ASK FATHER: The proper way for women to wear a chapel veil?

From a reader…


I have noticed at the Traditional Latin Mass I attend that the women cover their heads with their veils once their sit down in their pews. [?!?] I was told by a friend that the norm years ago was that women veiled their heads before their entered the church and took off their veils once they stepped out of church, not once they sat down in their pews. [!] Which is the proper way for women who veil their heads? Are the women who veil once they enter their pews doing anything wrong? Should the priest(s) address this?

Ahhhh…. such an important question!

Boy are you onto something!

Yes, there is an exact way for the veil to be worn and when it should be put on.

As far as the act of veiling is concerned, it should be done no farther than 20 meters from the lowest step of the church’s door.

Moving on, the edge of the veil should be drawn precisely 4.25cm from the critical angle of the hairdo’s forward arc. Centimeters, mind you.

I suggest that you keep records on this. Using a clipboard, start tracking stats for the actual veiling, changing doors each week. Then, perhaps after Mass and after women have had a chance to say their thanksgiving prayers, using a discreet measuring device… perhaps some sort of caliper… measure the width of the “draw”.

You would do a real service for the pastor were you able to chart this out, perhaps with graphs (priests can be a bit flummoxed by tables of numbers and such). That way Father can intervene with stern admonitions when veils are being improperly deployed.

You have your mission!

And remember, there are no longer any canonical penalties for veiling in the wrong place or with the incorrect draw.  Okay?  That’s key! We aren’t judgmental about these things anymore.  For a couple years now we are being more merciful.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. JamesM says:

    Father – the dropping of canonical penalties for improper wearing of the veil is one of the biggest mistakes the Church has made. You might think it is compassionate, I say it is proximate to modernism.


  2. pelerin says:

    Love it!!! I wonder if this will get repeated in the anti-Catholic secular press as ‘Gospel.’

    I read today that a satirical American website (the info did not say which) said that Annibale Bugnini was going to be canonised and it has been repeated as true elsewhere on the blogsphere! [Then is must be true!]

    Must go and measure my mantilla!

  3. Allan S. says:

    You do know that the trolls won’t know you’re kidding, right? A month from know the Holy Father will give a homily about the evils of clericalism, like that nutty American priest – Z something or other – who had parishioners measure chapel veils with calipers before coming in.

    Countdown, in 10 – 9 -8 – 7 ….

    [Let them reveal how obtuse and humorless they are.]

  4. GypsyMom says:

    Wearing a chapel veil is a beautiful way to show reverence and respect for Our Lord in the tabernacle. I admire any woman who does so, as does my oldest daughter, but I cannot bring myself to do it. As a child whose formative years were the early 70’s through the mid-80’s, the heyday of Vatican II “reforms,” my mother made my sister and I wear chapel veils to our hip and rockin’ parish. We were treated as pariahs, even experiencing sermons about the backwardness of families like ours as we sat in the pew listening. When I got old enough to drive to Mass on my own, I ditched the veil and never looked back. I know this was/is weakness on my part, but I haven’t been able to bring myself to revisit and work through those feelings again. Ah, the love and tolerance we experienced at the Church of Nice…

  5. anns says:

    According to a little old lady in Italy, women should cover their head before they enter the church. She thought this was important enough express via gestures (nice gestures) when she learned I did not know Italian, so I am inclined to trust her opinion.

  6. Pnkn says:

    Ach du lieber !

    I haf read awn daht blahg von Vater Longnecker dat hees freund hass seferall posts regardink veils. Ich beliebest dat dis ees Mahntiya dah Hun.

  7. RafqasRoad says:

    For what it’s worth, I put mine on before entering and remove after leaving, but that’s just the way I take care of all manners church and headcovering. as an esoteric aside, I have been lead to believe that donning of the headcovering be it chapel veil or simply the raising of a scarf or shawl over the head to suffice is permissible right before the consecration of the precious body and blood of Christ, removeable a short time after reception. To the gentleman whose comment leads out in this discussion, perhaps a little encouragement for those of us who wear a veil, hat, shawl or scarf in the first place would be a good start, even if said wearer only veils up before the abovementioned consecration with a humble and quiet word of thanks and encouragement. This practice is growing among ladies of all ages who attend all types of Catholic rite be it Eastern rite, NO, EF or Ordinariate is also growing during adoration and even among those who simply drop into their local church to pray for a few minutes throughout the day before our Lord in the tabernacle.Be ye wise as serpents and gentle as doves. this practice is growing outside of the Catholic world also, with many protestants of good will adopting the practice. I took up Chrsitian headcovering long before I ever dreamed of becoming Catholic (convert now for just over three and a half years).

  8. RafqasRoad says:

    Arggg!!!! That should read ‘Christian’ at the conclusion of my last comment!!!! Arggg!!!

    Gypsie Mom, if you want to cover but find chapel veil style coverings a bit too much due to past experience, you may like the styles of covering offered by the ladies at whose workmanship is beautiful, service professional and delivery timely (even to folk like me in Australia). Your daughter might like these also. As you’re coming into summer in the Northern hemisphere, a simple straw hat might do the job nicely also. though if ladies wish to go down the hat road, elegant understatement that does not impede the view of those behind the hat wearer is always excellent.

  9. HyacinthClare says:

    I’m a dim bulb and even I got the sarcasm in this one.

  10. benedetta says:

    I just try to go around in my orange babushka, all the time, that way I need never worry.

    [Also useful during deer season.]

  11. rodin says:


    At our church most of us wear veils, but some ladies wear hats as my mother did when I was a child. In college I got into the habit of wearing the veil and am delighted to be using it again.

  12. Charles E Flynn says:

    There will doubtless be a schism between the metric veilers and the English veilers, who refuse to convert.

  13. Bea says:

    Thanks for the laugh, Father.

    I hope that in this year of mercy your “reader” won’t excommunicate me.
    You see, I’m one of the ones that veil once I’m sitting down in the pew. Being on the “heavy side” I really need a whole pew to sit “on”.

    I use a cane (2 actually) and when entering the church door the breeze invariably blows the veil off my head and stepping down the step with a cane, I have a hard time picking it up. During Mass my veil sometimes slides off my head or slips down a notch or 2. I’ll have to remember my measuring stick (ruler) next time to make sure it is at a proper angle/length/or whatever.

    Actually, I do remember in my youth veiling before entering the church, even if it was a kleenex because I forgot my veil.

  14. SanSan says:

    lol Father……actually, I veil my head at the consecaration and before receiving Jesus…..

  15. @Charles E Flynn:
    Pope Benedict XVII. will write a apostolic constitution Inchinorum Coetibus in which he erects a personal ordinariate for those using the english measured veils for the good of the souls, when they want to cross the Tiber. Those faithful will have to pay a conversion fee to the ordinariate of 2.54% additional to the just contribution of the church expenses.

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  16. APX says:

    The sad thing is, there really are people like this (at least at my church whenever I put something on my head.)

  17. Brian Cannon says:

    As a man, I find the entirety of this post discriminatory.

    [That’s the spirit!]

  18. pseudomodo says:

    One if the simplest practices is for the husband to remove his black Borsalino fedora at the door and give it to his wife to wear at mass. And vice versa after mass. [I don’t think women should wear men’s hats. I also don’t think they should ever drink grappa. Ever.]

