A Protestant Woman at Tridentine Mass

If she went to observe it, should she cover her head? If she covered her head, does that in some way imply that she is Catholic? If she doesn’t cover her head, is that offensive?



Hi Tina-

The closest Tridentine Mass to my home is three hours away, so I’ve only gone once, although I wish I could go every week. At the Mass we attended only about half the women were covered (I was surprised more women weren’t covering!). I wouldn’t think people would be offended if you came to observe but didn’t cover, but I guess it would depend on the parish and whether or not everyone did it. Others who attend a Latin Mass every week, might be more helpful on that note…

…but I wanted to write in to say that you might feel more comfortable if you wore a hat. Then you would be covered, but in a way found in quite a few cultures and religions (my husband always points out to me that the women with Irish heritage where he was from always wore hats instead of chapel veils, even in his mom and grandmother’s generation).

I love winter because it’s a lot more common to wear hats, so it doesn’t stand out as much (then again I attend a parish where I’m the only one who covers!).

People might think that you’re Catholic just because you’re there (people thought that I was Catholic before I converted when I attended Mass with my husband, just because I was in attendance regularly) but that shouldn’t really be a problem. I only heard that later after I’d joined the Church, when someone told me they were surprised to see me at RCIA because they’d thought I was Catholic.

I hope this helps a little! You’ll probably get lots of good answers here.

Well I have never attended a TLM, but I’ve looked into going once. The parish website specifically stated that women must cover, and if you didn’t have something that a head covering would be provided for you. So if the church where you are looking to go has a website, maybe check it to see if they have a set in stone rule like that.

The Latin Mass I attend up in Pittsburgh (when I am there) requires no head covering. If it is NOT a dioceasian approved group however, you might encounter that.


Love your tagline!

Good point - maybe the website has something. Thanks.


Thank you!


You could always purchase an inexpensive chapel veil or borrow one and leave it in your purse or pocket until you get there, and see if all of the other ladies are covered, and then just slip it on. Being veiled in a Catholic Church doesn’t mean that you are Catholic, just that you have respect for our custom (thank you!) for women to cover their heads while in the church. No one would really be offended if you didn’t, but you would really stand out if everyone else was, and that might cause some uncomfortable, curious attention. I hope you find the expirence worthwhile and have someone with you who can walk you through it. :signofcross:

There’s no church requirement that you wear a hat or veil, but if you bring a scarf you can use it if most of the women are wearing something, just to feel more comfortable.

I’ve been to TLM at two different places and about half the women had their hair covered.
It is a good idea to have something in case there is an requirement, just so you don’t feel uncomfortable by sticking out.

Tina, most women going to either a Catholic or a Protestant church back when I was growing up in the 50s wore hats. In fact, there were far more hats worn than veils until the 60s when hats went out of fashion.

My mother used to keep a bobby pin and a clean handkerchief in her purse in case she had to go into church. Beanies were de rigeur for Sis way back when even until high school. (All you young ladies can thank your luck stars that that is gone!).

I’ve not noticed that it is a requirement here in Baton Rouge or down in New Orleans. I certainly don’t wear a suit and a tie (although I don’t dress casually - i.e. jeans). So, if necessary, a clean handkerchief and a bobby pin was good enough way back when so it should be good enough now.

Tina, don’t worry about a head covering implying anything. Many more Protestants wear head coverings now than Catholics. I suggest researching the reason for covering then deciding what you are most comfortable with.


Thank you for the answers.


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