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Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The chapel veil ~ a signal


The veil, mantilla...I love mine. It was my grandmothers. It reminds me to pray for her when I wear it.

It is also a signal.

When I cover my head in church, I feel humble. I am coming before Greatness, my Lord, and this action reminds me that this is a moment like no other. (In a similiar way, but not of similiar importance, a student's attitude is said to change when they wear a uniform...perhaps a chef feels more like a chef in an apron, a judge must feel more cerebral when they put on their robes...right?)

Sarah from Journey of Truth made me aware of this chapel-veil blog campaign .

To it I would add some of the reading I found online when I was working up the courage to wear the veil. The below articles come from www.fatimafamily.org on veils and www.christianfamilyoutreach.com 's pamphlet on veils and here are some excerpts....

Question: Has the Church changed the Word of God on this - or - has almost 2000 years of this tradition of men without head coverings and women with - been wrong all this time? Is it wrong to teach as recommended, that women wear the veil to Church as a sign of dignity and reverence before the Most Blessed Sacrament?

...Feminist wouldn't touch a veil with a ten-foot pole. They know exactly what it symbolizes (submission) and they hate the word. How about you? Do you hate the word also? If you do, take a look at your children, do they have a problem with being obedient to you? A mother teaches her child to resent authority by her own resentful attitude toward her husband's God-given authority. Remember, if we can reinterpret scripture in such a way that mom is no longer required to be submissive to dad, then the children can do likewise and reinterpret scripture to justify being disobedient to mom. We can carry this logic further, so that dad no longer had to love mom and lay down his life for her. Now you should be able to understand why there is so much disharmony among the Catholic couples that manage to fight it out to the bitter end.

Parents, who view the Church as burdensome and oppressive, are likely to bring up children with similar mentalities, but with less knowledge and understanding. Thus the children are far more likely to abandon the Church than their parents. Even if the children don't leave the Church it will be difficult for them to be truly happy, and they will never become the persons God intended them to be. This, my dear reader is the problem with legalism.

In conclusion, I would ask the reader to ponder these questions: 1.) Was St. Paul inspired when he wrote that a woman should be veiled [in Church]? 2.) Do you believe that the Church was wrong for two thousand years, concerning the veil, and the feminist corrected the error by getting women to abandon it? 3.) If you are a woman, who has chosen not to wear the veil, could you give a reason that would illustrate that your choice comes from a deep and profound love of God?
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

When and why did the Church change the teaching that a woman should wear a head covering
while attending church services? Answer: The Church has never changed its teaching. There is nothing by the Magisterium stating that the wearing of the veil has been abolished. You may gasp and say to yourself, "we were even told that to wear the veil could be prideful in that, we would be "calling attention to ourselves." Using this logic, one would be obliged to become a nudist if nudity became popular. And what about the first women to take the veil off? Did they not defy Church teaching with the express purpose to call attention to themselves? See how such statements sound silly when held up to logic.

Church Teachings

As stated before, the Church has never changed its teaching concerning women wearing the veil. The nearest anyone could come to this claim is that it was not mentioned in the new Code of Canon Law published in 1983. Those who use this mode of reasoning say that good Catholics are no longer obliged to wear the veil because of this fact. Those who are familiar with Canon Law know that it did not, in any way, say that women should NOT wear a veil. Yet just for arguments sake, let us say that the new Canon would have stated that women should no longer wear the veil, which of course it did not. We would still have the period from approximately 1969 to 1983, when women throughout the United States were already abandoning the veil in direct violation of Canon Law. So it is clear that Church law cannot be called upon to justify the abandonment of the veil since it had already been abandoned by many as early as 1968, some fifteen years prior to the publication of the new code. This is why it would be deceitful to justify their disobedience by using the law. Admittedly the vast majority of women were told that Vatican II initiated the change. (Please read the documents to find it. It is not there!) In 1973, a local Catholic paper reported that the ladies could throw away their hankies. (The word hankie was used to mock the wearing of the veil as insignificant.) The article was referring to a document from Rome stating that the veil was of minor importance. They conveniently failed to mention what prompted this remark. It was in response to liberals petitioning Rome to allow the ordination of women. Their argument was basically this: Since the Church allowed women to break Canon Law, Scripture, and Tradition in the matter of the veil, then why not break the teaching of the Church concerning the ordination of women? (This is the normal consequence of unchecked disobedience; it is never satisfied.)

