Women wearing veils


#1

I thought I posted this question before, but now I can’t find it, so bear with me. :wink: Why did women used to have to wear a head covering/veil to church? And why arent’ they required to wear one now?


#2

women wore veils b/c it was the custom of the Latin Church. it was indeed an ancient practice for a woman to show her submission to Christ, who is her head, by wearing a veil. however, it slowly became out of vogue not for women to express their submission, but for women to express their submission in this way. so, when the 1983 Code of Canon Law was released, the law from the 1917 Code which required a head-covering was not retained. so now, women can wear a veil if they so desire–but they are not required to.

for more information, read this.

pax christi,
phatcatholic


#3

The new Canon Law does not explicitly mention the use of head covering, but it DOES say in the first canons that CUSTOM is to dictate what is still NECESSARY. The CUSTOM of wearing a head covering at Mass and in the Presence of the Blessed Sacrament has been MANDATED by the Church since the second Pope, St. Linus. This is still required by the Church according to the custom, per Canon Law 1983.


#4

There have been inumerable threads in these forums on this topic including this one.

forums.catholic.com/showthre…highlight=veils


#5

I was once told that the reason this act showed submission was one of pride. That a woman’s hair was a source of pride.

Someone I know wears a veil to church, and is the only one in the Parish to do so. I see nothing wrong with it. But someone mentioned to me that, since doing so drew attention to her and in effect became a public act of piety, that there can be an argument that wearing a veil where it is not the custom to do so can actually send a different message than that intended.

While I don’t personally agree, it’s an interesting point, and I can actually see the argument. I can think of a different example. Suppose I go to a church in a blue-collar area where “dressing up” is a nice sweater and polyester pants. In fact, wearing a suit may be considered “snobbish.”

I may in all honesty wear a suit out of profound respect, but if the result of doing so is to cause a lot of others to think I am trying to out-do them, is my action good? I honestly don’t know.

This is not to say that all my actions need to be dictated by how others react. But it should be a consideration, and we should go out of our way to not put on any airs if we do stand out for any reason and that standing out can be misinterpreted.


#6

According to St. Paul, men must uncover their heads and women must cover theirs. Men are still required to doff their hat when entering a church. (If you are man and don’t think so, just try wearing a hat in church and see what happens.)

Now consider this. If the situation were reversed and men were required to cover their heads and women were required to uncover thiers, men would never give up doing it–would never even want to-- and post 1960s women would be complaining that they should be allowed to cover theirs.

The change in “custom” was driven wholly by the insistence of (some) women to be like men. The rest of the women just followed the others (as Catholics have a tendency to do). It has nothing to do with submission.


#7

I thought long hair would suffice as a covering, as St Paul tells us. Didn’t he say that a woman could not cut her hair short because it was a covering? Maybe only short haired women should wear them, according to this way of thinking?

The older ladies at Church do wear them most of the time.

Why was this teaching from St. Paul, along with not getting circumsized kinda dropped from the Catholic norm, esp here in USA?


#8

No, ppcpilot. They should cover their heads if they have long hair OR cut their hair.

1 Corinthians 11:6
For if a woman be not covered, let her be shorn. But if it be a shame to a woman to be shorn or made bald, let her cover her head.

The circumcision issue had more to do with physical health. St. Paul is saying you don’t need to be circumcised to be saved. Catholic doctors are (or at least were once) saying, you may not need it to be saved, but it’s still good for your penis.


#9

I have a problem with this issue.

I’ve seen people who wear the veils, and refuse to take communion unless they are kneeling - and receive on the tongue (despite the new guidelines)

It just seems to me behavior that is screaming
"LOOK AT ME EVERYONE! SEE HOW HOLY I AM?"


#10

I know what you mean. For instance, as I have advanced in holiness I have a growing desire to express more reverence in ways such as kneeling to receive the Sacrament on the tongue. However, I refrain from it because I also know there is an element of vanity in it, ie., “look how holy I am.” I look forward to a time when I can worship with pure intent and without such self-consciousness.

