Meaning behind a veil?


#1

Recently, I have noticed the Women at my church are wearing Veils. I hadn't attended Mass in a couple of years (rough time, but I am on my way back), so I wasn't sure if something had changed. I asked some people, and have been assured that it is still not required. However, if it is something I believe in, I would love to partake.

I am confused, though, as to the meaning behind it. I know my mom despised wearing it as a child and that I never wore one (aside from 1st Communion and Baptism) I do have quite a few of the head coverings, though. I believe the oldest one is from my Great-great grandma. Have used them as part of "everyday" wear, kind of like a reminder of my family's love for me since I live so far away. While it was never specified to me that these are what they were, I now realize I have been wearing something "blessed and sacred" while I have bartended, played sports, etc. I now kind of feel bad for not keeping them put up in a proper place, especially to be kept for appropriate times.

I looked up the meaning behind the veil, and am just confused by it all. I understand it as a symbol or my obedience to God, but as a "modern women" I don't understand what is meant by the submission to my husband (which is where my mom had her problem with it). I have come across numerous articles advising against it. I am just trying to figure out if it is just misunderstood by my mom and these other women. I don't want to wear something if I don't entirely believe in it, because to me, I would be lying to myself, God, and the Church.

Can someone please guide me to a better understanding?


#2

I've written about it a bit and I'll try to explain. Hope this helps! (I'll start with the standard veil disclaimer: It's not required!).

In the beginning I’m not sure I could even articulate exactly why I felt called to cover. In truth, I’m not sure I can fully articulate it now. It was a strong, nagging feeling that kept on and on until I finally felt as if I were doing something wrong by ignoring the call (or at least not following where it lead, because ignoring it was pretty much impossible). Finally I set a date. This internal struggle went on throughout my first pregnancy and I finally made a deal with myself: I would cover when my daughter was born. And that is exactly what I did.

Now for my attempt at explaining the key points that stand out when I think of covering.

I veil as a sign of humility before God. It reminds me to do all that I can to submit to Him and it reminds me that He is there in the Blessed Sacrament.

I veil because it helps me focus on the Mass (at least as much as I can focus with my two lovely little distractions) and because to helps remind me to reset my focus when I’m distracted. It also helps me mentally set apart the time when I am at Mass from the rest of my life.

Now for a few of my favorite quotes by people who were able to say very eloquently much of what I’ve been trying to express here:

“A veil or head covering, is both a symbol and a mystical sacrifice that invites the woman wearing it to ascend the ladder of sanctity. When a woman covers her head in the Catholic Church it symbolizes her dignity and humility before God.”

-The Catholic Knight

“We veil as an act of humility before Our Lord, truly present in the Blessed Sacrament. To veil in church is to make visible what we believe in our hearts--that Jesus, true God and true Man, is present in the Blessed Sacrament in Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity... and that we desire to humble ourselves before Him.”

-Lily, The Catholic Wife

“Finally, we veil that which is sacred to God. Now, each woman has the potential for receiving life within her body. This power must not be used outside of the ordinances of God. In other words, a woman’s fruitfulness is reserved to God: “My sister, my spouse, is a garden enclosed, a garden enclosed, a fountain sealed up.”(Cant. 4:12) Furthermore, women are called to imitate Our Lady in a particular way and she was the living tabernacle of the Most High. Just as women bear life within their body, so the tabernacle on the altar holds He who is Life itself, “the bread which cometh down from heaven; that if any man eat of it, he may not die.”(John 6:50) Thus, the veil indicates woman’s unique role of motherhood and the call to imitate Our Lady. We recall this during Mass in order to better understand the presence of Christ in the tabernacle. [For this last facet of symbolism, I am indebted to Alice Von Hildebrand.]
In conclusion, I hope it is clear that the chapel veil betokens not abusive male domination but, rather, befittingly recalls a rich array of truths in order to illuminate the purpose of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.”

-A Quote in this post by the Saint Louis Catholic


#3

I, for one, hope we don't go back to the veil.


#4

[quote="cradlecatholic5, post:3, topic:237487"]
I, for one, hope we don't go back to the veil.

[/quote]

You and me both


#5

[quote="cradlecatholic5, post:3, topic:237487"]
I, for one, hope we don't go back to the veil.

[/quote]

[quote="Gift_from_God, post:4, topic:237487"]
You and me both

[/quote]

The great thing for both of you is that it isn't required! You don't have to do it.

But I'm not sure why so many people always feel the need to knock headcovering when others do it and make their feelings against it known so loudly, particularly when no one is trying to force it. It can be a lovely, spiritually enriching practice. I'm always baffled by the hostility that is sometimes directed at women who do feel called to cover.


#6

Not knocking it. I think it’s great to veil if that’s what you want to do. But for me, I don’t want to. Hey, I say live and let live. No animosity here. :slight_smile:


#7

Thanks for clarifying cradlecatholic5. I know I can be instantly defensive on these threads because they do have a tendency to go downhill kind of fast sometimes. :o


#8

RedSoxWife,

I totally agree w/ you on how it can get "sticky" here at times. No worries.

-StLouisCardinalsFan

p.s. just looked at your websites - LOVE IT!


#9

[quote="cradlecatholic5, post:8, topic:237487"]
RedSoxWife,

I totally agree w/ you on how it can get "sticky" here at times. No worries.

-StLouisCardinalsFan

p.s. just looked at your websites - LOVE IT!

[/quote]

Thanks :). I'm a Red Sox fan by marriage. I was "raised" a Giant's fan, but realized early on into the marriage with my husband that it was easier to convert than resist :D.


