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  #1  
Old Apr 15, '12, 1:30 pm
DarkLight DarkLight is offline
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Default What is the point of the veil?

For background: I grew up in an extremely conservative evangelical church. We did have rules on women covering their heads (as well as a bunch of other rules for women). The veil basically symbolized women's "lesser" place in the church - although they formally held to the doctrine that women were equal to men. The veil symbolized that women were not to approach God directly, but only through men. It was also a symbol that they were to be silent in church and on spiritual matters, as women were forbidden to teach or have authority over men. Again, all this was done while claiming that men and women were equal before God, but had different roles.

I see some women in my parish wearing veils, and I have to admit it's hard for me to look at it and not feel distanced from God. I already have a lot of problems as a woman in the church...this is just one more thing. I just don't understand it...if I'm supposed to be equal to my Christian brothers in God's eyes, why are there all these extra things like veils and rules on clothing (I've never heard anyone talk about what men wear) and whatnot? I know it's not required, but it's hard for me to see these women...I feel like it's being set up so a truly "spiritual" woman wears a veil. It makes me feel like I ought to be ashamed of being a woman, because I have to be covered up to go before God.
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Old Apr 15, '12, 2:38 pm
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Default Re: What is the point of the veil?

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Originally Posted by DarkLight View Post
For background: I grew up in an extremely conservative evangelical church. We did have rules on women covering their heads (as well as a bunch of other rules for women). The veil basically symbolized women's "lesser" place in the church - although they formally held to the doctrine that women were equal to men. The veil symbolized that women were not to approach God directly, but only through men. It was also a symbol that they were to be silent in church and on spiritual matters, as women were forbidden to teach or have authority over men. Again, all this was done while claiming that men and women were equal before God, but had different roles.

I see some women in my parish wearing veils, and I have to admit it's hard for me to look at it and not feel distanced from God. I already have a lot of problems as a woman in the church...this is just one more thing. I just don't understand it...if I'm supposed to be equal to my Christian brothers in God's eyes, why are there all these extra things like veils and rules on clothing (I've never heard anyone talk about what men wear) and whatnot? I know it's not required, but it's hard for me to see these women...I feel like it's being set up so a truly "spiritual" woman wears a veil. It makes me feel like I ought to be ashamed of being a woman, because I have to be covered up to go before God.
The purpose of this devotion is to demonstrate obedience and humilty before God, not man, if that helps at all. You aren't required to veil, but I don't think it's a bad thing.
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Old Apr 15, '12, 3:09 pm
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Aelred Minor Aelred Minor is offline
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Default Re: What is the point of the veil?

Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkLight View Post
For background: I grew up in an extremely conservative evangelical church. We did have rules on women covering their heads (as well as a bunch of other rules for women). The veil basically symbolized women's "lesser" place in the church - although they formally held to the doctrine that women were equal to men. The veil symbolized that women were not to approach God directly, but only through men. It was also a symbol that they were to be silent in church and on spiritual matters, as women were forbidden to teach or have authority over men. Again, all this was done while claiming that men and women were equal before God, but had different roles.

I see some women in my parish wearing veils, and I have to admit it's hard for me to look at it and not feel distanced from God. I already have a lot of problems as a woman in the church...this is just one more thing. I just don't understand it...if I'm supposed to be equal to my Christian brothers in God's eyes, why are there all these extra things like veils and rules on clothing (I've never heard anyone talk about what men wear) and whatnot? I know it's not required, but it's hard for me to see these women...I feel like it's being set up so a truly "spiritual" woman wears a veil. It makes me feel like I ought to be ashamed of being a woman, because I have to be covered up to go before God.
The veiling tradition, which was mandated by Canon Law until, I think, 1983 (current Canon Law is silent on the subject) is largely based on the following Scripture passage:

Quote:
I command you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions even as I have delivered then to you. But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of a woman is her husband, and the head of Christ is God. Any man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head, but any woman who prays or prophesies with her head unveiled dishonors her head- it is the same as if her head were shaven. For if a woman will not veil herself, then she should cut off her hair; but if it is disgraceful for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her wear a veil. For a man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man. (For man was not made from woman, but woman from man. Neither was man created for woman, but woman for man.) That is why a woman ought to have a veil on her head, because of the angels. (Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man nor man of woman; for as woman was made from man, so man is now born woman. And all things are from God.) Judge for yourselves; is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered? Does not nature itself teach you that for a man to wear long hear is degrading to him, but if a woman has long hear it is her pride? For her hair is given to her for a covering. If anyone is disposed to be contentious, we recognize no other practice, nor do the churches of God. (1 Corinthians 11: 2-16)
Obviously we need to interpret this in terms of the wider Catholic faith which insists on the equal human dignity of men and women. Any interpretation of the verses which would hold women to be inherently inferior to men in natural dignity would therefore need to be rejected, in my opinion.

