Veiling

Hi everyone,

I’ve recently gone to a few Latin Masses and while I have enjoyed it, it has roused in me questions about the tradition of veiling. While looking this up online, I usually find the passage by St. Paul in I Corinthians. However, in reading it, I find his argument unconvincing. To sum it up, he basically states that since men are made in the image of God that they should not cover their heads. Women though, because they are made in the image of man and not God, should wear a veil. Here is where I am unconvinced. I appeal to the transitive relation (if a=b and b=c then a=c), such that if man is made in the image of God and woman made in the image of man, then is not woman indirectly made in the image of God? If so, then, why should women have to weir veils and not men? Yes, women are different and I would not claim that women and men are equal (an ambiguous term which I certainly am not using in reference to value), but I am feeling unsatisfied on the justification for only having women veil.

I guess I am just looking for some criticism of my thought process and/or other sources for the tradition of veiling. Humbly, I pose this issue to you.

This IMO 1:Cor:11 is one of the weirdest passages in the New Testament, especially where Paul finishes his argument with, “…and women should do it, because of the angels.” Just follow your own preference.

I never caught that before “because of the angels.”

Belief in angels in the Early Church must have been so physically present to them.

There’s also the verse in Scripture where the woman opens the door and thinks that she is seeing Peter’s angel (when it was really Peter himself). Acts 12:15

Possible reason I can think of is the fall of Satan and all those angels who went with him.

St. Paul appears to be protecting the angels from their susceptibility when working around humans.

In Revelation, John talks about the 7 angels that protect each of the 7 Church locations.

It’s not required that women veil anymore, not even at Latin masses( I think?) Even though it’s encouraged. If you don’t want to veil you don’t have to, if you feel it helps than feel free to do so

It is indeed a difficult passage. I for one find the argument of those who claim it was just a cultural requirement of modesty very unconvincing, since Sacred Scripture instead presents two reasons for it: the relationship between men and women and the angles.

The thing about the angels is not explained at all. I once read a footnote that said St. Paul may be suggesting angels will punish those who disobey this law. That’s as good an explanation as any other I can think of.

Regarding the relationship between men and women, I’d think of it this way. In human relationships there are both horizontal and vertical dimensions, vaguely reflecting the horizontal and vertical relationships between the Persons of the Holy Trinity. Today, in this post-Enlightenment world, it’s fashionable to focus on the horizontal relationships, and it is indeed good to keep them in mind. For example, men and women are equally made in the image of God, and are of equal inherent human dignity. This is analogous to the equal divinity of the Persons of the Trinity.

On the other hand there is also a vertical, hierarchical relationship between people, reflecting the unequal relationships between the Persons of the Trinity. The Father begets the Son not the Son the Father, and the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and (or through) the Son, not any other combination. Similarly Eve came from Adam not Adam from Eve, and Cain, Abel, and Seth came from Adam and Eve not Adam or Eve from one of their children. These relationships are reflected even in the later structure of the family. Husbands and wives are of equal human dignity, yet the wife is subject to the husband. Children and parents are of equal human dignity, yet children are subject to their parents.

In healthier, less fractured societies there was less division of the nuclear family from the extended family, the tribe, and the nation, and so the relationships within the family were extended to the wider society. Women therefore were subject to men and children to adults. When the Church was formed it functioned as a sort of big extended family or multicultural nation, and the same basic dynamics between people of different sexes and ages still applied, albeit in a spirit of mutual love and respect which served to disproportionately attract women to the Church and caused some early Christian writers to suggest an ideal of treating men and women without distinction.

This is the context of St. Paul’s admonition. In confronting an almost anarchical Corinthian Church he’s trying to reinstate law and order, including by insisting on women wearing a veil as a symbol of their obedience to their husbands and the clergy, and by extension to men in general. This shouldn’t be interpreted as in any way contradicting the equal dignity of women and Christianity’s particular call to uphold that dignity. We should keep both the horizontal and vertical dimensions of the relationship together, not pit one against the other.

Today the veil has become entirely optional, but that doesn’t mean the underlying concepts expressed in scripture have lost their truth.

That’s my thoughts on the subject at the present, anyway.

It was the Church in Corinth where the step son was having sex with his father’s wife (the boy’s stepmother). And then to make it worse, the congregation was seemingly unoffended by their actions.

Yes, that’s one of the many problems they were facing.

QUOTE=Aelred Minor;8587661]It is indeed a difficult passage. I for one find the argument of those who claim it was just a cultural requirement of modesty very unconvincing, since Sacred Scripture instead presents two reasons for it: the relationship between men and women and the angles.

