Daily Archives: February 12, 2011

Women And Head Covering In Church

6 June 1987, Ronald Reagan and spouse visit the Pope in the Vatican. Nancy Reagan wears a veil.

I have already written about the decision of the Colombo’s Cathedral to impose a rigorous dress code with obligation for women to use the veil during Mass.

Father Z posted an interesting poll meant at knowing whether his reader thinks that a) a head covering should be worn and b) in this case, whether this should be made mandatory.

You can go directly to the site and click your way to the poll, where you will be able to vote even if not registered.

Interestingly enough, the YES to the head covering variations are majority among both sexes, with in both cases those preferring to leave freedom of choice being more numerous than those preferring that it be obligatory as it was in the past.

I was very pleased to read Fr Z confirming that the habit of covering the head among churchgoing women seems to be coming back again as this confirms my anecdotal observations both at the Oratory and elsewhere.

I have voted for the mandatory covering of the head for the following reasons:

1) I don’t think that this is the kind of obligation that could let anyone feel uncomfortable. It is an obligation out of love and those actions of which we make obligations out of love are the most beautiful ones.

2) Men have the obligation, not the choice, of uncovering their head when in church. Rightly so. The resurgence of male headgear (from formal hats to baseball caps to, well, hoods) hasn’t had any effect on this very simple, natural rule.

3) The women’s obligation of covering one’s head in church was a tradition of the past. Beautiful concept, tradition. Something passed from generation to generation …… before the V II generation decided that hey, it was not good enough anymore. In my eyes, whenever one recovers Church customs of the past one can never go wrong. If it was good in my grandmother’s time, it can’t be wrong now and if my grandmother never wondered whether the veil or hat should be mandatory I don’t think we should wonder now. You see, my grandmother lived in time when Christianity was more important than individual freedom. Food for thought.

4) Head covering is considered a traditional sign of modesty for women even outside of mass (see photo). Whilst one doesn’t advocate women always having to cover their heads, it is clear that if the covering of a woman’s head is a sign of modesty, the church is the natural place for it.

I salute the return of this beautiful tradition, then. I see in it another small step towards the recovery of liturgical sanity. Let us hope that this old custom may spread more and more in the decades to come.

Mundabor

%d bloggers like this: