Wearing the birreta and praying with head covered

Sorry to dig up an old thread, but I have a question on this too. I understand from reading the answers to this post that the skullcap was originally used to keep the head warm because that area was shaved.

My question is that in the Bible, in 1Corinthians it talks about how women should wear veils, but it also says: Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head, (1Cor11:4) For a man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God, but woman is the glory of man. (1Cor11:7) (I hope I’m citing my Bible references correctly! :smiley: )

I recently have been studying these passages because of my own calling to wear a veil, but it got me wondering, is there any reason why the Pope and the cardinals wear the skullcaps other than tradition? I wonder what they think when they read these passages about the covering of their own heads.

Annie :slight_smile:

Interesting question because according to some rabbis, the wearing of the yarmulke came before the beginning of Christianity.

FWIW, the biretta is not worn at the altar, but only when processing or sitting down. The bishop’s mitre and zuchetto are taken off for the Canon of the Mass and Holy Communion, and whenever the Blessed Sacrament is exposed.

One function they serve is to indicate rank (pope=white, cardinal=scarlet, bishop=amaranth, priest or below=black).

Politician = propeller on it.

A priest told me that the soletta of the priests actually precedes the yarmulka in time. However, the prayer shawl, which covers the Jewish male head in prayer, is older than the time of our LORD. Artistic representations sometimes show Him in a prayer shawl, never a yarmulka.

At the Western Wall in Israel, men, if bareheaded, are handed paper yarmulkas for their heads. Women remain bareheaded.

So the custom concerning head coverings in prayer for men and women is exactly reversed from Judaism to Christianity. I’m not sure how that came about.


LOL!! :rotfl:

I have also heard that.

First of all, thanks to everyone for an answer to my questions!!

It does seem to be reversed doesn’t it! I can only assume that the reversion has everything to do with what it says in 1Corintians. After all, the Jewish person doesn’t have the New Testament! I wonder if there are any other passages on head coverings in the Old Testament. I haven’t read any.

According to what I was told by someone who claimed to know, the tradition in the Roman empire was for men to remove their hats when entering a building. And that Paul was following that pagan custom of Rome or Greece which is an indication that Paul had rejected Judaism and Jewish traditions and Jewish customs, because according to Jewish traditions, men were supposed to have their heads covered in the synagogue or temple.

Interesting thread. The Church has in the past permitted priests to wear head coverings, even during the consecration, when it was culturally appropriate. For example, missionaries priets to China for a time wore the jijin, a box like hat. In China, it was a sign of scorn to appear before a superior with one’s head uncovered, so wearing a hat was the proper sign of respect for Jesus. Here is a priest and server wearing them during Mass:

More on this here:

This reminds me of the similar situation regarding readings in Liturgies of the Word: the Church has the sequence of Old Testament, New Testament, Gospel, while the Synagogue has first the Law and then the Prophetic reading. Once again, for whatever reason, we do the opposite: the Jews begin with the primary reading, while Christians end with theirs.

I wonder why.

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