    If the old girl is any good at it she can do a Michael Jackson hat toss at the door and land it on hubby’s head! I have perused the appropriate documents and I find no prohibition of such a practice. Whatever is not forbidden is permitted!

    Now, since the man should remove his hat upon entering the church and a woman should cover her head upon entering, and given the fact the the cloak and hat room is a defunct feature in most churches, and furthermore it is troublesome for the husband to hold his hat in church, much less waste any pew space, it seems economical, fitting and appropriate for the said hat to occupy the aforesaid wife’s head.

    Given the fact that FrZ is a notorious fedora wearer I believe he is more than qualified to render an opinion in this most pressing quasi-liturgical question.

  19. CruceSignati says:

    Just started veiling at our Sunday NO Mass in April. Got a few stares from people, but other than that it was good. However, I did not wear it to the uber-liberal parish last week (instead, I wore a beret). Call me a coward….*shrug*

  20. Grumpy Beggar says:

    “. . . changing doors each week.”


    benedetta says:
    “I just try to go around in my orange babushka, all the time, that way I need never worry.”

    I wonder if some poor soul just google-translated and now believes someone over on Father Z’s blog has found a way to travel around inside her orange grandmother…?

    Allan S. says:
    “You do know that the trolls won’t know you’re kidding, right? A month from know the Holy Father will give a homily about the evils of clericalism, like that nutty American priest – Z something or other – who had parishioners measure chapel veils with calipers before coming in.

    Countdown, in 10 – 9 -8 – 7 ….”


    Brian Cannon says:
    “As a man, I find the entirety of this post discriminatory.”

    Not to worry , it is rumored that some grumpy person will be starting a rumor soon on this thread, claiming that a particular columnist, over at, umm. . . Shhh ! . . . the place where fish have been seen wrapped who goes by the (dyslexic) initials of SWM , has just signed a petition started by RCWP who say it is “just as appropriate for men to wear veils when attending the Traditional Latin Mass – provided those veils be precisely the same color and the same size as the women’s veils” , and that his good friend Fr. Z even agrees – as long as the veil is the correct liturgical color . . . because it has to match the correct liturgical color of the accompanying cincture.

    . . . -6 – 5 – 4 – . . .

  21. Volanges says:

    pseudomodo, what do you mean cloak and hat rooms are defunct? That would imply that they once existed in Catholic churches.

  22. Hank Igitur says:

    During the second Vatican Council, reporters asked Bugnini if women still had to wear a headcover in church. His response was that women’s veils were not on the agenda.

    The next day, the international press announced that women did not have to wear the veil anymore.

    The 1917 Code of Canon Law stated that women must cover their heads (can.1262.2). The 1983 did not mention head coverings.

  23. Chon says:

    Does the “reader” know that the entire 1917 Code of Canon Law has been abrogated?

  24. pseudomodo says:


    Not unusual further north! Have seen them in Canada where you may not need or want to hang on to your raccoon car coat and matching fur hat in the pew.

    Maybe more rare in Florida!

  25. Giuseppe says:

    On their head. NEXT?

  26. andia says:

    Dear emailer, It is the likes of you that make me fearful of going to a TLM. I don’t and won’t veil because I am sick of men like you making it in to a pendactic symbol of my submission to them and an admission that my hair must be covered to protect them from their unbridled lust–rather than the submission to God that it should be.
    These same men are the ones who tell me I need to only wear dresses because they can’t be responsible for their thoughts and actions if I don’t. Yeah, I don’t wear dresses, either. ( and there are good, cogent and very private reasons why I will never wear a dress in public again)
    So I’ll forgo Latin Mass and leave the TLM to men like you.

    Sorry, Father, I know you are not like this–but I’ve gotten these attitudes often enough that I won’t subject myself to the nastiness I meet when I try to go. Maybe someday there will be a place for women like me.

    [Good grief. Have a cup of Mystic Monk chamomile. HERE And if you decide not to avail yourself of the riches of the TLM because of what someone might think… the problem might be yours.]

  27. SaintJude6 says:

    Been saving that up for a while, andia?
    You might want to think twice before starting any post out with “It is the likes of you…” That is pretty much setting yourself up for the spilling of words better left unwritten. I think the emailer asked a perfectly innocent question. It’s not like there is a book on veiling etiquette he could consult. When I first started veiling I remember wondering the same thing. When exactly should the veil be on? But we all figure it out.
    How sad that you are avoiding the TLM out of some possible unpleasantness that hasn’t even occurred. The men at our TLM parish are considerate and well-mannered. We have priests that will hold their feet to the fire to be good Catholics, husbands, and fathers, and these men take it to heart. Some women choose not to veil at the TLM, even though that is the custom. No big deal. Some women wear pants. No big deal. (Yes, it does draw your attention for the same reason that one Nilla Wafer would stand out in a line of 99 Oreos.) When I see a woman in pants at the TLM, I assume that she has some reason for not wearing a skirt. Maybe she doesn’t own a skirt. So there is about two seconds of thought given to that and then it is right back into the swing of the Mass. (I do have to say that once I read “Dressing With Dignity” and learned about where men’s eyes are drawn when a woman wears pants, that was enough to put me off of wearing pants except when working in my house or yard. It really is a good book.)
    There already is a place for you at the TLM, but you have convinced yourself there isn’t. What a shame to miss that.

  28. Dinocrates says:

    I remember years ago entering the church with my chapel veil on. A gust of wind came and blew it off my head and into the parking lot into a puddle of mud. Now I wait till I get inside to don a veil.

  29. NoraLee9 says:

    How do we know this was a man? [Good point!] When I was coordinator of the SSPX Chapel in my area, we had a woman in the parish who was going around one Sunday harassing the gals with hats, telling them that only veils were acceptable….

    [Words such as “busybodies” come to mind… along with others.]

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  30. Grumpy Beggar says:

    pseudomodo says:

    Not unusual further north! Have seen them in Canada where you may not need or want to hang on to your raccoon car coat and matching fur hat in the pew.

    Maybe more rare in Florida!”

    Another thing not so unusual up here in Canada and which is now actually more common than the cloak and hat room is the cloak and dagger room . . . We definitely have some up here – and you wouldn’t believe how much they resemble the ones they had in Rome last fall at the Synod on the family. [And don’t leave your books lying around.]

  31. Peter in Canberra says:

    the tragedy is that some ‘chapel veil’ wearers would love it if there were ‘rubrics’ to follow [and to upbraid the unobservant about].

    I think there must be a whole doctoral thesis on the rise of the term ‘chapel veil’ and whether it was a term that would have meant anything to pre-concilliar Catholics?

    I am not aware that the term had any usage prior to the resurgence of the traditional Mass ie post-1984. In any event the descriptor for the article here would have been mantilla. When head covering was still required many ladies wore hats. My grandmother certainly did – I doubt she owned a mantilla.

  32. Volanges says:

    I’m pretty far north in Canada and have still not seen cloak & hat rooms in Catholic churches, the exception being the military chapel that served both the Catholic & Protestant communities. I can vividly remember Mom & all the other ladies sitting in Mass in their muskrat or mink coats. But then I grew up before there was central heating in the churches. Considering the dwindling numbers in church today it won’t be long before wearing your furs during Mass will be necessary to balance the parish budget.

  33. Kerry says:

    Andia, sarcasm not in evidence?

