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 Post subject: Veiling in church
PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2005 11:02 pm 
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I have a friend who's anti-Islam and anti-everything-that-makes-women-or-her-feel-inferior-to-men who just asked me a question, "What's the point of veiling in church? What's wrong with our hair? Why must we hide it?"

How do I answer her?

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2005 11:48 pm 
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I can tell you why my wife does it.

Its simply practical for her. She says that it keeps her from looking around and it keeps her focused on the mass.

Keep in mind though, my wife wears scarves all the time so head coverings are not exactly unusual for her.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2005 11:55 pm 
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Here is an interesting article.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2005 12:29 am 
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Have you ever seen an image of any holy woman in church without her hair covered? It is not anti-women, because it is optional, and it is a sign of respect. Is it anti-man that we are expected to take hats off?

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2005 6:48 am 
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I have only seen one or two women do this in our Parish and it wasn't recently mentioned in RCIA.

Any RCIA instructors/Priests/any one with any knowledge on the church's teaching on this????


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2005 8:58 am 
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I would encourage you all to read the article linked by fais Do-Do. Here are the first few lines.

“Every woman who prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoreth her head: “(Cor. 11:5).

“There is neither male or female, for ye are one in Christ” (Gal. 3:28)

There is considerable resistance, even among so-called traditional Catholics, to women covering their heads in Church, or to use the more common phrase, to women wearing veils. Now, the veiling of woman is an Apostolic command (I Cor, XI:4-16), and hence the attitude of a faithful Catholic is one which accepts Apostolic injunctions without question."

I would add: 1. Islam took the practice from us. Why would we not wish to follow our own devotional practices. 2. The practice makes me a better Christian man. Why would I not support it?

Dan L

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2005 9:55 am 
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Wow, I am actually shocked (and somewhat relieved) to read this! I thought the Church's position on headcoverings was that it was a cultural decision, and since in today's culture, it is not disrespectful for women to be 'uncovered', the Church no longer says women must cover their hair. However, I have also read that, although headcovering was not mentioned in V2, it was assumed that there was no change to this practice; that women were still expected to cover, but, b/c of the absence of a statement confirming the practice be continued, many women abandoned it. I discussed this a lot with women of different Christian backgrounds about a year ago, and many of these women agreed that, being scriptural, women ought to continue the practice. But another women led me to an article from EWTN where it is explained why the RCC NO LONGER encourages this practice (cultural). I will try to find it. It also gives examples of other practices in the bible that we no longer have, b/c of cultural changes.
~Joy


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2005 9:57 am 
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deerlisa wrote:
I have only seen one or two women do this in our Parish and it wasn't recently mentioned in RCIA.

Any RCIA instructors/Priests/any one with any knowledge on the church's teaching on this????

I must affirm my support for any woman who wishes to have her head covered in Church. She should not feel criticized or out-of-place.

However, it is no longer required in the Catholic Church. There are documents and indeed one of them directly asserts that St. Paul's directive in 1 Cor 11 is no longer normative.


The question of headcoverings for women keeps coming up. One can count on it appearing every couple of months. Without wishing to contribute too much to this discussion again, I will just repeat a couple of paragraphs from a previous post of mine which quotes a relevant CDF document.
Edward Pothier, on a previous headovering thread, wrote:
Even before the 1983 Code [of Canon Law], there was an official "relaxation" of the headcovering requirement from a rather unsuspected source. The CDF document under consideration actually comes from 1976-1977, even before the papacy of Pope John Paul II and the CDF prefecture of Cardinal Ratzinger. Even back then, under Pope Paul VI and Cardinal Seper, the CDF was not generally called liberal. The document, although internally dated October 15, 1976, was actually released on January 27, 1977. It is the CDF "Declaration on the Question of the Admission of Women to the Ministerial Priesthood", sometimes known by its Latin title _Inter Insigniores_.

