Headcovering question- would this have cut it back in the day?

I saw on my favorite headcovering site that they carry very wide headbands and evidently consider these “coverings.” (Example: garlandsofgrace.com/products-page/one-of-a-kind/katherines-stretch-lace/ - this is not a Catholic site, by the way). I’m curious if wearing something like this would have “counted” as a proper covering “back in the day” when women were expected to cover in Church. Being a relatively young convert, I have no idea. I know now it isn’t required to cover at all and so one could wear something like this if they wanted without any qualms, but I’m curious about the more “old school” Catholic perspective. Any thoughts? Would YOU consider this an attempt at headcovering if you saw it on a woman in your parish?

I saw these too and were a little skeptical about their label as headcoverings. In my opinion, if you really want to go for a headcover, if you can see the hair then it doesn’t count. I remember reading somewhere (sorry, I can’t remember where…) that the glory of a woman is her hair (at least symbolically speaking) and so we should downplay that glory to point to God’s glory. Also, there’s nothing especially “evangelizing” about it… meaning, if I see a woman with a full veil then I see it as a sign of her faith. But if I saw one of those that you mentioned I would just think it’s a headband… :slight_smile:

Well, I am from “back in the day” and I would have had no objection to this head band being used as a head covering at church. Actually, I think it is very pretty.

Women would throw anything on their head in an emergency when entering a church - a hankie, a glove, etc. On Sunday, of course, one would try to look decent.

You say that it is now not necessary for women to cover their heads in church but that is not factually accurate. Vatican II never changed that rule. Just another of those misinterpretations.

I still cover my head when entering a church and always have.


You say that it is now not necessary for women to cover their heads in church but that is not factually accurate. Vatican II never changed that rule. Just another of those misinterpretations.\

**Not true.

There was a canon in the 1917 Code requiring women to cover their heads. For that matter, separate seating for men and women was also required.

This was NOT included in the 1983 code.

Furthermore, the latter has a canon specifically saying that the previous code is abrogated.

I’m not saying that women should NOT cover their heads. It’s a venerable custom, but the woman herself should be convinced of this.**

I don’t like your habit of replying to everything you disagree with in bold, so I see your bold and raise you underline.

Your response is flawed. The person to whom you are replying said that “Vatican II did not change that”, and she is right. The 1983 CIC is not Vatican II. The canon requiring women to cover their heads in church has indeed been removed from the code, and therefore women are not under the Latin codex required to do so, but the entire practice of the Faith is not codified in canons.

What an exhausting way to write. Is every word you deign to grant so important that it must be in bold?

I remember wearing headbads as a headcovering back then. I don’t even remember mine being that wide. We also wore large clip on bows as well.

Whether it was or was not included in the CIC of 1983 doesn’t seem to be germane. I recall that head coverings for women became optional at about the same time the “interim Missal of 1965” first appeared on the scene. Quite some time before the revised CIC. :hmmm:

Everytime someone asks a questions about a headcovering, the thread always ends in a debate…

I, thereby, hijack this thread back to original poster’s question.

I think that is a lovely headcovering. As long as you like and know the reason that you are wearing it, that’s all that matters.


However, I like this one better. :smiley: I have made myself a brown lace one and I purchased a black lace one from Devorah’s…I find that a large headband sticks out from my head too much…if that makes sense…

God bless, Dana

Have you ever seen a chicken with a blood spot on it in a chicken coop? Every other chicken will gang up on it until it is killed. Similar situation here. Just don’t make a misteak - oops.

Hmm yes, to answer the original question, I think it looks very nice.

However, I also believe that if one can find a more complete veil for Mass, it would be ideal to use that instead. As previous posters have said, women and girls used to stick any old things onto their heads when entering a church to fulfil the letter of the law.

Here though I think it is not so much the letter that interests you (since the law no longer binds) but the spirit, and I would argue that the spirit of a woman covering her hair is more public than private. When I see the link you posted, it looks to me like just another big hairband, rather than a head covering for Church. A chapel veil on the other hand reminds me why I am there, not to look at pretty girls but to give thanks to God for making them.

