This via e-mail:
I am writing with a couple of questions. First off, there is a parish about 4 hours from my home that is beautiful, traditional, offers the Latin Mass as well as many other activities that are unavailable where I currently live, yet it would be most desirable to participate in them to facilitate the type of life that we are trying to lead in our home. I am dreaming of moving nearby it, imagining that the increase of faith for my family would be well worth the inconveniences of moving. What we have available to us is just, well okay, if not downright poor. We do currently attend a Latin Mass, about 30 miles from home, but feel that we have no parish life or involvement even at that distance. The point is, that it brings up an interesting discussion – is moving to be close to a parish that would suit your family make sense? Is it reasonable? My husband doesn’t think that he would move for that, as it could change in a second. I mentioned that the idea of moving to be near this particular church is the only thing that has made me remotely interested in moving out of state! Now, we aren’t arguing about it or anything, it is a hypothetical discussion at the moment. We have no other reasons to desire moving. What is your take on this?
That is a poser. There are so many factors to consider I don’t know how to advise you concretely, but here are some things to mull.
On the one hand, your spiritual concerns for the family should be at the top of the list of things to provide for. A parish is certainly going to be important in that regard. But we remember also that the Church calls the family home the "domestic church". There are many things you can do at home to make up for what you are not getting at a local parish. Even when your parish is very good, you must be very conscious of the family home as the domestic church. Also, what your husband is concerned with is true: parishes can change very quickly depending on the who the parish priest is. I no one parish which for years was pretty robust and is now effectively disintegrating. It will become something else, for better or worse, no question, but it won’t be the same. People who moved to be near that parish might find themselves pretty alienated and disappointed. Others might choose to move to the area.
Furthermore, there is some value in being attached to your geographical parish, though I think with our high mobility this is breaking down now.
So, there are a lot of factors to consider. I can sure sympathize with your desire to have some parish life. I wonder if the added expense in time and money incurred by driving to that parish you like might not wind up being cheaper than relocation. I don’t know… the housing market is pretty strange now.
Also, I am wondering what you think of women wearing a veil at Mass? I am considering it, though I feel no pressure to do so, and my daughters would like to join me in this practice. I am beyond trying to sort out the "Canon Law never changed to say that women no longer needed to wear a veil" argument, I have just been doing some reading on the subject.
I have written about this quite a few times on the blog and elsewhere. I guess this demonstrates that I really do need to update or change this blog’s template and get a search feature. But I digress…
According to the 1983 Code of Canon Law, for the Latin Church, women are no longer obliged to cover their heads, usually by wearing chapel veils (mantillas), in church. However, I think it is a very good idea. It is a fine centuries old tradition rooted in Scripture. St. Paul calls for this. However, according to the Church law you are not obliged.
Some people might try to tell you that because the 1983 Code doesn’t mention head coverings or chapel veils, and doesn’t explicitly eradicate the obligation to keep their heads covered, then therefore you are still obliged. If you hear or read this, feel free to smile politely and think to yourself: "Hogwash". The present canon law does not oblige you, though – to repeat – it is a fine custom, rooted in Scripture, which helps to reinforce our Catholic identity. I am very much in favor of it. I know from discussions on the Catholic Online Forum that women who have begun to wear chapel veils have interesting insights about how it has affected them and others.
I am sure readers will want to chime in about the issue of moving and parishes. Some of them are sure to have personal experiences which could be helpful to you.
However, I will limit the discussion about head coverings and chapel veils mostly to what women have to say about them and probably just delete comments that stray into convoluted (erroneous) arguments about how the law really does still oblige women… blah blah blah…
I started wearing a Chapel Veil Last september when I first attended Tridentine Mass.
I noted the following:
1 It helped me to focus on the Mass as I used to get distracted by other women’s hair styles.
2 It I hope increased my humility as now I know no-one is looking at me and I am less interested in other’s outward appearance.
3 I felt that I was emulating Our Blessed Lady by the wearing of the mantilla.
4 I also feel as if I’m submitting to the greater Glory of Jesus Christ and the wearing of my mantilla is an
outward sign of this.
Just for the record I am a 70’s baby once erroneously accused of being a Feminist – I advocate
that men and women have equal worth but just different roles.
I moved my wife and 2 children (now 5 children) from a parish in a large city which offered the 1962 Mass, to a different diocese with a more conservative bishop very friendly to the Traditional Mass. I think that your bishop is key. What Father Z says is true: priests are replaced rather often. When we first moved to the smaller city, (Tyler, Texas) there was a priest here who ran the Traditional community. He had his good points and bad points. He was very personable and GREAT with children. The next priest who serves us now is not as personable, and is not great with children, however, gives incredible homilies and is extremely organized. Every priest is different. Who your bishop is is much more important. Four years ago, when we moved, this parish was a mission. They had Mass in the diocesan chancery in a chapel that was much more conducive to charismatic worship than Traditional worship. However, Bishop Corrada has always been friendly to the Traditionalists in his diocese. Two years ago, he GAVE US OUR OWN PARISH, complete with a quaint little chapel on our own property. There are only about 60-80 people at any given Sunday Mass, but the bishop remains behind us.
I guess what I am saying is…make sure if you are going to move that your bishop will be kind towards the 1962 missal, and that he is young enough that he will be there for awhile!
I put veils in the same category of my mind with receiving in the hand (just less of a priority). I know people are given permission to receive in the hand, but I think it was a mistake for the church to allow this, and I pray they change it down the road.
With veils, I think that it is pretty difficult for most women to understand them because of A)feminist ideologies, and B)the breakdown of other liturgical practices. Most parishes no longer veil the tabernacle or other sacred objects; so, the sense that we veil what is precious and holy is lost. I love the image of the veil with the analogy that a women is a kind of tabernacle with the unique ability to bear life within her. I think most people in today’s culture would associate the practice with believing the Church thought women “inferior” in some way!
I forget where I read it, but when reading about modesty and veil wearing, someone used the analogy of a women who was going through a dangerous area of a town–perhaps where she would be harassed by men, the modesty that one assumes by covering their head with a cloak or veil in order to detract attention from the gaze of others. You see this in costume dramas a lot, lol, with the wealthy women sneaking into the poor section of town to make some secretive inquiry.
I don’t wear a mantilla. I have never really cared for lace, and I can’t bring myself to buy something I don’t like. But, I do wear a hat to mass, and on the occasion I have forgotten, I do feel quite “exposed.” To me, there is a sense of it making me feel more private , for lack of a better word.
I do not wear a hat or veil when I am the cantor at a OF/NO mass. I already feel like I am a distraction because of the practice of having me in front of the congregation. Since ladies don’t typically wear hats or veils today, I feel I would be more of a distraction by wearing one in that position. I do wear one, though, if I am just a member of the congregation. We usually attend the EF/TLM on Sundays.
Whats all this fuss about chapel veils?They were never obligatory.It is a myth.What was obligatory was thast a woman could not enetr a church with uncovered head ad a man could not enter with a covered head unless you were a sacred minister of a Mass.Iam 64 and I never remember ANY woman in Detroit at least wearing a chapel veil.They did wear hats.The first time I saw chapel veils were in the 70s at NO masses.Some women,my mother among them ,adopted tthe hispanic custom of thechapel veil in order to follow the hallowed tradition (by then lost) of women covering their heads. I actually heard one woman criticize another for coming to mass wearing a hat instead of a chapel veil.Of course as is usuualy the case the woman making the charge was born after VII.
Side note: I read an article once that said that American women wear the mantilla backwards. The way a mantilla (at least the traditional Spanish one) is designed is for the point to go towards the forehead to make the fabric drape around the face. I have never researched this, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it were true. However, so many mantillas sold to American Catholics today have probably been modified so that it would not “work” in that way. I just thought it was interesting.
I’ve been puzzled and I have to say slightly irritated by this whole “chapel veil” thing. I am just about old enough to remember the Tridentine Mass last time around and so is my husband. I am British and he is American and neither of us remember a tradition of women wearing veils. The rule was for a head covering, so women wore hats, which in those days was part of respectable, formal dress in any case.
When I started attending the Tridentine Mass (which I love, incidentally) and saw these veils sprouting about all over the place, when no longer required by Canon Law, I really refused to be a part of it. I am no theologian so I’m happy to be guided by the Church’s rule. In this day and age, the concept of a headcovering as a sign of modesty is pretty meaningless to many people and there are plenty of other ways one can show respect at Mass – by taking the trouble to dress smartly, for example. That’s something entirely relevant to our age and which everyone can understand.
I am also puzzled by the practice of wearing a small scrap of lace stuck to your head. What on earth is that meant to mean? It’s neither graceful nor attractive – you’re not going to tell me it’s going to make me a better Catholic!
The veil thing seems to have taken root in the Tridentine Mass communities, especially American ones, perhaps because of the Hispanic influence and so the assumption is that veils and the EF necessarily go together. This makes no sense to me. If we accept both the OF and the EF as valid, why not have them at the OF as well? There are many pious and devout women who attend the OF – the EF doesn’t have a monopoly!
