Head Covering During Mass


I’ve been trying to convince my wife that she ought to cover her head in Church, but of course she won’t. Some have pointed out that head coverings for women in Church is an old custom that is no longer necessary.

Given that, I’ve decided that as long as women refuse to cover their heads in Church, I’m going to begin wearing a hat in Church. If women can change the custom, so can I.

Incidentally, one day one of our priests left the alter, walked down the aisle and told a man to remove his hat, but I’ve never heard of a priest telling women to cover their heads. Go figure.


There is a lot of pressure for women not to wear headcoverings from feminist women and progressives. It also is not the style of the times, unfortunately we have conformed to the style of the times instead of seeking every way to possibly obey God’s will.
It is not required according to some interpretations of the omission of the requirement from the new code of canon law, so each of us has our own personal concience to follow.

I am asking my wife right now why she doesn’t, and she said “I don’t know why I do not.”

After pushing her for a Catholic answer instead of evading the question. (I can do this as we talk about religion a lot and both don’t like the evasive answers we get from cafeteria catholics)
She says…
“I am going to buy a veil in Mexico and start wearing it in a few weeks”, the reason she doesn’t wear one now is that she doesn’t have one, and grew up in a culture which doesn’t encourage women to do this sort of thing.
We have a couple from my kids school, but none for my wife.

In Christ


Hey, guys, I have been covering my head for mass and adoration for about 3 years. There is a lot you can read on the Internet about it.

I started as a Lenten discipline. Now I offer it for the many sacrileges against the Holy Eucharist due to immodest dress. I am the ONLY woman I ever see with a veil, though there is one lady who is a EMC who wears a straw hat most Sundays.

Two places you can get veils without having to go to Mexico are www.modestyveils.com and www.haloworks.com


You can’t “make’ your wife wear a headcovering during Mas. Just as God cannot 'make” you follow His will; you and she both have the great gift of free will, which is part of the foundation of your inherent dignity, and it will not be contradicted.

You have to make that choice.

I usually wear a head covering during Mass, but it is not the custom here so if it seems inapprpriate (ie: when I am sitting with the RCIA class, etc), I won’t do it. I wear it in adoration, usually.

I am all for this devotion, for now, in America. it is considered to be a private devotion. Leave your wife alone. If she is called to this devotion, she will do it. If you hound her, she will simply ignore you and she will acquire a bad taste for the devotion for she will not be allowed the freedom to choose it according to God’s call and her own will. Do not allow your voice to drown out God’s gentle call…God will hold you responsible for that.


This should really be moved to the Traditional Catholic threads. You’ll get more advice there.

I would not try to make your wife wear anything to which she is not inclined. **She is not obligated to do so under canon law. **It is really between God and your wife, not your wife and you.

If you choose to wear a hat in church, that is apparently your business.

If you feel this is important, why don’t you try praying so that God might move her toward such action?


It is his direct responsibility to be involved in his wife’s faith life, just as she is responsible to be holy to make him holy.

We really can’t do much for other people, but our spouses are our direct responsibility to maintain holy.

As some have interpreted, it is not required to have a headcovering, there has been absolutely no definitive statement from the Vatican stating this, just the omission from Canon Law.

So the more holy thing to do is to encourage her to wear a headcovering. It is the more holy thing to do.

Just like it is required that we go to confession at least once a year, I encourage my wife and I to go every month or two and it is my responsibility as a man to respect my wife and be involved in her relationship with God by bringing her closer to Him. Just like she is responsible to do the same, or reject the marriage vows of loving their spouse.

I see no requirement to pray with my family each day, yet what should I do? We cannot demand others to do so, but we shouldn’t use that as an excuse to be lax in our encouragement of sanctity.

In Christ


I am glad to hear you would not try to make my wife do anything. She’s my wife after all.

Of course I wouldn’t “make” my wife do anything. Although for her own good I have told her she cannot do certain things for her own good. I do have that authority in my house.