On the other hand, I am extremely unimpressed with purely cultural explanations for the rule, like that in ancient Corinth not wearing a veil was a signal that a woman was a prostitute. St. Paul rather cites the natural relationship between men and women (especially husbands and wives), modesty, the universal practice of all the Church, and, mysteriously, the angels.

I don't know if the Protestant community you formerly belonged to interpreted this Biblical teaching in a degrading way, but I would also caution against seeing degradation in authentic principles which merely respect the natural vertical relationships between the sexes, or in venerable Church traditions based on Apostolic teachings.
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Old Apr 15, '12, 4:06 pm
DarkLight DarkLight is offline
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Default Re: What is the point of the veil?

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Originally Posted by Aelred Minor View Post
The veiling tradition, which was mandated by Canon Law until, I think, 1983 (current Canon Law is silent on the subject) is largely based on the following Scripture passage:



Obviously we need to interpret this in terms of the wider Catholic faith which insists on the equal human dignity of men and women. Any interpretation of the verses which would hold women to be inherently inferior to men in natural dignity would therefore need to be rejected, in my opinion.

On the other hand, I am extremely unimpressed with purely cultural explanations for the rule, like that in ancient Corinth not wearing a veil was a signal that a woman was a prostitute. St. Paul rather cites the natural relationship between men and women (especially husbands and wives), modesty, the universal practice of all the Church, and, mysteriously, the angels.

I don't know if the Protestant community you formerly belonged to interpreted this Biblical teaching in a degrading way, but I would also caution against seeing degradation in authentic principles which merely respect the natural vertical relationships between the sexes, or in venerable Church traditions based on Apostolic teachings.
I guess I don't see how any "natural vertical relationship" isn't degrading? I mean, if I'm supposed to be below a man, doesn't that mean I'm less than him? You can't have that without some form of inequality. I am below my teachers because I know less than them. A child is below the parents because they are lesser in experience and maturity. If that were to be truly the Christian view then I would want nothing to do with Christianity.

That's the whole issue - the interpretation my church used did emphasis equality in "natural human dignity" - but then it went on about how women shouldn't approach God directly but only through men, how women always had to be covered, etc. It doesn't make any sense - I'm supposed to be equal, but I can't approach God unless I go through my male head? I have to make sure I'm covered because of humility, but men don't have any prescriptions for their humility? I can't teach or have authority over a man no matter how much I know or understand? Claiming equality does not make it so.
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Old Apr 15, '12, 4:45 pm
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Aelred Minor Aelred Minor is offline
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Default Re: What is the point of the veil?

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I guess I don't see how any "natural vertical relationship" isn't degrading? I mean, if I'm supposed to be below a man, doesn't that mean I'm less than him? You can't have that without some form of inequality. I am below my teachers because I know less than them. A child is below the parents because they are lesser in experience and maturity. If that were to be truly the Christian view then I would want nothing to do with Christianity.

That's the whole issue - the interpretation my church used did emphasis equality in "natural human dignity" - but then it went on about how women shouldn't approach God directly but only through men, how women always had to be covered, etc. It doesn't make any sense - I'm supposed to be equal, but I can't approach God unless I go through my male head? I have to make sure I'm covered because of humility, but men don't have any prescriptions for their humility? I can't teach or have authority over a man no matter how much I know or understand? Claiming equality does not make it so.
First of all, I'm not sure I understand the bit about their teaching that a woman "shouldn't approach God directly but only through men". It sounds very wrong, and also very different from the generally individualistic Protestant approach to prayer and salvation. In any event certainly women just like men can and should pray directly to God, if that's really what this group was denying.

Regarding authority, for one thing consider this: an individual layperson may have greater theological knowledge and personal holiness than his or her bishop, but the bishop still has authority over them. Authority is not always a matter of superior abilities or experience, but can be rooted instead in the nature of the relationship between the two people.

In fact, the relationship between men and women, especially in the family, is a reflection of the relationship between the Father and the Son (Logos; Hagia Sophia) in the inner life of the Trinity. The Father and the Son on the one hand are equal in divinity, and yet the Son is always obedient to the Father because He comes from the Father. There is a horizontal dimension to the relationship and a vertical dimension, and the vertical dimension of the relationship is in no way degrading to the Person in the subordinate position. The equality of the Persons and the hierarchical distinction between the Persons are not in conflict with each other. It remains a relationship of love and respect and devotion.

Indeed, both the role of a husband and the role of a wife may be compared to God the Son. In the case of the husband, he looks to the sacrificial love of Christ for the Church as his model, as well as the providential relationship of the Father towards the Son. In the case of the wife, she looks on the one hand to the love of the Church for Christ and on the other hand to the love of the Son (Sophia, Holy Wisdom) for the Father.