I have absolutely no problem with women wanting to wear veils as a personal pious practice but I dread attending an EF Mass or parish devoted to the Tridentine Mass where this is enforced. I fear that being forced to do something, which for them personally is meaningless, will put many women off attending the EF.
I went to a Tridentine Mass at Jacksonville, Florida, where leaflets were distributed explaining that veils were worn, among other reasons, so women could “show submission to their husbands”. That really tipped me over the edge. I shan’t be going there again! It’s an example of a community making up its own rules, which is a risky practice. Fortunately, at the Mass we regularly attend, the priest has clarified the Church’s rule so no one feels pressurised. Some women wear them, some don’t. Some wear them on some Sundays and not on others (do they have a reason for this?) Meanwhile, in Europe, you don’t see many at all. It does seem to be a more American thing!
Fr. McAfee: Ehem…
1917 CIC – Canon 1262, number 2:
While veils were not per se obligatory, they were perhaps the easiest way to fulfill the obligation to have their heads covered.
Okay… the juridical thing is now officially a rabbit hole in this thread.
Let’s stick to the more interesting points that readers with personal experiences might bring to the table, as it were.
Many people in my parish have specifically moved to this parish because of what is available here, not often found elsewhere. As far as I know, no one has regretted the move. Others commute long distances to participate in our parish for similar reasons. I think it’s a good idea when it’s possible.
As to veils, my wife began wearing a veil several years ago, not because of anything regarding canon law, but because she sees it as a sign that she has been “reserved or consecrated” for her husband. She also likes the sense that, wearing the veil, she is somewhat concealed (rendered anonymous) from the view of others, especially since I told her that from the choir loft, (where I usually am) it is very difficult to recognize individual women when they are wearing veils!
She also feels the veil is more conducive to modesty during the liturgy. I would agree, especially as the women who wear a veil usually also tend to dress more modestly.
I thought Maureen’s comment from last week’s big comment thread on the veils matter was quite good:
“Anyway, mantillas weren’t really an immemorial custom, in the non-legal sense, anywhere but Spain, Italy, and their colonies (or descendants of members of such colonies). I watched one of those old Family Rosary TV shows last night. Was there anyone wearing a veil in that? Only a religious sister! Were women wearing perfectly
nice little hats that went with their outfits? Yes! Were little girls wearing chapel veils? No! Were they wearing ordinary school uniform beanies? Yes!
Mantillas are not the only kind of headcovering there is. I have no problem with people
wearing them, but they reek of beehives and the early sixties, when women decided they hated
hats. They do not breathe tradition to most ethnic groups in this country.”
I believe ’17 Code (which is indeed abrogated) said simply that women should have a “covered head.” The focus now on strictly chapel veils is so narrow. Hats should not be understood as a strictly Protestant churchgoing accessory – they’re quite effective and also don’t carry the various connotations (as unfortunate and misguided as they are) that mantillas do.
For what it’s worth, my wife (French-speaking Belgian) wouldn’t dream of entering a church without her veil. She is 34, and I dare anyone to tell her that she is inferior to a man! You will need immediate medical attention :-)
From the perspective of a young male that can have a wandering eye… women wearing veils helps me preserve in chaste thoughts throughout mass. Not for the reasons others may normally give, but rather, when I see a woman wearing the veil it reminds me of the Virgin Mary and that I need to pay attention to the mass.
I’ve been at college masses where young women in their late teens and early twenties are dressed in provocative ways (to say the least). Such dress can be a terrible distraction. On top of that, the sign of peace often degrades into a hug-fest. So now I’m in a situation where I’m hugging women wearing pajamas, t-shirts, and no bra right before receiving Holy Communion. Great. Mark that one down for confession on Friday.
How is this relevent to our discussion? I think it illustrates a serious problem: the lack of modesty in the Church.
Building on these thoughts, we should also consider Benedict’s criticism of liturgy. The mass is not a closed circle, it is not a purely human achievement. We are not there for a social hour, or to show off bodies or clothes, we are there to worship God. I believe the loss of modesty is closely related to the Church becoming “social hour where we celebrate ourselves.”
All virtues should be guarded carefully, including chastity. As Christians we should try to be aware how our actions may impact others. For me, it is a great mercy when a woman is dressed modestly in Church. She may not be able to express her female empowerment and triumph over the patriarchy while dressed modestly, but she is helping her Brother in Christ avoid sinful thoughts during mass.
My family attend a T.L.M. and then a N.O. (or two) and then a T.L.M.
Our closest TLM is 45 minutes each way. I have been attending this TLM off and on for about 20 years. We couldn’t possibly move to where this Mass is said as the property and property tax is in that area is the highest in the state.
My wife is a convert from a protestant faith and she really feels “at home ”
(no surprise here) in our N.O. parish, meanwhile I get steamed as I witness Liturgical abuse after Liturgical abuse. We’ve consulted both N.O. and orthodox priests and
both say that marriage is a partnership and it is good that we compromise and go to both types Liturgies.
At Easter Mass in the N.O. Church our priest pulled his cat out of a box and the cat had rabbit ears on. My problem is that this was before the last blessing (i.e. still at Mass and on the Holy Altar of God). If this were done in the parish hall (Where we proceeded to have an easter egg hunt for the children, I would not have had a problem with it).
The TLM has made such a difference in my life, and my children’s as well (Yesterday – the Feast of the Annunciation, my children (ages 4 and 6) asked if we could pray the rosary
together and we did – it was a beautiful moment and afterwords they said that they wanted to say the rosary every night). This is a special grace, and due in no small part from the example of the good nuns at the convent (who pray the rosary before Mass)where we attend TLM.
My oldest is approaching First Holy Communion age and I want her to receive in the traditional manner Our Lord in the Eucharist. We catechize the children at home as our
N.O. parish has the lame “Generations of Faith” program where we get about 20 minutes of (watered down)CCD once per month from October through May.
My wife still doesn’t understand. She feels that the chapel veil somehow belittles the role of women, while I explain that is not true and in fact the exact opposite, as it stresses reverence for the Blessed Sacrament, modesty and purity.
Please pray that my children will be able to receive all of the sacraments in the traditional manner and that my wife comes around to realizing the reverence and respect
due to God exists in its highest form in the “extraordinary form” of the Mass.
I think that part of the desire to move to a parish that will fill a void in the spiritual life can be looked at in one way . . . St Francis was called and initially, too he started brick by brick, to build the parish. Then later it was clear what the big picture was.
I am lucky enough that now I move on and can look into the area we are to move and the priority is the parish and the main thing I am looking for . . . . are the doors open for me to come be with my Lord? You know how many parishes are simply closed! next . . . No liturgical dance (but being CA that can change – I mean be added).
What I have learned in being willingly yoked to my geographical parish? Things aren’t always as they seem. It is my parish that is always open until 9 pm. It is in the library that I found a video of the Tridentine Mass (title of the video) – high and low that I watched over and over, and the priest does preach Christ. I scratch my head at the dancing. But I have met and not been afraid to meet, many lovely people. Some with incredible stories and devotions. I wish I had stayed put. I believe that the Lord wanted me there even though I struggled and went parish hopping for quite some time. It is hard but you can find someone that can help you with always seeing what is not always readily seen. I don’t know who this is for you. SInce I left the place of my reversion I have been praying for a spriritual director. Then I finaly just tried to go with what was available to me here and what a scandal I just don’t get centering prayer. But finally I have found a place with friends where we study texts and help one another live life and this has helped me to see beauty even where I am at. But it is the beauty that is Christ. Not this Renew stuff which at the very least brings people together but if no one in the group is on the path concretely it can be bad.
A little story,
I remember being so frustrated at my incapacity to understand why the dancing and other things that my prayers where just simply during the consecration “Can’t I even once just receive you form the hands of the priest?” I didn’t even want more, just this and I noticed a little confusion when the Eucharistic ministers saw Father going off in a different direction so they regrouped and filled the positions. Father had decided to come down to where we were in the section of the church and I received the portion of the elevated host from the Father.
It was a gift that day, that reminded me that the One who came, Is here and Is to come, has never abandoned his faithful. (Or even His not so faithful; we abandon Him)
It was good. I never forgot that and other little things that He does to remind me. perhaps to others, just a fluke, but to me . . . . I hope that when I do forget He won’t fail to remind me. And somehow, it is easier over time.
Not an answer on what you need to do, but perhaps I can help reassure you that He has everything WON. Our peace is increased in the certainty of the path we are on with Christ.
Much peace and love in Christ
We are in the process of moving and WHERE we chose depended on research and many calls,
which we finally decided that Tyler Texas was the best place for us! I agree with the above comment that the Bishop really matters.
As far as the original questions, that would be a tough one. I could see us maybe staying at tthe same location but traveling once or twice a month to the other one. Fr Z is right, the house market is all screwy right now and if you can wait, I would.
Father, I am not sure if you are aware of the feature on google that allows you to search based on a specific site, but you can – go to google and type:
site:wdtprs.com search query here
When I do the following:
site:wdtprs.com chapel veil
I get 176 replies.
Also, might I suggest that you consider looking in to adsense? It is google’s advertising and any site can apply and use it. You can either use the adverts of your choice (and make a bit of money from them) or you can just use it to get google search code for your sidebar. If you are interested and need any assistance in the implementation, feel free to email me.
