Mantilla at Mass for Year of St. Paul and for obedience

Pope Benedict XVI is expected to declare a “Year of St. Paul” tomorrow, on the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, at the Church of St. Paul Outside the Walls in Rome (where Paul’s body was found within the last year). Paul is the Scripture writer who called for women’s heads to be covered during Mass, and even though all the social norms and even church expectations have changed since his time, and since Vatican II. The next year is a wonderful time to honor St. Paul by wearing a mantilla or other head covering to Mass. That is not because we are less than men, but because we have a special way to honor the Lord. Also, there is so much liberal activism by women who are angry that the church doesn’t (and won’t) ordain women to the priesthood, that it is hard for a woman to distinguish herself as not being in that activist group. A mantilla in this coming year is a way to say also that I fully accept the church’s teaching on the male priesthood. Those are the two reasons I plan to wear a mantilla, with a commitment just for a year.

It has always been distressing to me that so many pro-abortion women expect all women to agree with them, and I have been approached often with that expectation, grinding the converstion to a halt when I say, “I am a Catholic; I am pro-life.” Wearing the little hands or feet pin says the same thing, and when I wear it I am also making a relevant statement to other women who assume differently. I hope wearing the mantilla will also be seen as a statement that I am not campaigning for women to be ordained, and will be in solidarity with Vatican teachings, visually expressed. The place I expect to encounter the most negative reaction will be at a Motherhouse where I sometimes attend Mass, with retired nuns in street garb. They held an open meeting a few months ago to explore what else can be done for the ordination of women. Will be interesting.

Anyway, these are my thoughts…and I am wondering what others think.

Good for you. As a trad, I whole heartedly agree.

But if you are going to volunteer to do this…be consistent. Don’t wear a mantilla according to St. Paul and then also volunteer to be a Reader. Don’t embrace his head-covering precept and then just ignore the Don’t Speak Before the Assembly rule.

I already cover my head for Mass and Adoration, so it won’t be a change for me. But I hope that you will continue the practice, not just because you wanted to make a statement, but because you truly believe why you should do it in the first place.

I suspect that after a year of covering your head that you will feel “naked” without it. :wink: But that’s only my prediction. I know I felt that way after only a few weeks.


The reader comment is true.

If women do this, part of wearing the mantilla is not to call attention to yourself. By being a reader/EMHC/etc. and wearing the mantilla, you will be calling extreme attention to yourself.
Just a thought.

I think it’s a lovely idea. I have been wanting to try wearing a veil, as a sign of respect for God and the Church. So, perhaps this a good time to start! :slight_smile:

Only two women in my parish of 1000 (around 700 who activily attend regular Mass) wear the Mantilla and they receive more stares and negative comments then the teengirls who were mini skirts. :frowning:

Some interesting discussion on this thread, but part of it confuses me. And I am looking for the biblical references alluded to, please. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 11:5 “but any woman who prays or prophesies with her head unveiled dishonors her head–it is the same as if her head were shaven.” In those days, prostitutes shaved their heads and loose women went out in public with their heads uncovered. Clearly Paul didn’t want questions or disturbances about the character of a woman in the Christian Community. But his incuding “prophesies” would seem to refer to more than quiet private prayer. There is an expectation there of speaking in community, isn’t there? And we have other references, for example, in ACTS, where Priscilla and Aquila call Apollos aside to instruct him. And in Romans, Paul calls Priscilla and Aquila his helpers in Jesus Christ, implying some role of prominence for Priscilla.

We also have to be careful about interpreting 1 Timothy 2:12… The RSV disturbingly says “I permit no woman to teach or to have authority over men; she is to keep silent.” However, the use of the plural of “men” is seemingly not justified here. The Greek “gune” for woman and “aner” for man are both in the singular. Moreover, the word for wife and husband is exactly the same. Given the following verse about Adam and Eve, the better translation would seem to be “I do not permit a wife to teach or have authority over the husband…” And this would be understandable for many socio-political reasons. It is a big jump from this to not allowing women to lector or be EMHC’s…

SO–I can’t see the inconsistency with Paul in having a woman lector. Paul seems to be saying that a woman shouldn’t pray, prophesy (or lector) without the head covering…so wouldn’t lectoring with a mantilla at Mass be MORE accommodating of Paul’s position?

