Why doesn't the Church require head coverings for women?


#1

In the Bible, Paul requires head coverings for women. Why doesn’t the Catholic Church still require head coverings for women? Which takes precedance? The Church or the Bible?


#2

[quote=Holly3278]Which takes precedance? The Church or the Bible?
[/quote]

Since the Church has the fullness of both the Bible and Tradition, what the Church says about a matter carries alot of weigh, wouldn’t you think?

What other authority could rule on such a matter?


#3

Ask that to 400 million sola-scripturists out there, who, unlike latin mass attendees, have never worn a veil in their life.


#4

Head coverings have always been a discipline, as is fasting. They are not dogma. However, the idea of head coverings has never been dismissed. Women are still allowed to wear head coverings in Mass. Women just have decided not to do it. At least here in the US. But the discipline has never changed.


#5

From: catholic.com/thisrock/2005/0501qq.asp

The document Inter Insigniores by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (October 15, 1976) stated that the 1917 Code of Canon Law (canon 1262.2) requiring women to wear veils on their heads was a custom of the period and that such ordinances “concern scarcely more than disciplinary practices of minor importance.” Thus the obligation “no longer has a normative value.” But, as a sign of respect, women still are required to wear a veil when meeting the pope.

Inter Insigniores
newadvent.org/library/docs_df76ii.htm

Code of Canon Law
intratext.com/X/ENG0017.htm

God bless,
RyanL


#6

Aside from the fu, we do note fro the early Chrch fathers that the wearing of veils was very universal for both Jewish and Christian women throughout the early ceturies of the Church. In much of the meditteranean, it was a sign of modesty and submission (much as in Arab countries today). It seems that at the Imperial acceptance of Christianity, the dynamic was chaged – multitudes came into the Church, an entire empire in fact. Cultures that had only been lighly penetrated by Christianity all came kneeling to the altar in hoards. Within this period, it became less likely to see a veil on a Christian woman unless she was a consecrated virgin (nun, sister).

The spread of Christianity alo itroduced the faith into cultures who did not understand the veil symboism prevelant in the Meditteranean, and so the use of the veil was not widespread into those territories. For this reason, the use of a head covering became symbolic of an other-worldly commitment, like joining a female religious order). In short, the cultural significance of the veil changed, and so the frequency or universality of its use changed as well.

In latin mass, the veil is not a sign of submission to male authority as it was in Corinth, but a sign of reverence for the place of worship. Here again, the meaning has changed, and so its use was largely limited to Mass.

In summary, Paul’s insistence on the use of head coverings is not a universal mandate to always keep a cloth on one’s head. It was a response to what the culture understood to be the symbolism of the veil: a very important symbolism in fact because in 1 Corithians it seems the women were causing signficant issues over and against the men of the community. Therefore, Paul, livng in the cultural mileu of his day recommended its wearing. With the passage of time and th spread of the Church into new cultures, the Church has not deemed it an essential rule bcause the inward meaning and symbolism of the exterior action has changed. Today, its use is limited largely to women of religious orders, or societites that still appreciate the traditional symbolism of the veil (parts of Russia for example).


#7

[quote=Gracie2004]Head coverings have always been a discipline, as is fasting. They are not dogma. However, the idea of head coverings has never been dismissed. Women are still allowed to wear head coverings in Mass. Women just have decided not to do it. At least here in the US. But the discipline has never changed.
[/quote]

Slight correction.

The discipline has changed. Head coverings were required under the 1917 code of Canon Law, Can. 1262, sec. 2.

However, the Church is presently governed by the 1983 Code of Canon Law, promulgated by HH John Paul II, of blessed memory. Can. 6 of the present Code completely abrogates the 1917 Code. The head covering requirement has not been restated in neither the 1983 code nor any of the liturgical documents.

Therefore, the head-covering by women is no longer required, but is still allowed.