I wear a black chapel veil when I go to the TLM. I do not wear anything on my head when I go to the NO Mass. Honestly? In both cases, I do it to fit in.
A chapel veil at my local NO parish would probably just strike everyone as weird. The UK is very different than the Us. Outward demonstrations of piety are not well-received. As a foreigner, I think if I did wear a veil, it probably would be perceived as “some American thing.”
They do wear veils and dress modestly at Sacred Heart’s EF Mass. I do, too, because I want to fit in. I think dressing modestly and wearing veils are good things to do and I wouldn’t mind at all if that were the norm for every Mass.
As for moving to be nearer to a good parish… I struggle enough with the concept of switching parishes at all. There’s a parish within walking distance and another one mile down the road. I like the further one better, but my husband and I weren’t sure that it was the right thing to do. Now, we are driving into Glasgow for a Latin Mass, as well. I’m currently going to two masses on Sunday – one Latin and one NO. We feel pulled in different directions.
I’m really feeling homesick for Cincinnati, and my good parish and friends, there.
How long before you have a Traditional Latin Mass on a daily basis? You and Father Fasano are the only hope of the Arlington Diocese.
I’m 23 and began covering my head in church about three years ago, mostly as a reminder to myself that there is someone greater than me present and something greater than me going on in this space. Prior to wearing a head covering, I would spend ridiculous amounts of time on my hair on Sunday mornings, because I knew so many people would be seeing the back of my head! Head coverings have really helped with that. They also help me to focus on the Lord (if I’m there for personal prayer) and on the Mass (if I’m there for the Liturgy) instead of on the people around me or on how I look to them. There really is something to be said for the humility which a head covering can lend to a woman.
If I find myself becoming distracted by thoughts of my head-covering being a distraction for others, sometimes I will decide not to wear it. I try to make the worship of God my priority; usually that means a covered head, but sometimes it does mean a bare head. Depends on the situation.
Incidentally, lace annoys me, so I use various scarves, kerchiefs, and pashminas instead of the mantilla chapel veils that are more commonly seen.
If we accept both the OF and the EF as valid, why not have them at the OF as well?
I wear a mantilla at whatever Mass I attend, be it EF or OF. I have seen other women wearing head coverings at OF Masses. I struggled with whether or not to wear the mantilla at the OF Mass. I don’t like to draw attention to myself, but I concluded that my will was less important than God’s will. The Mass is about Him and if it pleases Him more that I cover my head, well then, I just offer up any discomfort I feel about it. As someone else said above, I actually am less concerned about what others think when I wear a mantilla. It seems a little counterintuitive, but don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.
I have absolutely no problem with women wanting to wear veils as a personal pious practice but I dread attending an EF Mass or parish devoted to the Tridentine Mass where this is enforced. I fear that being forced to do something, which for them personally is meaningless, will put many women off attending the EF.
I have been to many TLM’s all over the country and I have never seen any woman forced to wear a veil. The traditional parish I frequent has some women who don’t wear veils and no one confronts or harasses them about it.
Some wear them on some Sundays and not on others (do they have a reason for this?)
Most likely they left their veil or hat at home. That has happened to me on occasion (more frequently as I get older). Sometimes I borrow a mantilla from the basket in the vestibule or if it is during the colder months, I keep the hood of my coat over my head.
My wife emailed me this clarification regarding mantillas in response to Lindsay’s comments that american women wear the mantilla incorrectly.
The traditional Spanish mantilla is designed to wear with a huge decorative comb which holds the mantilla upright and off of the head in front, something which is totally out of keeping with American styles. But more to the point, what we wear in America are not really “mantillas” at all unless they are the huge Spanish ones, which I have almost never seen anyone wear. They are simply chapel veils, but we have adopted the term “mantilla”. (Actually, I usually use the word “veil” unless I’m doing a search on Ebay!) So, it’s not that we’re wearing “mantillas” incorrectly; it’s that we’re not wearing “mantillas” at all! Some companies, do sell traditional Spanish-style mantillas, which probably should be worn with a comb, though no one wears them that way in their catalog photos. But — there goes the obscurity and modesty, when instead you look more appropriately dressed for the opera or for an expensive box at the bullfight…
Robert, I remember seeing at least one proper mantilla at Pope John Paul II’s funeral. I believe the wearer was some member of European royalty. It was cool to see it done properly.
I have a spiritual daughter who always covers her head whenever she prays, reads Scripture, or at times of quiet meditation. I have never required any of these practices, but she found her inspiration from the Ikons of the Mother of God and the female saints. Her attitude is if they veil before the Presence of the throne of Glory, how much more so should she. Not extreme practice but rather profound theology.
Re: head coverings: two errors to be avoided– Ann’s, above, just dismissing the issue as a ridiculous relice and attempt to put down women (Scripture, long custom, and and a proper understanding of showing respect to the Almighty during worship to the contrary); and on the other hand, the attempt to demonize anyone who declines to adopt this salutary, worthy, and graceful practice. In my opinion, this practice, like much else, will have to be recovered by example, by repetition, and by slow re-assimilation. Patience, patience.
Re: re-locating: If the maxim, save the liturgy, save the world, is true, and if you want to raise your children in an environment where they can experience un-diluted worship where mom and dad don’t have to correct the errors the kids have been exposed to at the typical NO liturgy, the choice is simple. Moving to be where there is a reverent, completete Catholic Mass and parish experience is not optional. I can’t number the blessings we have received as a family since moving from the desert of our previous NO landscape to the rich oasis of our St. Joseph’s in Richmond, Va. Not just the traditional Mass, but an entire parish built around the undiluted Catholic faith and traditional sacraments.
It’s not about denigrating anyone else’s situation; it’s about doing your duty for your own soul and your children’s before Almighty God.
The Spanish mantilla can be worn with or without the decorative comb. In fact the comb is a relatively recent addition (a couple hundred years, maybe). Nowadays, the comb is used in special occasions like weddings, Holy Week processions, or some very special festive occasions.
I have seen photographs of my grandmother wearing a mantilla (not chapel veil) at regular Mass, without the comb.
I always thought that chapel veils were a catholic (i.e. universal) thing. Now I realise that it is hispanic to the extent that mentions above regarding women wearing hats at Mass has sent shivers down my spine ;-).
My oldest daughter (aged 10) recently found a chapel veil while browsing through her grandma’s old stuff. She inmediately inquired. I explained. She went beatific at the thought of wearing it. Mum said over my dead body. I said (hoping to gain my wife’s heart for my daughter’s intentions) thanks God you are arguing about a chapel veil instead of about a tank top. Wife not impressed. Daughter still trying. Not looking good.
Interesting that in making the answer so simple, Tom, you forgot a very simple but essential element: her husband doesn’t want to move. He’s the head of the family and would be essential to harmony at the new location. It’s not as though they agree on this and both see the present situation as unworkable. Unless his heart is moved to lead the family to the new location (which is different from doing it reluctantly to please his wife) then they should stay put. As most women know (who discern God’s will through their husbands) the wife should pray her heart out for this intention, and discern God’s answer through her husband’s answer.
I moved to St. Louis specifically for the Traditional Mass, and it has made a huge difference in my life. Here at St. Francis de Sales Oratory, staffed by priests of the Institute of Christ the King, we have a full parish life–Mass every day, some devotions like Forty Hours, Rosary before Mass, processions of the Blessed Sacrament, etc., as well as several volunteer organizations like the Knights of Columbus, Altar Society, Homeschool Co-op, etc. We have social events like parish breakfasts on certain feastdays, and a coffee hour after both Sunday Masses. What this does for me as a single person is give me the opportunity to make friends with similar values. We also have a truly great bishop, Archbishop Raymond Burke, who upholds the faith and has given much support to the Extraordinary Form.
I’m retired and single, so I didn’t have family or a job to consider,which made it much easier than most of the readers here. But if you can uproot yourself to get close to a good church that you’ve checked out for stability and a bishop’s support, then I encourage you to follow your heart.
Nobody wants to denigrate this stuff, but honestly, a lot of the things people say are silly.
Headcoverings are not a cure for male desire. Male Muslims are perfectly capable of detecting a
shapely form and a nice swingy walk through a burkha (or at least they think they are).
Countless generations of medieval poets fell in love with women they saw in church from 500
yards away, if you believe their story. And if you really wanted to, you could tell one
veiled head from another, no problem. Ask anyone in the SCA.
Headcoverings are not a cure for worrying about hair. I used to be in a medieval reenactment
organization. At one point, I attempted to go to an event wearing an opaque covering over my
entire head except my face. My mother detected easily that my hair was not perfectly smooth
underneath said opaque covering. But that’s nothing. Some ladies use their psychic fashion powers to detect the
probable hairstyle under some headdresses in paintings.
Humans notice each other. (Well, unless you’re an introvert like me, and happily oblivious.)
If you think anything is going to change that, you are dreaming. A spirituality of fear and
preventatives… it’s silly and sad. A steady diet of that will do nothing but narrow you. Love your headcovering or your SO’s headcovering for positive reasons, not negative ones. Or better yet,
just wear the hat or the veil and don’t make it a big deal. It’s clothing, not a sacrament.
