Veiling challenge


I hope this is in the right category. My wife knows I hang out on the CA forums and asked to to see what y’all think of this challenge she is having.

About 2 years ago we started going to a mission church for Mass because of the reverent way they did things there. Many of the women there veiled. My wife talked to them about why they did this when women’s head coverings had not been required since Vatican II. She then did some research, prayer and discernment and asked me what I thought of her veiling.(I had no opinion, being as it is her decision.)

She has been veiling since then. Her take is that it is a way for her to show modesty and humility in the presence of God.

We are now back at our local church as the adult choir needed a director and my wife has been doing music ministry since she was a teen (we are both in our 60’s). She is well qualified for this position and the local church had a need for a director for the adult choir which is the largest of the four choirs. She has a good rapport with the choir members.

We got a new Pastor about a month ago. He is much more traditional than the previous pastor we had. Everyone was excited but somewhat anxious about what changes he might make. Last week after Mass, he spoke with my wife about the music ministry. One of the things he said was that he wanted he not to veil when she was leading the choir. His reason for this was uniformity. There is only one other woman in the choir who veils of the 7 or 8 regular women members. He also spoke to the 2 women EMHC’s who veil saying the same thing.

At the Mass we attend there are about a dozen women who veil or wear a hat out of 300-400 people who regularly attend that Mass; however Most of those women have some ministry position, Choir, EMHC, Sacristan, or Usher. One of the EMHC’s he spoke to last week has already told him that she did not feel that we needed to be uniform but she would comply with his wishes and cease being an EM.

My wife is very conflicted by this. She was brought up to obey the priest but feels that veiling is something that she is called to do in the Lords presence. She is also very much into music and as I said before, she has been doing this at church for four decades.She was very excited about being asked to be the choir director.

She asked me to post this to see if anyone onCA has any suggestions.



I’d say she really needs to make this clear to the priest. As a man with traditional sympathies, he may understand why this is so important to her, and so many other women at your parish. It really sounds like a terrible situation, especially since it seems you (rightly) had positive expectations about the direction this new pastor would lead your parish. And as for uniformity, it would make so much more sense to make all women wishing to be granted the privilege of singing in the choir obey the sacred tradition of veiling, rather than force those already doing so- and it’s a beautiful custom- to stop. I’m rather taken aback that a priest sympathetic to sacred tradition would have an issue with this though: it’s a church choir, not the army, and there should be room for manoeuvre. Women veiled and covered for hundreds of years, including our Lady, and I can’t help but find this attitude unhelpful, however great my respect for all our wonderful priests. You have my sympathy and my prayers, as does your new pastor: it can’t be easy starting off at a new parish.


Bottom line. The priest can do as he wants.

Being a liturgical minister is not a right.
Your wife can either comply with his wishes, or she can step down as a liturgical minister.

We have rules like this in my diocese also. Most of the time it is so the people don’t think that it is “required” if they want to be part of a liturgical ministry, that they must cover their head, or wear some type of special clothing because others in that ministry do.


It seems the pastor didn’t ask her to stop veiling altogether; just when she was leading the choir for uniformity having everyone dress the same?

Perhaps he has concerns about how the choir presents itself? Having some women veil and some not, he might be worried this may confuse some parishioners? Perhaps young members? I’m just guessing here. You could approach him and ask.

An alternative for her might be to get a few small pretty hats? They can look very nice, accomplish the same thing and don’t “stand out” necessarily as much as a large lace veil.


I was also going to suggest a nice hat (or nice hats) :womans_hat:


Beside all the facts (who is in the position to set the rules etc, it´s already said) I have to note:
It BUGS me that this whole issue with textile on any woman´s head has become such a huuuge baloon full of emotion - and it bugs me also that there seem to be priests who fill this baloon even more with rules for “veiling” nobody would otherwise care for.
(Sorry, a bit venting. Coming from a orthodox russian parish where every woman used to veil as a rule and now standing peaceful next to convertes women who wear no headcovering and panty. It works well. Because NO one cares, and our priest never adressed such minor stuff)


THIS!. Women who veil should not be made to feel self-conscious about it if they are doing it for the Lord.


If it’s really about humility then she should listen to the priest, her pastor. If one reads the writings of saints there are times that Jesus or Mary (in an apparition) told the the future saint to do something but their spiritual director told them to do differently. When the future saint talked to Jesus, He told them to listen to the priest. II can’t recall a specific instance but St. Faustina and St. Gemma Galgani come to mind. I think a case could be made for modesty in the this context but I don’t have time to think that through right now.


Pastor’s church, pastor’s rules.

What’s more important to her, veiling or leading the choir?

Also, how much of her church time does she spend leading the choir? If it’s only 15 percent, she can still veil during the other 85 percent of her church time.

Leading the choir is just like any other job. Boss gives you a directive, you either follow it or you explain to your boss why you don’t feel comfortable following it, and leave. Simples.


I get what you’re saying here, and I would usually agree…

But then I think how I would feel if I decided to wear a veil at mass and, because I’m the organist, he told me I shouldn’t veil. In general, I’m all about obedience, so this would be really difficult for me.

It also feels kinda creepy. I mean, is he also gonna tell me I can’t wear my hair in braids, or that I can’t wear pants to mass, or that I must wear make-up, or any other thing about my physical appearance?

I recognize that veiling is a spiritual practice, and highly visible, so it does carry extra “weight” as it were. Is he also going to manage whether or not minister wear a religious medals, or crucifixes, or rosary bracelets?

Yes, he is the pastor, and he can define a uniform for each and every liturgical ministry if he so chooses. But if the only thing he’s making “uniform” is bare heads among the women, that seems, well, weird to me.

If it were me, I’d either conform to his wishes, wear a hat, or resign my (unpaid) position. Of course, this is all hypothetical for me. I don’t veil, and my current pastor would be more likely to tell us to veil, rather than tell us not to.


I agree it seems weird. I’d probably tell him, "This seems unnecessary. Church is concerned with uniformity of our love for God, not uniformity of our outfit or what we wear on our head. But since you are the Pastor, and what you say goes, I will be resigning at the end of the month. No hard feelings. "

Then I would change my regular attendance to another parish and see if they needed a music minister over there.

But that’s just me. Bosses have rules; sometimes they are weird rules. When it’s a pastor, and he’s not going against Church teaching or the rubrics of the Mass, you don’t have much recourse other than resigning from your ministry position, and if you want to take it a step further, taking yourself and your contributions to a different Catholic church.



Let’s not kid ourselves. Priests and bishops are just as political creatures as your congressman, and the sooner we are aware and expect that parish service is an exercise in politics, the better off we are.

In this case the options are two: veil, or step down.

His church, his rules.

On the other hand, her voice, her pocketbook.


I sometimes think these new pastors do these things simply because they either want to throw their weight around, or they want to get rid of the ministers for their own reasons so they can put in their own team.


The whole “uniformity” business is overdone, in my view. Many parishes – many pastors and many laypeople, too – make far too much of it. Either everyone has to receive on the tongue or everyone has to receive in the hand. Either everyone has to hold hands for the Our Father or no one is allowed to hold hands. And so on and so forth. So much fuss about nothing. Nevertheless … the pastor is the boss. He’s the top man in the parish. If it were my wife, my suggestion to her would be to go along with what the pastor wants. He’s the man in charge.


The Eucharist is our sign of unity; anything else pales in comparison.


I think it is a wonderful thing that your wife wishes to wear a veil

But the pastor’s rules must be followed. (She may certainly plead her case behind the scenes but I would suggest the sentiments suggested by wearing a veil would be in conflict with trying to bully the pastor.) Your wife can wear her veil when not leading the choir.

Also, (and I admit this is a personal pet peeve,) your wife, as a lay women does not “veil”. She WEARS a veil. I think it is improper to use the word veil as a verb in regards to non-religious women. :relaxed::slightly_smiling_face:


Either everyone follows the rubrics or no one follows the rubrics.

I know, why even have rubrics? All those pesky pastors insisting on a liturgy.


More precisely, she covers her head. A chapel veil is only one way of doing that. A hat serves just as well. So does a handkerchief or a kleenex.

I’ll bet that if she wears a stylish beret, no one will raise a stink about it. And yet, it will still fit her desire to cover her head.


That is a very wise suggestion.


Ask her if she would be comfortable asking the priest if she could wear a hat. A hat would certainly blend in more as it’s a more modern way of covering.

I would also suggest she talk to him to explain why she covers and see if a compromise can be found.

If he insists and refuses to budge… then she has to decide if her devotion to this practice outweighs her desire to be in music ministry.

This isn’t a simple thing. Women called to cover take it as a serious devotion. It’s not so simple as ‘just stop doing it’. Which is why the one woman ceased to be an EMHC when she was asked to stop veiling.

PS: Does he also insist all the women wear skirts for uniformity? Or that they all wear the same colour for uniformity? Man… how I wish I could talk to this priest! LOL!

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