#8

[quote=Gracie2004]Head coverings have always been a discipline, as is fasting.
[/quote]

Actually, headcovering were a way of advertizing who you were within the community.:tiphat:

A woman’s headcovering not only showed her age, but also showed if she was eligible for marriage, married, married with children, a grandmother or a widow. :dancing:

This was all done by the style, type, color and shape of the headcovering she wore.:clapping:

Very simple!:yup:


#9

[quote=adventistnomore]Ask that to 400 million sola-scripturists out there, who, unlike latin mass attendees, have never worn a veil in their life.
[/quote]

And that is why we have the Church. This just one of the most minor points that all who read the Bible “guided by the Holy Spirit” and with their own authority contradict each other.

Paul told a specific church at a specific point in time the instruction on head-coverings. As cultures change, so must the church. Many other liturgical directions found in 1 Corinthians should be viewed similarly. (as almost all protestant churches do, especially non-charismatic ones).


#10

[quote=jpusateri]Since the Church has the fullness of both the Bible and Tradition, what the Church says about a matter carries alot of weigh, wouldn’t you think?

What other authority could rule on such a matter?
[/quote]

You’re right. Thank you for explaining.

Thanks to everyone else for explaining the matter of headcoverings! I had no idea that it was only a discipline. :slight_smile:


#11

It is a very valid question, considering the actual text is quite strong:

For if a woman does not have her head veiled, she may
as well have her hair cut off. But if it is shameful for a
woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, then she
should wear a veil. A man, on the other hand, should not cover his head, because he is the image and glory of God, but woman is the glory of man. For man did not come from woman, but woman from man; nor was man created for woman, but woman for man;
for this reason a woman should have a sign of authority on her head, because of the angels. Woman is not independent of man or man of woman in the Lord. For just as woman came from man, so man is born of woman; but all things are from God. Judge for yourselves: is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head unveiled? Does not nature itself teach you that if a man wears
his hair long it is a disgrace to him, whereas if a woman has long hair it is her glory, because long hair has been given (her) for a covering? But if anyone is inclined to be argumentative, we do
not have such a custom, nor do the churches of God. In giving this instruction, I do not praise the fact that your meetings are doing more harm than good.
[1 Corinthians 11:6-17 RSV-CE]

That is no weak passage. Me thinks things have changed more because we lived in a modern so-called enlightened world.


#12

I appreciate them because they make me a better man.

Dan L


#13

My wife and I are converts. Formerly we were evangelicals in a Reformed Calvinist Church (Presbyterian Church in America: PCA). Out of personal conviction over the 1 Corinthians passage my wife has been wearing a head covering since 1987. We came into the Catholic Church in 2003 and she has continued wearing a covering.

As an evangelical I considered this a Biblical command that was binding on all for all times. This is one area I’ve had to lay aside my Biblical interpretation and allow room for the magisterium. Now I regard it as a discipline, not a dogma. I still campaign for it to be a discipline (i.e. it could still come back) but I submit that is not a dogma.

I now view it (the command to wear a head covering) in the same light as the command by St. Paul to “greet each other with a brotherly kiss”. That was a discipline that isn’t recognized as a dogma.


#14

I am confused as to how a Biblical mandate can be thrown out.


#15

For a detailed discussion of this issue, I recommend this link:

catholicintl.com/catholicissues/women-covering001.htm

www.veritas-catholic.blogspot.com


#16

Why did the Church remove the rule?


#17

[quote=Holly3278]In the Bible, Paul requires head coverings for women. Why doesn’t the Catholic Church still require head coverings for women? Which takes precedance? The Church or the Bible?
[/quote]

HUH? You talking about the lacy headcoverings I see on some women on Daily Mass on EWTN?


#18

Question:

How does a lay Catholic seek a response from the Holy See’ regarding issues like this? It seems to me that the Vatican spoke very clearly in its last statement about veils, yet in this nation we are ignoring that statement. It would be nice to get a ruling on this issue. I would also like to know how they can wish away a discipline that was in full force for over 1900 years.


#19

[quote=TPJCatholic]I am confused as to how a Biblical mandate can be thrown out.
[/quote]

It it because the Church does not view it as a Biblical mandate that it can be changed.

I particularly like GWitherow’s post and I agree that there would be much gain in restoring it as a distinction between men and women in this modern world.


#20

Thanks guys! :thumbsup:


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