Oh, yeah, and church hats rule. :)
I sometimes wonder where Father McAfee grew up, with women not covering their heads at Mass, offertory processions, the congregation singing/reciting the Pater Noster and other novelties before Vatican II as the norm rather than the rare abuse. I’ll believe it, because he is saying it, but it seems awfully odd at best or part of an agenda at worst.
I remember seeing at least one proper mantilla at Pope John Paul II’s funeral. I believe the wearer was some member of European royalty.
That was probably Queen Sofia of Spain. She also wore a beautiful mantilla to Benedict XVI’s installation Mass. An interesting bit of official papal protocol: When lay women have a private audience with the Pope, they should wear a black dress/suit and a black veil/mantilla. Catholic queens have the privilege of wearing white which is what Queen Sophia wore. You can see some images of her from Benedict XVI’s installation Mass at http://tinyurl.com/2vzcvy
Sort of related as the focus of one of the articles in the Tulsa World Special Report focuses on families moving to the vicinity of Clear Creek Monastery.
Regarding moving to get close to a good parish:
I moved to downtown Indianapolis to be near Holy Rosary parish where the FSSP has
an apostolate. I lived there for three years before having to move because we
found out that most of my family was, basically, allergic to Indiana. We now
live in the spiritual desert of Fort Collins. The dry climate has been great for
our physical health, but pretty rough on the family’s spiritual health.
The time we spent living across from Holy Rosary was gift of immeasurable value.
For three years, my family was immersed in richness of the Traditional Mass with
the treasure of sacred music and everything else that the TLM brings to us.
(Yes, I know the NO can have these things, too, but it rarely does and all too
often it seems that the priests who permit these things disappear to far away
parishes.) My children and I went to daily Mass and attended all the high feasts.
Confession was available before every Mass. My children and I could walk over to
the church and visit the Blessed Sacrament. There were many devotions and
classes and spiritual talks that we could attend which would have been difficult
to get to had we lived far away. My daughters participated in the choir and took
away a love for Gregorian chant that they will always have. Another thing that
was interesting was the people in the neighborhood saw us walk to church every
day and would stop me sometimes and ask me why. Later, I would seem them at
Mass. I don’t know what happened with these folks later on, but it did seem to
at least make people more conscious of their faith in some way.
It’s kind of hard to describe, but living so close to my parish was like having
the church be a part of our home. It made our whole lives more prayerful and
more intimate with God.
The only reason we left was because it was making me and four of my
children severely ill. Even so, I still wonder if we did the right thing in
leaving. Maybe better sick in the body than sick in the soul.
I found that where we are now that I have to be very proactive in helping my
children and myself stay on track spiritually. We get to the weekday Masses when
we can because it is quieter and easier to pray the Mass fruitfully. I have an
excellent Catechism and the children and I discuss a lesson each day. We have a
family altar that we maintain to keep the liturgical season in our midst. We
have a regular prayer life as a family. We are hanging in there, but even so I’m
doing all that I can to help the FSSP establish an apostolate up here.
Bottom line, if you can move close to a stable Traditional Mass parish, it is
well worth the risks and sacrifices.
The wearing of a Spanish mantilla can be seen here:
You can read a bit more about them here:
The “mantillas” worn in most Churches I have seen them used would be called a velo not a mantilla, velo is both spanish, italian and Latin for veil, so calling them a veil is the more correct description.
My family has been attending the TLM in Jacksonville for 10 years or so. I’ve never seen a pamphlet like the one you mentioned. About half the females who attend this Mass wear the chapel veil, and half(my girls and I included) don’t. I’ve NEVER felt at odds with anyone there. It’s a beautiful, wonderful parish, with wonderful, holy priests, and if you ever get the chance I hope you’ll try it again.
P.S. There is a note hanging on the door of the church which asks that people dress respectably before coming before our Lord in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. I don’t think it is directed exclusively to women. And the message is good one.
That is my understanding Tony, but I believe from what Father Z has said previously that he does not agree, ultimately until someone in authority settles the matter (if they already have I am open to correction) we are left free to disagree. Has anyone noticed that nearly all men still contine to remove their hats as they enter a Church by the way?
Incidently for all you Irish and Scotish ladies perhaps you might consider choosig a nice wollen shawl as a head covering as these were what was traditionally worn in these countries and are in my opinion mcuh better than the lace veils especially if you live in a cold climate, just an idea.
There are plenty of good priests in Arlington. What about Fathers Mould and Pokorsky? St. Lawrence had the TLM before the Motu Proprio yet they get no love. Our diocese is blessed with a number of great priests.
This is a slight digression, but as a single young man, I had no idea that women were so crazy about each other’s hair!
I always wear a mantilla and so do my daughters. We have been doing it for about 7 years. It doesn’t matter what church we are attending, we always wear them as a sign of respect. If we are away on vacation, some people stare (many of the older ladies will smile) and it often prompts people to speak to us after mass and ask where we are from.
When in Richmond, VA we always go to St. Joseph for the EF Mass. Some ladies wear them and some don’t. I know the pastor, Fr. Adrian, would prefer it if all the women wore them, and he has said as much, but he has never ordered anyone to do so. It is just a matter of personal preference.
John and Fr. McAfee,
Fr. McAfee’s comment about women not wearing head coverings, the singing of the Our Father, etc. before Vatican II was not “part of an agenda.” I saw these things all the time in New York City, where I grew up. Practices, as always, varied from parish to parish.
As for the head-covering, I don’t see why it has become such a burning issue. Women who want to wear them can and should (even to the “OF” masses, in my opinion!). Those who do not (such as myself) shouldn’t have to feel that the most important thing about our presence at the Mass is whether or not we’re wearing a hat. Let the people who find it helpful to their devotion do so, and those who don’t – well, let them be free not to wear a headcovering, without thinking that somebody in church is going to suddenly call for stoning them or at least humiliate them and criticize their piety in public.
This whole thing is ridiculous. It will do nothing but put people off the TLM and scare away people who’ve never seen it.
That said, I go to the EF in Jacksonville sometimes, and I’ve never seen anything admonishing women to cover their heads. There is also a Tridentine Rite “chapel” of some sort up there, not affiliated with the diocese, and perhaps that’s where the poster saw the pamphlets in question. Or perhaps some overzealous soul from that chapel wandered into the indult mass at the church in JAX and felt the urge to scatter a few pamphlets.
I’m a little confused by the bitterness about the issue. For someone to share why they think women should wear a covering is at least like sharing why they think that praying the rosary, wearing a scapular, or blessing themselves with holy water is holy and edifying.
Of course, I was never in a position where I was made to feel guilty for not wearing one; though, I remember thinking it was inappropriate to request that women do it at a recent Latin Mass society meeting (the group that makes up our EF mass). They did acknowledge that it wasn’t required, but I figured that in that small group, most women were making the decision in an informed manner. It seemed heavy-handed.
I don’t understand comments, though, that start out saying “wear it if you want to” and then go on to call the issue ridiculous or otherwise treat it bitterly. It comes across to me as “do it if you want to, but I’ll go on thinking you are ridiculous for doing so.” How is that less judgmental than those expecting every woman to cover?
How a tradition that is so beautiful in its nature became something that people scorn baffles me–but it is true of so many things, I suppose.
I don’t really understand how it would turn people off from the old form of the mass. I can’t imagine someone getting past all the other differences in the mass and loving it but then just not getting past those ladies wearing hats, scarves, and veils.
Perhaps I am reading the responses with a prejudice, but I don’t see any of those who are proponents of head coverings responding, so far, in an angry manner. And yet those “opposed” seem bitter and defensive from the start. It makes me sad, especially since I assume have a reason for this reaction such as being criticized by others adopting the practice.
Oh, and thanks for all the explanations about the “mantilla” or rather, veil. Its very interesting. I still think I’ll stick to my hats, though;).
My philosophy about veils/hats: fit in and follow local custom. If I go to an EF Mass, I wear a lace veil. If I go to an OF Mass, I usually do not wear a veil (unless I’m in one of those rare places where some women do, like Holy Rosary in Portland). If I go to Divine Liturgy, especially if it’s a parish I haven’t been to before, I wear a scarf that goes with my outfit and wait to see if other women cover their heads; if they do I pull the scarf up over my head, and if they don’t I leave it around my neck.
Part of the point of veiling is not to draw attention to yourself, and if I wore a veil or even a hat at my normal OF parish I would most certainly draw a lot of attention–and I already have enough eyes on me because I am the only one in the choir who kneels (there aren’t any kneelers in the choir seating area but I’m not about to stand for the consecration just because the alternative is kneeling on the bare linoleum).
My husband likes it when I wear a veil to Mass, but he understands that I don’t want to stand out in the crowd.
It is surprising how many people have managed to misread Fr. McAfee’s comment. He did not say that the custom prior to the the liberalization of the 60’s was that women entered Church with heads uncovered. Rather, he said exactly the opposite. He commented, however, that the coverings which women then customarily chose were hats rather than veils. That is my memory also. Many women, particularly in the late 50’s and 60’s did carry small veils in their purses just in case they had occasion to enter Church on the spur of the moment. When they planned to be there, however – as for Sunday Mass – it was the widespread custom for them to wear hats. Sorry for burrowing further into the rabbit hole.
