Veil Wars

I just read an interesting discussion at a blog called “St. Louis Catholic” about whether or not theCatholic Church still requires women to cover their heads with a veil or hat at Mass.

The unnamed canon lawyer whose opinion that, yes, women are still obliged to wear them (even if virtually none do anymore), critiques the contrary opinion, advanced by Father John Zuhlsdorf, canonist Ed Peters, and Jimmy Akin. Even though I have long been of the opinion that the Church no longer requires this custom, at least not at Novus Ordo Masses, I must admit that this article has gone a long way toward convincing me that I have been wrong about this. The fact that “nobody does this anymore” is not a good reason not to observe this venerable Catholic custom.
I do, however, have a respectful complaint for the proprietor of the St. Louis Catholic blog (who goes by “Tinman” rather than his real name), and that is: It is a mistake for you not to name the canon lawyer whom you quote and whom you refer to only as “an out-of-state canonist.” There’s no reason that I can see why he should not be named, especially since he publically critiques others by name. That seems unjust to me. The unnamed canonist’s argument has great merit, but its effects are blunted by his remaining anonymous.


  1. Lynne

    I began wearing a veil to Mass, NO and TLM over a year ago since I began to attend a TLM as often as I could. If a woman wear a veil to a TLM, then why not wear one when one attends a NO Mass? It’s not a part of a costume, it’s how I show respect to God when I am in church. Therefore, I also wear a veil to adoration and confession.I live north of Boston and I typically see a few other women also wearing veils at any given Mass (NO). I attend Mass at many different churches…

  2. Mary Ann Parks

    What about the canonical rule that a custom not observed for 25 years goes out of force? And, by the way, women never wore “veils” – they wore headgear, hats, scarves, and hankies or kleenex. Veils never made an appearance (outside of Spanish nobility on dress-up day)until the mid-60’s, when hats when out of style. Then the veil fashion hit and became veil competition. Lacy, black and peek-a-boo sexy. Fancy, wedding-style lace or boring machine repeats. Plain old transparent net with a border (what sort of covering is transparent net?) Gold-trimmed sometimes, and white for summertime. Various sizes and shapes for various profiles and hairdos. But let us not fool ourselves that there was much piety involved.

  3. Delaina M Toothman

    I wear a veil whenever Jesus is in the building. My granddaughter made her first communion last year and her first request was for her own veil. She attends Catholic School and is the only veiled girl there but she wears it. For us it is a sign of respect and obedience to God. St. Paul speaks of this in 1 Corinthians but I veiled prior to reading him. If I go in the presence of Jesus with no veil I feel like I am there naked. This is a personal feeling and I respect those who choose not to veil, but I will always veil and, apparently, so will my granddaughter.

  4. Michael

    About three years ago I changed my position on veils. I have three daughters growing up in a hyper sexualized culture. My daughters and my wife started wearing the mantilla’s out of reverence but mostly because the head covering is what I like to call “Creep Repellant”. Let me explain. I’m a long time construction worker and I’ve heard and have seen all kinds of disrespectful behavior targeted towards women. I’ve never heard any disrespectful comments or gestures leveled at Nuns, Muslim women, or Mennonite women. I’ve never heard of any guys asking Nuns out on dates. Theses groups of women have something that separates them from most women in our western culture. They all outwardly show that they belong to God and there is always a certain level of respect in which these women command. When a Priest wears his collar I’m sure people act differently around him. I can’t protect my girls forever. As lay women and girls my wife and daughters do have a defence against creepy guys, its their mantillas. Try it and see if it works ladies. My wife and a protestant friend of hers wore head scarfs in public and it works. Her friend was surprised. I’ve seen people in public with metal studs in their face, covered in the most immodest tattoo’s even on their face. I’ve seen men wearing vulgar messages on their tee shirts, and women wearing the most revealing clothes. If these people are so bold with their immodesty then why can’t we be bold with our modesty? I’ve been surprised what a little piece of cloth on my wife and daughters heads can do, there has been no downside. If a head covering is good enough for our blessed Mother Mary, then I think its good enough for my girls.

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