#10

I wear a veil at church and actually feel naked (one time i forgot to put it on and ran to the car to put it on). I felt a calling so to speak to wear it…my children didn’t like me wearing at first but now they don’t seem to mind. I think if you want to wear it wear it and don’t let anyone make you feel like you shouldn’t.


#11

Do you honestly not understand why some women would get hostile about this issue?


#12

I think women wearing a veil is a great and beautiful thing, and can only hope that more women will do so in the future. I'm always encouraged when I see a veiled mother leading her little daughters into church, also wearing their own little veils :)


#13

[quote="MaryAnne77, post:11, topic:237487"]
Do you honestly not understand why some women would get hostile about this issue?

[/quote]

Why would women get 'hostile about the issue'?

I can't imagine getting hostile or making some kind of 'holiness judgment' at women who go to church and don't wear a hat. Why would someone be hostile or judgmental to women who go to church and DO wear a hat/veil?


#14

=DrumMonkey316;7797363]Recently, I have noticed the Women at my church are wearing Veils. I hadn’t attended Mass in a couple of years (rough time, but I am on my way back), so I wasn’t sure if something had changed. I asked some people, and have been assured that it is still not required. However, if it is something I believe in, I would love to partake.

I am confused, though, as to the meaning behind it. I know my mom despised wearing it as a child and that I never wore one (aside from 1st Communion and Baptism) I do have quite a few of the head coverings, though. I believe the oldest one is from my Great-great grandma. Have used them as part of “everyday” wear, kind of like a reminder of my family’s love for me since I live so far away. While it was never specified to me that these are what they were, I now realize I have been wearing something “blessed and sacred” while I have bartended, played sports, etc. I now kind of feel bad for not keeping them put up in a proper place, especially to be kept for appropriate times.

I looked up the meaning behind the veil, and am just confused by it all. I understand it as a symbol or my obedience to God, but as a “modern women” I don’t understand what is meant by the submission to my husband (which is where my mom had her problem with it). I have come across numerous articles advising against it. I am just trying to figure out if it is just misunderstood by my mom and these other women. I don’t want to wear something if I don’t entirely believe in it, because to me, I would be lying to myself, God, and the Church.

It is a PERSONAL sign of piety, not mandated by the church. Church Practices can be changed. A sign of Reverence to and for Christ.

It does have a biblical foundation and was a common practice for hundreds of years.
Can someone please guide me to a better understanding?

1st. Tim. 2: 9 “also that women should adorn themselves modestly and sensibly in seemly apparel, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly attire but by good deeds, as befits women who profess religion”

The implication is that hair well done or adorned can have a “physical effect” on men and this temptation ought to be avoided.

God Bless,
Pat


#15

[quote="MaryAnne77, post:11, topic:237487"]
Do you honestly not understand why some women would get hostile about this issue?

[/quote]

No, I don't understand.


#16

I also wonder why would other women be hostile towards someone wearing a veil. I have never felt that way in my church and have actually gotten quite a few compliments, by both men and women, although I understand some don’t want to go back to wearing one but I think its choice.


#17

There is a reason most modern women reject wearing veils, and why many religions/cultures that continue to subjugate women or preach the superiority of males require them. I would never behave hostilely toward a woman wearing a headcovering, but as a woman, I don't appreciate the symbolism. You can be obedient and devoted to Christ without wearing something to make a statement and draw attention to yourself. If you're wearing a veil to publicly announce your obedience to your husband or your bizarre belief that even your uncovered hairstyle may give men impure thoughts... That's not my favorite idea ever. Of course, to each her own.


#18

[quote="DrumMonkey316, post:1, topic:237487"]
Recently, I have noticed the Women at my church are wearing Veils. I hadn't attended Mass in a couple of years (rough time, but I am on my way back), so I wasn't sure if something had changed. I asked some people, and have been assured that it is still not required. However, if it is something I believe in, I would love to partake.

I

[/quote]

women who wear a veil or other head covering to church do it for one of three reasons, they are convinced it is the proper thing for them, personally to do; it is the cultural custom where they go to church or in which they were raised; it is required or strongly encouraged where they worship, ie. attending the EF or an adoration chapel. The reason is the same as any other choice of appropriate clothing worn in a sacred space: modesty, respect for oneself and others present, and most of all reverence toward the Blessed Sacrament. It is no longer required, the practice having lost the force of law in the wake of other changes in liturgy and practice in the 70s & 80s, and 1983 canon law revision.

If you would love to do it, and you have those lovely heirloom pieces, by all means do so. It is no business of anyone else and you should feel no need whatever to justify your choice to anyone. Few people will notice, and those that do will feel either a comfortable nostalgia or benefit from your example of reverence in general. People who are openly hostile to this or any other pious practice that is a personal choice, are simply hostile people who have a problem and need therapy to overcome their anger. Brush 'em off like flies and pray for them.


#19

=1ke;7849301]No, I don’t understand.

I DO understand that it is THEY who Do Not Correctly Understand.:o

God Bless,

Pat


#20

I’m confused. I was taught the Veil was about humility towards God and nothing else. Which is why women cover their heads when they pray and attend mass. I was taught a Catholic woman veiling herself had nothing to do with men.

It was my understanding the concept of covering the Veil as to be modest or submissive to man was the culture or religious teaching for others but not the reason Catholic women veil.

I could be wrong. But that was my understanding. Personally, I don’t veil because it tends to get a lot of attention from men which I think is the opposite of the point.


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