From a reader:
I have read web sites from FSSP Traditional parishes that indicate women are to cover their heads during Mass. My understanding is that the requirement was removed from Canon Law, thus it is no longer a sin to not cover. However, if a traditionalist priest made it a requirement for his parish, or for his congregation in the case of a quasi-parish, would the woman sin by disobedience if she refused to cover her head, and could a priest make it a requirement in order to, for example, receive communion?
I am glad that this is only a hypothetical question and that no priest has been foolish enough to deny women Communion if they had no head covering.
News of that sort, if true, would provoke The Wrath Of The Whatever From High Atop The Thing.
Univerase Ecclesiae 28, which clarified some points of Summorum Pontificum, stated that those rubrical things and practices in force in 1962 which were in the Missale Romanum were to be maintained now. Thus, no Communion in the hand, no altar girls, etc. Summorum Pontificum did not revive the canon of the old, 1917 Code of Canon Law concerning head coverings.
I think a case can be made that during celebrations of Holy Mass with the 1962 Missale Romanum it is good that women cover their heads. As a matter of fact, why limit that to the 1962MR? Let’s apply that the Ordinary Form as well! That said, there is no law on the books right now that obliges women to cover their heads during Mass. But think: New Evangelization…. Year of Faith… New Evangelization… Year of Faith….
So, while there is no strict obligation according to the law, the ethos of the older use of the Roman Rite creates a soft obligation, an environment in which people will 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. I don’t think anyone should look cross-eyed at a woman with an uncovered head in church for the Extraordinary Form. That would be boorish.
Were I to hear that a priest would not give Communion to a woman for the sole reason that she was not wearing a head covering… well… let’s just hope that never happens.
Anyway… ladies… promote the New Evangelization during the Year of Faith and start wearing those chapel veils in church!