  34. benedetta says:

    Well, is it possible for a community to grow in holiness, attached to a certain Rite or sort of liturgy or prayer life? I believe it is possible.

    I think we can all agree that the concern the above questioner demonstrates is picayune.

    Even when we grow in holiness, as mortals, perfection may be elusive of our own efforts and that is why the Lord is kind and merciful and loves us as and because we are humans.

    It is indeed worth a titter to contemplate the correct procedures and norms for women’s or men’s dress. We can be funny sometimes in what we worry about.

    In other congregations though women (yes women!) might direct campaigns against others not for their skirt length or veil donning timing but for other things: that they will speak out for prolife, for instance which so many women have been taught to despise, even many Catholic women, because they were deceived that prolife somehow conflicts with their freedom as women, or, they animate harm to people who would seek to encourage the good when that conflicts with their material interests, and on and on. So, it’s fun to laugh about this one knowing that it is for the most part indeed just as the posters above describe — one might wear a hilary pantsuit and no veil in a place where custom predominates long skirt and veil, and yet, for EF worshippers, it goes in one ear and out the other. It is not something that one lingers on, and does not become a runaway occasion for sin against one’s neighbor. Whereas, to resent another for believing in the trustworthiness of the faith, that life is good, and then to take certain steps…within a community, that’s obviously a whole different ball of wax. So laugh, and let the world laugh and continue to grow in holiness, EF women, veiled, unveiled, whatever it may be, the world needs your light, and your courage. It is greatly needed, and appreciated.

  35. iPadre says:

    Sorry Fr. Z, but the post is incomplete. You did not give them procedure for folding a chapel veil when not in use. Incorrect folding would be at the very least a venial sin requiring a 100 day indulgenced act of reparation.

  36. iPadre says: the post is incomplete

    Right. I’ve was distracted because of the travel.

    Please… go ahead!

  37. The Masked Chicken says:

    “Ah, the love and tolerance we experienced at the Church of Nice…”

    What is the difference between pre- and post- Vatican II church mentality? Before Vatican II, it was The Church of Nicea; after Vatican II, it became The Church of Nice-ta-See-Ya. [brrrrrrUMP-TSSSH!]

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award


    As to the question of when to put on the Chapel Veil, this could have all been settled if the TLM included a, “Veiling Ceremony,” on the Church steps before Mass, wherein, the akatakalyptos – the unveiled (isn’t that a great word, the Greek, I mean), were veiled by their husband, because 1 Cor 11:3 clearly says:

    “But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a woman is her husband, and the head of Christ is God.”

    Oh, wait…what about the unmarried or the young girls? Well, St. Paul provides an out – 1 Cor 11:5 – 6:

    “but any woman who prays or prophesies with her head unveiled dishonors her head–it is the same as if her head were shaven.
    For if a woman will not veil herself, then she should cut off her hair; but if it is disgraceful for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her wear a veil.”

    So, Persis Khambatta, who played the bald, Lieutenant Ilia, in Star Trek: the motion picture (and who dedicated her first and only book to Mother Teresa (and part of the royalties went to the Sisters of Charity) was ahead of the game (I doubt that she was Catholic, however).

    Of course, this passage has, really, been misunderstood, historically. You see, St. Paul says in 1 Cor 11:13:
    “Judge for yourselves; is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered?”

    and 1 Cor 11:16:
    If any one is disposed to be contentious, we recognize no other practice, nor do the churches of God.

    Which does not mean that women are to only to veil in the churches, but that the churches of God recognize no other practice. No other practice than what? The answer was given in 1 Cor 11:13:

    “Judge for yourselves; is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered?”

    The word, proseuchomai, can mean either to offer prayers, as in a structured activity, or, simply to pray. In 1 Th 5:17, St. Paul says to pray without ceasing (adialeipt?s) and the word he uses for pray(er) is the exact same word: proseuchomai. So, it is unclear whether St. Paul means that women’s heads should be covered or shorn only in church or always (because they are to be praying without ceasing). The description of activities that actually took place within churches in Corinth, technically, does not until 1 Cor 11:18, after this discourse on veiling. When St. Paul says that they (Churches in Corinth) and the other churches of God recognize no other practice, he is referring to veiling while praying, not veiling while praying only in church (the assembly). It includes praying in church, but does not exclude being veiled whenever a woman is at prayer, since when anyone prays, they stand before God and that is the whole purpose of thus passage: to indicate that men and women, while both subservient to God, have different roles to play. Women and men pray differently to God, for the most part. Head covering is an outward manifestation of the fact.

    So you women-type humans, get out there and get a husband so that you can be veiled or shave your heads (which may get you a husband, hehe). Clearly, this would make for a more interesting display of skulls at Mass. See? Isn’t Biblical exegesis fun? What could go wrong?

    So, not to be serious and all, but the question of when to put on the veil is meaningless. We are all feminine, to God (as C. S. Lewis points out), and as we Christians stand before the presence of God at all times, interceding for the world, our hearts are to be veiled, if not our heads, at all times and in all places. I can be as persnickety as the next chicken (of course, we are veiled at all times – see, chickens are the superior species), but what do centimeters on the head mean if there are yards of gaping holes in charity in your hearts? Cover your hearts in the veil of charity and, then, you will see, rightly, when to put on the chapel veil.

    The Chicken

  38. Athelstan says:

    We were treated as pariahs, even experiencing sermons about the backwardness of families like ours as we sat in the pew listening.

    Ah, the merciful and non-judgmental Age of Felt Banners. How we all miss it!

  39. Why do y’all think Father is kidding?

  40. Chicken: You were quoted, from this blog, HERE.

  41. Imrahil says:

    Before Vatican II, it was The Church of Nicea; after Vatican II, it became The Church of Nice-ta-See-Ya.

    L! O! L!

    Nomination for the Gold Star from me. Not that my word would count.

  42. Faith says:

    But Father! But Father, you didn’t say what color is appropriate. There are so many colors of veils that the church looks like a LGBT convention.

  43. benedetta says:

    Seconding Chickens comments…because we all KNOW that “charity and love prevail” in the intentional faith communities politically active with just a whiff or hint of christianity so no one ever looks askance at anyone, for any reason yes? Just robotronic all the time, frozen in luv…

    Hey I have an idea! Let us take a cue from some other places and instate lay (paid would be awesome) official and officious women’s veil Coordinator/Minister. In larger parishes, she/he (?) would need at least one or two Skirt Committee informers and helpers to keep everyone in line and “greet” people as they come in (with clipboard in hand, or, in the wealthier more with it and progressive places, an apple watch). These important people could also set up, run and approve all traffic on the parish community facebook page, repost interesting tidbits from celebrity priests, funny priests, and priests of yore, as well as action and talking points for all. They could also post helpful notices in the pews, hymnals and in the children’s nursery (since women have been known to hang out at these places). Perhaps too, for the really forward thinking places: men’s veils! You don’t have to thank me…ideas such as this brilliant one just come effortlessly to me, sometimes…

  44. benedetta says:

    Wait, Chicken, are you saying that HEAD SHAVING is an option for women? Who knew? Mind blown. This changes everything!

  45. slainewe says:

    To the original questioner:

    Woman veils her head in reverence for God. So it is proper to have her head veiled before she enters the nave and makes her first acknowledgement of being in the Presence of the Almighty, that is, before she genuflects. Thoughtful women, who take the wearing of the veil seriously, do this. They are brides coming into the presence of their Bridegroom. Have we ever seen a bride fumbling with her veil as she processed into the church? Unheard of!