I also think it is important to differentiate from the take of “calling attention” to oneself or “making a statement”. We ARE called to witness to our faith…why does a show of reverence and respect get negative comments? Seems like it says more about the person offering the negative comments than the person it is directed toward.

Anyway, I will celebrate Paul this year with a mantilla, but I don’t yet see the need to give up lectoring to do so. And getting up and leaving my mantilla in the pew seems like I am saying I shouldn’t be wearing it, that I’m not being consistent…but I’d like to hear more comments too.

I personally couldn’t care less if people have issues with me covering my head at Mass. I consider it as much of a private devotion as the little old ladies who wear the massive crosses or fifteen medals around their necks, or those who always have a rosary wrapped around their hand, no matter what they are doing. I don’t look at them as strange, only devoted. And those who DO think them strange are just hung up on their own discomfort.


I think the witness you set would outweigh the scandal you cause by calling attention to yourself…

It could also set an example for other women in the parish to demonstrate that women who are an active part of the Mass, and not just traditionalists, have taken the custom back. (shrug) I don’t see anything wrong with a veiled woman reading Scripture; it may help to normalize the practice.

I haven’t served as a lector in years, so I don’t know what I’d do now that I do veil. Perhaps I’d use something more discreet than my usual mantillas, like a hat or wide headband.

I have been wearing a Jewish headcovering (skullcap) for the past few weeks. My husband likes it and I’ve had a lady who always wears a hat asked me were I got. It gives me the feeling of being “covered” yet it doesn’t call attention like a hat or mantilla and is very easy to wear. I ordered a white one that has lace and beads - they are really very simple to make and I plan on crocheting a few a different colors. I will continue to wear this in the future and I will wear it when I get to go back to LA church when I get to move back and it is opened and I hope to resume my ministries with no problems. :signofcross:

If you joined them then there would be three.:thumbsup:

I also wear the prayer caps. I have them in black, white and cream. They are so easy to make and look real nice. When not at Mass I wear mostly snoods. Many people that see me ask about them and why I wear them. It is a great way to talk about the Faith.

I think it’s very nice, but I am a little confused why you would only do this for a year. Perhaps, as the other poster suggested, you will feel strange without a veil (or hat) after a year.

The way I see it, veiling for women is much more than an outward symbolic thing. It’s a reflection of a particular mindset. That mindset, for me and for all those who I know who wear head covering, is that women should not be on the altar at all, including as a lector. But I encourage you in this, because you are really honoring Our Lord by doing so.

This is what really troubles me, however:

They held an open meeting a few months ago to explore what else can be done for the ordination of women.

:eek: Where is the outcry? I don’t know how many times I have been accused of thinking myself “more Catholic than the Pope” for holding on to traditional practices! Does anyone dare use that label for “nuns” such as this?

Not many women in my parish wear one either. They get stares, but I don’t think they got any negative comments.

I would just feel awkward wearing one, because I never did.

Of course not–they are far, far less Catholic than the Pope.

I would also like to wear a head covering. When I wear the mantilla, I get all kinds of stares. Maybe a skull cap would not bring so many angry stares. Where do you get them? I am totally untalented in crochet, so it is impossible for me to make them. Could you advise? And is it necessary for the hair to be covered totally, as I imagine skull caps would not do this. Thanks for your response.

Search online for “chapel cap.” You do not need to cover all of your hair, just have something on your head.

Or some other hat, cap, beret or some such. I’d love to wear hats but my head is just too darn big :stuck_out_tongue:

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