Facts to be Considered

In the new Code of Canon Law, Can.21, we read: In doubt, the revocation of a previous law is not presumed; rather, later laws are to be related to earlier ones, as far as possible, harmonized with them. My dear reader, if the law concerning the veil had been revoked, which it was not, you would still have to harmonize with the latter, which was to wear the veil. Then from Can. 27, we read: Custom is the best interpreter of law. The veil has two thousands years of being a custom to its credit. (The rosary does not come close to that. Yet who would try to discourage people from saying the rosary? Nor was the rosary ever in Canon Law or in the Bible.) when we relegate everything to the status of nonessential, why should we belong to a particular church? We are all aware that one can go to heaven in any of the thirty-odd thousand different denominations, so one could conclude that the Catholic Church has become a nonessential.

Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J. was a very holy man as well as an extremely intelligent theologian. He was a consultant to the Holy See for more than thirty-one years. Among the more than thirty books he published was The Catholic Catechism. Somewhere in the middle 90's, I phoned Fr. Hardon. I asked him if women should still be wearing the veil; his answer was an emphatic, "Yes." Could Fr. Hardon be wrong also?

If the Pope wanted the veil dropped, why is it that all of our Presidents who visited the Holy Father in Rome were instructed to have their wives and daughters wear a veil? Be sure to keep in mind that, except for Kennedy, they were all Protestants.

Please read carefully the following quotes taken from the N.O.W. Handbook. It has some very interesting information that you truly need to know and seriously ponder. We read under A. Religion Resolutions, " Because the wearing of a head covering by women at religious services is a symbol of subjection within many churches, NOW recommends that all chapters undertake an effort to have all women participate in a "national unveiling" by sending their head coverings to the task force chairman. At the Spring meeting of the task force of women and religion, these veils will be publicly burned to protest the second class status of women in all churches. (Dec., 1968)"

Questions to Ponder

Why did St. Paul say women should be veiled, if it were not important? Why did the Church have the tradition of wearing the veil for nearly two thousand years, if it was not important? Why did the Church mandate it in Canon Law, if it was not important? Could the Church be truly holy and wise and yet mandate something for two thousand years that would be a sign of oppression to women? Do you truly believe that the Church was wrong for two thousand years and just in the past few years became wise?

The concern should be the desire to have special reverence in the presence of God Incarnate sacramentally present and perpetuating the Sacrifice of the Cross. From apostolic times head coverings, as mentioned by St. Paul have been a sign of reverence and submission.

If one goes only according to Canon Law and says it no longer applies then would it be acceptable for men and boys now to wear head coverings in church since present Canon Law does not require that they should be bare-headed? Or would it now be proper for woman to come to church immodestly dressed?

From the point of Canon Law there is no longer the force of law. If we did things only when required by Canon Law, and that was our motive for love and reverence and submission, I would not anticipate great growth in spirituality. Canon Law does not require Catholics to participate in the Sacrifice of the Mass on weekdays. Yet many do and all are encouraged to when possible.

Can we do MORE for our Lord in the way of reverence...or just offer Him the bare minimum "requirements"? Especially in this the year of St. Paul...I still believe your Divinely inspired words, St. Paul and pray for your intercession. 1 Corinthians 11:1-16

18 comments:

Steve said...

For anyone who thinks the Church is trying to demean women or somehow make them seem lower than men, I would point out that the Church has always had a tradition of veiling that which is sacred. The tabernacle is the best example of this. By suggesting that women wear veils, Holy Mother Church is simply saying that women are sacred vessels! That doesn't sound like a bad thing to me.

Journey of Truth (Sarah) said...

(This is the normal consequence of unchecked disobedience; it is never satisfied.)
That line alone is worth millions to me. The American culture is about questioning authority rather than questioning to understand. Therein lies the difference. Most American's hate obedience to anyone other than their almighty selves. I can say this because I am American - I'm not trying to pick on us. The original colonies were "rebellious" against tyrant and unfair England - we shouldn't use history to justify the kind of rebellion we're experiencing in today's society.

I suppose the reason so much of this is attractive to me is that A) it is pleasing to the Lord and, b) I like knowing what I can and cannot do - the why I can or cannot is usually to understand, not to argue it.

Thank you for the lovely post and your support! I'll be buying my veil shortly! I will definitely stand out in my parish, but I dont care. I'll ask my girl to join me - and have her read this. I know she will - she loves Our Lady of Fatima.

Becky said...

I started wearing a mantilla to mass 2 months ago. I had felt strongly called to do so while in adoration. Our Blessed Mother is always shown veiled and since I believe we should emulate her as the perfect disciple, then, as a woman,I should be veiled in God's presence out of honor to God. We attend an OF mass (the nearest EF mass is too far away) so let me tell you I certainly received alot of disapproving looks. As a shy person, I don't like calling attention to myself so I just offered the humiliation up to God. A few more women now are wearing veils to mass & our wonderful priest said he is happy to see it. As Fr. Z says "brick by brick".