The Declaration by the CDF against the ordination of women [in its section on the permanent value of the attitude of Jesus and the Apostles against ordination of women] states almost in passing the former requirement:
CDF 1976 Declaration INTER INSIGNIORES wrote:
"Another objection [of supporters of the ordination of women] is based upon the transitory character that one claims to see today in some of the prescriptions of St. Paul concerning women, and upon the difficulties that some aspects of his teaching raise in this regard. But it must be noted that these ordinances, probably inspired by the customs of the period, concern scarcely more than disciplinary practices of minor importance, such as the obligation imposed upon women to wear a veil on the head (1 Cor. 11:2-16); such requirements no longer have a normative value." {emphasis mine}


There is no mention of headcovering in the 1983 Code of Canon Law [although there was in the 1917 Code, canon 1262]. As shown above by the 1976 CDF declaration it was already effectively dropped even before the 1983 Code. The too quick and facile dropping of the tradition (either in passing in a CDF declaration or by the deliberate omitting in a revised 1933 Code) brings problems. While the dropping is correct (in my view), it should not have been done so much in passing. Apostolic tradition (or what is claimed to be Apostolic tradition) needs to be handled with sufficient depth of thought and analysis.


Edward Pothier


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2005 10:25 am 
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Found this on an EWTN search:

Quote:
In 1983 Pope John Paul II promulgated a new Code of Canon Law. The previous head covering requirement, which was a disciplinary type of law, was not included in the revised Code. Today the Code does not require nor does it forbid the practice of wearing a head covering for women in church
.

But this is a good one:

Quote:
1 Cor 11
Question from Michele Winslow on 05-26-2003:
It seems to me that in Paul's passage mandating women's headcoverings, that it is more than a matter of "respect and modesty." He appeals to "the angels," which I understand to refer to the proper acknowledgement of hierarchy among God, the angels, man, and woman; to nature, which points to things essential; and to "the churches of God," which assigns a universal quality. I think this symbolic act is essential to understanding the mystery of the relationship between man and woman, Christ and the Church. And, why did Canon Law drop it after 1900 years of Tradition? Thank you.
Answer by Fr. John Echert on 05-29-2003:
I agree, that Saint presents his point as more than cultural conditioning, but as something fundamental to the order of creation and grace. As to dropping the canonical prescription, I suspect for the same reason so much else was changed or abandoned, which is the great "mystery" yet to be fully acknowledged or addressed.
Thanks, Michele

Father Echert


Another nice one in support:

Quote:
Quote:
Answer by Fr. John Echert on 10-31-2004:
It would be nice if there was an explicit statement of the Church on this matter; if there is such a statement, I am not familiar with it. Instead, we have silence, in the face of a change of custom and practice in most places.
In the local Indult parish in which I say the traditional form of the Mass each Sunday (the Latin Tridentine Mass) most of the women wear veils, though not all. In a typical English language Mass in other parishes, veils are rather rare. One would probably be hard pressed to make a compelling case that veils are still required by church law, though some have argued that the silence of the most recent code on this matter does not, of itself, abrogate the earlier code on the matter, which required it. Probably most have assumed by the silence of the institutional Church on the matter that there is no such requirement. On the other hand, neither is the practice forbidden, and if you are inclined to wear a veil or some hat covering, in accord with the words of Saint Paul and the long standing tradition of the Church, by all means, do so. Here is but one Catholic supplier of veils--mantillas:

LINK

Thanks, Pat

Father Echert


Wow, and this one:

Quote:
women wearing headcoverings in church
Question from Pam on 01-11-2005:
Dear Father Levis, I'm not sure if this is the right category for this question...but I appreciate your no nonsense style and thought you'd have a clear answer for me! What does the church teach about women wearing veils or some other form of headcovering in church or during public prayer? What do you personally believe about the issue? I am a convert to the church (4 years in!) and therefore don't remember a time when Catholic women wore veils in church, but it seems like the right thing to do. Thank you for your reply. Pam
Answer by Fr. Robert J. Levis on 01-12-2005:
Pam, The classic tradition of women with heads covered in Church still stands, but I suspect style, the great number of hair dressers, the urge to keep in style, the feminists insisting on no difference between men and women, - all these have militated against veils these days. The Scriptures remain the same, no change. Fr Bob Levis