    Then there are women who wear the veil for their own reasons. They are free, in the modern church, to don it when they please, or not at all.

    It is truly sad that your question was so mocked in this thread. Male chauvinism continue to thrive in the Church. Even the traditionally minded who agonize over every piece of clerical garb, think women’s dress unworthy of meaning.

  46. jasoncpetty says:

    It is kind of funny how sexist the enforcement of cover/uncover at Mass is. Even at the goofiest churches I’ve been to, I’ve seen elderly ushers run over to lambaste some goon kid wearing a cap. Why can’t men wear hats in church if St Paul’s injunctions to the Corinthians are only Antique Levantine cultural norms and whatnot?

  47. zag4christ says:

    For a minute there, I thought I was at Eye of the Tiber.

  48. The Masked Chicken says:

    “Wait, Chicken, are you saying that HEAD SHAVING is an option for women? Who knew? Mind blown. This changes everything!”

    Now, now. When St. Paul said:

    “but any woman who prays or prophesies with her head unveiled dishonors her head–it is the same as if her head were shaven.
    For if a woman will not veil herself, then she should cut off her hair; but if it is disgraceful for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her wear a veil.”

    I am pretty sure he was being sarcastic. Here’s the logic:
    1. Any woman who prays with head unveiled = dishonors her head
    2. Shaven = unveiled = dishonor head
    3. Not veiled should cut off hair, because, after all, it is the same thing (there’s the dripping sarcasm)
    4. “…but if it is disgraceful for a woman to be shorn or shaven…” assumes that it is disgraceful (by 2)

    Veiling makes the hair invisible and so does shaving, but veiling adds to the hair a protection, whereas shaving removes hair and leaves no protection. St. Paul did not know about Alopecia universalis, which is an auto-immune disease causing total loss of hair. In that case, a veil is also appropriate, because hair is a stand-in for femininity, in case that weren’t obvious.

    The really interesting question is whether or not head veiling is a reference to Original Sin. Before the fall, man and woman were equal before each other. After the Fall, God said (Gen 3: 16):

    “To the woman he said, ‘I will greatly multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children, yet your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.'”

    Thus, in 1 Cor 11:13, St. Paul will echo this:

    “But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a woman is her husband, and the head of Christ is God.”

    I’m just saying that if Adam had tempted Eve, it might have been the men who might be having this conversation (probably about beards). You know, I always thought that a beard is a consolation given to man because he loses his hair (and his head) more easily than women.

    The Chicken

  49. yatzer says:

    I don’t wear a veil anymore, since I got out of the habit when they got tossed and I wasn’t going to church anyway. If I attempted to resume a hat/veil now it wouldn’t work because I no longer own any indoor hats and would forget the veil just like I do my missal. I do admire the lovely mantillas and hats quite a few women wear to our TLM, and wistfully think how handy adopting that custom would be on bad hair days.

  50. The Masked Chicken says:

    Poor David Mills. He, also, repeated this comment on First Things in a, “While We’re at It,” post, only he added:

    “On Fr. John Zuhlsdorf’s popular weblog, someone who calls himself “the Masked Chicken” (he must have a reason for the name, but it’s hard to imagine what it could be) chided the critics.”

    It’s hard to imagine why I would be the Masked Chicken? Has he seen me, lately? I thought the mask and beak kind of gave it away.

    Seriously, there is a story behind the name. I told it once, with teary eye, on Mark Shea’s blog, but, alas, while they claim that nothing is ever lost on the Internet, I think that everything is at the mercy of the All-Knowing-All-Seeing Google.

    David Mills does not, apparently, have a public e-mail account and registering on a blog just to explain a name is kind of a long way to get to Kansas. Perhaps, he will read this blog, again (although I think he came here for reactions to Pope Francis’s election) and we can talk.

    Oh, well, it’s hardly worth the time. There are more important things in the universe – like where the heck can I find a watch band? Target stopped selling them. Stopid kids and your sell fones. You’ll rue the day when you left those wrist watch thingies behind.

    And, and…veils are cool. They are so like having a secret identity and being a superhero. Perfect name – The Scarlet Veil.

    The Chicken

  51. JamesM says:


    I commented in the spirit of the post from dear Father.

    You may have missed the smiley face at the bottom of my comment.

  52. Imrahil says:

    Dear Chicken,

    I think St. Paul is rather clear that the reason for the veil is not that the woman back then was the temptress, but that even before, when the world was still perfect, woman was created to be a helpmate of man and not vice versa. A helpmate on equal footing, from the rib not the foot, no servant – to be sure – but still a helpmate in this direction and not in the other (“not man was created for woman, but woman for man”).

    Now where this is described is Genesis 2, before ever the Fall occurs.

  53. Dick Verbo says:

    To Peter in Canberra:

    It is true that in the 1960’s the term “chapel veil” referred only to the innovative little round doily-type of veil carried in one’s purse for impromptu visits to churches. My memories of the 1940’s and 1950’s were of women in hats and scarves at Mass in the US, Canada, and Germany. One saw mantillas in Latin countries. However, my mother (born 1918) did possess a mantilla. My memory of her wearing it is vague. It may have been for visiting churches when traveling. Or maybe she bought it for a Papal audience. Anyway, it was not standard wear for Sunday Mass.

    At my current EF parish women are bare-headed or wear hats, mantillas, or scarves. No one cares what others are wearing, a far as I can tell.

  54. SaintJude6 says:

    The solution is to have a “Mass bag.” They seem to be pretty common among families who attend the TLM. A small tote bag for missals, veils, bobby pins, children’s missals, etc… It becomes a habit to grab the bag whenever you are headed to Mass. And I now keep a few very inexpensive veils in the console of my car.

  55. chantgirl says:

    In my amateur, anecdotal opinion, you will always have crazies at Mass. The EF, with its highly organized structure, tends to attract more of the OCD types. The OF, and especially the Charismatic Masses, tend to attract those who are addicted to self-help books/groups and are more emotionally needy. It’s just the nature of the beast, and I wouldn’t let any of the crazies keep you away from Mass or the Church Herself. Heck, sometimes it seems that the lunatics are running the asylum over in the Vatican (or the chanceries, or the USCCB), but Christ still expects us to be faithful.

  56. Suburbanbanshee says:

    yatzer: One can always keep stuff in the glove compartment, jacket, hall closet, etc. for bad hair days and/or church….

    Re: Hair, I just ran across an amusing passage in Book 2 of Apuleius’ Metamorphoses, aka The Golden Ass. Apuleius gives his theory about the attractiveness of women’s hair, basically in romance novel terms, and then proceeds to start coming onto the attractive slavegirl Photis (who is at home and in the kitchen, and therefore doesn’t have her hair covered).

    Actually, I wonder if wearing something on the head would have been a promotion for slave women in the Church. I don’t recall that Roman/Greek slaves usually wore their hair covered, except in storm conditions. Then it really would have been a diadem on the head, a symbol of power.

  57. Chon says:

    I can’t wear a chapel veil. It would smash my flourescent mohawk.

  58. Imrahil says:

    In the society St. Paul addressed, headwear was required for married women of good standing (don’t know about slaves). I don’t now about female slaves, but who wore no headcover were, among others, the prostitutes. (Now that is cultural. Note that I don’t mind to see woman’s hair… nor am I immediately aroused to impure thoughts, which, of course, “this is a beautiful woman, I like her look” isn’t.)

