those years brought about.

Berodach-baladan, the son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent letters and a present to Hezekiah. For he had heard that Hezekiah had been sick. And Hezekiah listened to them, and showed them all the house of his precious things, the silver and the gold, and the spices, and the precious ointment, and the house of his armor, and all that was found in his treasures. There was nothing in his house nor in all his dominion which Hezekiah did not show them.

The end result of these actions is that Isaiah the prophet states,

the days come when all that is in your house, and which your fathers have laid up in store until today, shall be carried into Babylon. Nothing shall be left, says the LORD.

In 2nd Kings ch. 21 we learn of King Hezekiah’s son Manasseh who began to reign at the age of twelve. Notice that he would have begun his reign once his father Hezekiah died. Manasseh was twelve at the time, meaning that he was born three years into the fifteen years that the LORD had afforded to Hezekiah.

What sort of king was Manasseh?

he did the evil in the sight of Jehovah, after the abominations of the heathen whom Jehovah cast out before the sons of Israel. For he built up again the high places which his father Hezekiah had destroyed. And he reared up altars for Baal, and made an Asherah, as Ahab king of Israel did. And he worshiped all the host of heaven, and served them…
And he made his son pass through the fire, and observed times and used fortune-tellers. And he dealt with familiar spirits and wizards. He worked much wickedness in the sight of Jehovah, to provoke Him to anger. And he set a graven image of the Asherah…
[And] seduced them to do more evil than the nations ever did…Manasseh king of Judah has done these abominations, doing more wickedly than all that the Amorites did, who were before him, and has made Judah also to sin with his idols…And also Manasseh shed very much innocent blood.

This tragic story ends not here but continues when his son Amon began to reign and did evil in the sight of the LORD “as his father Manasseh did.”

I note this record of scripture to make a point: a long life is not necessarily a better life. Such would appear to be the case of Fr. Robert A. Macdonald. But why make such a statement about a person who no doubt has done much of what some people would call good with his life?

Green Scapular, roman catholic, true freethinker, Fr. Robert A. Macdonald.jpg

What did Hezekiah do with his prolonged life? We are not told many specifics but rather outcomes. We may perhaps speculate that he did not purpose to serve the LORD wholeheartedly and glorify His name in his nation nor in his family. Perhaps we may further speculate this due to the fact that we find his showing off his material goods to foreigners.
We find that his young son instantly falls into idolatry, and takes the nation with him. It is very likely that a godly family would have given Manasseh the godly heritage by which to rule Judah. Also, it would seem that a godly nation would have remained loyal to the LORD and not followed the king into abominable practices.

In any regard, Robert A. Macdonald, though certainly much less powerful than a King of Judah, may have a hand in causing much abomination. You see, he begins his story by stating, “This is my only way of trying to spread a true and tender love of Her Immaculate Heart and of paying my debt to her.” While we might have expected him to spread love of God and paying a debt to Him yet, Fr. Robert A. Macdonald appears to be more interested in the Mary of Roman Catholic myth and her mystical amulets than in Jesus Christ and the worship and thanksgiving that pertains to God alone.

As for paying a debt, perhaps there is only one way,

What shall I render unto the LORD for all his benefits toward me? I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the LORD (Psalm 116:12-14).

Fr. Robert A. Macdonald wrote,

I speak of an unpayable debt to Her Immaculate Heart. Since then I have done everything possible to foster this devotion. To my great joy and amazement, those to whom I have spoken of the Green Scapular have become more zealous that I. Never have I seen the equal of the faith and confidence of these new apostles of Mary.

There is a lot to comment on and so I will respond succinctly. Even if, and that is a big if, even if Mary had interceded by means of a mystical amulet, ultimately, all thanks are due to God, “always giving thanks for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:20).

Fr. Robert A. Macdonald has spent his prolonged years doing everything possible to foster devotion to Our Lady of the green scapular. This is actually in keeping with orthodox Roman Catholicism and yet, note the difference between the teaching of the Catholic church, on the one hand, and the Bible, on the other:

Catechism of the Catholic Church #971, “The Church’s devotion to the Blessed Virgin is intrinsic to Christian worship.”

2nd Corinthians 11:3 “My fear is that, just as the serpent seduced Eve by his cunning, your thoughts may be corrupted and you may fall away from your sincere and complete devotion to Christ.”

Catholicism teaches devotion to Mary but the Bible teaches that devotion to anyone except Jesus is satanic manipulation.

Imagine what the real Mary must think (if she even knows what is going on here and now—and in her name), that she is appointing to her, “apostles of Mary.” The only apostles found in the Bible are those of Jesus.

Fr. Robert A. Macdonald offers the obligatory token in stating,

The particular power of this Scapular is that of conversion, to bring Her Son into the hearts of men. The prayer, and this can be said in favor of another, is: “Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us now and at the hour of our death.”

I stated token because anyone who is familiar with the hyper-Marian devotion movement knows, proclamations saturated with unbiblical praise of Mary always contain a token nod to Jesus (as if to make it all kosher see my essay To Jesus through Mary).
This tokenism is born out further by the fact that no sooner are we told that the scapular is meant to turn people towards Jesus (whose name is not one uttered in Fr. Robert A. Macdonald’s story) than we are told that the prayer associated with the scapular is to be prayed to Mary so that she might intercede for us at the time of our death (or that of another).

A few problems with this as well.
Firstly, in the whole of the Bible there are only two kinds of prayer: 1) prayer to the one and only living God and 2) prayer to false gods—there is nothing else.
Secondly, the example of Jesus, at His death, calling out to God the Father, “Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit” (Luke 23:46).
We also have the example of Stephen who died by stoning while he, “was calling on God and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit” (Acts 7:59).
As for turning to Mary for intercession, I comment extensively on that issue in my essay Intercessor? Mediator? Advocate?

Fr. Robert A. Macdonald could be utilizing his remaining years glorifying Jesus Christ, spreading devotion to Him, asking Him to intercede, and seeking His comfort at the time of death. Instead, he is spreading false teachings about a false Mary, teachings that may accord with Roman Catholicism, but certainly do not accord with the Holy Word of God.

I wish no ill health upon Fr. Robert A. Macdonald but pray that the LORD would redeem the time.

  1. 1. Robert A. Macdonald, C.Ss.R., Among Mary’s Gifts – The Green Scapular (Distributed by The Fatima Crusader), Nihil Obstat: E.A. Cerny, S.S., S.T.D., Censor Librorum. Imprimatur: Lawrence Cardinal Shehan, D.D., Archbishop of Baltimore 9-18-1962

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Ray Barbier

I am just an average man who loves writing, thinking and trying to inspire kindness, love, understanding and Compassion in others and try to find them within myself.

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