The thing about the angels is not explained at all. I once read a footnote that said St. Paul may be suggesting angels will punish those who disobey this law. That’s as good an explanation as any other I can think of

.

The angels are subject to God and do as God commands. Wouldn’t St Paul have just said God would punish?

Regarding the relationship between men and women, I’d think of it this way. In human relationships there are both horizontal and vertical dimensions, vaguely reflecting the horizontal and vertical relationships between the Persons of the Holy Trinity. Today, in this post-Enlightenment world, it’s fashionable to focus on the horizontal relationships, and it is indeed good to keep them in mind. For example, men and women are equally made in the image of God, and are of equal inherent human dignity. This is analogous to the equal divinity of the Persons of the Trinity.

On the other hand there is also a vertical, hierarchical relationship between people, reflecting the unequal relationships between the Persons of the Trinity. The Father begets the Son not the Son the Father, and the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and (or through) the Son, not any other combination. Similarly Eve came from Adam not Adam from Eve, and Cain, Abel, and Seth came from Adam and Eve not Adam or Eve from one of their children. These relationships are reflected even in the later structure of the family. Husbands and wives are of equal human dignity, yet the wife is subject to the husband. Children and parents are of equal human dignity, yet children are subject to their parents.

It is not about what is fashionable. I do not see how you can use the Trinity to justify your view that women are subject to men. There is only one God. When Christ obeyed His Father, He was doing so as God made man.

Using the Eve came from Adam arguement is also old and tired. Both men and women are made in the image of and for the glory of God.
Children are subject to their parents because they lack maturity. Women are not children.

In healthier, less fractured societies there was less division of the nuclear family from the extended family, the tribe, and the nation, and so the relationships within the family were extended to the wider society. Women therefore were subject to men and children to adults. When the Church was formed it functioned as a sort of big extended family or multicultural nation, and the same basic dynamics between people of different sexes and ages still applied, albeit in a spirit of mutual love and respect which served to disproportionately attract women to the Church and caused some early Christian writers to suggest an ideal of treating men and women without distinction.

Its healthier to treat women as lesser? Women today have the vote, are entitled to education, to have a say in their lives, thank God. Christ preached and treated women equally. It is strange how even today some men and women are only happy with women being equal to men but just ‘less equal’.

T

his is the context of St. Paul’s admonition. In confronting an almost anarchical Corinthian Church he’s trying to reinstate law and order, including by insisting on women wearing a veil as a symbol of their obedience to their husbands and the clergy, and by extension to men in general. This shouldn’t be interpreted as in any way contradicting the equal dignity of women and Christianity’s particular call to uphold that dignity. We should keep both the horizontal and vertical dimensions of the relationship together, not pit one against the other.

Today the veil has become entirely optional, but that doesn’t mean the underlying concepts expressed in scripture have lost their truth.

That’s my thoughts on the subject at the present, anyway.

We could take everything from the Bible literally but that is not what the Church teaches.

The angelic punishment theory is only one idea of many that could be presented. Maybe it was a reference to the obedience of the good angels to God. Or maybe it’s an obscure reference to an earlier letter or sermon St. Paul gave which the Corinthians would understand but we wouldn’t.

This is that pitting the horizontal relationship between the sexes against the vertical relationship that I was talking about. I’m sure you would be able to find far more people these days who agree with your approach than with mine. So be it, I doubt anything can be gained by debating this point extensively.

While we need to pay attention to the genres of the various books of the Bible, recognize that figurative language is sometimes used, etc., as Catholics we hold that everything the Bible asserts as true is true. While the specific rule about veiling may no longer have canonical force, the underlying teaching of the inspired author demands our assent, even if it’s only a “I don’t understand, Lord, but I put my trust in you.”

I believe that it is the teaching of the Church that women are also made in the image of God. God made women not a man or men.

I guess in other words, the veiling of the heart, which we are all called to do, is more important than the veiling of the head.

Excellent statement. We are to “veil our eyes” and our hearts from evil.
God made man in the image of God, male and female He made them. Therefore, both men and women are made in the image of God (See Genesis).

It is true that the Church no longer requires women to wear a head covering to Mass. The head covering that women wore could be a hat or scarf. Often women resorted to wearing a handkerchief or tissue pinned to the hair simply to meet the requirement. I do no want to go back to those days.
Those who do cover in the parish I currently attend, wear a pashmina or chapel veil. Recently I wore a cap which an usher asked me to remove. He insisted even after I mentioned why. I do find myself more self-conscientious when wearing a chapel veil than a hat, as I try to keep it from slipping. Yes, I am honoring local tradition by not wearing a hat or cap any more.