If you don't understand this, that's ok. I'm probably not explaining it very well, and my own knowledge is very limited. But please, let me urge you not to set the secular values which you have aquired from the modern culture above divine revelation. There is a lot to be said for the modern emphasis on freedom and equality, but there is more to life than that. A Catholic ought to be able to be open to every aspect of the truth, both those aspects which are popular and those which are unpopular, or those which you find easy to understand and accept and those that challenge you.

Edit: I got the impression that you were Catholic from your first post and so I addressed you as one, but now I notice you don't list anything as your religion, so maybe I was wrong in making that assumption. Still, I'll leave the post as it is. At least it represents my take on the subject.
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Last edited by Aelred Minor; Apr 15, '12 at 5:04 pm.
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Old Apr 15, '12, 5:23 pm
DarkLight DarkLight is offline
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Default Re: What is the point of the veil?

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Originally Posted by Aelred Minor View Post
First of all, I'm not sure I understand the bit about their teaching that a woman "shouldn't approach God directly but only through men". It sounds very wrong, and also very different from the generally individualistic Protestant approach to prayer and salvation. In any event certainly women just like men can and should pray directly to God, if that's really what this group was denying.

Regarding authority, for one thing consider this: an individual layperson may have greater theological knowledge and personal holiness than his or her bishop, but the bishop still has authority over them. Authority is not always a matter of superior abilities or experience, but can be rooted instead in the nature of the relationship between the two people.

In fact, the relationship between men and women, especially in the family, is a reflection of the relationship between the Father and the Son (Logos; Hagia Sophia) in the inner life of the Trinity. The Father and the Son on the one hand are equal in divinity, and yet the Son is always obedient to the Father because He comes from the Father. There is a horizontal dimension to the relationship and a vertical dimension, and the vertical dimension of the relationship is in no way degrading to the Person in the subordinate position. The equality of the Persons and the hierarchical distinction between the Persons are not in conflict with each other. It remains a relationship of love and respect and devotion.

Indeed, both the role of a husband and the role of a wife may be compared to God the Son. In the case of the husband, he looks to the sacrificial love of Christ for the Church as his model, as well as the providential relationship of the Father towards the Son. In the case of the wife, she looks on the one hand to the love of the Church for Christ and on the other hand to the love of the Son (Sophia, Holy Wisdom) for the Father.

If you don't understand this, that's ok. I'm probably not explaining it very well, and my own knowledge is very limited. But please, let me urge you not to set the secular values which you have aquired from the modern culture above divine revelation. There is a lot to be said for the modern emphasis on freedom and equality, but there is more to life than that. A Catholic ought to be able to be open to every aspect of the truth, both those aspects which are popular and those which are unpopular, or those which you find easy to understand and accept and those that challenge you.
Believe it or not these aren't values I learned from the secular world...I grew up with almost no exposure to the outside world and still came to these values. What I saw was that the people who claimed that "God says X" frequently meant "I think that X." I saw that people trying to base their lives on divine revelation usually ended up basing their lives on whatever they'd already decided, because they brought that view to the Bible. I've seen both sides of a debate quote Bible passages extensively to support their views, and both truly believe that they were following God's word. I think if we do not consciously bring our understanding of ethics to the Bible, we will apply our unconscious ideas to it.

And I think that tradition will back me here. I think that modern Catholics make the Protestant error of setting the Bible as the inerrant center. If you read the Fathers they use not only Scripture but Reason as well in their positions, and allow Reason to guide their view. Catholicism has a great tradition of moral philosophy, it would be a shame to abandon it for a simplistic view of the Bible that does justice to neither Scripture nor Tradition.

It's not that they denied that women could pray to God, exactly...but women had little role in the church or in the worship of the group, and could not be active in church except under the authority of a male leader. In any case the head covering and modesty doctrines bother me...like I said, it makes me think that my body is not acceptable enough to be presented before God, if it is only my sex that must be covered.

And yes, I'm looking into Catholicism, but honestly if this relationship were really supported by the Church it would be sufficient reason for me to leave. I just can't accept that God would teach that.
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Old Apr 15, '12, 5:59 pm
Tantum ergo Tantum ergo is offline
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Default Re: What is the point of the veil?

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Believe it or not these aren't values I learned from the secular world...I grew up with almost no exposure to the outside world and still came to these values. What I saw was that the people who claimed that "God says X" frequently meant "I think that X." I saw that people trying to base their lives on divine revelation usually ended up basing their lives on whatever they'd already decided, because they brought that view to the Bible. I've seen both sides of a debate quote Bible passages extensively to support their views, and both truly believe that they were following God's word. I think if we do not consciously bring our understanding of ethics to the Bible, we will apply our unconscious ideas to it.

