jump to navigation

More on veiling – and, should women veil ALL the time? August 1, 2011

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, Dallas Diocese, Eucharist, General Catholic, Interior Life, Latin Mass, North Deanery, Society.

I’m very on board with women veiling.  Colleen Hammond linked to a post from “Austin Catholic New Media” discussing one woman’s desire to wear the veil before the Blessed Sacrament, and some history of the practice:

I remember my first time seeing mantillas in church. I went to a Tridentine Mass at St. Mary’s Cathedral downtown for the first time and felt terribly out of place without one. The veiled outnumbered the veil-less. I thought they were lovely right away, and also felt an overwhelming sense of reverence coming from those women. Ever since then, my heart has felt a little unease at my own omission.

Cris is the one who explained the history to me, and why so few heads are veiled at Novus Ordo masses. The tradition for Christian women began 2,000 years ago; it’s only in the past 40 that it has fallen out of usage.

It’s a common misconception that women are no longer required to cover their heads in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. As the article at Fish Eaters explains, the mistake can be traced back to 1969 and a news article about the upcoming changes taking place as a result of Vatican II. Msgr. Bugnini is the one attributed with the misquote. When he was asked if women would still be required to cover their heads after Vatican II, he simply replied that the matter was not being discussed. While he meant it as an affirmation to its permanence, it was reported the other way around.

Even though Church officials tried to clarify, this was the 70s, people! The height of feminism in the US! Conservatism about a tradition that wasn’t very well understood in the first place didn’t stand a chance [I would also add that there was, and remains, a concerted effort from many corners of the Church to oppose traditional Catholic piety and devotional practices, in the ostensible interests of ecumenism but also perenially at war with those “goofy, old-fashioned, superstitious” practices relegated to the past by the ‘spirit’ of VII]

I love the idea of veiling. I am more than willing to cover my head as an act of humility. It’s a perfect way to model Mary’s Fiat. I love showing God that I am willing to “Let it be done unto me according to (His) Word.” [I believe this is a powerful motivation for many women – a desire to express humility before the Lord, covering some of their God-given beauty for His Glory]

I’ve also found it’s a great cure for distractions. My veil is a constant reminder of the current task at hand: revering God.

Also, head coverings don’t have to be lace and/or mantillas. The Fish Eaters site mentioned before has lots links to alternatives too, such as shawls, scarves, and hats. (Come on ladies, who doesn’t like to accessorize?!)

I have to admit to having a preference…..I prefer the long shawl to the lace mantilla type.  I really

I'm down with this

don’t care for the lace doily type – in fact, I think that practice is even somewhat harmful, in that it seems to degrade the spirit of the custom in favor of the ‘letter.’  In discussions on this topic on secular sites or even Catholic sites hostile towards veiling as a practice, the doilies are constantly brought up as being both unattractive and indicative of someone following the letter of a custom they do not understand. 

So, there’s veiling at Mass or otherwise in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament.  But I am becoming aware that some women are contemplating wearing a veil of some type all or most of the time in public.  This, too, has been an immemorial custom for much of Church history.  But in the present context and environment, thoughts of the hijab and muslim oppression immediately spring to mind.  I am not opposed to the practice, I am even in favor, done properly and with the right intent (a free will choice of a woman to be modest, and not an imposition from external sources). 

So…..what do you think of that?  Women veiling all the time?  Would you be open to that?   Is this a good way to emulate our Blessed Mother?



1. Dave Dlg - August 1, 2011

I vote ‘Yes’ to veiling.