Corinth was a seaboard city known for its depravity. I raised a question in a previous thread about veiling. Would Paul have recommended women cover and men uncover if he were addressing an Arab or Israelite community instead of Greeks? It would be a major testimony of faith for a former Sikh to remove his turban.

Women were required to veil at Mass by Canon Law until the 1983 Canon Law went into effect.

Now there is no legal requirement, at the OF or the EF. However, there was an official statement staying it was highly encouraged at the EF. (There is also nothing wrong with it, at the OF).

Men and Women are both made in the image and likeness of God. The first man and woman were made differently (Adam from the dirt, and Eve from Adam’s side), but that doesn’t mean one or the other is any more or less made in the image of God. Men and women ARE different though, but difference is not the same as inequality in the eyes of God.

Tradition is a good guide. Another good endorsement of veiling is Our Blessed Mother- who has appeared with her head covered in every approved apparition.

Pax Christi.

Its healthier to treat women as lesser? Women today have the vote, are entitled to education, to have a say in their lives, thank God. Christ preached and treated women equally. It is strange how even today some men and women are only happy with women being equal to men but just ‘less equal’.

  1. Is it healthie to be “lesser”? It depends on what “lesser” means. We do know that God called all of us to humility and told us that the last would be first.

  2. There is no “right to vote” that comes from God. Representative government is a form of government that the Church thinks can be appropriate, but it does not say it is the only appropriate form or even the most appropriate form. Monarchy and aristocracy are both legitimate in the eyes of the Church.

  3. Again, equal in the eyes of God does not mean the same. Than a man is the head of his family, does not make him “better” than his wife. This is the teaching of the Catholic Church:

  1. Secondly, the mutual duties of husband and wife have been defined, and their several rights accurately established. They are bound, namely, to have such feelings for one another as to cherish always very great mutual love, to be ever faithful to their marriage vow, and to give one another an unfailing and unselfish help. The husband is the chief of the family and the head of the wife. The woman, because she is flesh of his flesh, and bone of his bone, must be subject to her husband and obey him; not, indeed, as a servant, but as a companion, so that her obedience shall be wanting in neither honor nor dignity. Since the husband represents Christ, and since the wife represents the Church, let there always be, both in him who commands and in her who obeys, a heaven-born love guiding both in their respective duties. For “the husband is the head of the wife; as Christ is the head of the Church. . . Therefore, as the Church is subject to Christ, so also let wives be to their husbands in all things.”(18)

-Pope Leo XIII in the encyclical Arcanum

Pax Christi

Scripture does say a woman is to be submissive to her husband. It also says that a man is to love his wife as Christ loves His Church. “God hates the man who covers his garment (his wife) with blood.”

Woman was not made from man’s head to dominate him.
She was not made from man’s foot to be trampled by him.
Woman was made from man’s rib to walk beside him,
near his heart to be loved by him
and from under his arm to be protected by him.

There are other threads that deal with what it means to be obedient. None of us is called to be obedient in matters that violate conscience since to act contrary to conscience is to sin. Marriage entails a mutual submissiveness between man and woman. I compare this relationship to a business relationship between the owner of and his manager. The manager answers to the owner. The owner relies on his manager to make everyday operational decisions and trusts his/her judgment.
The husband is responsible for the welfare of his wife and children.

Dan,

You have made your views on the position on women very clear. How you and your family wish to live is up to you all. It is not the position of the Church that that is how we all should live As Blessed JPII said, it is about mutual submission.

That is your view and if that is how you want to live, it is up to you.

A family is not a business. Both husband and wife are and should be responsible for each other’s and their chidren’s welfare.

Very well said. I do think the “owner-manager” analogy might rub some the wrong way, as a marriage is not a business relationship, but I think I understand your point, and agree with it. \

The Holy Ghost gave us the best marriage analogy- Christ and the Church. Another that rings true in many ways is that the husband is the head of the family and the wife is the heart.

I was recently reading the booklet from TAN about St. Raphael. Regarding the duties of husband and wife, it made a very good point-

If people had a proper understanding of a wife’s duty to submit and a husband’s duty to love, we would have much healtheir marriages.

Before entering into marriage a woman should ask herself “can I submit to and obey this man for the rest of my life?” and a man should ask himself “can I selflessly love this woman forever, even to lay down my life?” The answer to both should be yes, and if it’s it is not, they shouldn’t get married.

Pax Christi

What do you make of Pope Leo XIII’s view, which are part of the teachings of the Church on the topic?

Pax

On the basis of your thinking, all the Catholic marriages where the wives never agreed to submit and where both would would be prepared to risk life nd limb for the other, should never have happened.a

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