Volpius: In an word, no. Modesty involves covering the body in order no to distract others and allow for the imagination of others to wander into sexual territory — not to mention that for most of us, too much body is simply unattractive. The question about veiling women is a theological discussion that seems to be founded on the idea that since the Blessed Mother wore a veil, and tabernacles are veiled, then all women (as bearers of life) should be likewise adorned. Have I misunderstood? Unfortunately, then the defenders of veiling turn to secondary arguments, such as when women wore veils, the Church was better/stronger/holier or customs of many-centuries standing should guide us, neither of which convince me.
Just to be contrary, Muslim countries veil their women and it has nothing to do with dignity or honour. The mere presence of the veil has no theological significance beyond what contemporary culture assigns it.
Here are the thoughts of one Catholic Women on this issue:
“And who is veiled? Who is the All Holy, the Ark of the New Covenant, the Vessel of the True Life? Our Lady — and by wearing the veil, we imitate her and affirm ourselves as women, as vessels of life.
This one superficially small act is:
•so rich with symbolism: of submission to authority; of surrender to God; of the imitation of Our Lady as a woman who uttered her “fiat!”; of covering our glory for His glory; of modesty; of chastity, of our being vessels of life like the Chalice, the Ciborium and, most especially, Our Lady;
•an Apostolic ordinance — with roots deep in the Old Testament — and, therefore, a matter of intrinsic Tradition;
•the way Catholic women have worshipped for two millennia (i.e., even if it weren’t a matter of Sacred Tradition in the intrinsic sense, it is, at the least, a matter of ecclesiastical tradition, which also must be upheld). It is our heritage, a part of Catholic culture;
•pragmatic: it leaves one free to worry less about “bad hair days”;
•and for the rebels out there, it is counter-cultural nowadays, you must admit!
The question I’d like answered is, “Why would any Catholic woman not want to veil herself?””
To that last point I would like to add that Catholics are menat to be a sign of contradiction to the world just as Christ was.
Like Lindsay, I am troubled by the passions that get aroused in discussions like this. It doesn’t seem important enough to risk scandal to someone who pops in to take a look.
As to “forcing” women to wear veils, I have seen it happen once: by a somewhat ignorant woman who was trying to sell veils before an EF Mass. I gently informed her that veils are not required and she should not be giving women that impression. I heard of at least a couple of women forego Mass because of the ill-informed efforts of this woman.
We have the EF Mass in our parish once a month, but there are several women who routinely wear the veil at the daily OF Mass. Some of the older women will wear hats at the EF Mass even though they do not usually do so at the OF even on Sundays.
Finally, I have more than once thought of this passage from the Imitation of Christ when I witness such passionate discussions on topics of religion, especially the Liturgy. It’s mainly addressed to priests, but I think it applies to all of us:
…follow the good custom common to those among whom you are. You ought not to cause others inconvenience or trouble, but observe the accepted rule as laid down by superiors, and look to the benefit of others rather than to your own devotion or inclination.
On this issue, it’s best simply to forget about the law and see if ladies’ practice makes a change. Our Traditional Latin Mass was restored in my Diocese on Easter Sunday and, immediately, most of the ladies showed up either in hats or veils. It’s interesting to me how most people simply assume that the old Mass demands–even requires–a context which differs greatly from that of the New. I suspect that many of these debates about Communion in the hand are similar. 99% will kneel and receive on the tongue, a few who do not will get odd looks from others, and, once in a blue moon, a liberal troublemaker will break the norm and will be most ignored by everyone else. Law seems not to matter in such cases; practice is almost everything.
By the way, thanks, Father Z, for starting this discussion – it’s very helpful! If you will allow me a further comment, I think there are a couple of different issues here. One concerns the head –covering idea, which was previously a church requirement and was usually fulfilled pre-Vatican 2 by hats (or pillboxes/beanies/Kleenex, whatever) and not by veils, unless you were a nun, or of Spanish blood. The second issue concerns the veil and this is clearly far more complex. A veil isn’t just seen as a head-covering but in a lot of different ways by different people: as a sign of the sacred and precious , as in “veil of the temple”, as a way of honouring Our Lady, as a post-feminist statement, as a badge of going to the Tridentine Mass, as an aid to prayer and worship, as a reminder of humility, as a deterrent to young men’s roving eyes (most of which functions could never be fulfilled by the humble beanie, let alone a Kleenex). In my view, veil-wearing seems to have cropped up, not as a relic of the past but as a reinvented phenomenon arising from the pews – a bit like (don’t shudder, you traddies!) the practice of praying the Lord’s Prayer with your hands raised which has been adopted by a lot of OF massgoers. Veils seem to be popular among younger women, who feel that the mainstream church has dropped so many things associated with Catholic identity and want to make amends for it – and it goes with their preference for the EF. But they weren’t around before V2 and aren’t aware that they’re really reinventing tradition, not following it. It’s an interesting phenomenon that needs to be explored and clarified further. But I’d just like to make the point that, contrary to so many press reports on the revived Tridentine Rite, women who attend the EF don’t automatically have to wear veils. Lots of us don’t want to. But please don’t think I’m knocking those who do.
by the way – I’m afraid I did see that pamphlet at the Indult Mass at Jacksonville. It was handed out at the door. But this was 2-3 years ago and maybe things are different now. And I agree it was a beautiful Mass.
I agree with Kradcliffe, to wear a headcovering if it is the norm at the mass you are attending. I understand how many appreciate that veils and such promote modesty, piety, etc. but it can also be a distraction for others (and yourself) if you stick out like a sore thumb. So I think it’d be nice to leave the veil in the car or in your pocket if no one else is wearing one at mass. I know it’s not ideal but maybe many need more time to get there.
I have a question, Is it ok for me to wear my Red NY Baseball cap during Mass?
As for the moving to be nearer to a TLM, I am finding that in many areas the TLM is spreading faster than it takes to sell your house and search for a new one.
We bought a farm up in Maine several years ago and worried much about the fact that there was no TLM within 4 hours. (We love Maine and dh wasn’t interested in looking in the Midwest only to be near a TLM that could possibly go bad)I have found out in the past week that there are great plans going on there with a chaplain to say Mass in two cities and encourage/develop more throughout the diocese. Supposedly we will be able to attend the TLM this summer 30 minutes from our farm. What joy! Have faith and courage and with much prayer we might see that “new springtime” in our lifetime.
For all the docility and modesty, I still haven’t seen reference to wifely obedience in this case, only encouragement of the wife’s singular aim. This is where outward decorum is certainly secondary to matrimonial essentials.
I think I can understand some of the strong feelings about women’s head coverings. I’ve been on both sides of it – not wearing and now wearing one (for about four years). Reading the comments brings back memories of the first time I attended the EF of the Mass about six years ago.
On our way into church, the friend who invited me pulled her chapel veil out of her purse and said, “I have an extra. Would you like one?”
Outwardly, I must have looked puzzled, and said, “No,thank you.” Inwardly I was thinking, “Why would I?” and also, “Why do you have to be different than everyone else?” And yes, I admit I also felt somewhat irritated and angry.
I should have probably paid more attention to my question. I really didn’t know why she did that. When I asked her later, she couldn’t explain it well. But in her defense, neither can many of us explain very well why we are Catholic, or why we love the EF of the Mass. Some things that are so deep are hard to put into words. If you’ve asked someone why she covers her head at Mass, and you don’t feel you received a good answer, please be patient and don’t write off the question hastily.
At the time, I thought she was being “holier than thou.” I thought she thought that she was better than the rest of us. Now I realize that I was actually making a rash judgment, and she had good reasons for her head-covering. I am sorry for my uncharitable thoughts towards her.
Fast forward about a year, and my husband invited me to attend a conference in our city, in which a priest from the ICK priest would be speaking, and the EF of the Mass offered. At that time I didn’t don any head-covering, because, well, why would I? But I felt sure that the priest would wag his finger at me and say, tsk, tsk, tsk, where’s your veil? I couldn’t have been more wrong; he was very kind and charitable and the conference was very edifying.
I think it is safe to say that women-who-cover-our-heads realize that women’s head-coverings have not been the norm (at least in the US and perhaps other parts of the world)for almost 40 years! We really and truly do not look down on women who don’t! Honest! Please take my word for it!
Nevertheless, good reasons do exist for women covering their heads at Mass. I would like to see the worthy practice restored – because women become educated about it – because of an interior choice to do what is right for the right reasons.
I’ve been wearing a mantilla for a couple of years now. I would definitely recommend it.
I’ve written about it here:
and there are some more links in the post.
Wow! (here is my 2 cents)
I was born in 1969. I have no experience of the old Mass, except for our post MP times.