And I think that tradition will back me here. I think that modern Catholics make the Protestant error of setting the Bible as the inerrant center. If you read the Fathers they use not only Scripture but Reason as well in their positions, and allow Reason to guide their view. Catholicism has a great tradition of moral philosophy, it would be a shame to abandon it for a simplistic view of the Bible that does justice to neither Scripture nor Tradition.

It's not that they denied that women could pray to God, exactly...but women had little role in the church or in the worship of the group, and could not be active in church except under the authority of a male leader. In any case the head covering and modesty doctrines bother me...like I said, it makes me think that my body is not acceptable enough to be presented before God, if it is only my sex that must be covered.

And yes, I'm looking into Catholicism, but honestly if this relationship were really supported by the Church it would be sufficient reason for me to leave. I just can't accept that God would teach that.
If covering my head (I'm a woman, and I do cover) while praying meant that I was not acceptable simply because I'm a female and not as good in God's eyes as a male, I would probably not cover and would have a hard time accepting that God would teach such a thing.

Thankfully, He doesn't.

It's not about who has 'power and authority', It's about Jesus and loving Him.

Some of us women feel a call to cover, not because we feel like we should turn back the clock and be submissive doormats, but because we feel, after extensive study of the history of the Church and the particular tradition, that in doing so we are showing an obedient and prayerful understanding of ourselves, as women, presenting our bodies (which can bear children although not all of us will be mothers, and are thus sacred to God, who has given us this particular grace of being able to bring forth new life in Him), in a humble, not 'second-best' or 'not as good as men' attitude but rather an understanding and Mary-like acceptance and gratitude for our sacred gifts which we veil because we and they are sacred. We feel God asking us to do this, and sometimes it is very surprising to us. For most of us, we didn't wake up one morning out of the blue and say, "I'm going to wear a hat to Church". Many of us struggle, not wanting to 'stand out' in a crowd, worrying about the reactions of others. . .until we just stand back and say, "God, YOUR will be done'. And then we simply let His will be done and stop worrying.)

But at the same time, we do not feel 'better than' women who do not cover, or assume that every woman should cover (certainly no woman who covers either out of a mistaken belief that she is 'no good' unless she does, or the equally mistaken belief that it makes her 'better than' others, is truly following the teaching of God.)

But even if a woman is mistaken in her reason behind covering does not mean that the covering itself is intrinsically wrong.

So dear DarkLight, you yourself, particularly given the circumstances and experiences you have undergone, are under no compulsion should you become Catholic to cover.

The one thing we would ask of you (whether you become Catholic or not) is not to automatically assume that women who cover do so from that kind of mistaken belief that they are second class and inferior. We Catholic women who cover do not feel that way at all.

It might make you uncomfortable to see us because you unconsciously associate 'covering' with 'subjugation', but with prayer and hopefully getting to know God's teachings more fully that will lessen and pass in time. We certainly do not want to cause any pain to you, but of course you likewise would not want to cause pain to your fellow Christians by asking them to cease doing what they feel called to do when it is NOT for 'bad reasons'. The kind of compromise whereby we coverers explain that it's not about being inferior to men, and where you non coverers work on not having automatic 'assumptions' due to prior bad experiences, will in time I am sure result in both groups becoming more comfortable with each other.
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Old Apr 15, '12, 11:36 pm
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Default Re: What is the point of the veil?

The best way I've heard it explained is that we often veil/cover that which is most holy and precious.

In many churches the Tabernacle will have a little veil/curtain in front of its door. The altar always has a cloth covering when Mass is said - not always visible from in front of it.

The chalice also will often be covered by a cloth before and after use.

So it is not to be seen as a negative thing at all. Not to say it is automatically preferable - like any good thing some people can misuse or misinterpret it, does not make it inherently bad.
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Old Apr 16, '12, 12:14 pm
DarkLight DarkLight is offline
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Lightbulb Re: What is the point of the veil?

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Originally Posted by Tantum ergo View Post
Some of us women feel a call to cover, not because we feel like we should turn back the clock and be submissive doormats, but because we feel, after extensive study of the history of the Church and the particular tradition, that in doing so we are showing an obedient and prayerful understanding of ourselves, as women, presenting our bodies (which can bear children although not all of us will be mothers, and are thus sacred to God, who has given us this particular grace of being able to bring forth new life in Him), in a humble, not 'second-best' or 'not as good as men' attitude but rather an understanding and Mary-like acceptance and gratitude for our sacred gifts which we veil because we and they are sacred. We feel God asking us to do this, and sometimes it is very surprising to us. For most of us, we didn't wake up one morning out of the blue and say, "I'm going to wear a hat to Church". Many of us struggle, not wanting to 'stand out' in a crowd, worrying about the reactions of others. . .until we just stand back and say, "God, YOUR will be done'. And then we simply let His will be done and stop worrying.)
I think this is the issue honestly...I feel like a lot of the emphasis on motherhood, the way I hear it, ends up being degrading towards women's other talents, and towards women that are childless of either necessity or choice (I am both) - and frequently degrading towards fathers who are treated as less important. Make no mistake, I think motherhood is a wonderful thing, but I think any time we take one aspect of human existence and make it a defining characteristic it becomes degrading. It's just like men are degraded by being defined by their careers and ability to make money - there is great honor in holding down a job and providing for your family, but we make the mistake of making it central to being a man. Just like making motherhood central to being a woman degrades the fullness of our human experience.