+JMJ+ said...

Becki - I love your connection to the Our Blessed Mother! She IS God's choice for us for a women to model ourselves after. She never appears without a veil and is always so feminine and modest. How could we go wrong being more like her, let the world make fun of us...God will not.

Cheryl said...

Allison,
Another wonderful post! You go girl!!!! I have been wearing veils for a few years now and started because of the Latin Mass. I stopped for awhile after we had moved away from the Mass. I was embrased to wear mine at the N.O. parish. I used the excuse mentioned above "I will be drawing attention to myself and take away from the Mass." Well, God had something else in mind for me! I met a wonderful women who just started homeschooling and I had told her about the veiling and her girls were actually interested in it. So we all showed up to Mass together wearing our veils! We got a lot of interesting looks, but we knew we were doing the right thing. Ever since I have always worn my veil and am proud to do it! We are now in another N.O. parish and I am the only one wearing one and I do get the stares and finger pointing from little girls who I see whisper to their mommies. I always just smile at them to let them know that I am happy! Thanks again for the posts! Sorry for my long comment!
Cheryl

Therese said...

What a great post! You given me a lot to ponder-as usual!

Jamie said...

Great job on this post!!! You have given me a lot to ponder and pray about too.

Soul Pockets said...

Love this post, I am going to link to it if you don't mind. :)

Ruth said...

I love it!!!!!

Kris said...

I, too, love the line: This is the normal consequence of unchecked disobedience; it is never satisfied.

Having traveled each summer to Italy, I regularly saw mantillas, in that same country that requires you to cover your shoulders and knees. Yet never having it explained, I thought it to be culutral differences. Still, while women do not wear it much now, I never expected people to stare or otherwise view it as odd if a woman did. That's what I find most disturbing.

I would love to wear my gramdmother's mantilla if I had it to wear.

EbethW said...

I WANT TO WEAR A VEIL SO BAD!!! I am also being called to wear a veil and be more discrete..my parish is so NOT veil wearers..very watered-down values, jeans and over-sized shirts on EM!! I can hardly bare it. I will pray for the guts to wear my veil. Pray, pray, pray!!!

I am also linking this to the pillars.

Great post!!!!!

Laura O said...

Veiling is something that's been on my heart for a while. One friend back in Ohio was strongly considering it, but felt a bit uncomfortable in our parish doing it. We were on the verge of making the leap together when we both ended up moving out of state. I can say that another friend out there mentioned her adjusting behavior regarding sleeveless dresses. She figured that Our Lord suffered far worse than being a little hot in church for an hour.

I'm going to be praying about this one for a while. Wearing it at my current parish will be a BIG leap of faith as I'm currently quite visible as a music minister. I already feel like I'm on display during Mass.

I do have to say your question "Or would it now be proper for woman to come to church immodestly dressed?" hit a pet peeve for me. I'd argue that YES there are some who do come immodestly dressed (short skirts, low cut tops, occasional cropped tops exposing the belly.) I can still picture the associate pastor at my parents' parish having bulging eyes when a woman came up for Communion wearing a cropped top and short skirt. And, this priest had been enlisted in the Navy for 20 years before entering the priesthood. So, you know he's seen a few things in his time. Oh, and that incident happened about 20 years ago!

Jennifer @ Conversion Diary said...

This is a great post. Thanks so much for writing about this. I have felt called to wear a veil for a while but have been hesitant to do so, mainly because I'm a new convert and none of my cradle Catholic friends do.

Thanks for giving us a lot to think about!

+JMJ+ said...

Thanks for the comment and the visit, Jennifer. As you can tell from my sidebar of blogs, I read you regularily!

gemoftheocean said...

The only Male I want to be subjected to is Jesus Christ, I do not care now, nor ever did care for the people who ran after me with a Kleenex when I was a youth. If you want to emulate the dress of the Blessed Mother that much, you may as well take off your bra too, because she didn't wear one. any takers?

St. Paul can take a hike with imposing his purely cultural norms on women 2000 years later. I suppose amongst trad men you think any would be happy today to whack off a piece of their anatomy to preach in a synagogue to be "obedient?" These things cut both ways if you pardon the pun.