My Mother claims that she was required to wear a chapel veil to Mass as a child (she still has some) and around the mid 1960’s it was common to have the little round “doilie” style (she has those too) I suppose it depends on where you grew up. (we grew up in Hoboken, NJ) The claims of Hispanic influence is odd, since there were hardly any around in that town back in the 50’s (Mostly Italian,Irish, and Germans)
Anyway, it just seems proper and fitting for women to wear them to ANY Mass. (you often see a few on EWTN’s Daily Mass) just like it is proper and fitting NOT to wear denim jeans (GRRRR) to Mass.
I also sense and underlying tone from the ladies who have posted here that they don’t or won’t wear a veil for various reasons. the most specious reason is that they don’t want to stand out…well, if you were the only one wearing one, you would lead by example, and maybe some will follow (this is a good thing) you would not be drawing undue attention to yourself. remember: submission and humility can be very liberating. It’s not a power play.
Are Latin Catholics so legalistic (as Eastern Catholics and Eastern Orthodox claim frequently regarding the West) that they require explicit citations from Canon Law to continue the ancient Catholic Liturgical Tradition that relates to women and head coverings?
By the way, women who cover their heads during Mass not only please God, but serve as tremendous teachers (in their way) of the Faith.
Such women also inspire men to embrace modesty, humility and remind men of God’s great authority over the entire world.
Men benefit greatly from holy women who follow the ancient and unchanging Holy Tradition that pertains to head coverings.
Everybody benefits from such women.
Considering the improper manner in which a great many women and men dress at Mass (usually Novus Ordo Masses), a movement among Catholic women who assist at Mass with covered heads would surely lead to greater modesty at Mass and beyond.
Simply put: The disgraceful manner in which so many Catholics (men and women) dress for Mass would come to a grinding halt should Catholic women return to the Liturgical Tradition regarding head coverings.
How about a “lay ministry” that pertains to head coverings?
Oh, that’s right. Women can only enjoy “active participation” at Mass when their “lay ministries” involve readings, the distribution of Holy Communion and service as ushers and greeters.
As a woman, why do I cover my head at Mass? (Or, why am I willing to stand out as a sore thumb, when I generally don’t think its a good idea to stand out like a sore thumb, unless you have a really very good reason to do so?)
Aside from the reasons from Scriptures and the long-standing tradition of centuries, I find the cultural reasons very compelling.
I live in the US. When did the practice get dropped here? about 40 years ago. Why did it get dropped? Was it because the Church in her wisdom decided that this practice had become harmful, and there was a better way? No. Was it because of a change in Canon Law that occurred at that time, in the early 70s? No. (historically, the change in Canon Law followed the change in practice, by over a decade.)
Why did women stop covering their heads at Mass? I would suggest it was for cultural reasons. What cultural changes were taking place in the early seventies? Was there an increase in respect for the God-given differences in gender? No. Was there an increase in modesty? No. Was there an increased reverence for the life of the unborn? To the contrary! May God have mercy on us.
So I cover my head because I think that there is more wisdom in Scriptures and in the devout, Catholic, long-standing practice that was observed throughout geographic regions for centuries than there was in the godless cultural influences of the 70s.
Additionally, for me, it is a way to praise my Creator, who in His love and wisdom made us male and female. It is a way to honor Him and to acknowledge that I believe his plan for the sexes was one of love and goodness. It is a way to acknowledge my feminine dignity and also to show that going to Mass is something very special.
God bless you and guide you into His holy will in all things, big and little.
“Men benefit greatly from holy women who follow the ancient and unchanging Holy Tradition that pertains to head coverings.”
Any how have you benefitted, Tom? By learning charity of speech, gentle encouragement of those who may disagree, and chivalry towards all women, regardless of their attitudes towards their duties before God?
If one is to follow the Canon Law argument then it is obvious that men are also no longer required to uncover their heads in Church.
Nonetheless, this is still enforced, and my (NO) pastor will publicly tell any man who has his head covered in church to uncover it. I think that’s good, don’t get me wrong.
But it’s a double standard if ever there was one.
“I have a question, Is it ok for me to wear my Red NY Baseball cap during Mass?”
Only on the feast of a martyr.
it’s a shame that there is only one TLM in St. Augustine Diocese,
–at the Jacksonville parish mentioned.
would i move to downtown Jacksonville…..Nope!
I see so we all have to dress according to the liturgical colours of the day, is this right?
I’ve worn a veil/hat/funky handkerchief (depending on the occasion and season) for about four years, after sensing a strong call from God for at least two years. The ‘message’ I got internally was that somehow, some way, my parish would benefit from it. I consider it a sacrifice, especially in a liberal college town where gestures such as this aren’t appreciated.
Yes, I probably “stick out”, but no more than if I had purple hair, multiple piercings, a belly shirt revealing my tattoos, ‘cheeks hanging out of my miniskirt, or sweatpants that say “HOT”.
I’ve unwittingly become a role model to several female college students — they’ve told me.
My daughters don’t wear veils, and I judge no one. But God asked me to cover my head — it’s as simple as that.
CATHY DAWSON in Ft. Collins–please write me! firstname.lastname@example.org because we
are looking to move to there!!! And I find it a garden in comparison to where
I am living now where Sunday Mass,in particular, is an exercise in endurance!
I was at St. Joseph’s last Friday and I am impressed with the two morning
Masses and daily confessions.
And I know there is a monthly TLM and I heard there is work on bringing an
FSSP priest on a more permanent basis. I would love to help with that! I will
begin by prayer. I did attend the TLM in Denver on Saturday morning, only the
second EF that I have had the opportunity to attend since there is NONE in
As to headcoverings–to wear one at my home parish would be to be considered
a freak. As we are busy celebrating ourselves, it is just not done. But at the
EF, I do not mind at all to wear a covering. I almost always wear a dress/skirt
to Mass. I dress for the Wedding Feast of the Lamb. That alone makes me
different. Not at the TLM! There most of the women were in skirts. And I fit
in there quite well.
I was so happy also to attend a perfectly offered novus ordo Mass in Denver
on Sunday.It was such a treat! The young priest had such a joy about him and
spoke about mercy and confession–a real homily!!! I relished it very much.
But I cannot live in the metro area.
So I hope to hear from Cathy or anyone else in Ft. Collins–as I say, it
seems a garden compared to where I am now. And I know that no place is
perfect. I know VERY well what can happen when the next pastor comes along.
I have watched everything in my parish die. Our adoration will soon end. Father
will not notice.
John et al:
Once and for all, on behalf of Father McAfee (and I trust that if we’re going to indulge rabbit holes, we can defend a priest’s good name), it must be stated clearly that everything — that’s E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G!!! — about the celebration of the Traditional Mass at St John the Beloved in McLean, conforms to the 1962 Missale Romanum, as well as such relevant documents as the 1958 SRC decree “De Musica Sacra et Sacra Liturgia,” the 1994 letter from the PCED in response to various queries, and respected ceremonial texts such as Fortescue and O’Connell. That being said, the offertory procession (mentioned favorably by Pius XII in his 1947 encylical Mediator Dei) has been discontinued, in anticipation of the role of a subdeacon in the Solemn High Mass. Trust me, it’s gonna be grand! It is already known to be by the book, as those entrusted with its care take time to READ the book.
Now (whew!) thanks be to God that we have settled that. I would love to share something about relocating to preserve one’s Faith.
I moved from the Cincinnati area to Washington, DC, in 1980. I honestly believe that, were I still living back home, I might not be a Catholic now, or at least I wouldn’t be much of one. When I go home, I cannot attend the parish where I grew up, where the Mass has become an self-congratulatory love fest. One cannot sustain what is by nature a collective experience, without the integrity and reliability of the collective. At least not for very long.
The Diocese of Arlington has gone through its share of changes, but on the whole has remained rather stable, with the help of a sizable corps of good priests. And while “altar girls” are permitted, diocesan norms prevent them from becoming the majority at a parish, and frankly, less than one-sixth of them employ the practice anyway.
The western portion of the diocese, near Winchester, Front Royal, and Christendom College, is surrounded by the Blue Ridge mountains, where God’s creation can be seen in its glory. If people want to move where the Faith is proclaimed consistently well, they could do a lot worse than northern Virginia. Yes, the price of housing is higher than in the Midwest, but it’s down from what it was two or three years ago, and chances of finding a job are much better here than, say, in Ohio.
The situation in some parts of the country is improving slightly, but for the most part, I really don’t think we’ll see a dramatic change for another twenty years. By then, the front end of the “baby boomers” will be near the end of their time on earth.
If you stay around long enough, that’s usually what happens.
Perhaps there is a bishop (other than Bishop Rifan and SSPX bishops) who would direct a pastoral letter to his subjects to exhort women to remain loyal to the ancient Liturgical Tradition regarding head coverings and Mass.
If holy Catholic women in a particular diocese cooperated with their bishop in the above matter, reverence at Mass would, I believe, increase.
Catholic men would follow the lead of such holy women…and everybody would benefit.
From there, millions of Catholic women (and men) would have the opportunity to leaven society in various ways…if anything, to inject much-needed fashion-related modesty into society.
The manner of dress can make a powerful statement in this world.
But outside TLM communities, women who assist at Mass with covered heads is, of course, rare.
Once again, it is the Novus Ordo that is in desperate need of traditional liturgical influence.
But it would begin with a bishop…or certainly a pastor.