I had a thread a while back, where I commented that I felt out of place and unwelcome as a single, career-focused woman in church. I've been thinking that over. The issue I have is that I feel that I am seen as a woman first, and with my other qualities second. This isn't the way of it for my male friends. The best way I can put it is it's the desire to be seen as an intelligent person and not just an intelligent woman. Again, I don't consider being female to be itself lesser or degrading - but I think it becomes such when it is taken to define women as persons. Particularly since like I said I feel it is often defined over against the male in a way that men are treated as "normal people" and women as "special people" - even if the language speaks of women as sacred or precious, it is still wrong to set us apart from humanity that way.

Put it this way. I love my mother. I appreciate the sacrifice she put in as a stay-at-home mother and homeschool parent, to my life. But I would be angry at anyone that spoke of that as who she was - and I think she would as well. I think she's struggling now because our community did define her as a "mother", and it is hard to let that role assume a lesser place in her life now that she doesn't have a child nearby. I think the church helped her forget that she is intelligent, that she completed a graduate math degree in a time and place where many people assumed women weren't capable of that, that she's a determined person with a strong sense of right and wrong and the ability to effect change...all these things. These are all her, not just the fact that she is a mother. The one should not be greater than the others, but all should be in subservience to what is right.

Just for clarity: I am not ashamed of being a woman, but I do not think it defines who I am. I think any theory that does not start with "we are all human" and mind that as its center will inevitably degrade someone.
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Old Apr 17, '12, 12:30 pm
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Default Re: What is the point of the veil?

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I think this is the issue honestly...I feel like a lot of the emphasis on motherhood, the way I hear it, ends up being degrading towards women's other talents, and towards women that are childless of either necessity or choice (I am both) - and frequently degrading towards fathers who are treated as less important. Make no mistake, I think motherhood is a wonderful thing, but I think any time we take one aspect of human existence and make it a defining characteristic it becomes degrading. It's just like men are degraded by being defined by their careers and ability to make money - there is great honor in holding down a job and providing for your family, but we make the mistake of making it central to being a man. Just like making motherhood central to being a woman degrades the fullness of our human experience.
If you see the Church honoring motherhood, allow that. Be generous toward that, even though you are not included in that group. If you look at the society around us, where women are walking into an abortion 'clinic' holding hands with their boyfriends, in heartbreaking numbers, allow the Church to hold up motherhood as something special. Allow them to be a voice crying in the wilderness that having a baby is a good thing. It doesn't 'ruin the rest of your life'. Maybe a young woman may change her mind about abortion today because of it.

You seem to want everything between people to be equal. Nothing on this planet is like that because we are in a broken world. If I looked at your mother, I can first tell that she is a women, I would have no idea of what she accomplished in life. Try to be generous with me because I see firstly that she is a woman. It takes time and relationship to find out the other things. In the Church, as someone who is to grow in holiness, I am much more interested in her journey of holiness than if she had a degree in math. If I was interested in a degree in math, I would be going to a university. When I come to Church, I'm looking to heal wounds, overcome my sinful habits, worship and know God better. There are people ahead of me on the journey, can they help me along with their wisdom? I bet your mom could teach me a lot of things, selfless love being first. You haven't mentioned any of these things. What do you want from attending Church?

You used 'degrading' often. When I look at Jesus, the 2nd person of the Trinity and the creator of the world, hiding in a wafer, how could I ever be 'degraded' more than that? If someone should treat me like a worm, nothing here can happen to me that remotely comes close to Christ descending from Heaven, willingly, and hiding in a wafer. He makes Himself so vulnerable that he can be trodden underfoot, used, abused, forsaken. This is the Christ that we follow. He does this out of love, such love we can't comprehend the vastness of it.

If we spend time contemplating His love, His emptying, the prayer below will help us with many weaknesses as we grow and yet sin...

O Jesus! meek and humble of heart, Hear me.
From the desire of being esteemed,
Deliver me, Jesus.

From the desire of being loved...
From the desire of being extolled ...
From the desire of being honored ...
From the desire of being praised ...
From the desire of being preferred to others...
From the desire of being consulted ...
From the desire of being approved ...
From the fear of being humiliated ...
From the fear of being despised...
From the fear of suffering rebukes ...
From the fear of being calumniated ...
From the fear of being forgotten ...
From the fear of being ridiculed ...
From the fear of being wronged ...
From the fear of being suspected ...

