Hats on in Church

There was a woman yesterday at our Saturday vigil Mass and she had on a sunhat the whole time. I didn’t pay attention whether or not she went to receive communion with it on. but the father kept looking at her but maybe she guessed he was just making eye contact during the homily. I was asking my Lord for forgiveness for judging her for having the hat on. Maybe she had a reason for having it on, but maybe not. Was it okay? or did I sin by not telling her that it is not just inappropriate but disrespectful to have it on especially during Mass and especially during consecration.

Because it is our job as a Church to not just announce the Good News but denounce those who do things against it, the Church and God.

Any Th0ts? :smiley:


Wait a minute. There is nothing wrong with a woman wearing a hat in church. We HAD to wear head covering at one time and when that law was abrogated it just meant we didn’t have to wear head covering not that we mustn’t wear it. Head covering was anything from a sun hat/Easter bonnet to a mantilla to a kerchief to a kleenex in an emergency.

Perhaps ThOt is making a joke?

What the hat so big it was a nuisance? Women can and often do wear head coverings in church . While the law was abrogated the practice was not officially condemned .

First, as stated before, women wearing a head covering during Mass is not an incorrect practice. Second, even if it was an incorrect practice, it would not be a sin to ignore it and not correct her.

Unless it was huge and covered with decorations enough so that it was a distraction, I don’t see the problem.

or she may simply be wearing a hat in church because she was raised that way, in a long centuries old tradition of women wearing a hat or other head covering in church, which ceased to be a required discipline only within the last 30 years or so.

where on earth did you come up with the idea that women are not allowed to wear hats in church?
and where did you come up with the idea that it is somehow your duty, under pain of sin, to correct others in their trivial actions and choices of daily life?

May I suggest to all of us that we remember our focus in Mass should always be on the action of the altar and the sacrifice taking place there and on the One who is and who offers the sacrifice. That attention should be so profound and our participation be so intense that we have absolutely no leisure for noticing what others are wearing, their gestures and postures, their language, or their reception (or not) of communion.

Bless your heart, what a wonderful post! Thank you for the good reminder!

I was raised Protestant, and I am old enough to remember when almost every woman or girl wore a hat to church. Women, other than military, have never been required by etiquette to remove their hats, even when the flag goes by. In the past, it would have been impossible for many women to remove their hats, as many women wore hatpins that essentially stuck the hat onto their hair! Not removing our hats is one of the little things that makes us different than men. Perhap in this age of androgynous clothing, this little difference has been forgotten.

Wonderful post, as always.

I suspect that many people have simply forgotten that customs for women’s hats in public places are different from men’s. It’s not just a church thing, women are almost never required to remove their hats. Men are in most enclosed public or private spaces, but not elevators and it is ok to have them on in large transitional spaces like a foyer.

One situation where women are supposed to remove hats is a theater or movie if the hat is large enough to block the view. This could be applied in church too, I think, as a matter of courtesy.

Ie. the kind of thing that you swear that Carmen Miranda would wear, also known as, in the words of a Nun-in-training friend of mine, “a big, weird hat”.

Forgive me if I sounded ignorant. It’s because it was usually a bigger hat than usual and honestly did look distracting. Even some people in the back pews were saying “Oh my gosh she’s wearing a big hat, and inside Church.” :frowning: I did not mean to sound offensive.

And it’s true that our main focus should be on the altar and I am trying to do that (Though it really is hard!) My mom looks around to see if any people walk away with the host without having consumed Him. (it has happened a couple of times)

I don’t know what u mean by trivial actions but at my formation classes they have taught us that if our brethren is doing something that isn’t right, to correct them, just as it says in the bible. because we are to preach and give testimony with our lives also just as Christ did.

To preach the truth, in truth.

Forgive me if I made u upset or if I offended u.


One must use charity and appropriateness when making fraternal corrections. It would not have been best for you to do it but for a woman friend of her’s to make the correction if it indeed needed correcting.Or for a message in the bulletin or during the announcements if it becomes an repetitive issue.We tell the truth in love . Just because people made comments it doesn’t mean that an action is wrong. If a woman wears a mantilla here at my parish you might hear people making comments. The behavior of the woman wearing the mantilla is not wrong but the commentators behavior is wrong especially inside the church.

I’m glad you are participating in your thread.

I’m not sure how old you are, but that is something to keep in mind too. It isn’t always appropriate for someone younger (not an adult) to correct someone older - there are exceptions of course, but it is a good general rule to follow. Even if the younger person is correct, it doesn’t always meet with the most useful response.

In a case like this, if the hat was in the way, it might ave just been best for a friendly person who knew the lady to say - I think your hat might have been blocking some people from seeing. She probably just didn’t realize.

Also, sometimes ladies hats aren’t really a distraction because they are big and weird, but just because we are not that used to ladies fancy hats any more. In a similar way, a visitor from a far away place in unusual clothing might be noticed without there being anything actually wrong about the clothing. In that case it’s a problem of the people being distracted, who just need to let it go if it really bothers them. (Just because they noticed it doesn’t mean it bothered them or really distracted them in any important way.)

The woman in question really did not commit some serious infraction as many posters have indicated that it is certainly correct for a woman to wear a hat (or some other headcovering) in church.

What is most troubling is when a man wears a cowboy hat during the entire Mass, let alone inside church. This happened a couple of months ago at the Cathedral during a Quince Anos celebration that took place within the context of the anticipated Sunday Mass. This was particularly bad and distasteful. He was also the father of the honoree. The administrator, in my opinion, should have said something. I was on the verge of correcting the man, but, he was too far away from me.

