Hats worn by men at Masses held outside?


I was always under the impression that lay men removed their hats for Mass and inside church buildings. I was watching the Pope’s outside Mass on EWTN (the one for families), and noticed many men and boys wearing hats or baseball caps in St. Peter’s Square at the Mass. I even noticed when my parish held its annual outside Mass with a potluck/picnic following it that some men and boys had their baseball caps on their heads.

Does that rule apply for Masses held outside of a building no matter if its a papal Mass or even a diocesan parish Mass held outside as part of their annual parish picnic?


Interesting question. :slight_smile: I’m not sure if there’s an official answer or if it’s simply a matter of cultural etiquette. I would rather err on the side of not wearing a hat at Mass – even if outdoors. Of course, that’s easy for me because the only time I wear a hat is when I’m cutting the grass or playing baseball. :stuck_out_tongue:

As for seeing it at a Papal Mass, I would say that not everyone at a Papal Mass is necessarily going to be that concerned about dressing appropriately. There are many tourists mixed in with the pilgrims.


My guess is that if you are at an outdoor Mass in Italy a hat is probably a necessity for sun protection, especially for men who are balding.


Good point. Sunscreen is hard to apply into thinning hair. :o


If Dante were with us today, I’m convinced that there would be a special circle of Hell reserved for those who wear ball caps in inappropriate settings - whether outdoor Masses, indoors at church, parent meetings at school, restaurants, school concerts – it’s a plague of Biblical proportions.


My understanding is that, in general, men and boys should remove their hats during Mass. However, in the case of weather issues (e.g. VERY sunny day, pouring rain) I think it would be acceptable to wear a hat or a hood.

In terms of St. Peter’s, I am not sure about the square, but I’m pretty sure that in the basilica itself there is a dress code. Ladies, for example, are required to wear a skirt or a dress - they are not allowed to wear pants.


Pants are permitted for women. The rule is no shorts, bare shoulders, or miniskirts.




The dress code is for the basilica, not the square. I’m not sure if that would change for a papal Mass or not as you have to go through security to be in the square for a papal Mass, but you don’t have to do so ordinarily.

I’m not sure the dress code says anything about hats, though.


Women are allowed to wear pants.




I have several hats. I wear one frequently when I am out and about.

Inside a Church (or indoors in general), I take my hat off.

Outside, I leave it on.



Well, priests and bishops can wear hats liturgically, so there is not a 100% prohibition on hats in Mass. The Knights of Columbus in regalia wear chapeaus which they doff ceremonially during the consecration.

My parish has a Corpus Christi procession in June when the sun is particularly punishing and I wear a wide floppy hat throughout the summer to protect my sensitive skin. For the procession, I liberally add sunblock, and I doff my hat when the priest/deacon prays and when Benediction is given. I never heard any complaints.


Well that excludes out Scottish brothers which is probably why the sound of bagpipes will never be heard there.


The custom of men removing their hats as a sign of respect and women covering theirs is just that, a custom. And it is not even a custom at nearly the same level as it used to be. When men do wear hats and remove them when coming inside or at Mass, it is a wonderful way for them to show respect, but that doesn’t mean that those who do not follow this custom or who weren’t raised with it are doing anything wrong or being disrespectful. If it were more common and ingrained in our society then I can see how it could be problematic, but not as things are today. :shrug:


What about grown men who wear shorts to the OF? What is going to happen to them?


I wouldn’t worry about Dante. He was a fiction writer.


My father wears a ball cap. He removes it when going to church for sure and when the national anthem is played at sporting events as an example. Most of the time at other places, he is wearing it and no one is offended. If someones says please remove it, he does.


Can we get that sign for every diocesan church in my city!!


As a rule, men do not wear hats during church because they represent Christ. It is traditional, however, for women to wear headcoverings because this is a sign of submission to their husbands, as the Church submits to Christ. Also, traditionally a woman’s long hair is her glory, so women cover their glory so as not to detract from the glory of God. It is a sign of humility.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.