We need bishops and priests to encourage Catholic women, in their way, to restore modesty and reverence to Mass.
That can be done…and can begin with something as seemingly simple as women who assist at Mass with their heads covered.
I have believed for years that Catholic women can do far more than Catholic men to restore some degree of reverence and decorum to the Novus Ordo.
Far from “setting women back in the Church and society,” the simple yet powerful act of covering their heads at Mass would, in many respects, liberate women..and liberate men…and help to restore reverence and modesty to our parishes.
In that regard, women are by far the stronger sex.
The reality is that we need women, in their special and important way, to lead us toward authentic and traditional reform.
Frankly, in many ways regarding the life of the Church, women are more influential than men.
Excellent idea from ‘Tom’ for our priests and/or Bishops to suggest we once again cover our heads at Mass. This would mean that those of us who long to do so, but do not wish to be the odd one out, could then feel at ease.
Incidentally I have noticed that the comments all seem to refer to women covering their heads ‘at Mass.’ I remember that we put on a headscarf or mantilla whenever entering a church to pray. The act of remembering to do so in the porch reminded us of where we were and put us in the right frame of mind. And as a convert in the early 60s I was proud to set out on Sundays carrying my missal and mantilla just as the members of the Salvation army were of their uniform! I still have both my mantilla, still serviceable, and Missal which became somewhat well worn before becoming redundant and would never part with either.
I have covered since the Feast of the Immaculate Conception 2003 to the OF and EF for a number of reasons — the primary reason being the fact I felt called to cover. I wear a mantilla, because out of personal preference. I also believe they are less distracting than a hat which tends to block the view of those sitting behind me. I figure if a woman wants to cover she should wear the covering that she feels most comfortable wearing.
While I do not believe women should be forced to wear a head covering of any form, I do encourage women to cover when given a chance. I even encourage women to cover at the OR if they do not normally or when they serve at the OF as a Lector, Cantor, or extraordinary minister of Holy Communion, because it serves as an effective witness. For the longest time, I was the only person who wore a head covering at my OF parish, but this has changed over the years. I often have women who approach me for encouragement regarding wearing a head covering or who comment that want to wear a head covering too. Having said this, there are those who have snide comments regarding wearing a head covering, but those people are best handled by ignoring them.
I believe there is a significant correlation between women wearing a head covering and how we dress at Church that will vary from person to person. Personally, I found that how I dressed at Mass and away from Mass was dramatically impacted once I started wearing a head covering. Having said this, I believe the general dress code at Mass needs to improve before head coverings appear on a more regular basis. Which change comes first will probably vary from person to person.
Ana, you have a good point about comments referring to covering during Mass. The rule I’ve set for myself is that I veil my hair whenever I’m in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, both inside and outside of Mass, and including outdoor Masses.
Also, I don’t have ready access to an EF Mass, so I cover at OF and Eastern Rite Masses.
I am nearly 68, and recall that we would wear a head covering every time we
entered church for any reason, not just for Mass. I am bemused at the EF to see
young women wait until they are in the pew to don their veils. In the upper
Midwest, veils were worn mostly for daily Mass in summer, or for visits; in
those days churches were always open for visits. On Sundays we wore hats. In
winter we wore hats or scarves, often the wool “babushkas.” I wear a veil at
the EF now, and like the feeling that it encloses me and directs me to God (also
I like not having to fuss with my hair). I was wearing my old veil from the 50’s,
but have made a new one from 1/2 yard of black lace fabric. I have made an
ivory one, and will soon make a white one. If you buy the fabric on sale, you
can have three veils for less than the cost of purchasing a ready-made one.
Something to think about regarding moving to be near a more traditional parish:
If all the traditional, faithful Catholics leave, what does that do to the parish? Maybe not now, but a few years down the road if a priest wants to make some positive changes, will he have some parishioners who support him? Wouldn’t this lead to a greater divide in the Church- the liberals separated from the traditionalists?
I know some people who are involved with two parishes (of course, this is not feasible for many) so they can attend a more traditional Mass as well as not leave their geographical parish, but moving four hours away would definitely make this not-feasible.
As to moving to a new parish, I do know that parishes can changed dramatically in a very short time. My parish in previous years had been very active, adoration almost every day , 3 masses on a weekday including an evening mass (it is my opinion that most parishes that can afford it should have an evening mass for us working folks), many talks and classes, standard latin at mass, confession every morning and most evenings, and a vibrant young adults group. In 2 short years most of this has disappeared. Parishes can change direction very easily.
Jackie, what happened?
I wish I’d done a bit more homework before I moved. I didn’t realize, until I moved here, that it was possible for a Catholic church to not have kneelers in the pews– not that some people didn’t use them, I knew that, but that they didn’t even exist at all! Normally, I’m a strong proponent of attending one’s geographical parish, but even I have limits, and that is them.
Fortunately, I found a wonderful parish nearby, only 10-15 minutes further away, that has the most gorgeous architecture I’ve seen in a very long time, and celebrates a very reverent NO as well as a TLM. I must say, despite my original antipathy, the TLM is growing on me (if only because I have now, finally, seen how bad a NO Mass can actually get). It’s not my geographical parish, but it’s close enough to fit.
The first time I wore a veil to church I felt extremely self-conscious. “What the heck am I doing? Everyone’s going to think I’m pretending to be holy!” But they’re never thinking about you as much as you think they are. :) I wear it as a sign of respect for the presence of Our Lord, and I don’t want to let shyness stop me. I do find it puts me in a more prayerful frame of mind.
I still feel slightly self-conscious on occasion, but not much. A few women have told me somewhat wistfully that they’d like to wear a veil too, but one is too self-conscious, one just hasn’t done anything about it, and one has a husband who thinks it’s weird. Sometimes I worry I’m scaring men off, but ideally one day I’ll meet a man who thinks it’s a point in my *favor*. :)
Two very helpful practical benefits: 1) I no longer fool with my hair at Mass 2) My face is shielded when I bow my head.
An unexpected side effect: I now dress almost exclusively in dresses and skirts. The mantilla just looks a bit funny with pants, and I go to Mass every day and am too lazy to change afterwards, so… that little veil has reformed my whole wardrobe! (Similarly, the brown scapular made me stop wearing my skimpier tops. I have no doubt Our Lady planned it that way.)
Our priests say nothing about veils one way or the other, except that once in a class, one of them explained that veils aren’t required but then he added quietly at the end, “Veils are nice.” That one comment was hugely encouraging to me; I’d been afraid the priests wouldn’t approve.
The ladies in fact keep the side up pretty well at Mass – but I am faintly scandalized at the number of men who leave church inadequately dressed as regards their heads. The dictum has already been alluded to in a previous article: Whoever desires the principal desires also the accessory.
I veil for several reasons:
1) It is a sign of respect and modesty, emphasizing the sacredness of the female body and the value of chastity.
2) It is an outward, visible sign of my commitment to traditional Catholic values. As a younger person, I feel I have an obligation to gently preach this commitment.
3) It pledges my total devotion to the Blessed Mother
4) It actually looks nice, so I spend less time worrying about my hair.
5) The folded veil can be stuck in any purse or pocket, so it is easier than remembering to grab myself a hat.
I do have qualms about people veiling only for the TLM. Above all, veiling is a sign of worship to Our Lord Jesus Christ and of unity with Our Lady. Unless you are one those folks who believe the NO is invalid, I don’t see the point of only veiling for one.
*If all the traditional, faithful Catholics leave, what does that do to the parish? Maybe not now, but a few years down the road if a priest wants to make some positive changes, will he have some parishioners who support him? Wouldn’t this lead to a greater divide in the Church- the liberals separated from the traditionalists?
I know some people who are involved with two parishes (of course, this is not feasible for many) so they can attend a more traditional Mass as well as not leave their geographical parish, but moving four hours away would definitely make this not-feasible.*
Cally, you make some really good points. We’re involved in two – actually, three – parishes and it feels wrong, somehow. There’s the parish we live in, the parish one mile away that we like a bit better, and the parish with the TLM that is too far away to really be involved in beyond Sunday mornings.
The parish we live in is where my children will have to go to school. I take them to weekday Mass once a week or so, but we no longer go to Sunday Masses there.
The parish one mile away is where we go for confession, I go to weekday Mass a couple of times a week, and where I am a lector on Sunday night. I am on a committee or two.
The parish with the TLM is about 35 minutes away. We only go on Sunday morning and we have tea and biscuits after Mass with others, some of whom come from far away for Mass. But, we can’t get there for anything else, including confessions and committee meetings.
It’s silly to be spread out over three parishes like that. We initially only went to the one in our neighborhood. We just didn’t like a lot of things about it. I don’t know if I feel OK about what we’re doing.
Ok – for those who would define a woman’s “holiness’ by whether or not she wears a veil, here’s a riddle.
Three women go to Mass.
Woman A wears a long skirt to her ankles and clumpy shoes. She is very concerned about modesty. She drapes her lace mantilla over her head . She wants to do this out of respect for the Mass and for her Saviour.
Woman B is very conscious that she is attending the most important occasion of the week. She has picked out her most elegant suit and spent some time blow-drying her hair. She wants to do this out of respect for the Mass and for her Saviour.
