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When Catholics refer to ‘veiling’, they simply mean a woman’s act of covering her head during Mass. Often it refers to using a mantilla or chapel veil, but it can also mean wearing a hat.
With a misplaced, new sense of freedom, many women threw away their mantillas.
Time is funny. What is out of vogue, becomes fashionable again. And so, the mantilla is back in style.
However, some women are still resistant and I find that there are 6 main excuses women use to not veil.
1) Only Spaniards Wear Mantillas
It is true that before Jackie Kennedy, American Catholic women were used to covering their heads with hats. Jackie brought back the mantilla and American Women fell in love with them.
So although these mantillas were very popular in Spain, American Catholic women adopted it as part of their culture as well.
Either way, you don’t have to wear a mantilla. You can wear a hat.
Let me point out that in some circles, wearing a mantilla is considered to be more holy or more traditional than a hat. Don’t let anyone deceive you. As long as your head is covered, you’re good.
2) I Look Horrible with a Mantilla
Not everyone looks like a mantilla model.
I’m sure everyone has seen the pictures of the pretty 20-something year-olds on the trad net. It is as if everyone who wears a mantillas is in their 20’s.
Unfortunately, or fortunately (depending on how you look at it), everyone does not look like a mantilla model.
Isn’t that the point?
Our focus, during Mass, should be on the holy sacrifice of the Mass itself, not on our looks. The same reason that you don’t not want to veil is exactly the reason why you should. It’s not about you!
Having said that, I’m going to say that all women look beautiful in their mantillas, but it’s a spiritual beauty – the best kind.
3) If I Wear a Mantilla at the Novus Ordo (Ordinary Form) Mass, I will Bring Attention to Myself
Here we have reverse modesty. “ If I wear something modest, I’m not actually modest am I?
I wonder sometimes if anyone really means this.
It is true that sometimes dressing over the top actually brings more attention to yourself. It’s like you’re saying, “Look at me… I’m so modest”! A perfect example of this is those who dress like they’re on a “Little House On the Prairie” set. The dress is so outlandish, it actually brings attention to the woman.
However, wearing a mantilla or hat is a tradition of the Catholic Church. It is no longer required (more on that in the next section) but it is not forbidden either.
4) We No Longer Have to Veil According to the Code of Canon Law
The 1983 Code of Canon Law doesn’t mention veiling, nor does it abrogate it. In response to a question about whether women are required to wear mantillas at a Traditional Latin Mass, Raymond Cardinal Burke responded:
|“The wearing of a chapel veil for women is not required when women assist at the Holy Mass according to the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite. It is, however, the expectation that women who assist at the Mass according to the Extraordinary Form cover their heads, as was the practice at the time that the 1962 Missale Romanum was in force. It is not, however, a sin to participate in the Holy Mass according to the Extraordinary Form without a veil.” Source.|
Let me paraphrase.
Wear a mantilla anywhere you want, but if you attend a traditional Latin Mass, please wear a mantilla. It is expected!
I am often shocked at the number of uncovered heads I find at even traditional parishes!
5) St Paul was a Misogynist. Why Should I listen to him?
Some Catholic women have a problem with St Paul’s views on submissiveness and the role of the woman in regard to her husband. 1 Corinthian 11: 3-5 particularly is troublesome to those who consider St Paul to be a misogynist.
|“But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God. Every man praying or prophesying with his head covered, disgraceth his head. But every woman praying or prophesying with her head not covered, disgraceth her head: for it is all one as if she were shaven. Source.|
I just want to point out that covering one’s head does not demean a woman. It elevates her. She is precious and she should be veiled.
St Paul is one of the most important figures in the history of the Church. He should not be dismissed so easily.
Catholic women all over the world continue to cover their heads during Mass, especially Eastern Catholics. Are we more enlightened than they are?
6) I Don’t Know Where to Buy a Veil
This last excuse is somewhat legitimate. I noticed there are plenty of articles on veiling, but not enough actually point the readers to where to get these veils. You can get them at your parish or online. Online offers more diverse options.
DiClara (the mantilla in the picture to the right is from DiClara.
I hope I’ve done a good job of debunking the 6 excuses American woman use to not veil. Let me know if I haven’t or if you agree or disagree.
Now, why not try veiling?