    In fact, putting two and two together (I don’t think Msgr. Knox actually drew that conclusion),
    1. the general topic St. Paul was treating there was disorderly liturgy, with enthousiasts not observing the order, (that is clear from the context),
    2. a man that has found his spiritual paradise will always search immediately for an Eve to share it with (as a certain Noyes said, quoted by Msgr. Knox, Enthousiasm, p.570f. – thanks to the dear Chicken for recommending the book),

    St. Paul may have been taking caution against some specific danger of another sort.

  59. Chon says:

    Pope Paul IV approved, confirmed, and ordered the publication of Inter Insigniores.
    Here’s a quote from section 4, paragraph 3:
    “…it must be noted that these ordinances, probably inspired by the customs of the period, concern scarcely more than disciplinary practices of minor importance, such as the obligation imposed upon women to wear a veil on their head (1 Cor 11:2-16); such requirements no longer have a normative value.”
    The whole declaration about women is a worthwhile read.

  60. The Masked Chicken says:

    “The EF, with its highly organized structure, tends to attract more of the OCD types. The OF, and especially the Charismatic Masses, tend to attract those who are addicted to self-help books/groups and are more emotionally needy.”

    What happens if you are an emotionally needy OCD type?

    Oh, and there ain’t no such thing as a Charismatic Mass. Masses can be said Charismatically, but that isn’t the same thing.

    Still, it would be a master’s thesis in psychology to see if there is a correlation between personality types and Mass types (any Catholic research psychologists out there?).

    The Chicken

  61. Chon says:

    Chicken–that would be very interesting! But first one would have to solve the debate over what defines personality, or if there even are personality types. I was recently upbraided for casually describing myself in terms of introvert/extrovert…someone’s Catholic shrink said there are as many types of personality as there are people, because God made us all unique. Sheesh! Certainly there are broad categories one can go by. I am interested in your research topic myself, as the conclusion affects whether or not I move near a parish with a traditional Mass.

  62. benedetta says:

    To my ear, the explanations for veiling, while no disagreement as to the substance, are not really sufficient enough reason for me to veil in the here and now as a Catholic woman at Mass.

    Sometimes one hears that the custom continues with the EF just as it was when the Mass was changed. However by that logic, all the men ought to wear skinny ties to the EF and numerous other things for either sex besides. There is nothing magical, to me at least, about that particular year, decade or era, nor the one just before, of Western culture and fashion that leaves me feeling compelled to dress I am living in those days. If I did, I would at the very least consider adding a lovely pair of gloves and a proper handbag to the ensemble.

    And certainly St. Paul always comes up, however I find those texts of St. Paul to be a shorthand, in a sense, for whole areas of contemplation and thought that are lost on we hearers of the day such that the shorthand no longer is sensible. It is not that the shorthand doesn’t objectively make sense, or is only wedded to the early 1960s, far from it. It is more like we have lost or forgotten the rich vocabulary, nuances and contours which allow the words to spring to life as St Paul undoubtedly was trying to connect us to.

    I think too the current time bound short hand one hears on this topic similarly limiting to us and inaccessible, but not because we are not attuned to the vast beauty that has informed these, but rather for the other reason, namely that the ideas themselves are limited, even irrational, and not capable of taking root in the human experience because of their crudeness. For example, if I elect not to wear a veil to worship, then, I am somehow to be commended for crusading against bad patriarchy. Yet, this act of opting to not cover my head of hair for worship in and of itself does nothing for the cause of matriarchy. And if we are even to stay with this logic, then, we are not fully female or supportive of female lives unless we also sign on the dotted line to forever uphold the emanation from a penumbra in all its forms and manifestations that children growing prior to their birth are all arbitrarily up for execution, just for being in that state, unless and until a woman chooses to accept the reality of their otherness. The curious thing here of course that a woman who is into that as far as her belief system cannot possibly be in favor of matriarchy or any other humanist or human -archy as the loss of that almost forgettable developing life necessarily means that the generations that would have sprung from it are also wiped out. So, in the case of eliminating someone for their perceived difference, i.e., femaleness, one also is opting or choosing to eliminate one’s own grandchildren and great grandchildren, for all time. Just imagine your account on genealogy dot com so tragically truncated. So really in that EF worshippers are united in the beauty of the Church’s gospel of life much more than the vast majority of Catholic sites, one could easily argue that the women who veil are the ones who are the ones who are truly affirming the dignity and role of a matriarch, and her value to all and not just a finite set of interests, and not the ones proudly going about with their hair uncovered. Again I am sure there will be titters from some quarters but sometimes that cannot be helped.

    Not really satisfied with the various reasons for veiling, my own experience is closer to a situation described by St. Ephrem whereby false teachers are ” ‘deceitful suitors, trusty when sent out but now changed into tricksters’, promoting themselves instead of Christ. They tried to imitate the beauty of the Bridegroom in order to snare the bride…” In veiling or covering my hair, I affirm that I am in my heart and with my whole being assenting to and am matched and joined to none other than Christ, and I am thus able to worship Him with a vessel that is clean, from the inside out, in addition to polished outside for the day. The submission is an assent to be united to Him and not any other who would be pleased to teach me falsehood without real love for their own gain. (quotation from: Explorations in Theology, Hans Urs von Balthasar) Just as our actions as members of Holy Mother Church have meaning outside of worship, when we bring ourselves to worship, we are not thereby somehow less than ourselves requiring a prideful false modesty or casual attitude or even an intellectual duplicity.

  63. chantgirl says:

    Chicken- I would agree that there is no such thing as a charismatic Mass. Much of what I have seen go on in a “charismatic” Mass could probably be deemed liturgical abuse, and possibly, spiritually dangerous. My above statement comes from my personal journey from going to “charismatic Masses” as a teen (where many of the kids and adults were always searching for the next spiritual high, or the next emotional breakthrough session at a retreat) to the EF as a young adult ( where you will admittedly find some OCD types that can be a little difficult). An emotionally needy OCD type is beyond my amateur expertise ;)

  64. benedetta says:

    chantgirl and Chicken, you two are giving ocd sufferers a bad name! Truly folks who suffer with that (and it is not always manifested in scrupulosity), at least whom I have met, EF or not, are often times very wise, and actually more empathic and charitable towards others than the average unafflicted and supposedly fully “sane” church-goer. If someone has ocd, it’s not going to dictate which Rite they prefer, I’ll tell you that. I suppose one can say of the ocd afflicted, that they have an “excuse”, yes, a hall pass? Which sort of then puts the onus on the rest of us, one would think. At least in theory. What do you call the people at the charismatic Mass and/or the EF or, heck let’s not forget our friends at the womyn’s celebration or the dissentingly discriminating with all the special things and perequisites…who act that way yet do not actually have ocd? Wait don’t tell me…

  65. Mariana2 says:

    What about us emotionally needy OCD and ISFP types who veil and would like to attend only EF Masses but have to stick it out at OF because that’s the only kind on offer? : )

    Veiling, my favourite subject! Brings out the best in many of my favourite commentators here.

  66. chantgirl says:

    Benedetta- No worries- with my ADD I include myself on the crazy spectrum as well.