Woman C pulls on her jeans, hauls her kids out of bed, grabs the cakes she’s baked for after-Mass coffee time and rushes to get to Mass on time. She wants to do this out of respect for the Mass and her Saviour.
At Mass, Woman A looks at women B and C and thinks “ah it’s good they’ve come to Mass but why don’t they wear veils like me – then they’d be really holy”.
Woman B looks at woman A and thinks, “She’s really making me feel uncomfortable, showing off her piety and at woman C and thinks “couldn’t she have made a bit more effort to dress appropriately?”
Woman C is too busy keeping her kids quiet to care.
OK which of these ladies is the most holy, which is the most pleasing to God? Everyone will have their answer. But, you know what? None of us can know. None of us is God.
(And incidentally if my husband prayed for me to wear a veil I’d give him what-for. Fortunately he has more important things to pray about.)
I’ll admit it… I’ve judged parishes by the number of veils in the pews. I take the veil to be a sign that this is a parish with orthodox Catholic members. And, I guess I see a woman in a veil and assume that she’s a devout Catholic. But, I don’t go so far as to think that she’s going to be a nice or even moral person. It is very easy to assume that someone who is outwardly pious is a good person. I have learned that you can never tell about someone by looking at them.
That said… in this day and age, an outward signal of orthodoxy would be welcomed by a lot of people. You honestly never know when a priest is going to tell you that birth control is OK or women should be ordained, etc. A lot of us seek out communities of like-minded faithful Catholics.
I don’t think that anyone here ventured to define a women’s holiness by whether she wears a head covering or not, a skirt, blue jeans or whatever.
I know several women who I have seen going from being the mom in blue jeans to the the mom in a skirt and veil, and I looked to them as examples of holiness when they were in blue jeans–though, I enjoy seeing them express their femininity even more in their appearance.
Seeing them dressed well expresses their holiness (and their glory as God’s creation) in the same way a beautiful church expresses God’s glory. The sacraments are just as valid in an ugly church building with no adornment, but the adornment helps us to better recognize the Truth, in our human weakness.
Fwiw, since wearing more skirts, as a mom, I don’t find it anymore difficult to roll out of bed and slip on a skirt than a pair of blue jeans. ;) I find the skirt goes on much easier and is considerably more forgiving of the weight fluctuations associated with having babies than my favorite pair of jeans ever was.:)
You don’t need kneelers to kneel, there are no kneelers in St. John’s Co-Cathedral at Valetta in Malta, everyone kneels on the bare marble floor during Mass, the marble floor incidently is actually made up of the tombs of the Knights of St. John.
You can get more information about this jewel of Christendom here: http://www.stjohnscocathedral.org/
The Cathredral choir is fantastic to, if you can you all should visit and attend the Latin NO Mass said there, (might be one in the extraordinary form by now with any luck)
email me at email@example.com if you want more info about the Tyler, Texas Traditional parish. I hope all goes well with your move!
Tom, I apologise for my snarky comment. I remembered you and your intentions at Mass this morning.
(Lindsay, for info, I referred to the comment above: “Men benefit greatly from holy women who follow the ancient and unchanging Holy Tradition that pertains to head coverings.”)
On other points, re veiled women being a sign of an orthodox parish, how do you define “orthodox Catholic”. I prefer to define this as someone who keeps to the Church’s teaching and current rules of Canon Law, which I do my best to do, though not always very well. I know where you’re coming from, but the fact that a church offers the Tridentine Mass is a good enough sign for me that the priest isn’t going to be pro-birth control or hold my hand during the Our Father. I do think the many good women attending the mainstream OF – who vastly outnumber those going to the EF – wouldn’t be too pleased at the definition that a veil reflects orthodoxy, when it is not a requirement of the Church. They may personally consider wearing a veil to be over-scrupulous, holier-than-thou or just plain pointless and so possibly not QUITE orthodox and may be reluctant to attend such parishes because of that. Just a thought.
I do repeat that I am not knocking women who sincerely feel a spiritual calling to be veiled. But it isn’t for everyone. And just to play devil’s advocate again – why so much stress on copying Our Lady by wearing a veil? Likewise those hideous “Marylike” dresses? We know very little about the nuances of how Our Lady dressed – it’s very probable that she adopted the normal costume of respectable women of her time, which in those days automatically included a headcovering and didn’t try to be different. Perhaps she loved being attractively and not frumpily dressed as a compliment to St Joseph and her Son. We don’t know. Every society has its own norms of modesty and she kept to hers. In her time, people rode donkeys. Should we then also ride donkeys as a sign of piety? But we have plenty of evidence that, as well as being the epitome of holiness, the Blessed Mother was a practical and sensible woman. That’s where, I very humbly suggest, we should be striving to copy her.
I agree with Ann about fitting in and not drawing attention. A circle of my friends has been discussing this for years. There are women who “get it” and women who struggle, worrying that to submit to God will destroy their freedoms, ruin their lives, and make them “old school robots.” The world convinces them of this constantly. We, who have found the love of God and know what it asks of us, know better, but we struggle with how to make ourselves accessible to others — to the women at Sunday Mass, in the carpool line, at the soccer field, etc.
We’ve already marginalised ourselves in various ways: homeschooling, having more kids, staying home, daily Mass, joining Legion of Mary, living a holiness that cannot help but be noticed, although it is not our intent.
I think I said: “What is negotiable?” Clothes, makeup, those sorts of things are. To wear jeans when appropriate, to keep up with reasonable fashions, to take some effort with the [aging] face, to join into harmless fun — these things are negotiable, though they may be distasteful at times. How many saints went to dances and parties against their will, because it was their husband’s wish, or to avoid them would have been rude.
Thus, I’ve concluded that to sit in a pew with a large brood of kids, wearing a skirt to my ankles, a chapel veil and the like (in MY case) would not be apostolic. It would convince everyone that we were unaccessible throwbacks. Even our kids will occasionally grumble that we are a “freak show” as it is.
I give in on what I can give (and believe me, I feel unaccessible already, because women have “radar”). Women have a sense, and perhaps there are ways to meet them half-way on occasions.
On the wearing of a veil, I think we worry too much about whether or not people
think we are odd for doing it – that it makes us inaccessible. I think once
people get to know you they realize that you are a normal person. In my
experience it’s more important who we are in our regular dealings with people.
There are always people who will be very denigrating towards women who wear veils.
Personally, when I was not a Christian, I looked down on Christians in general,
but deep down, I respected the ones who really tried to live it and didn’t let my
stupidity stop them from doing what they thought was right. Maybe the women who
are so hostile towards women with veils deep down feel the same way I did back then.
Regarding moving to be close to a parish creating a divide between the liberals and
the orthodox/traditional Catholics, I don’t think this is a big concern. Some
orthodox people will stay in the liberal parishes and labor in that vineyard. It’s
a hard way to go and they need support. The orthodox parishes help provide that
support. There needs to be a place where people can go to experience authentic
liturgy, orthodox preaching and counsel, and the fellowship of like-minded
Catholics. I know that in many ways Holy Rosary serves that capacity in
Indianapolis. It does so more fruitfully when people on both sides stop trying
to second guess why some people are dressed the way they are. We have no idea
if the lady with the chapel veil and frumpy dress is feeling holier than thou or
if the one in shorts is indifferent to the importance of Holy Mass. I have been
both the lady in the veil and frumpy dress and the person in shorts. I dress
frumpily because my figure doesn’t look very attractive in most of the latest
styles and I’m just not very smart about fashion. I wear my veil because it
helps me to pray the Mass. I wore shorts to Mass once because I was in the
middle of moving and I couldn’t find my clothes!
I’m sharing this because I want to emphasize the point that we really don’t know
why other people are doing what they do. Even if their intentions are not good,
maybe we should still be patient with them. The divisions this creates interferes
with our work to build up the Church. People aren’t going to benefit from the
reverent liturgy at the orthodox parish if they think everyone their is holier
than thou and they don’t go. It seems to me like there can be attitude problems
on both sides. The reality is that we all need to be on the same side.
Ann’s “riddle” is offensive and pointless.
“At Mass, Woman A looks at women B and C and thinks “ah it’s good they’ve come to Mass but why don’t they wear veils like me – then they’d be really holy”.
Woman B looks at woman A and thinks, “She’s really making me feel uncomfortable, showing off her piety and at woman C and thinks “couldn’t she have made a bit more effort to dress appropriately?”
Woman C is too busy keeping her kids quiet to care.”
It’s obvious from her wording that the “right” answer is Woman C because A and B are so busy looking around and judging others. Woman C is the “good mom” who is busy looking after her kids and being helpful in the parish while A and B are obsessed with external appearances.
This is ridiculous. Who know what anyone really thinks?
btw, I’ve seen women at church with their hair covered, struggling to deal with unruly babies. It’s not as though taking care of your children (or being busy) is any excuse for not wearing a head covering at Mass.
Veil: Like Fr. Z says, it’s your choice. Just don’t presume to think that women who wear veils go around feeling superior to those who don’t. In my experience, they can’t see you anyway — they have no peripheral vision.