Apologia: The Fullness of Christian Truth

``Where the Bishop is, there let the multitude of believers be;
even as where Jesus is, there is the Catholic Church'' Ignatius of Antioch, 1st c. A.D

Catholics' Thoughts on Veiling

I start out with a poem written by Hilary Mary Bernadette Flanery (how's THAT for an Irish Catholic name?):

Oh lowly, little, chapel veil,
You are my dearest friend.
For when my hair's all mops and brooms,
You cover, end to end.

And when my hair's not curling right
Or when it sticks out straight,
You gently hold it all in place
And make it look first rate!

But feminists, they hate you so,
You lowly, simple thing.
To them you are so vile, not veil,
To praise Our Lord and King.

And passing by the Church of Seven,
"Autonomy's", their phrase.
They never know the joys of Heaven,
Such as, no bad-hair-days!

For lowly, lacey, chapel veil,
You tame my hair, so wild!
But truth-be-told, though I look nice,
It's really for The Child.

A man writes:

Veils? I am most jealous of a woman's outward sign of humility to the presence of Our Lord in the Sacrament. All I can do is genuflect and bow my head to show my reverence.

I remember my mother and all the woman of the church as a child wearing veils. Having grown up with that...makes wearing a veil seem normal. The first time I took my middle son to a Traditional Mass, he was, "creeped out" by the veils and thought I had taken him to a totally different religion. (Speaks volumes to the changes that have occured under Vatican II...huh?)

I'm sure you'll find many a funny stories of women forgetting their veils and what they did to cover thier heads. We now have an emergency veil in every glove compartment.

The cheapest most beautiful veils can be bought at the Sahara shopping mall in Las Vegas. Another good reason for ladies to go to Las Vegas.

A woman writes:

For a long time I had the worldly, Protestant view that wearing veils was outdated and sexist. The world would have us believe that there is something somehow diminishing for a woman to wear a veil. I along with so many others in the seventies bought the lie that there was something in this that should embarrass us, that somehow the veil signaled a second class place in the world.

I now know that it is the outward sign of an internal gesture of reverence to God.

It no longer matters what the world, the flesh and the devil try to convince me. I understand that they have no place in my courtesy towards God. Wearing a veil was never a practice that diminished women in any way, but the world has convinced millions of women that this is the case.

It is enough now to put my veil on as I enter the church to turn my mind and heart toward the tabernacle.

Simply put, the placing of my veil on my head is the signal for my heart to begin to greet His Majesty when I enter His house. I cover my head to shield myself from the world and direct my heart to God.

A woman writes:

I have 3 daughters ages 17, 10, and 8. We all cover our heads in the Presence of Our Lord and have for the past 4 years. This has never proven to be an inconvenience; although at one Easter Vigil, having forgotten my veil, I pinned on the last paper towel from the restroom as it was the only thing left in the chapel that was suitable and it was nearly set alight numerous times by the vigil candle of the small boy sitting behind me!

I am a former corporate working mom and now a work-at-home mom and homeschooler. Rather than feeling degraded by covering my head, I feel liberated to be able to publicly express my humility and faith. I am striving to give my girls the same understanding.

In no way do we consider ourselves repressed or somehow "beneath" our menfolk, neither are we of the "Amish-Catholic" mindset as are some of our sisters in the Faith (although we do not condemn this). My oldest daughter attends public school (mostly for the music studies), my middle daughter is the starting catcher on an all-star softball team, and my youngest wears overalls and cowboy boots as she romps around our farm. However, when assisting at Holy Mass or making a visit to the Blessed Sacrament we make every attempt to wear dresses or skirts and our heads are always covered. We have even been known to unexpectedly pass by an adoration chapel and go in dressed casually (my oldest daughter even in jeans), but our heads are covered. It is so easy to carry a veil and a few chapel caps in your purse!

A small point you may want to bring up to your readership is that there are appropriate colors for veils. Married and older women should wear black. Young unmarried women and girls should wear white or the lighter colors. I have worn an ecru veil before when black would have absolutely been a distraction due to the outfit I had on at the time. My older daughter wore a a black heirloom veil we have that is adorned with tiny pink "pearls" for her confirmation last year, so there are legitimate exceptions to this suggested rule. Hats, too, are very acceptable as long as they do not distract. (My younger daughters often wear black berets with certain outfits.)

As a married woman I try to dress in a way that pleases my spouse and is yet modest. He is very supportive of our wearing of head coverings as he feels that both Holy Scripture and Tradition are crystal clear on this point.

One more note on dress, although many women know that it is inappropriate to wear low-cut necklines and miniskirts, it is also inappropriate to wear sleeveless dresses in the Presence of Our Lord. Even young girls with still lovely arms should refrain from baring them at Mass. Well, finally I am finished. I hope you can use some of the above information. Please do so without using my name. It is so wonderful to be a Catholic lady and even more wonderful to be given the opportunity to raise them!