    Chicken- Apparently we also need a study on the libido of those who attend the OF vs. the EF. Judging by their gaggles of children, those EF types are clearly raging sex addicts ;)

    Mariana2- It is quite possible that a lack of access to the EF could be causing you mental distress. I wonder if there are more cases of liturgically-induced depression in dioceses without adequate access to the EF?

    If Fr. Z really wants to get the party started, he could start a modesty thread.

  67. SummerMarigold says:

    I really dislike veiling discussions. [And yet… here you are.] I was, once upon a time, Muslim and the discussions of hijab styles and requirements were enough to make any mind go numb. The conversations are nearly identical (although without Fr. Z’s or the masked chicken’s humor)

    I attended an EF baptism recently and showed myself to be an outsider by wearing my mantilla in the narthex and baptistery. We went through the whole baptism bare headed and then had a big pass out the veils and dressing party in the narthex before we could walk through the door into the church. The moment we passed out of the nave everyone stripped their veils off. Bareheaded in the sanctuary – forbidden. Bareheaded in the baptistery – expected. All the men stood there milling about while the women put themselves together to go into the church and then brushed their hair when they came out of the church. All the public grooming and fussing made me very uncomfortable.

  68. benedetta says:

    My tactical advice to you given your predicament is that all of the women who desire that the EF be said in your part of the world gather ’round and wear your veils, “doilies”, scarves, babushka and whatnot, beret, and your skirts, long skirts, and/or pantsuits, and crowd source that. This way, the powers that be will take note that you need a place where they can corral you away from the rest of the NO worshippers lest the infection spread…Mums the word…

  69. Jean Marie says:

    A few years ago I decided to wear a Chapel Veil to a NO Mass and it was interesting the reaction I got. When I put the veil on, the Priest saying the Mass repeatedly looked over at me. The feeling I got was not hostility but, “isn’t that interesting?” I think the men who sat around me were silently respectful, but there was one old bird who GLARED at me and I could feel her thinking, “we don’t do that anymore!” When it was time to say the Our Father, she deliberately grabbed my hand and made it clear that, “this is how it is now!” I only wore it a few more times at this church because it became a distraction for me. I only wear it now if I’m in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament with my Lay Carmelite Community or when I occasionally attend a Traditional Latin Mass.

  70. The Cobbler says:

    Isn’t it obvious that the chicken is masked because he’s a superhero? Well, at any rate, as much of a superhero as the hulk. As we civilians can see here, any exposure to discussion of psychology triggers his preternatural transformation into one of our planet’s most rigorous scientists…

    By the by, Chicken, has anyone pointed you to the Digital Brain Library?

  71. priests wife says:

    ….I’m glad I finished my tea before I read this post….

  72. benedetta says:

    Jean Marie,
    It is from anecdotes such as yours that we finally know with certainty how people were brought into line to fully “embrace” the sort of Mass celebration, and numerous other things besides, that we have inherited and now labor under. What we got was not conveyed via kindness, beauty, joy, love, long suffering, patience…tolerance…welcome…friendliness…friendship…solidarity…Or indeed even, rational and respectful discussion and dialogue, appreciation for differences…

    Yes, there certainly is crazy enough for all.

  73. The Cobbler says:

    andia, for what it’s worth, men at TLMs also tend to have a romanticized view of old fashioned values, chivalry et cetera… It should, in theory, be possible to find a buff young fellow who’s as inclined to beat up (or at least shame half to death) guys who harass women because pants make said guys lustful (really, who goes around telling women that he’s lusting after them? I mean, how crazy would he have to be?), and then sit back and watch the fireworks (especially if the young fellow is at the TLM because he reads too much and can easily make anyone who accuses him of heresy look stupid). In practice I suppose it depends on the TLM community in question.

    Anyway, I’m young enough to remember being a lustful teenage boy, and whenever I hear pants referred to in the context of modesty, as though clothing that showed that women even have legs were immodest no matter whether it was revealing in any other manner, I’m never sure whether the people in question are insane or if they’re anti-Catholics masquerading as bad Catholics to make us look bad. I’ve tried to think of other explanations and failed.

    I can’t speak to veils one way or the other; hair and veils are both pretty, but neither has ever struck me, even as a teenage boy, as flagrantly sexy, so I can’t help but think that’s simply not the point of them…

  74. Bea says:

    @Priests wife
    I’m glad you clarified that. I thought you were a nursing mother and a long veil does come in handy then.

  75. benedetta says:

    “But Father, what’s wrong with women drinking grappa?! You hate Vatican II!” [It’s my fate to be misunderstood.]

  76. SanSan says:

    ok stop already!!!! hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah

  77. CAR says:

    LOL Father on this post. Instead of my veil, perhaps I could make a babushka, Fishwrap style. Nah…I’ll stick with my veil. Still laughing.

  78. Mac_in_Alberta says:

    I just want to say that one reason to read Fr. Z’s blog is the level of civility in the com box. Even on a highly contentious, fraught issue as this, there aren’t even any veiled insults being tossed around. [Thanks. I have to use a rather stern moderation process, but I just can’t let this place devolve into the sort of fever swamp of hatred and pettiness that you see at NCR and other places.]

  79. andia says:


    Sadly no- I recently tried to go to a TLM, I did not get too far in the front door when I was approached ( the polite way of putting it) by two men in cassocks and told to leave because I was neither veiled nor in a dress. The priest backed them up. While I had seen the discussions on whether or not to veil, I did not know they were a requirement for Mass attendance. Nor did I know I had to be in a skirt.
    I am considering a vocation to religious life, I have no issue with a veil as submission to God. A veil as submission to man, is another matter entirely.
    The only other Latin Mass that I can find in my Diocese is SSPX and about an hour away

  80. Elizabeth D says:

    Andia, there are some places that have an appropriate dress sign posted and occasionally such a place will turn people away if they are not dressed to a basic standard of modesty (clothed to below the knee and not in skin tight leggings, shoulders covered, no low cut top). But if you were wearing basically modest clothes even though it may be trousers, and no veil, there is no reasonable justification for turning you away from Mass, and in that case I think you should take this up with the pastor (not necessarily the priest saying Mass, but the pastor of the parish) and if he does not resolve the situation then let the bishop know what happened.

  81. jflare says:

    “…Nor did I know I had to be in a skirt.”

    Sadly, I’ve had an experience not so very different from this. During my third year of college, though my first at that particular school, I had decided to join one of the choirs at the Newman Center. Because the day had been quite warm, it so happened that I was wearing shorts at the time. Nice shorts, solid color, well maintained, I looked decent enough. After going through a 30 minute rehearsal, I had gone with the rest of the choir for Mass, only to have the celebrant tell me I wasn’t welcome because.. I was wearing shorts, not pants.
    I had various people at that Newman Center as I recall. We never did precisely get on well. Ultimately, they had decent reasons for the rules they enforced, but they did a very poor job of preparing people for meeting those rules.
    They did not do very well at mentoring people.

  82. q7swallows says:

    GypsyMom & yatzer:
    I can sympathize! I grew up in the same era. I too was reluctant to go back to the wearin’ o’ the veil at first but moreso for self-conscious reasons (and some pride). But I realized I was too focused on myself and not enough on Our Lord. I also discovered that the Church of Nice is also quite spineless when it comes to standing up when it counts for the King of Kings and His brutalized subjects.