Anthony OPL

As I recall in pre-VII times the intent was to cover the crown of the head. I don’t know if that was required that way, or just what my many female relatives thought was required.

I’m a weird one on this… I cover my hair Mostly full time because of stripture verse about how God has given the hair. “As a covering” and that a women who is not vield while praying etc shames her head.(1:Corn 1:11) It is a sign of headship that a woman is submissive to God and her husband. Also Just because the Cannon law Doesn’t say anything about it in 1983 also doesn’t mean they said 'Not" to wear a veil. I think it is a personal decision left up to each woman and should prolly be discussed with her priest and husband if she has one. So I don’t See the point of pointing fingers at those who chose to or not it is on each person. I have been lead to do it others have not. I usually wear a scarf or bandana in my day to day life with a more facy Mantilla style one for Mass. I will Also say that in many other countries other than American Catholic still cover at least at Mass if not Full Time and our Orthodox Catholic sisters do very much as well as some other Christian Groups(Mennonite/Amish). I have two girls and I don’t require them to cover unless they want to because I feel it is an indivdual sacremental. Ok thats all I have to say about that.

I like a line from the most excellent graphic novel “Persepolis” (concerning the 1970’s Iranian Revolution) in which the main character questions the veil by saying “If woman’s hair incites lust in a man so that she has to cover it, why don’t men have to shave their beards?” I love it when women in my parish cover their heads, mostly because I am forced to reexamine my own piety and also because I’m a sucker for pretty patterns. Sometimes I wish humanity had developed a similar sense of men’s hair so that I could wear pretty coverings like that. :stuck_out_tongue: j/k Though sometimes I am jealous of all the fuss that’s made over women’s clothing. There was a time when women’s clothing was made to compliment men’s (ie, 16th and 17th centuries–those were some men’s outfits! :D)

I can’t speak authoritatively on the headband in the OP, because I was born about twenty years after Vatican II, but given that I remember my grandmother throwing a doily on her head when she realized her scarf wasn’t in her handbag (but there was a doily??? whaaa?) I would say that said headband would probably be acceptable. It has to have about twenty times the material that the stupid doily had.

In 1 Corinthians 11:1-16…
Read entire passage…This is a teaching that should be practiced among both men and women.It talks as much about a man having his head covered…(which he shouldn’t) and a woman being Veiled ,besides her natural hair which is a glory unto her.This whole concept deals with HEADSHIP. So by not following the scriptures,you are being in direct conflict with the Holy Spirit.Someone convicted of wearing the covering,and then another saying they are not convicted would make me want to ask the question…Does the Holy Spirit set out to confuse us?..Of Course not.We are to be in unity ,in One Spirit,.So if this is not the case,someone has a problem with submission and headship already with-in themselves,and should be dealt with according to scripture.The very first verse says IMITATE me,just as I also IMITATE CHRIST…!!! the Last verse of this whole concept say,there is no other custom,we shouldn’t argue over this,it is taught in every church Paul was sent to…(To wear a covering for the woman,and to NOT wear a covering for the man)…Its all about submitting to Christ and the God Head folks…Get it right,and draw closer to God in your obedience to His teachings.
I am not a Catholic,but do practice these teachings in the Church of God in Christ,Mennonite

I like this one


It looks sort of Amish! :slight_smile:

I was born in 1950and that is exactly what I would have worn in 1962 when I was about 12 years old, except that my hair was thick and curly and kind of bushy back then, and Sr. Anesia said I looked like a Zulu from the wilds of Africa. I wish I was kidding.

We wore beanies at school which certainly didn’t cover all our hair. In high school, we had berets the first year (65-66) but by the next year we almost never had Mass at school anyway and we wore chapel veils. WHITE chapel veils which were approprite for young ladies. Black chapel veils and mantillas were for adults only. Older teenager could wear mantillas, but they better be white.