These are most notable of the FAQ on EWTN. If you look through all of them (there are over a dozen) you can see that clearly, there are differing opinions on this subject, even among the different priests answering those questions. Personally, I prefer the veil, but feel very silly wearing one in any parish in my area, and I don't want to draw attention to myself. I only wish it was still in practice.
~Joy


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2005 3:02 pm 
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Thanks, guys. I printed out the article Fais Do-Do linked to. Will be reading it.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2005 3:33 pm 
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Joy,

If you wear one, you won't know who's staring at you since they kinda work like blinders. :D

I am of the opinion that I'd rather do what is reverent to God as opposed to what others think. (I am NOT perfect in this respect, but when it comes to veiling my head, I don't waver - it's a start)

I even have a veil at work so if I have to let a guy in to check the A/C or something like that, I can throw it on.

I used to not worry about it at work, but feel totally exposed now if my head isn't covered in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. People think I'm weird, but they think that if I am wearing a veil or not. :P

Steph


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2005 3:38 pm 
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Steph,

God bless you.

Dan L

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2005 4:00 pm 
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It's more than seeing who is looking at me. It's a pride thing. I want to do it, but I don't want to stand out. It'll become a horrible temptation to pride for me to know that I stand out like that. Some days it will be a martyrdom to know that people will look at it disapprovingly (which is fine), but other days I will feel puffed-up b/c I was 'brave enough' to do it. It doesn't take much to boost my ego ;) . I prefer to steer clear of anything that may be a cause for temptation in that arena.
~Joy


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2005 4:07 pm 
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Joy,

God bless you for your humility and I pray that my compliment does not puff you up but draw you closer to Him. I really do believe that humility is what we all so desparately need. If the veil expresses that, praise be to God and that outward sign of devotion will inspire others to devotion.

Although St. Paul did not say this along with this admonision I think it might be appropriate: "About veiling or not veiling there is no law. Just love God will all your heart and if He moves you to wear it do so for His glory and for the encouragement of others."

Dan L

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2005 4:32 pm 
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JoyToBeCatholic wrote:
It's more than seeing who is looking at me. It's a pride thing. I want to do it, but I don't want to stand out. It'll become a horrible temptation to pride for me to know that I stand out like that. Some days it will be a martyrdom to know that people will look at it disapprovingly (which is fine), but other days I will feel puffed-up b/c I was 'brave enough' to do it. It doesn't take much to boost my ego ;) . I prefer to steer clear of anything that may be a cause for temptation in that arena.
~Joy


Joy,
Take what I'm about to say with a grain of salt, ok? I'm not intending to admonish you or be condescending at all, and I suspect that what I'm about to write may come off that way. Just know that's not my intention.

Look, if you wear a veil, would you be wearing it because you feel it's the right thing to do or because you would be trying to get other people to realize they are in the wrong? I have a hard time believing you would wear a veil exclusively for the latter reason.

Do not be concerned with sticking out in the crowd and do not be concerned if others will think you are pretentious.

Many people do things incorrectly or out of ignorance just because of the exact reason you state: they don't want to stick out in the crowd.. they don't want to go against the grain.
Well, the thing is that nowadays, a LOT of stuff that is "accepted" (per se) is going against the grain. Take for example, holding hands during the Our Father... lifting hands during the doxology.. that's just right off the top of my head.

Some people still refuse to hold hands during the Our Father -- not because they are proud, but because it's not really proper to do so.
If hand-holders take this as being proud, then who cares? The problem is not with the refuser, but rather with the hand-holder who is wrong in the first place.

Head veils are not outlawed. There is just as much "pride" in wearing one as there is for refusing to wear one. Personally, I think women who refuse to wear the veil are proud because of the reason you just expressed: "don't wanna stick out in the crowd". The fact that most women do not wear the veil at the novus ordo is immaterial.

There is no pride in doing what should be done.

...and this reminds me of the Gloria... there it is right there in the missalette: *here, all bow* at "by the power of the Holy Spirit, he was born of the Virgin Mary, and became man".