But that is a personal decision. YOU should not judge others’ hearts. If the actions themselves are not objectionable, it is not your place to be concerned whether they are showing off. Consider this: how would you feel if you were observing the public displays of humility of a St. Francis of Assisi? Or if you were with Jesus when Mary Magdelene anointed his feet? You don’t know–the person next to you at Mass acting so holy may actually be holy.


#11

Until about 100 years ago all married women wore head coverings in public, even inside the home – mob caps, bonnets, veils etc. because it was Biblically enjoined as modesty, and because it was universally the fashion or custom. Hats outside the home could be as elaborate as fashion dictated. Evening dress mean hair ornamentation of some kind-feathers, flowers etc. but never a hat. It was also considered immodest for a woman to cut her hair, her crowing glory.

In many cultures unmarried women wore veils after becoming marriageable age. This had as much to do with cultural norms as with religious reasons. Orthodox Jews still require women to wear headcoverings, which in many times and places has meant wearing a wig, which qualifies according to some rabbinical arguments.

When fashions changed in the 20s to bobbed hair, hats came in and out of fashion, to almost disappear in the 60s, when veils were briefly in fashion. Canon law specified head coverings for women in Church until V2, based on presecriptoins by Paul


#12

[quote=Racer X]No, ppcpilot. They should cover their heads if they have long hair OR cut their hair.

1 Corinthians 11:6
For if a woman be not covered, let her be shorn. But if it be a shame to a woman to be shorn or made bald, let her cover her head.

The circumcision issue had more to do with physical health. St. Paul is saying you don’t need to be circumcised to be saved. Catholic doctors are (or at least were once) saying, you may not need it to be saved, but it’s still good for your penis.
[/quote]

Paul says that if a woman does not cover her head than her hair should be cut off. Then says IF it be a shame to a woman to be shorn or made bald let her cover her head.

Do you believe in todays world that it is a shame for women to cut their hair? Most would not. Paul has made an if than statement. If a woman is ashamed to have her hair cut than she should cover it.
If a woman is not ashamed to have her hair cut than she should not cover it.

What it all boils down to is that the fashon of wearing hats have all but disappeared. Please don’t count ball caps as hats. Men no longer wear hats as they once did. I miss them. I miss getting my new Easter Hat. I was shocked to see hats in the store the other day but they were something that I would not wear.

The circumcision issue had more to do with physical health. St. Paul is saying you don’t need to be circumcised to be saved.

Because it was under the old law and fulfilled with baptism.


#13

But that is a personal decision. YOU should not judge others’ hearts. If the actions themselves are not objectionable, it is not your place to be concerned whether they are showing off. Consider this: how would you feel if you were observing the public displays of humility of a St. Francis of Assisi? Or if you were with Jesus when Mary Magdelene anointed his feet? You don’t know–the person next to you at Mass acting so holy may actually be holy

Well…here’s the thing.
I feel I am being judged because I do not wear a veil or receive on the tongue.
As far as I can tell - it is PERFECTLY ACCEPTABLE for me not to wear a veil or for me to receive with my hands.
I’m finding it hard to believe that if this truly were such a CRUCIAL issue - which many obviously believe it is…they would have specifically addressed this at some point.
I mean - they went so far as to tell us to bow before we receive - right? If our heads should be covered while we bow before we receive - why is that part missing?
I’m having a hard time believing that millions of catholic women are being disobedient every day by not wearing a veil - and the Church must be missing it somehow.

So…we have folks here who want to complain about this veil thing - and yet I see many catholics who are “disobedient” to the new guideline concerning bowing.
The truth is - folks don’t like change. They get sentimental about the "good old days"
They don’t agree that the Church can and does change sometimes.
Jesus gave Peter the power to “bind” but he also gave Peter the power to “loose” didn’t he?


#14

This is an interesting question, as my church, Coptic Orthodox, does require women to cover their head during communion. Some women cover their head during the whole mass, yet that is not required. The reason I was given is as some of you mentioned, it is written in
1 Corinthians 11 to do so.

As for Communion, in my church, we receive it on the tongue always. We are not allowed to touch the body of Christ.

God Bless,
Elizabeth


#15

If the Ozone Layer becomes any thinner, we’ll all be wearing veils.


#16

[quote=Lorarose]Well…here’s the thing.