That others may be loved more than I,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That others may be esteemed more than I ...
That, in the opinion of the world,
others may increase and I may decrease ...
That others may be chosen and I set aside ...
That others may be praised and I unnoticed ...
That others may be preferred to me in everything...
That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should…

Read more: http://www.ewtn.com/devotionals/pray...#ixzz1sKJWo5Ch

I did wear a veil for some years and it was crushing to wear the first year. What was crushed? My fear of being laughed at and not honored, ridiculed and not praised, being set aside and others preferred. I was misunderstood, and some people avoided me. I was obedient, but not to the shedding of blood. My pride though got a bloody nose. It freed me to take on harder tasks. Fear was broken. I hope you can understand what I'm trying to say.

May you come to the Church because Christ is there as a prisoner of love in the Eucharist. He is there in the sacrament of Reconciliation to break our habits of sin. He is challenging, but where else can we go? He has the words of eternal life.
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  #11  
Old Apr 17, '12, 5:09 pm
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EmeraldWings EmeraldWings is offline
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Default Re: What is the point of the veil?

(Post 1 of 2)

I think the problem here is simply misunderstanding,
what makes you think submissiveness means lowliness or being "lesser"?
we are told "The disciple is not above the master, nor the servant above his lord." Matthew 10:24 and what do we read of Jesus Himself? "And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them." Luke 2:51
who is above God? no one, His mother and foster father were not greater than Him by any means, Jesus was above them, superior to them, and yet he submitted to them, not by force, but by choice, and joyfully.
can you imagine, God Himself, the creator of all and the highest authority, submitting to His creatures? why would He do that? well, He did, and one reason is because obedience is Gods favorite virtue, and God wanted to give us an example of how we should live, not just woman, but men also, there is no man or woman in the world who is not subject to someone else, even the pope, he has to go to confession too, and when he does, the priest he goes to at that moment has authority over him,
but to get to my point, submissiveness in no way denotes inferiority,
another example is Our Lady, she was submissive to Joseph, and yet we know she was far more holy and perfect, and also knew better than him in many things, but she humbly obeyed him, because she knew the value of such obedience, and how much it pleased God,
submissiveness is an unresisting or humble obedience, it's purpose is not to put you under those who know better, but instead it is for the purpose of accomplishing Gods will, God works through others, He commands us through others, and not just men, there are many woman who are in authoritative positions as well, but as far as the church and families are concerned, there must be a visible head, the pope is the visible head of the church, and the father is the visible head of the family, and in both the church and the family, God is the master,
of course that does not mean the same thing as you mentioned, "The veil symbolized that women were not to approach God directly, but only through men." this is not the case in the Catholic church, as others have mentioned, the veil does symbolize submissiveness, but it does not symbolize inferiority, we all pray to God the same, and God speaks to us and answers our prayers the same.
but then you may ask, why do men not veil for God? well the truth is, although they are told they disgrace their heads by covering them, but they do have a veil, it is the incense, which i was told by an old priest of mine.

also, you say here - "all this was done while claiming that men and women were equal before God, but had different roles."
although i certainly disagree with the ideas of your old religious community, i do no agree that equality means having the same roles, because obviously you cannot have two in command of one group, it just doesn't work, even in the military, there cannot be two with equal authority over one group of soldiers, there would only be conflict and contradiction and confusion, it will only work if there is one person with primary authority, although there are many ranks of authority, but because their roles are understood and respected, then there is no confusion when it comes to knowing who to obey.
and the same applies to families, there has to be a head of the house, without someone as designated leader, there is chaos, among both the spouses and the children,

equality does not mean doing the same things, but instead it means that the things you do, the position you are in and what is unique to your gender, has just as much importance and value as the opposite gender, that is the kind of equality that matters, not roles, but recognizing the importance and value of those roles, and as far as that goes, woman have a dignity and role that men do not and cannot have, obviously child bearing being one of them(and the greatest one i might add) but also, woman have a kind of compassion that men don't, a gentleness and love which is different from men, and many other qualities and abilities that are unique to them,
don't forget, God created men from the dirt of the earth...but woman He did not take directly from that dirt, perhaps in foresight of His Blessed Mother, instead he created man first, so that woman would have a more graceful entrance into the world, it is symbolic also, not that woman is second place, but that she is beside man, because she did not come from the feet of man, to be walked on, or the head of man, to be above him, but from the side, that she may be equal to him,
but men and woman are equal by dignity, not role, there is no particular need for equality in roles or vocations, but each role and vocation that is particular to man and particular to woman are there by design, for the good of all, not one role being more important than another, but all roles building each other up, sustaining and nurturing each other,

(continued in next post)
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And no matter how He answers, He's saying, "Yes, I do."
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  #12  
Old Apr 17, '12, 5:09 pm
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EmeraldWings EmeraldWings is offline
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Default Re: What is the point of the veil?