We wore our Easter hats through the beginning of the school year. I had a couple doozies and I did like them. I never liked wearing a veil because it seemed like you were just putting any old thing on your head instead of a real hat. My mother’s family is Italian, and even in the Italian neighborhood women wore hats instead of veils of any type. I can’t imagine any of my old aunties in a mantilla. They all wore proper hats.

My sister and I had several hats that were decorated wire frames, pointy on the ends and wider in the middle. Most were covered with flowers but the best ones we had were covered in real mink. We had very pretty dresses that were cream colored brocade and had mink collars. These outfits were purchased for our cousin’s ordination and his brother’s wedding which were within weeks of each other. Mom was pregnant and her outfit was a maternity version of the same thing. We were darling.

Women did put just anything on their heads to go to Mass. When my sister was about 4, she walked down the street with me to go to the grocery store. Can you imagine sending your 4 year old and 8 year old daughters to the store alone? When we got to church, she said she wanted to see Baby Jesus, meaning the beautiful Infant of Prague statue in the glass case right inside the door. She wouldn’t take no for an answer, and I wouldn’t let her go in bareheaded. I plopped a couple big old maple leaves on our heads and took her in for a little visit. I was very relieved nobody saw us, at least nobody who knew our mother or grandmother. Now I think they’d have probably laughed about it, but at the time, I imagined our heads on a platter.

I am from ‘back in the day’ as well. No problem with this either. This covers as much as a little round chapel veil would. I have covered with little fancy hankies to a narrow long scarf thats for keeping your neck warm. As long as I had something on my head. Also nothing wrong with hats berets…snoods, bandanas, Doesn’t have to be a mantilla. It really surprises me that we have so many threads about what to cover with. If you are called to cover anything works from a hat to one of these wide head bands. So you don’t want to stick out? No matter what you do you’ll stick out because most women in church don’t put anything on their heads.

I cover my head at every Mass and Adoration. My personal opinion regarding the example in the OP is that a headband is not covering your head. I am not from “back in the day”, nor do I feel that what women wore previously is relevant today. Fashions are different today. I would no sooner wear a tiny little pillbox hat with a little veil on the front than I would a piece of tissue. If a woman is going to cover her head, then cover it. A hat, a scarf, a piece of lace (I refuse to use “chapel veil” or “mantilla” anymore, folks get all bunched up over semantics), or a bandanna. But whatever you do, make it special in accordance to what you are doing. There is not only the why, but the how that is important here. The why for women who choose to cover is extremely important, and I’m not going to go into that because those of us who do this know what I’m talking about - so there is no need to get off on tangents of “you are just trying to look pretty”. :rolleyes: (Yes, I’ve been through about a zillion of these headcovering discussions, can ya tell?)

But I do feel that what you cover your head with should be special, and should actually look like you are covering your head, not just making a symbolic attempt. We could get into all sorts of discussions about how covered is covered - can you see through the covering, is it long enough, blah blah blah. All I’m saying is that wearing a little headband that leaves the vast majority of your head exposed is not covering it.


I grew up “back in the day”. The times we were so lax as to have not brought a headcovering, Sister would hand us a paper towel and some bobby pins.

But to answer your question–the pic on the link is quite lovely and I’m thinking of several people who’d like one for Christmas!

This is the problem with looking at “back in the day” for any type of guidance on this topic. There were many women (notice I am not saying all) who only covered their heads because they were told they had to, and probably had no idea WHY they were supposed to cover. Today women are covering their heads because they WANT to, they understand why, and because they have a strong devotion to the practice. So looking at what women had on their heads 50+ years ago is not a good indication of what was going on in their hearts and minds with regard to this practice. Today it has become, for more and more women every day, a very pious and deep devotional practice. Something that is very personal between the woman and Christ on the altar. How she covers her head should at least try to come close to what she feels in her heart.


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