Must women wear veils in church?

I was recently at a Marian Eucharistic Congress and many women were wearing veils at Mass. I found the modesty and obedience demonstrated in the wearing of the veils to be beautiful. I have heard that women quit wearing them after Vatican II and also heard that women are still supposed to wear them. What is the Church’s position?

The 1917 Code of Canon Law required women to wear head coverings in church, especially at Mass:

§1. It is desirable that, consistent with ancient discipline, women be separated from men in church.

§2. Men, in a church or outside a church, while they are assisting at sacred rites, shall be bare-headed, unless the approved mores of the people or peculiar circumstances of things determine otherwise; women, however, shall have a covered head and be modestly dressed, especially when they approach the table of the Lord (canon 1262, 1917 Code of Canon Law).

There is no canon in the 1983 Code that parallels this older requirement. Since the 1983 Code expressly abrogates (i.e., abolishes, annuls) the 1917 Code (cf. canon 6, *Code of Canon Law *[1983]), women are no longer required to wear head coverings in church or at Mass.

Certainly, those women who choose to wear head coverings in church are allowed to do so, but it is no longer a canonical obligation.

Recommended reading:

Head Coverings at Mass by Jimmy Akin

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