I feel I am being judged because I do not wear a veil or receive on the tongue.
[/quote]

You are. By lots of people and for a lot more things than veils or how you receive communion. Its best to not let it bother you. There is only one Judge to be concerned about.

As far as I can tell - it is PERFECTLY ACCEPTABLE for me not to wear a veil or for me to receive with my hands.

It is perfectly PERMISSIBLE, I will allow. But the more I think about it, the less I understand what your phrase “perfectly acceptable” means. Acceptable to whom? Were women previously covering their heads as devotion to God or devotion to bishops. Whose acceptance is sought here?

I’m finding it hard to believe that if this truly were such a CRUCIAL issue - which many obviously believe it is…they would have specifically addressed this at some point.

I’m having a hard time believing that millions of catholic women are being disobedient every day by not wearing a veil - and the Church must be missing it somehow.

I don’t think it is crucial. And I don’t have an opinion as to whether it is a disobedience. But I am emotional about it. I am envious of this biblically recommended method of devotion which is not available to me as man. (I always go out of my way to wear a tie to Mass now as sort of a personal substitute.) And women just abandoned it. Why? I can’t think of a single good reason.

Fortunately I am not normally distracted by this question during Mass itself. I have to sit in the very front pew and not look at women or else I am much too distracted by the mini-skirts and tight-bust tops to be concerned with veils. (Funny we don’t see any rules about that either. I guess it must be PERFECTLY ACCEPTABLE.)


#17

It is perfectly PERMISSIBLE, I will allow. But the more I think about it, the less I understand what your phrase “perfectly acceptable” means. Acceptable to whom? Were women previously covering their heads as devotion to God or devotion to bishops. Whose acceptance is sought here?

Maybe “permissable” is a better word.
When I say “acceptable” I am referring to the fact that the Church allows communion in the hand - and allows women to attend Church without veils.

I personally don’t think wearing a veil matters one whit to the devotion I give to God at Church.
Actually - I would feel like phony wearing one.

And women just abandoned it. Why? I can’t think of a single good reason

I never “abandoned” it.
It was never a practice during my entire life.
It is a foreign concept to me

I have to sit in the very front pew and not look at women or else I am much too distracted by the mini-skirts and tight-bust tops to be concerned with veils. (Funny we don’t see any rules about that either. I guess it must be PERFECTLY ACCEPTABLE.)

There is plenty of inappropriate dress from both men and women.
I never said this was perfectly acceptable - but your insinuation that I did is well noted.


#18

lorarose,

Most Catholics do not go to confession (about 95% actually).

Mot Catholics do not know that Friday is still a day of abstinence, we are to abstain from eating meat, or some equal substitute every Friday.

Most Catholics (70%) do not believe in the Real Presence of Jesus’ Body and Blood in the Eucharist.

We should be careful about any general statements…the state of the faith today is not what it was just 30 years ago.

Perhaps, just perhaps, some Catholics feel that if they show an example of reverance to our Lord, maybe that might move other people to follow…in your case it creates the opposite impression, yet perhaps for others the sight of people receiving on the tongue, or wearing veils might give them reason to think about their own reverance.

You are not doing anything wrong, yet you are being fairly harsh on Catholics who wear veils and receive on the tongue.
The Bishops recently approved gestures (bowing, etc.) during Mass. That was done to incrementally bring back some reverance for our Lord into the Mass. I personally suspect that was just the beginning. The Church moves slow.


#19

It does seem to me strange that Catholics - and other churches - are so concerned about the minutiae of ritual.

In various protestant churches people stand, sit or kneel, bareheaded or with hats on, to pray, sing or take communion, and often this appears to be important enough to be reason on its own for a new schism. As this thread shows, there is controversy within Catholicism as to how to take communion or what to wear.

I wonder - are the congregation actually directing their thoughts during Mass to God or to what their fellow communicants think
of them? Does God actually care what exact ritual is followed if
those who participate do so in the right spirit?


#20

exile,

I think it is human nature to fall into legalism…and there are many people of all denoms that fall into being to legalistic. However, with that said, if a Catholic is well informed of a given Church rule, and chooses to ignore the rule–then are at the very least being prideful.


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