ASK FATHER: I was told that you are either supposed to always veil or never veil

veilFrom a readerette…


I have developed a love for veiling at the TLM, I attend a daily NO Mass and veil there too. My mom dislikes and does not allow me to veil when I attend the NO Mass with her. I was told that you are either supposed to always veil or never veil (outside of the TLM). Can I veil part time or what should I do?

Not allow…?

First, I am glad that you are interested in covering your head while in church.  This is a fine tradition, Bible-based and with a long history even in the law of the Church.  That said, women no longer have an obligation under the Church’s canon law to cover their heads in church.  You may cover or not as you wish.

As you wish… unless, of course, you are of an age that places you still under the authority of your parents.  If you are young enough to be under their authority, then they can determine how you are to dress.

And yet, if you are going to daily Mass on your own, you may be out and on your own.  If that is the case, do as you please.  You have to decide how to keep the peace with your mother.

There is no requirement to cover your head always if you have done it once, to cover at the NO if you have done it at the TLM.  Does that even sound right?

Full time or part time, it’s up to you.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    This may or may not be helpful, but I think the mother should chill out. Whether or not the daughter is in an age that would place her under the parental authority, I am not sure this is a thing that a mother should try to force her daughter about (at least after a certain age). I use the veil but my daughter says she doesn’t want to, so I don’t fuss about it. When you are a mother of a daughter, there will be plenty of other things to disagree about, so you have to pick and choose the issue, else you will be fighting a lot.
    Then again, when you are the daughter, you would want to keep the peace with mother as the Father commented. But I may be interested in finding out why mother dislikes the veil in the first place: Does she really believe that “always or never” is the rule? Does she think that it is demeaning to women? Does she have negative memories associated with the veil? It may not be an easy conversation but I wish I had more talks with my mother about the things she didn’t like – that might have helped me to understand her better.

  2. KateD says:

    My daughter honors her father and I when she obeys the will of her Heavenly Father, regardless of whether or not I concur with His Holy Will.

    Should a child cease to persevere when their parents disagree?

    My daughter persevered in the face of my withering hellish attempts to deter her….she wasn’t rebellious….she wasn’t snotty….she quietly and respectfully and demurely persisted days and weeks on end. And then it occurred to me… listen…..As it turns out the Holy Spirit was working through her to bring our family deeper into our faith.

    Sometimes parents are led by their children.

    Veils are not fashion accessories.

  3. SanSan says:

    I love to veil at all Masses I attend……

  4. slainewe says:

    “You may cover or not as you wish.” “Full time or part time, it’s up to you.”

    I love you, Father Z., but this is pure male chauvinism.

    If, in a time of madness, men started wearing hats during Mass, and Canon Law was silent on the subject, and this went on for 40 years, and then a man asked you whether it was okay to uncover his head sometimes, would he receive this reply from you?


  5. Peter in Canberra says:

    Perhaps she could wear a hat? (as was the custom in many places rather than the mantilla, which seems to have taken on some ahistorical status).

  6. AndyMo says:

    “My daughter honors her father and I when she obeys the will of her Heavenly Father, ”

    As long as her father and mother are not asking her to sin, then she IS obeying the will of her Heavenly Father when she obeys them.

  7. Precentrix says:

    As a member of the Mantilla Mafia who finds herself in a very non-traditional parish, may I suggest that the tradition is to cover ones head. This may or may not involve pretty lace. It is winter, a fashion beret (as opposed to the military style) or felt hat of some sort will pass muster and be far less controversial.

    That said, there is something nice about having a veil that is specifically for church and prayer.

  8. Precentrix says:

    Edit: one’s

  9. HealingRose says:

    I also have a mother who does not always see eye to eye with me about Church issues, veiling included. My mother has a very negative view of the Church from her youth and sees it as very oppressive. I try to see it from her perspective. As a young child, I can understand why it seemed strict and fearful. She became a young adult in the late 60’s with the swing to love, acceptance, and post Vatican II. She completely embraces the modernization of the Church. When I take into account the context for her spiritual life, I begin to understand why I don’t see eye to eye with her spiritually.

    I often attend Mass with my mom. She does not agree with veiling, so I wear a scarf, bandana, or hat. When I attend with my children or alone, I wear a veil or scarf. I attend TLM alone or with some of my kids. With my daughters, I regularly offer them the option to veil, but do not require it unless at the TLM. The more I embrace humility through TLM and such, the more joy, mercy, and grace I feel in my life.

    When it comes to mothers and daughters: pray, try to keep the Commandments, and don’t sweat the small stuff (and go to Confession…often.)

  10. Anne C. says:

    HealingRose – your Mother and I must be about the same age, but I love the old Mass, and would be ecstatic if our Parish starting offering the EF on a regular basis!

    For others my age and older (those who remember pre-Vatican II Masses with fondness) – whatever happened to Chapel Veils? I think our family owned two “mantillas” (what are now called “veils”), but most of us, if not wearing a hat on Sundays, or an outdoor hat to daily school Masses, used a “chapel veil,” which is a round piece of lace that generally fits the top of one’s head, but does not go down the sides to cover the rest of the hair. We usually had to use a bobby pin to prevent it from falling off, and most girls, in Catholic schools at least, owned at least one. (I think I had one white and one black.)

    And, of course, if a girl arrived at a school-day Mass without proper head covering, a faithful nun would usually fly down the aisle with, if nothing else was available, a facial tissue for the girl to cover her head!

    Side Note: At the Catholic school I attended in 8th grade, the slang word for a chapel veil was a “lid!” (We had to have our rebellion – it was the Sixties!)

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