I didn’t read the thread, so I hope I’m not reiterating anything.

It has always been appropriate for ladies to keep a hat on or some other kind of headcovering whether it is in church or some other enclosed building. Only in recent decades have women not worn hats or headcoverings often. Now, with my age group, you might see some young women wear baseball caps, but that’s about it and I’m not sure if baseball caps would fall within the same line of thought as a hat to wear to match your outfit or coat or a headcovering for mass.

Some history…
In the past, hats, caps, veils, etc. were part of the outfit a woman wore. This was so much a part of their entire ensemble that women would base their hairstyles according to the hats and headcoverings of the time. In fact, some hairstyles looked fairly strange without the head piece to compliment it. There were many reasons for wearing any kind of head coverings at all times. One was to show modesty and chastity, especially earlier on, when only prostitutes and loose women left their heads uncovered. This was the train of thought at least through the 18th century. I’m an 18th century re-enactor and unless we want to portray a loose woman, we have to wear some kind of headcovering - hat, cap, lace that looked like a doily, etc. Another major reason was to help keep the hair “cleaner”. People didn’t wash that often and you could go for months without washing your hair. So, to keep your hair from being covered too much in dirt and dust, especially if you were a poorer person who worked a lot, wearing a hat or something kept the dirt off your hair more. Then there was the religious practice through the centuries and having your head covered while in church or synogogue. Also, as time went on, single, young women could go about with their heads uncovered to show their availability and virginity, but once they were married, they always had to wear something over their heads. Anyway, those are just some reasons.

Through the centuries, people worked these different hats and headcoverings into their fashions so that it would become part of their entire outfit and look attractive. The creation of hats for all sexes in a millinery was just as important as the design of the clothing themselves. It would not be unusual to be at a social event or at a church, etc. and see a sea of women with huge hats on to match their Sunday best or other nice clothing. Although, if you were in an enclosed building, proper etiquette of the time would dictate that the men would have to take off their hats. Women were never required to do so - maybe because of the throwback to the modesty issue and then later on with the fashion of the day. I know that when I’ve looked at old photos of my grandmother, great-grandmother and other women of their time, the women even then had matching hats or veils for their Sunday best. But today, fashion does not require one to wear a hat or other kind of headcovering to complete. In these times, people also no longer associate a bare head with a loose woman. Better hygiene does not require people to cover their heads to keep out the dirt and many women no longer cover their heads when they attend mass.

So, that all said, it may be that your eyes and the eyes of many others today (including myself) are just not used to seeing women in nice hats anymore. So, when someone does see a woman with a large hat, he/she will immediately be drawn to it. I sometimes would attend mass at a church in the city where you will see a number of women wearing some very beautiful, large hats. When I first went there, I was caught off-guard because I just wasn’t used to it and some were not just sunhats. They were some decorative ones. After the first couple of times, though, you barely noticed them at all - unless you were sitting right behind it and had to bend your head to see the altar. :stuck_out_tongue:

Yes, an interesting question - if a woman is wearing a baseball cap, which rules should she follow? What about other men’s styles of hat?

My gut feeling is that the baseball cap should come off even if a woman is wearing it. But I am conditioned by the army to take hats off in such places since they have the same rules for both sexes, so my instinct may be misguided.

I wonder what Miss Manners says?

I just looked up some info on Miss Manners and her opinion on whether women would need to take their baseball caps off during the National Anthem at a sports game, like men would. Miss Manners opined that because baseball caps were traditionally a male head covering a woman could NOT “claim the ladies’ exemption.” Thus, she believed that women would have to remove their baseball cap. So, I would assume, like you, that in all situations, like in church and so forth, they would have to remove the cap. On the other hand, if the lady wore a traditional ladies’ hat, like a formal hat of some sort, she would not be expected to take it off.

For men’s styles, though, it was always customary to remove their hat no matter what. Also, we have to remember that most men’s hats were much easier to remove (no hat pins, ribbons and fancy hairstyles to maneuver around.) Not to mention, for much of the westernized culture, there wasn’t that old idea that a man would be considered loose or a prostitute if his head was uncovered, unlike women. That said, Miss Manners did make the exception that in Orthodox and Conservative Jewish congregations men also must have their heads covered with a yulmulke as a sign of respect. THAT, I should have known since my first voice teacher was a Jewish cantor and she and the rest of the men and women always had to cover their heads whenever they entered the synogogue and had headcoverings at the door for those who forgot. I had to wear them too whenever I’d go with her to watch her teach chant and Hebrew to the children.

I would have to look up Miss Manner’s words myself to refresh my memory but I seem to recall her answering a question from a reader about the matter of women removing baseball caps which differed from what you report here. But it was not specifically asking about the National Anthem at sporting events so that may be the reason why.

What I remember reading was that Miss Manners made a distinction between women who wear baseball style caps as part of a team uniform and those that wear such caps to compliment non-team fashions. She stated that women who are dressed in a uniform have to follow the same rules as men do about when to remove hats. But women who wear caps for the purpose of fashion get to keep them on indoors when a man wouldn’t.

In the case of sporting events it may be that a cap is presumed to carry some kind of sports connotation even if the cap does not relate to the teams competing in the event.

I wonder, are Muslim men supposed to keep their heads covered? It seems to me in pictures of men in mosques they always seem to.

In an elavator is another time men are NOT supposed to remove their hats.

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