How many people actually do what is written right there in front of them?

Do you know how many looks you get when you're the only one in a crowd who bows during that part of the Gloria?

Don't worry about other people and what they think.
Do not worry about feelings of pride in doing something that you know is right and should be done.

Again, it's not prideful to do what should be done, even when nobody around you is doing it.

And MAYBE, if by doing things RIGHT, you'll influence other people to actually do things right. Who knows? You might be only one of 50 women in your church who would like to wear the veil, but won't because none of you want to "stick out in the crowd".

Read this again posted just above my post:
Quote:
Although St. Paul did not say this along with this admonision I think it might be appropriate: "About veiling or not veiling there is no law. Just love God will all your heart and if He moves you to wear it do so for His glory and for the encouragement of others."


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2005 4:49 pm 
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Tango:

:clap::clap::clap::clap::clap: Excellent! I agree 110%



Athanasius:

:oops: Thanks. Just doin' my job.

Steph


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2005 5:02 pm 
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Quote:
Joy,

God bless you for your humility and I pray that my compliment does not puff you up but draw you closer to Him.


You know, the temptation did cross my mind as I made the comment (proud of my attempt at humility) :oops: It's a vicious cyle!

tAnGo wrote:
JoyToBeCatholic wrote:
It's more than seeing who is looking at me. It's a pride thing. I want to do it, but I don't want to stand out. It'll become a horrible temptation to pride for me to know that I stand out like that. Some days it will be a martyrdom to know that people will look at it disapprovingly (which is fine), but other days I will feel puffed-up b/c I was 'brave enough' to do it. It doesn't take much to boost my ego ;) . I prefer to steer clear of anything that may be a cause for temptation in that arena.
~Joy


Joy,
Take what I'm about to say with a grain of salt, ok? I'm not intending to admonish you or be condescending at all, and I suspect that what I'm about to write may come off that way. Just know that's not my intention.


Definately not a problem.

Quote:
Look, if you wear a veil, would you be wearing it because you feel it's the right thing to do or because you would be trying to get other people to realize they are in the wrong? I have a hard time believing you would wear a veil exclusively for the latter reason.


Well, it would be for the reasons already cited. Not neccessarily b/c I think it's the right thing to do, but I believe it is the more REVERENT thing to do, as well as the whole submission thing, which I don't hear much about in Catholic circles.

Quote:
Do not be concerned with sticking out in the crowd and do not be concerned if others will think you are pretentious.

Many people do things incorrectly or out of ignorance just because of the exact reason you state: they don't want to stick out in the crowd.. they don't want to go against the grain.
Well, the thing is that nowadays, a LOT of stuff that is "accepted" (per se) is going against the grain. Take for example, holding hands during the Our Father... lifting hands during the doxology.. that's just right off the top of my head.


That really gets my goat too.

Quote:
Some people still refuse to hold hands during the Our Father -- not because they are proud, but because it's not really proper to do so.
If hand-holders take this as being proud, then who cares? The problem is not with the refuser, but rather with the hand-holder who is wrong in the first place.


And I am one of them - the refuser. I just don't find any temptation toward pride in that. It isn't as obvious as wearing a veil.

Quote:
Head veils are not outlawed. There is just as much "pride" in wearing one as there is for refusing to wear one. Personally, I think women who refuse to wear the veil are proud because of the reason you just expressed: "don't wanna stick out in the crowd". The fact that most women do not wear the veil at the novus ordo is immaterial.

There is no pride in doing what should be done.


But that's just the issue. It is no longer required, therefore, why tempt myself? I had to swallow the pride issue at a parish I belonged to many years ago when I first discovered EWTN. Mother Angelica mentioned how we are supposed to genuflect when passing in front of the Tabernacle. No one in my parish was doing it. I started doing it though, and it never bothered me b/c I didn't feel like there was a choice. This was Jesus and I should not walk by without acknowleging Him. But headcovering is differnt to me. I'm not sure. Maybe I should look into it more before I make that decision. I used to go to mass at a monastery every morning, and most women wore a veil. I started wearing one too, and loved it. It definately cut out the distractions and not wearing one just felt wrong with so many young, modest postulants and monks around.