A man writes:

Okay, I'm male, but here are my "two cents". Yes, I am a very big believer in chapel veils and mantillas for the following reasons:

1) Saint Paul explicitly talks about this practice in 1 Corinthians 11:4-5: "Every man praying or prophesying with his head covered, disgraces his head. But every woman praying or prophesying with her head uncovered disgraces her head." To say that Saint Paul's teaching was "cultural" or "conditioned by his time" is a "stone's throw" away from those liberal theologians who make similar claims regarding Biblical teaching on homosexuality, contraception and even abortion. It is better to take Saint Paul's words literally and have believed "too much" then to be wrong by having believed "too little".

2) Chapel Veils were explicitly required in the 1917 Code of Canon Law. Canon 1262.2 states, "Men should be with head uncovered in church or outside of church, when they assist at the sacred rites, unless the approved customs of the people or additional particulars of the circumstances call for something else; women, however, should be with head covered and modestly dressed, particularly when they approach the Lord's table." As we all know, the 1983 Code is a bastion of modernism; whereas the 1917 Code is a compendium of the Church's teachings and laws over the centuries.

3) Not wearing a veil (or a dress/skirt) to Mass is simply a capitulation to the "sexual revolution" of the 1960s, which, of course, gave modern civilization those two great "pillars of evil", abortion and contraception.

4) It is a matter of divine and natural law that a woman, within a sacramental marriage, be "obedient and submissive" to her husband "in all things not inconsistent with Christian piety" and that he love her as "Christ loved the Church" and as he "loves his own body". The veil symbolizes both modesty and submission, both of which are pleasing to the One and Triune God.

5) For many centuries, the Church's tradition was that women wear veils (in addition to dresses/ skirts) to Mass and that they be modestly dressed. All that changed during the 1960s due to the influence of "the World", not "the Church".

A woman writes:

I love wearing the Veil. I always did. Hard to describe the feeling, but there is a bit of "Bride of Christ" in so doing. I always loved being a woman, and welcomed things which emphasized that fact. There is also a feeling of obedience and humility, which, contrary to the distorted views of feminists, made me feel whole - and softer. Those are my feelings, and of course, feelings shouldn't dictate our behavior; there is the FACT that St. Paul commanded it, as well. I wish I could wear a veil all the time...but I'm also a frustrated nun. No, not quite; I've wanted to BE a nun, and that never happened... This is probably all to the good; had I "entered" in 1966, I'd probably be casting spells and drawing down the moon by now.

A woman writes:

I used to be a rabid feminist, brainwashed by books like Ann Moir's "Brain Sex" and all the rot that came from "the sisters" during my childhood and adolescence. I quite simply didn't know any better, and didn't have the grace to see the beauty of God's plan for the sexes. Even during that time, though, I was attracted to all the "stuff" of being a true Catholic woman. I couldn't explain my attraction, it didn't match my worldview, but I ultimately was jealous of women who seemed so sure of themselves as women.

Now I believe in Christ and His Church and know the reasons for that "unexplainable" longing: women are simply different from men, and women playing a man's game lose. An obvious fact, I know, but not so obvious to one whose education was in the hands of feminists and modern culture. When I wear the veil, I feel more womanly somehow, yet paradoxically, more brave and more sure of myself as I truly am: a woman. It's hard to explain, but in some way it makes me feel less shy. Maybe in the back of my mind I see millions of Catholic women from throughout the eons standing by me, with Mary in front.

Our culture is so weird about the sexes. It seems that everything that is masculine in terms of goals is considered "the norm" (while masculinity itself is derided). Feminine goals and the feminine -- that is, the truly feminine and the desire of a woman to be a woman and not an imitation man -- is mercilessly mocked. It's OK if you want to be a whore, a stripper, a rodeo clown, a soldier, a prosecuting attorney, an exec at a Fortune 500 Company, but if you just want to be a WOMAN -- if you want to be married and raise kids and cook and keep a house, if you like the idea of a man being more powerful than you, if you don't want to compete with your husband, if you want to be treated like a lady -- you are considered nothing. The feminists talk nonsense about "taking back the night"; I say, let us real women take back the night -- and the day, and our homes, and our families, and our lives. Let's be women and be proud of it!

A woman writes:

I wear a veil for worship and prayer. It seems that I wear the veil more than not. In all my study of the issue of wearing a veil, it never ceases to amaze me that a little bit of fabric can cause so much contention. I do not believe that God is behind the fussing that is caused over that little bit of fabric rather another who does not like to see anything of God glorified or honored.

As I enter the church and get myself prepared to enter the presence of God it is just a little extra perk to know that God knows my heart and the angels see my submission in the veil. All the angels, good and bad.

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