Father Z, would you help me with an EF etiquette question? I’ll be attending the First Mass of Thanksgiving of a priest friend newly ordained into the Institute of Christ the King. It will, of course, be in the Extraordinary Form. I have only ever attended one EF Mass before. (I didn’t fall in love with the EF there and am comfortable with the OF, though I have a personal “wish list” that the priest face East, Holy Communion be distributed to people kneeling, and the music be consistently more liturgical and less pop-folk.) I know women typically wear mantillas to the EF Mass, but they strike me as an out-of-place cultural relic and not a liturgical norm. (We are not in 18th century France or Italy!) Out of respect for my priest-friend and others there, is it necessary for me to wear a mantilla?
While there is no strict obligation according to the the Church’s law, the ethos of the older use of the Roman Rite creates a soft obligation, an environment in which people of their own free will conform to what the older use is about. That suggests a willingness on the part of women to use a head-covering in church. It does not impose any hard obligation.
No one should look cross-eyed at a woman with an uncovered head in church for the Extraordinary Form. That would be boorish.
Anyway… ladies… promote the New Evangelization start wearing those chapel veils in church! The New Evangelization has to do with recovering a Christian identity in those places that were once Christian. I think women can contribute through the use of chapel veils, just as we all could take up Friday abstinence and other practices for which Catholics were once well known.