For example, my wife is very busy doing one thing or another for people. She just started a Bible study with another woman and my wife volunteered to pick up a woman, take her to the study and then drive her home, all on a day that is already very busy for her.

I told her that she could not do that. I also told her that if the woman had a problem with that, she could talk to me. I made that decision knowing that my wife rarely says no and that picking the woman up would only add more stress to her day.

Sometimes, for their own good, husbands must invoke their authority in the home. And sometimes wives need to keep quiet and trust that the Holy Spirit is working through their husbands.

And wear a covering in Church.


I wouldn’t push it with your wife about something like this. You don’t want to end up sleeping on the couch. :wink:

Wearing headcoverings is not a custom of our times and I see no reason to try to force your wife to wear one. I will sometimes wear a nice hat to Church, such as a stylish winter hat, but I wear hats in the winter. I see no reason to specifically wear a hat in church since it is no longer considered necessary Church ettiquette.


Everyone is missing the point.

It isn’t about forcing my wife to cover her head in church, it is about me being able to wear a hat in church.

If women’s head coverings in church is simply an outmoded ettiquette, and if husbands shouldn’t force their wives to do anything, then why can’t I wear a hat in church if I choose to?

As long as we are not forcing women to do stuff, then why should I be forced NOT to do something like wear a hat in church. Who knows, I may even set a trend.


I just do not understand your point.

Men do not wear hats indoors period. Especially in the house of God. What’s so difficult to understand? It’s disrespectful not to mention bad manors.

Totally different that a woman covering her head - how can one even compare the two?


Why are you making yourself out to be such a victim.:rolleyes:

FYI, I have, on occasion seen a man with a cap on at church. The custom regarding this is changing too I suspect. But not as dramatically as it has for women.

Did you know that if you go to a Jewish Synagogue, they hand out hats for all men to wear? Maybe you should go to a synagogue to worship?:wink:


You’ve obviously never been to a modern college campus, on which baseball caps and other hats are quite unremarkable during lectures, and students even eat and drink if they feel like it. You might also go to a run of the mill restaurant (medium “classy”) and see if you don’t find a boy eating his dinner with a hat on his head. I myself find especially the students’ behavior inappropriate, but the OP’s reasoning is very apropos - since all these rules of civility are in flux all the time, and the injunction against hats is particularly standing on its last legs if even that, why would you create a double standard that men have to observe an outmoded tradition or be branded disrespectful but women are entirely free to observe or not observe tradition in the same respect?


Really? I may be wrong but is the OP a college student trying to emulate campus life?

Is the OP a boy at a restaurant? Possibly with parents that are not correcting his hat wearing behavior?

Do we live with the manners we had when we were 5, 10 or 20 or do we try to evolve into genteel people with manners and respect as we age?

And the OP is NOT talking about wearing his cap at a social gathering - he is talking about wearing it at mass. Big difference.


So, in his frustration over not being allowed to wear a hat to church, he’s going to ‘pull rank’ on his lovely wife, and force her to wear a head veil? :rolleyes: Maybe he should go do a good deed instead, like give someone a ride to Bible study? :wink:

If he were my hubby, he’s be in the doghouse.:thumbsup:


That’s the impression I get also - though I have been known to be wrong.

Is that really how a man is supposed to use his authority as head of the household? :confused:


The OP isn’t at all frustrated about not be allowed to wear a hat in church. His point is that he doesn’t like the very reaction exhibited in this thread. A woman defies a long-time tradition for church decorum and it’s “her choice.” A man defies the complementary tradition and he’s a barbarian with no respect for God or society.

The point of other hat examples was not that children behave poorly, it was that the standard of behavior is indeed different. When I was 10 I never would have gotten away with wearing a hat in a classroom, now that I’m past 20 I could do it.


The Church, in her infinate wisdom, didn’t take too long to defer to the fashion preferances of us ladies by changing this mandate on headcoverings! :wink: I advise this OP to do the same! :mad: And, if his wife asks him “Honey, does this outfit make me look fat?”, his answer should be “You look beautiful as ever in it, dear wife!”. :thumbsup:


Woman who do not wear head coverings at church are not defying anything. Let’s be perfectly clear on that point lest we mislead folks.

Second, now that you are past 20, you should have learned that hat wearing at mass is not acceptable. It sounds like a temper tantrum stomping around screaming, “I should be able to wear a hat if I want! Women can so why can’t I? I’m a big boy now!”

All just to show the point that his wife should ( in his opinion) wear a head covering at church? Bullying his wife not leading her.

To the OP, I say - go ahead, wear that hat to church. Risk having the priest make mention of it by not displaying proper respect. Not something I would do just to make MY point - but have at it. We all have free will ( and so does the wife).


Personally, I would like to wear a head covering for our Lord. I wish everyone would. However, I’ve only seen maybe less than five women wear head coverings in all the masses I’ve attended in different parishes. Besides wearing it for Jesus, it is also supposed to be for modesty or humility. Therein lies the problem: it’s so rare now days that it would attract much attention. Some misinformed might even think it is an act of defiance or holier-than-thou. And I think that’s very sad, because it is after all, something that is humble and for our Lord. I think it would be absolutely wonderful, if in the near future, females would wear mantillas to mass. I hope it wouldn’t be done as a temporary “trend”, however. The connotation with the mantilla is that it is pre-vatican II, meant only for Latin masses, and not just ‘optional/not required’ but somehow unnecessary and not encouraged (although not discouraged either). Perhaps laity could use a little refresher on the mantilla, and a little encouragement too. Though it’s optional and not mandatory, it would be wonderful to learn from priests, bishops, etc why it is good to wear a mantilla and how it’s still okay. I wouldn’t be surprised if there are many people who don’t even know what a mantilla is, or even that we have the option to wear one, or the reasons for wearing one. I think it’ll just take a little more information to female laity about head coverings and encouragement that it’s okay to wear them… it would be a great help. God bless you for encouraging your wife, and may more husbands (including my husband!) encourage their wives all the same.

But please don’t wear a hat to mass. It’s disrespectful to God. :wink:


Let’s be slightly more clear than your perfection: uncovered women are not defying any positive law of the Church. They are however, defying many centuries of liturgical tradition, with roots dating back, if the Bible is a trustworthy source :rolleyes: , to Christianity’s infancy. That tradition, having as it does scriptural recommendation, is even stronger than the tradition of men uncovering their heads. Why, then, do you act as if the tradition for men is sacrosanct but the tradition for women is freely mutable?

Just as there is no canonical requirement that women cover, there is no requirement for men to bare their heads (outside of rubrics for ministers). And as the examples I offered seek to demonstrate, there are plenty of young people out there who simply have not inherited a culture in which wearing hats indoors - even in churches - is unacceptable. Yet when those young men and boys come into a church you propose browbeating them for breaking a norm of a culture which increasingly is not theirs, all the while saying that exerting pressure on women to conform to a tradition with actual biblical warrant is unthinkable.

Let’s try to make the cases equal - the rules regarding hats are only recently weakening, so let’s think ourselves back to 1965 (18 years, BTW, before women could legitimately stop covering their heads at Mass). We’re all under the mistaken impression that there is no longer any requirement that women cover their heads. Still, we know that socially it’s just disrespectful for her to attend Mass uncovered, just like the Romans won’t let an individual in shorts into one of their churches. Would you then say the woman was disrespectful for worshiping uncovered despite the lack of precept? If you would, then would you be okay with decades of disrespect resulting in a new norm? Would any one individual have been justified in breaking the cultural norm in the name of evolving standards? I think the answers to these questions need to be applied equally to the situation of men’s and women’s heads, and I think the fact that they are not is what the OP was trying to point out. Even if I’m wrong about the OP, I would still like to point out the double standard involved. And for the record, I never pressure my sometimes veiled wife to be more consistent with the practice.

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