    So I decided to try to honor Him by heeding St. Paul and made covering my head my own personal prayer. I started out by wearing the more socially palatable hats but changed to the veil when little children behind me couldn’t see the altar because of my hat.

    FWIW, you might find it helpful in times of persecution–real and imagined–to remember that anything in our religion that holds precious things is veiled. In the temple, the Holy of Holies was veiled. Our Lady is veiled. The Tabernacle that holds Our Lord’s Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity is veiled. The chalice is veiled. By virtue of your womanhood — the capacity of holding the newly created image and likeness of God — you too are deserving to be veiled in the Presence of your Maker.

    Also consider: a woman veiling her own crowning glory (in whatever shape it might be this day or that day!) is taking refuge in humility and anonymity. She takes the spotlight of human attention off herself in a subtle way and invites the beauty of God on the altar to shine out and to be the focus of everyone else’s attention. It’s just another nonverbal way of expressing with St. John that “He must increase but I must decrease.”

  83. Imrahil says:

    Dear Cobbler, very true, only while you may find men willing to beat up such guys (or at least to try to), they tend to be more reluctant w.r.t. elderly ladies – from whom suchlike rebukes usually seem to come, at any rate in my impression.

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  85. Martlet says:

    Never, ever drink grappa? I suppose that means I have to pour that entire bottle of Gianduiotto down the sink, after carrying it carefully all the way back from Turin the other week. :-( [Hardly. The menfolk can enjoy it.]

  86. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Andia – I’m happy to say I’ve never run into such a situation… but if I ever do, I’m going to ask them if they’re going to give me some clothes, since I’m obviously naked. Also, if they are hungry for souls or for a fashion show. (And if they’d really been concerned about fashion but cared about your soul, they would have just sent you upstairs to the choir loft, haven of all the underdressed and those who need to hide. Choirmembers are cool with it.)

    There is such a thing as a dress code, yes, but there’s also such a thing as being understanding about the fact that Catholics drop into Mass in emergencies, and that your parish should want new members to show up! If people are going to have a dress code about head coverings, you need to provide some. (As plenty of EF parishes do, just for kindness and as a hint to newbies. Little scarves are cheap, and washable loaner chapel veils are also a thing.) If you’re worried about knees or shoulders enough to bar folks from attendance, you should add some wraparound cloaks or blankies to your parish budget. And if you demand dresses, you darned well better shell out for some neutral colored pull-on skirts.

    I have no patience with people who make rules without planning for consequences.

  87. benedetta says:

    I know how that can be, Father. If it isn’t fate that destines us some to being misunderstood it’s the other thing.

    To be candid though, I think you are on to something significant. Take me. Grappa doesn’t interest me in the slightest, and, I am a woman. Some may call it coincidence if they prefer.

    Naturally I prefer a good vin santo after a festive repast.

  88. The Masked Chicken says:

    Dear Cobbler,

    You wrote:

    “By the by, Chicken, has anyone pointed you to the Digital Brain Library?”

    I was aware of the one at the University of Washington, but not the one at UC San Diego. Thanks, but now you’ve made me even more nervous. I’m supposed to be reading a paper, soon, on a panel about neuroscience and humor and the session chair is a neuroscientist from UCSD. Deep breaths, Chicken.

    Dear Andia,

    You wrote:

    “Sadly no- I recently tried to go to a TLM, I did not get too far in the front door when I was approached ( the polite way of putting it) by two men in cassocks and told to leave because I was neither veiled nor in a dress. The priest backed them up. While I had seen the discussions on whether or not to veil, I did not know they were a requirement for Mass attendance. Nor did I know I had to be in a skirt.”

    Apparently, it was a veiled threat. Maybe the pants didn’t suit them. They could have been Cassock Cossacks. They refused to skirt the issue by issuing skirts. Who knew that TLM stood for Terrorists in Lace Mantillas? Shouldn’t that be a Womyntilla? You could have asked where their britches were – after all, if they were good enough for St. Francis…

    Of course, the best response would have been to start singing Canon 6 to the tune of Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better (from the Broadway musical, Annie, Get Your Veil (okay, Gun)…).

    You do not need to veil for the TLM – if the pastor has a problem, tell him to take it up with Cardinal Burke, who wrote:

    “Dear ________,

    Thank you for your letter postmarked January 5, 2009, regarding the custom of the chapel veil. I offer you my sincere apologies for failing to respond to your letter, in a timely manner. I had placed your letter with some other papers. and have only recently discovered that I never responded to it.

    The wearing of a chapel veil for women is not required when women assist at the Holy Mass according to the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite. It is, however, the expectation that women who assist at the Mass according to the Extraordinary Form cover their heads, as was the practice at the time that the 1962 Missale Romanum was in force. It is not, however, a sin to participate in the Holy Mass according to the Extraordinary Form without a veil.

    I wish you an abundant share in the strong graces of the Lenten Season.

    Thank you for the assurance of your prayers for me. As a Cardinal of the Holy Roman Church, I have need of your prayers, now more than ever.

    Invoking God’s blessing upon you, while confiding your intentions to the intercession of Our Lady of Guadalupe, I remain

    Yours devotedly in Christ,

    Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke
    Archbishop Emeritus of Saint Louis
    Prefect, Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura”

    The dress thing, likewise, is not a universal norm, especially in countries with iguanas, which have been known to attack people and like to grab onto long things, like legs.

    Now, when I go to Mass, I don’t have these problems, because there are no rules governing the dress of birds.

    Lastly, Cobbler, you wrote:

    “Isn’t it obvious that the chicken is masked because he’s a superhero? Well, at any rate, as much of a superhero as the hulk.”

    I could be the Amazing Annoying Man or the Belle of the Brawl or the Galliform Gladiator, depending upon whether I am male, female, or fowl. Oh, and gamma radiation is NOT GREEN! It is, technically, a very, very, dark blue.

    The Chicken

  89. Elizabeth D says:

    jflare, I would agree that anyone serving in some particular ministry at Mass, be it EMHC, lector, usher, or choir member, should be required to a basic standard of dress that respects your own dignity and the dignity of the Holy Mass. You may not have realized that you made others uncomfortable and a great many people consider shorts honestly not appropriate at Mass, and short shorts really inappropriate (something not to wear outside one’s own house or backyard, or perhaps as beachwear). That doesn’t mean people should be ejected from church for dressing inappropriately, but I definitely support asking people serving in some ministry at Mass to dress in a way that is respectful and appropriate for Mass or else not serve in that ministry. However, the parish needs to have the dress code posted somewhere, at least in the sacristy and music room. Then other parishioners, even if not directly given some requirement of how to dress, are given a good example.

  90. VexillaRegis says:

    Dear Chicken said: “Now, when I go to Mass, I don’t have these problems, because there are no rules governing the dress of birds.” But aren’t we discussing exactly that – what BIRDS should be wearing?

  91. The Masked Chicken says:

    Dear VexiilsRegis,

    You wrote:

    “But aren’t we discussing exactly that – what BIRDS should be wearing?”

    I don’t get it. Waaah, Waaaah. I want to get it, but its meaning is veiled to me.