(post 2 of 2)

the problem is not in submissiveness itself, but in societies understanding of it, the secular world has demonized it, making it something lowly and degrading, but then, we look at Jesus and Mary, and think of their submissiveness, and see the beauty and humility in it...but we do not understand it! if we understood it, we would accept it in our own lives, men and woman alike!
some woman are jealous of priests because they have an authoritative role and a leadership within their community, but priests have an obligation to obedience too! and they are often called to much harder tasks to obey, everyone has to be submissive to someone else, and all have to be submissive to God...but it is a very great thing, if we all understood the value and beauty of submissiveness, then the world would be at peace...but instead most just want things their own way, and they don't just want what they have, they want what others have also,
well, it is pride that hates submissiveness, and it is pride that calls man superior to woman, or woman superior to man, or one better than the other, etc. etc, back and forth...it is pride that makes submissiveness a dirty word...and pride, as we know, is the vice of lies,

the veil is a symbol of woman's submissiveness to man, yes, but it is a thing of beauty, a crown of glory, one which Our Blessed Mother still wears in heaven! is she not the queen of heaven? above all other creatures?
but that is not to say that woman are subject to all men, wives are subject to their husbands, and all other woman are not subject to any man in particular, except God, and we wear the veil as a symbol of subjection to Him, and also, as the bible says, out of respect for the angels, who also are present during mass.
of course we are also subject to the men of the church who have authority over us, but that is not the same at all, both men and woman are equally subject to them, and so that is neither here nor there.

also, even though wives are subject to their husbands, that in no way means that the husband lords over them, they are not kings of their castle, men are told to love their wives, cherish them, honor them with gentleness, care for them as themselves(as we are told, love your neighbor as yourself, which is, to care for one another in body and soul, all for the love of God.)
men are not leaders by their own worth or by anything of themselves, but they are given leadership roles only by the authority of God, and without God they have no authority,
and likewise, wives are not subject to their husbands because they owe it to them or because it is their due, they are subject only for Gods sake.

but this leads into another subject, which is the value, importance, and beauty of obedience, but for that i would recommend reading this - http://www.gaiaonline.com/guilds/vie...php?t=18087275

and here are a few other sites i think will help you in understanding all these things, plus much more -
http://www.audiosancto.org/
http://www.keepthefaith.org/
http://www.fultonsheen.com/Fulton-Sheen-MP3.cfm
http://www.tanbooks.com/index.php

and as for modesty, which is a virtue, and a thing of dignity and respect for ourselves, check our these few books -
http://www.gaiaonline.com/guilds/vie...php?t=19124981
http://www.gaiaonline.com/guilds/vie...php?t=13047835
http://www.amazon.com/Dressing-Digni...4707670&sr=8-1

i'd rather not make this longer than i already have...so i will just end it there, but if you have any other questions at all, please feel free to ask,

so i hope this helps, take care.
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"Prayer is the lifting of our hearts and minds to God. For no matter what we're saying, we're asking, "Do you love me?"
And no matter how He answers, He's saying, "Yes, I do."
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Old Jul 13, '12, 4:27 pm
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joyous revert joyous revert is offline
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Default Re: What is the point of the veil?

Excerpts from fisheaters.com:

That which is Veiled is a Holy Vessel
Note what Paul says, "But if a woman nourish her hair, it is a glory to her; for her hair is given to her for a covering." We don't veil ourselves because of some "primordial" sense of feminine shame; we are covering our glory so that He may be glorified instead. We cover ourselves because we are holy -- and because feminine beauty is incredibly powerful.

Now, think of what else was veiled in the Old Testament -- the Holy of Holies!

Hebrews 9:1-8
The former [Old Covenant] indeed had also justifications of divine service and a sanctuary. For there was a tabernacle made the first, wherein were the candlesticks and the table and the setting forth of loaves, which is called the Holy. And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the Holy of Holies:

...The Ark of the Old Covenant was kept in the veiled Holy of Holies. And at Mass, what is kept veiled until the Offertory? The Chalice -- the vessel that holds the Precious Blood! And, between Masses, what is veiled? The Ciborium in the Tabernacle, the vessel which holds the very Body of Christ. These vessels of life are veiled because they are holy!

And who is veiled? Who is the All Holy, the Ark of the New Covenant, the Vessel of the True Life? Our Lady -- and by wearing the veil, we imitate her and affirm ourselves as women, as vessels of life.
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Old Jul 13, '12, 5:42 pm
thewanderer thewanderer is offline
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Default Re: What is the point of the veil?

Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkLight View Post
I think this is the issue honestly...I feel like a lot of the emphasis on motherhood, the way I hear it, ends up being degrading towards women's other talents, and towards women that are childless of either necessity or choice (I am both) - and frequently degrading towards fathers who are treated as less important. Make no mistake, I think motherhood is a wonderful thing, but I think any time we take one aspect of human existence and make it a defining characteristic it becomes degrading. It's just like men are degraded by being defined by their careers and ability to make money - there is great honor in holding down a job and providing for your family, but we make the mistake of making it central to being a man. Just like making motherhood central to being a woman degrades the fullness of our human experience.

I had a thread a while back, where I commented that I felt out of place and unwelcome as a single, career-focused woman in church. I've been thinking that over. The issue I have is that I feel that I am seen as a woman first, and with my other qualities second. This isn't the way of it for my male friends. The best way I can put it is it's the desire to be seen as an intelligent person and not just an intelligent woman. Again, I don't consider being female to be itself lesser or degrading - but I think it becomes such when it is taken to define women as persons. Particularly since like I said I feel it is often defined over against the male in a way that men are treated as "normal people" and women as "special people" - even if the language speaks of women as sacred or precious, it is still wrong to set us apart from humanity that way.

Put it this way. I love my mother. I appreciate the sacrifice she put in as a stay-at-home mother and homeschool parent, to my life. But I would be angry at anyone that spoke of that as who she was - and I think she would as well. I think she's struggling now because our community did define her as a "mother", and it is hard to let that role assume a lesser place in her life now that she doesn't have a child nearby. I think the church helped her forget that she is intelligent, that she completed a graduate math degree in a time and place where many people assumed women weren't capable of that, that she's a determined person with a strong sense of right and wrong and the ability to effect change...all these things. These are all her, not just the fact that she is a mother. The one should not be greater than the others, but all should be in subservience to what is right.

Just for clarity: I am not ashamed of being a woman, but I do not think it defines who I am. I think any theory that does not start with "we are all human" and mind that as its center will inevitably degrade someone.
I think you are right that there are some Catholics who hold a fundamentalist understanding of the passages in Paul about both veiling and submission etc, but it really is true that not all do, and I would say it is, thankfully, only a small minority.

You are right in saying that it is wrong to define the very being of a woman by her femininity, and it is definately something to be avoided, however there is nothing wrong with acknowledging ones femininity as a part of oneself and as a good thing. I realize that once you've been burned by an extreme position on something it can be very hard to view it in any light besides that of the extreme position, which is why it is hard for you to see women in Church veiling even when they are not defining their very being as "woman" in so doing. It is the same thing with modesty, though I definately agree that far too often people put all the emphasis on making sure that women follow rule x,y, and z with respect to clothing, and that its not a good thing to do so. What can you expect, Catholics are human too, the Church on earth is not a community of saints but rather a hospital for the sick, a place to help those with faults and failings perfect themselves. Just please do realize that whatever you read online and even possibly encounter from some in the parish, the Church herself does not hold this extreme fundamentalist view of women, yet She still sees the tradition of veiling as something permissable and good, for those who desire to follow it. It will probably be hard for you see that fine line where it can cross from an extreme practice into a useful and beautiful tradition, but it does exist. This is coming from someone who doesn't veil personally, but who can understand it when others do. I hope this is helpful for you.
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Old Jul 19, '12, 8:46 am
anilorak13ska anilorak13ska is offline
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Default Re: What is the point of the veil?

I apologize if I'm repeating something someone else said, as I only skimmed through. I was also originally very distracted and put off by women wearing mantillas. I thought they were coming across as "holier than thou".

Well, I have now been covering for church for a year and a half, though with scarves, snoods, hats, and not mantillas (though I think I'd like to try one). What appealed to my sensibilities is how in Scripture, things that are holy are veiled - the Holy of Holies in the OT, Moses veiled his face after seeing God, the Tabernacle is "veiled" in that the Eucharist is hidden in it. The idea is that women too are a special tabernacle, if you will, of God's presence, in a way different from men. Therefore, we veil what is special - not to hide it because it's not worth seeing, but just the opposite - veiling it makes it that much more special when it is unveiled.

I hope that makes sense. And while we are equal before God for sure, we are definitely different nonetheless, with men and women being called to different ways of expressing our faith. Men are to remove their head gear in church, though I know some men who practically live in their baseball caps, and it's an effort and sign of obedience for them to remove it in church, especially if they're self-conscious about balding.

I think the reason less is said about men's clothing choices is that generally in society, there's less attempt by men to expose their bodies immodestly. For formal affairs, men wear tuxes - automatically modest. Informally, even if they wear shorts, they're generally baggy and come to the knees at least. I think a man wearing a tanktop to church ought to be asked to cover up, no different than a woman showing her midriff, let's say.

So I think what you're observing there is more of a societal tendency for men to already dress more modestly (minus the ridiculous trend of some youth to show their underwear and pull their pants below the buttocks ), while women are encouraged everywhere in the media that less is more.
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