Is it redundant to say I wouldn't be caught dead in a "chapel veil?" If it floats your boat to do so, if it makes you feel closer to your grandmother, if it reinforcing you feeling the need to walk behind your hubby 100% of the time, no matter what in all matters, why go ahead and do it. Just don't try and lay some cultural guilt trip on the rest of us. I have had my full of men running behind me, veil in hand, hectoring "but you're supposed to." I don't have to do squat in that regard, particularly not at the behest of a man who never got over the fact that his sister could play kickball or whatever better than he could.

And don't even GO there if you think I think women should be allowed to be priests. I don't. I just don't think we should have to eat dirt because Paul says to.

If men like to be "veiled vessels" of purity so much, they can wear the veil too. Or are they too gloriously a reflection of the Almighty and it's a shame for them to be covered? Oh. Right. 2000 years of church history and NOT ONE OF THE MALES is honored as being a "confessor and virgin" or "confessor an Martyr." etc.

Yes, it's morally important that single men and women remain virgins - but somehow only the women are honored for it...as if men aren't really expected to be pure too.

Says a lot, doesn't it.

Catholic Mom said...

I am sorry Gemoftheocean has so many sad memories of what should be a beautiful practice. I am grateful that Mother Church no longer requires the veil. Women are now free to learn, understand and choose to wear the veil.

Why so angry about a choice? Where are her respectful reasons showing a bare head brings her become closer to God?
If it is right for a woman to be uncovered then a woman wearing a veil or discussing her opinion make you angry? If you want to build a case against veils, build it calmly and with respect. Persuade us to your point of view.

A point by point rebuttal:
No bras/electricity/computers/cars/fridges/printed books, etc. in bible times is not a valid argument on whether to wear a veil or what modest dress is. Inventions does not change truth. Truth dictates how we use an invention.

Does the Holy Spirit know where we would be culturally today, tomorrow and yesterday? Who gets to say which “cultural norms” in the bible apply today? If one verse can be tossed out then why keep the bible at all? There is not a shortage of vocations to the priesthood in America but an over abundance of vocations to the papacy.

The point on circumcision actually undermines Gemoftheocean’s argument. The Church released men from the obligation to circumcise (see Acts) but did not prevent men from choosing to do so. Yet, the majority of American fathers choose to have their sons circumcised even though the church has released men from this sign of the first covenant. The Church has released women from being obliged canonically to wear the veil (new canon law 1983) but has not in word or deed negated the bible prescription for wearing a veil. Yet, veiling was not abandoned either.

Why bring up “feeling the need to walk behind your hubby 100% of the time”? Is that prescribed in the Bible like head covering? If she is accusing veil wearers of promoting female inferiority, where is the evidences of this? How exactly does a veil MAKE, mean or imply that women are inferior to men? How does wearing slacks MAKE a woman equal to a man?

Is Gemoftheocean saying that women shouldn’t be honored for being virgins if men are not? If the Church left the truth(male virginity in a saint’s title) unsaid does that mean the truth is really a lie? Isn’t it Butler who left the title of virgin off men and not the Church speaking in dogma?

Gemoftheocean said: “Just don't try and lay some cultural guilt trip on the rest of us”. What guilt trip? Who is trying to force you to wear the veil? Is someone chasing you around today? If you believe that someone politely presenting a case for wearing the veil or a woman wearing a veil in mass is equalent to forcing a guilt trip on you then you are giving up your personal power to another.

Anger: Sure says a lot about the person who is angry, proves nothing. Reason and logic can prove, sometimes even convert.
+JMJ+

K said...

I had a question for you regarding veiling and thought I would leave it here as I didn't see a contact address-hope that's alright. After two years of feeling the call to veil by our Lord I am taking the plunge. I have been veiling at an EF mass that we sometimes attend. But now will veil in my own parish that is definitely not a veiling a group. I am anxious, but after meditating on this I have found that to not veil because I am afraid of calling attention to myself is actually a false humility and instead, prideful. I should only care what He thinks. Anyway, my questions is this:I veil for mass and in adoration in our chapel, but we have bible study on weeknights in the main church area, should I be veiling then too as the tabernacle (Jesus) is present although not exposed? This is a casual event, a bible study, but still He is there. So, I am confused about this. I want to honor Him and show Him reverence, but the thought of veiling at this event has me feeling anxious. I would greatly appreciate your opinion and advice! God Bless! ~K

+JMJ+ said...

Hi K!

So glad you wrote in. This is an excellent question.

From what I've read and I will google some more, I think that your instinct is right. It's about His presence and humility before Him...a moment that should be marked in difference as it is like no other!

Thank you for bringing this up and if you do some googling on the topic and find more info, please share it!