    The Chicken

  92. Martlet says:

    I’ve tried, Father, I really have, but the menfolk keep opting for something less sweet, so I either get a dispensation to drink just the one bottle or down the drain it goes. :-)

  93. Chon says:

    Oops, my post, above, should have read, “Pope Paul VI…”

  94. jflare says:

    I think you make an interesting point.
    ..Actually, one I hadn’t considered.
    Is it truly possible that people at a student parish on a major (secular) university would be terribly uncomfortable with a young man wearing shorts to Mass? Or was it merely a particular, older, priest who was fussy about such things? Given what I have learned of people since then, I suspect it was a mix of both. Hmmm. As discomfitting as I find the former thought to be, it does fit with the circumstances fairly well. ..Which, to my thinking, creates lots of troubling questions!

    As I recall, I began to learn then about the differences in perspective between the bishops in this state. I began to learn that the bishop I had grown up with was comparatively liberal, the bishop who ruled the diocese I lived in for my first two years of college was a moderate, and the bishop who ruled the diocese of that particular university was quite conservative. ..And apparently, the three of them were well known for..having a rather testy interaction!
    I went from attending all-school-Mass once each week in jeans and t-shirts to an expectation for all-school-Mass daily with pants, dresses, and a suit wouldn’t quite be out of place. All in the space of three years. Perhaps it’s a good thing I spent two years in the moderate diocese first; I don’t think I would’ve quite left the faith, but those three last years of college were quite a struggle with the difference.
    I think it’s probably a good thing that they’ve begun a fraternity and sorority at that particular Newman Center. ..And I gather they’ve built a new, beautiful, Gothic-like church for Mass. I hope they’ve learned to be a little less…demanding..especially with newer students.
    As I recall, the shock of the situation created almost as much difficulty as did anything else.

  95. Chon says:

    In re-reading the above comments, it strikes me that there are unnecessary misunderstandings due to the greatly varied experiences women have had at TLM Masses. People write from parishes scattered not only 3,000 miles across the U.S., but also from Canada, England, and places even further away from Z headquarters. Their experiences also range from TLM Masses celebrated by diocesan priests who also celebrate the NO in their parish, to FSSP, to SSPX, to ICK, to scattered hermitages, to other possible situations. And each parish, hermitage, monastery, etc., has a priest with his own unique style, education, and personality strengths and weaknesses. If a woman has had a good experience, or a bad one, it seems a disservice to the cause of love and truth to tell that woman she is wrong, just because her experience is drastically different from yours. I personally have been to TLM Masses where most people are open and loving, and to TLM Masses in other places where some people are just as obnoxious as a few brave contributors here have described. Good and bad experiences with this issue are both true. Each parish has its own culture. “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep” strikes me as a good Biblical attitude to have in future discussions about women’s head coverings.

  96. Chon says:

    In some places, women are called birds.

  97. Muv says:

    Chicken, I have always assumed you are a bloke. It has never entered my head that you might be a bird. Forgive me if I have been imagining you in the wrong plumage.
    Some of these comments are quite horrifying to read for one with fragile English sensibilities. There is only one answer to the question as to whether a lady should wear pants to church, therefore the question should not be asked in polite company.

  98. andia says:

    Elizabeth D, yes I have I know some places have signs indicating dress codes–I do not go to those places unless I am prepared to follow posted codes. This place has never had such a sign. I was dressed better than I would for a job interview, and covered from above my collar bone to my shoes. My blouse was longer and went to mid thighs and I had a light weight sweater jacket over that as it was Mid-February in the North East US. Nothing was see through or low cut.
    It was simply that I was not in a skirt and veil.

    jflare–you know, when I first started coming back to the Church, I was pretty relaxed about clothes- Always long pants, but sometimes I wore sweats ( I figured they were clean, in good repair and kept enough of me covered that they were ok) then I started reading some of the priests on twitter about how they wished folks ( both men and women) would dress for church–and their reasons for feeling so. Yes, if sweats are the absolute BEST you have -then wear them. But if they are not what you would wear to a job interview, do better. But none of them advocated turning folks away due to dress. I think that’s why I listened to them, and why their words touched me. They were willing to see that sometimes, the best one can do is sweats or shorts, but that even then we still need God—and they were willing to let us know that when we can do better ( physically, mentally, emotionally) we are expected to do so- and invited us to carefully consider what our best really was.
    Most of those priests are now included in my daily rosary of Thanksgiving.

  99. RafqasRoad says:

    For those struggling with veils/mantillas etc. that are wont to become an airfoil in the breeze or simply slipping inconveniently, a sewn in comb is a lifesaver. Manufacturers such as ‘Veils by Lily’ sew combs into their veils as an added extra. When said combs eventually give out, its easy to replace them with just a few stitches.

    Andia, the treatment you have received on attempting to visit a TLM community is completely unacceptable and frankly a disgrace (not to mention a clean sweep of boxes ticked that give TLMérs such a bad rep in wider Catholic society(. As others have mentioned, if said community wishes to encourage new members or greater interest in its activities, easy, diplomatic options for newbies caught shought need to be considered as a must, not an inconvenience. If anybody from the abovementioned TLM community happens to be reading, think about the amazing gift to God your liturgy is and imagine how positive implementation of reverence before our Blessed Lord could be engendered in

    a( the typical Catholic (male or female( who frequents a run of the mill NO, but now visiting your community could be welcomed (not everyone will pre-plan by reading a website or facebook entry that may contain guidelines for visitors)

    b) how same might work for the average joe or jane off the street who has not darkened the door of a church for eons if at all (remembering that increasing numbers are completely unchurched nowadays, let alone given an understanding of ‘appropriate’ dress codes one way or another) – one can never know the inclination that might lead someone to your church door and yes, stranger things have happened.

    c) if appropriate dress/modesty before our Blessed Lord is important to the regulars of this group, how can quick, diplomatic and easy solutions be kept on hand for those who inadvertently find themselves committing such a faux pa (a reader further up the comment list gave several excellent examples)


    d) at all times, be courteous, kind and never turn anybody away; as has been mentioned, the balcomy is a good place to slip up to; have done it myself on occasion.

    If the first-timer becomes a more frequent participant in the TLM community, you may well find that by observation and quiet consideration, persons slowly shift their comportment. and fellow parishioners, be you in shorts and T catching a glimpse of the beveiled or hatted lady three pews down, or vice versa, a kind, welcoming smile and hello, or even a genuine smile and nod if one is a little more introverted is worth its weight in gold. Direct teaching opportunities have to be taken very very carefully and after a level of trust has arisen between parties, utilizing all the diplomacy and gentleness of an ambassador. Adds for cost-effective, good gear might be placed in the parish newsletter or noticeboard also as often, folk just don’t know where to sttart when looking at finding a more modest bit of Sunday best, be it a fine skirt and blouse or slacks and blouse, or bolero to go with a cotton sundress that needs a little help.

    Do all for Christ, with all one’s being, and all will fall into place.

    As for dress codes for chickens, if they contain garlic, sage and butter, said chicken will be sizzling!! or, The Chicken”s goose will be cooked. (No chickens were harmed in the creation of these terrible jokes)

  100. Grumpy Beggar says:

    @ The Chicken:

    It’s still a brain whichever way you slice it.

    BTW I was trying this one out a little, saying it over to my self : “The Veiled Chicken. . . The Veiled Chicken. . . “, but it just doesn’t cut it . . . all the mirth goes out of it – Stick with your Ordinary Form user name – it’s a great fit. . . speaking of great fits, it appears SanSan had a rather enjoyable one about 16 posts ago.

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