2. Colleen Hammond - August 1, 2011

From a homily by a diocesan priest:

Since the early Church, Religious sisters and nuns traditionally have worn a veil as part of their habit as a sign of humility and purity and to show that they have consecrated themselves to Christ, their spiritual spouse. Until recently it was the unbroken tradition of the Church, following the writings of St. Paul, that girls and women who are not religious, wear a chapel veil – also known by its Spanish name, mantilla– or some other dignified hat – whenever they entered a Catholic Church. Contrary to the feminist view, covering her hair does not mean a girl or woman is ashamed of her feminine beauty, but that, following the example of our Lord in the Gospel, during divine worship, she is covering her physical glory so that God ALONE may be glorified. Furthermore, the veil fittingly expresses the dignity of woman as a life-bearing vessel. The Church veils only the sacred, such as the tabernacle, ciborium, and the chalice in the 1st part of the Mass. These sacred vessels hold the Most Blessed Sacrament, which contains Life itself. Similarly, woman was created with the privilege of bearing human life. So men and women, though equal in dignity, are distinct and so show respect and love to God in different ways. For the Catholic girl or woman, the veil is a symbol of her unique feminine dignity as an adopted daughter of God the Father. So, the chapel veil is still very fittingly worn by girls and woman whenever they enter in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. The veil can also encourage girls and women to imitate the perfect model for modesty, purity, and femininity – our Blessed Mother…

Graciela - August 10, 2011

hi Colleen

please read my comments below from Graciela on Aug 10th 2011

God Bless +

3. amihowAnn - August 1, 2011

All those traditions are beautiful. However, I grew up with mantillas and those ideas behind the traditions had been lost and mantillas were just “Mexicn”.

The church has no requirement that women veil and those who wish to do so should and those who do not wish to should not.

Many people confuse conformance to tradition with holiness and S.Ginal Molla wore pants, which few, if any, of the current crop of mantilla wearers I know would wear.

In the non-essentials freedom, in the essentials unity.

4. KathiBee - August 2, 2011

If a Catholic blogger wants to generate comments — put up a blog about veiling!

In answer to your question: “veiling all the time”?, it seems that in most countries this would not be a Christian witness, but a Muslim one. Unless I see a woman looking very much like a nun, I would absolutely suspect she is a Muslim — even if she had a large crucifix about her.

tantamergo - August 2, 2011

yeah, i know…..it’s red meat in the Catholic blogosphere.

5. Mary - August 2, 2011

We’re contemplating ‘veiling’ more than at Mass. I’m trying to find more information about it.

Our “veiling”, however, won’t look anything like muslim garb. It might look like a kerchief or a super-wide head-band. I’m working on making some headcoverings at this time. I don’t think you’ll mistaken me for a muslim.

I think it has to do with humbling myself throughout the day, reminding me to be in constant prayer (that is one reason the veiling is done).

6. JenZ - August 3, 2011

This is a topic that has been on my heart for some time now. I read some information about Plain Catholics, who cover their heads at all times, and their reasoning seems to me to be really sound – women are to cover our heads when we pray, and we are to pray always. I don’t remember the scripture verses that go along with this, but I can’t find anything to refute it.

There are many websites with head covering options that don’t look at all muslim, and those are the options that I would consider. I did wear a wide headband for some time but feel more drawn to something like an Israeli tichel or a modified snood myself, rather than the type of head covering that Plain Catholics wear (which is the same covering that the Amish and Mennonites wear).

mckee.melissa@ymail.com - August 6, 2011

This Scripture from I Thess. 5:17 which tells us to pray without ceasing is also applicable to men. If women are to cover ALL the time according to this Scripture, then men are to NEVER cover for any purpose whatsoever because they are included in the command to pray without ceasing and they are NOT to cover when they pray. Something to think about. I have worn the covering daily and just during public prayer and worship and, to me, it takes on a deeper spiritual significance and it more sacred when it is revered and not just used as a daily article of clothing. It becomes too common and loses its pure purpose. This is from what I have sensed in my spirit. I also feel led to wear a longer type veil, as opposed to anything that is just a “token” covering.

tantamergo - August 8, 2011

Interesting points. Hopefully a veiling woman will respond.

God bless you!

7. Cori Hyland - August 4, 2011

I got out of the practice of veiling awhile back. It’s really a good idea, though, but it was easy to forget about it because of having just boys for years. But, from the logic standpoint of women needing help with their humility and purity issues these days…makes sense.