Quote:
...and this reminds me of the Gloria... there it is right there in the missalette: *here, all bow* at "by the power of the Holy Spirit, he was born of the Virgin Mary, and became man".

How many people actually do what is written right there in front of them?

Do you know how many looks you get when you're the only one in a crowd who bows during that part of the Gloria?


He he, our priest does it, so, many others do as well ;). But I know what you mean. And I don't hesitate to do it when I go somewhere else, regardless of what they do there, b/c it's something I always do and know I should.

Quote:
Don't worry about other people and what they think.
Do not worry about feelings of pride in doing something that you know is right and should be done.

Again, it's not prideful to do what should be done, even when nobody around you is doing it.

And MAYBE, if by doing things RIGHT, you'll influence other people to actually do things right. Who knows? You might be only one of 50 women in your church who would like to wear the veil, but won't because none of you want to "stick out in the crowd".

Read this again posted just above my post:
Quote:
Although St. Paul did not say this along with this admonision I think it might be appropriate: "About veiling or not veiling there is no law. Just love God will all your heart and if He moves you to wear it do so for His glory and for the encouragement of others."


I know. Ultimately the intention would be for reverence, but..........

It's always been a big issue for me. Do the thing that is more reverent even though it isn't required and risk being tempted? Or avoid the entire matter. It does seem as though I'm allowing my fear of temptation prevent me from doing the things I want to in practicing my faith. I've even brought some of these things up to a priest before and I was told that, to do such things (veils, genuflecting, kneeling w/out the kneeler) when no one else does them might cause scandal. I thought, 'scandalous to show reverence when I am moved to do so? That seems bizarre'. But I've heard more bizarre things than that from the confessional :scratch:

I'll pray on it again. It's been quite a while since I gave it consideration. But you make some very valid points. Thank you.
~Joy


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2005 5:18 pm 
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Here are my thoughts on women wearing veils in church.
First, why do we go to Mass? For Jesus Christ, for God and to worship God alone. We are there for our focus to be on God and Him alone. Our focus is not to be on anyone else but God.
Now, when a woman has her head uncovered I truly beleive that this can be a cause of distraction. Why? Well, men might look at her...and us women are notorious for looking at another womans hair and thinking, " It is so pretty. How did she do that?" And then this might even lead to jealousy because you want your hair like that. So, in essence this can take your mind off of those thoughts which it should be on and will instead cause you to think of something unimportant during the most important time of the week.
Also, I think that if no other women wear the head covering in Mass then it might be best not to do so yourself. Why? Because this in turn could accomplish the same thing of taking people's minds off of God and onto yourself.
Just some thoughts...take them and do with them what you will. :-)

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2005 5:21 pm 
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just as a point of clarification in my previous post on the previous page...

i meant to refer to the Creed and not the Gloria.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2005 5:26 pm 
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st_ignatius110 wrote:
Here are my thoughts on women wearing veils in church.
First, why do we go to Mass? For Jesus Christ, for God and to worship God alone. We are there for our focus to be on God and Him alone. Our focus is not to be on anyone else but God.
Now, when a woman has her head uncovered I truly beleive that this can be a cause of distraction. Why? Well, men might look at her...and us women are notorious for looking at another womans hair and thinking, " It is so pretty. How did she do that?" And then this might even lead to jealousy because you want your hair like that. So, in essence this can take your mind off of those thoughts which it should be on and will instead cause you to think of something unimportant during the most important time of the week.
Also, I think that if no other women wear the head covering in Mass then it might be best not to do so yourself. Why? Because this in turn could accomplish the same thing of taking people's minds off of God and onto yourself.
Just some thoughts...take them and do with them what you will. :-)


I believe that there is wisdom in that. I wonder if it would be useful to have a men's spiritual retreat which discusses topics like this as fitting for men and a women's spiritual retreat which would discuss topics like this for women. Perhaps through common prayer and discernment an approach to recapture the sacred might be a great blessing to every parish.

dan l

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