Also, and I don’t know if it’s just me, but I am MOST distracted by people’s hair dos at mass…even more than their style of dress because I can see their heads over the pews. I think I actually have an obsession with hair cuts, texture, and color. I believe I missed my calling as a hairdresser, so I’m always trying to “put a new ‘do” on people at mass in my mind. The veiling would help me probably more than others.

8. Graciela - August 10, 2011

I have read the book from Colleen Hammond and have been veiling for almost a year now, but lately i am having thoughts on the pharisees and how everyhting was always seeing the exterior rather then the heart , I am a bit confused on this matter, i am trying to discern God’s will in this regard also in women wearing trousers , I am thinking that yes women should be more feminine in dress but simplicity is also shown while wearing loose trousers….

tantamergo - August 10, 2011

Don’t overthink it. The devil often tries to confuse us to make us think that what we are doing is actually offensive to God. Catholic women wore veils before the Blessed Sacrament for hundreds of years. I am certain God does not find this practice prideful, although I’m equally certain satan wants you to think that it is. Don’t listen to the naysayers and those so confused by our dark culture that say veiling is a bad practice. It is a beautiful practice, one of deep humility, and I encourage it.

As for the trousers, that is different, but remember that satan often tries to confuse us.

Graciela - August 10, 2011

Thanks for your reply, but where I usually attend mass I or sometimes 1 more of us are wearing the veil, so this is the battle I am undergoing, should I attend another mass where more ladies wear the veil ?

Mary - August 10, 2011

I attend daily Mass at a church in Plano where a few women are veiling, at first my girls and I were the only ones, now more women are veiling. In fact, more women veil at daily mass percentage-wise than on Sundays at the same parish. This location and time best suites our needs. For Sunday Mass, we attend an FSSP Mass where most, not all, women veil and wear dresses/skirts. This helps keep us grounded in our Faith, I believe.

I hope this helps in evaluating your own situation. A million questions would result from your question, such as is the Mass reverent, how far is the nearest orthodox Mass, are you talking Sunday Mass or daily??? …

Many argue that if you veil, you are trying to be holier-than-thou. I never feel that, but I feel more humbled before the Lord. It helps me to shut out what is around me. There are days I am readjusting it so many times it seems a hassle…but I ask for patience.

“…Because of the angels…” is part of the scripture about veiling, and I believe this is because the angels are surrounding the altar, and they report that we are not showing reverence to Jesus, son of God, who is more glorious and beautiful than we can ever attempt to be without the veil. All things holy are veiled, and women are veiled because we can bear children. I also have never heard anyone give a good response to St. Paul’s request that women veil in Mass (a local priest said that section of the bible is outdated… but we’re not supposed to pick and choose what we believe in…).

As for wearing skirts, I have noticed much more respect since I got rid of my shorts and pants (I was much criticized for having more than 2 children). God made women beautiful, and as Colleen says in her book, we can lead men to sin just be dressing in pants – In my HS journalism class, we were taught that with photos to make a sort of triangle with images at it most draws the eye. The problem with pants (and low-cut shirts) is they make a triangle, drawing the eye to certain parts of the body.

Don’t waiver in your Faith. Stand strong. I have a magnet on my fridge that says “The heavier the cross, the more certain you are doing the will of God the Father”.

9. Graciela - August 10, 2011

Thanks Mary, this helps me to discern , what is the name of the church in Plano ? also what church do you attend on Sundays that you see women also veiling ? I really appreciate your help.
and as you said it that following the Lord’s will is not easy , but he is with us to help us +

Colleen Hammond - August 11, 2011

I second what Larry and Mary said! 🙂

We attend the 9:30am at Mater Dei in Irving as well, so if you visit make sure you stop and say hello! 🙂

10. Mary - August 11, 2011

We attend St Mark at 15th and Alma M-F 8:30 am (not necessarily every day, but prob 3 of 5), Our family sits up front, left at St Mark. On Sundays we attend Mater Dei in Irving at 9:30am (it is the 1962 Latin Mass, beautiful)- this has been the nicest group I’ve met.

Sorry comments are closed for this entry

%d bloggers like this: