The Veil

I find it quite interesting that next to scripture reflections and incorruptibles, my most read post is “To Mantilla or Not To Mantilla…That is the Question.”  Mantilla is the Spanish word for the lace veil that women used to wear to mass to cover their heads.  Many women (especially young women) are starting to don the veil again.  Why?

It does have a biblical basis.  You can read St. Paul’s words by clicking here.

Since I wrote that post over a year ago, I happened upon some more information about this traditional practice.  I picked up a booklet at Ave Maria Grotto in Cullman, Alabama.  The pamphlet  is put out by the Fatima Family Center in Hanceville, AL.

Question:  Has the Church changed its teaching on women covering their heads for mass?

“The nearest anyone could come to this claim is that it was not mentioned in the new Code of Canon Law published in 1983…the vast majority of women were told that Vatican II initiated the change. (Please read the documents to find it.  It’s not there!)”

Further:  “In 1973, a local Catholic paper reported that ladies could throw away their hankies. (The word hankie was used to mock the wearing of a veil as insignificant.)  The article was referring to a document from Rome stating that the veil was of minor importance.  They conveniently  failed to mention what prompted this remark.  It was in response to liberals petitioning Rome to allow the ordination of women…”  The Pope was saying that in comparison to the ordination of women, the veil of little importance.  It was taken out of context.

Some object to veiling because it is a sign of submission.  Some object because Muslim women veil, and do not want to be associated with this system of belief.  Some object because they think that women veiling now see themselves as “holier than thou.”   This has not been my experience of veiling women.  On the contrary, most seem very prayerful, kind, humble and respectful.

Can we not also see veiling as a sign of profound humility and respect for Christ truly present in the Blessed Sacrament?  I think that it speaks to a woman’s belief in the Real Presence – a powerful, outward sign.  Isn’t what God thinks of us more important than what others think of our actions?  I’m still praying about it.

I admit that I do not like to draw attention to myself.  I don’t want my family members and co-workers to think bad things of me like: “She thinks she is so holy,” (so NOT true) or “Mom’s a freak. How embarrassing!”  I also teach teenagers.  I’m already uncool because I’m “middle-aged.”  I’m afraid that I would then be so “uncool” that my teaching/message may be ineffective/fall on deaf ears.  Lots to consider!  Lord, help me (us) discern.

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About danardoyle

I am a Catholic, working wife and mother. I have three children ages 7, 14 and 21. I am extremely busy, as you can imagine. I aim each and every day to put God first in my life, to teach my children the Faith, to be a supportive spouse, keep the house in order, and do my job outside of the home well, too. That's an impossible task - without Divine intervention! Here, I hope to share my triumphs and struggles with other working moms in the same boat. I will share the tools I have discovered to making it all work - most days!
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8 Responses to The Veil

  1. We have a few members of our parish that still wear the veil. I don’t know how I feel about it. I mean I get the respect level. My question would be can I not have a respectful approach in jeans and a hoodie? Could jeans and a hoodie even enhance my respectfulness if that is the attire that lets me connect with God more? I’m not fidgeting with a tucked in shirt or distracted by a tie that is too tight. I can relax and focus on my worship. Now then. If the veil helps you do that, I say go for it.

  2. I have a beautiful black lace mantilla given to me by my mom when she was cleaning out her closets. I don’t have the guts to wear it to Mass although I’ve seen a couple of women wearing them. I would feel too self-conscious.

  3. catholic123 says:

    I first started wearing the chapel veil the Sunday after I attended the Eucharistic Congress in my diocese. God had given me sign after sign that He wanted me to do it. Also, whenever I would meditate on the Luminous mysteries the last meditation in the fifth decade said “The Mass will be fruitful in the measure of our surrender to the Father.” For some reason, this always made me think of Him wanting me to wear the veil. The first mass I wore the black lace mantilla, my mom and I wore them together. I felt such joy and peace, and I felt God was just showering me with HIs love and telling me “Thank you” because He knew how much of a sacrifice it was for us both. We are both the type that hate attention. We both always wear black, sit in the back, are very quiet and just tend to fade in the background hoping to go unnoticed so wearing the mantilla was daunting to even think about but well worth it. Yes, people may stare at first but they will get used to it and so will you, and if you look back at them, they will usually just smile and look away. There is no way for you to figure out what everyone’s thinking and it is fruitless and distracting to focus on them. Reading this Catholic post from The Catholic Knight also helped me as well in my final decision. http://catholicknight.blogspot.com/2009/01/are-you-shy-about-wearing-chapel-veil.html. Plus, just look how amazing our Blessed Mother looks with her head veiled. She already set the example for us :)

    • danardoyle says:

      Thank you so much for your response. I will read the article at the Catholic Knight, and continue to pray about it. I think it is a beautiful practice. I wish that it had never stopped.

  4. wanda H says:

    I get a kick out of the picture of the young ladies wearing a mantilla with their jeans and sweatshirt. This is kinda my style. Id wear the jeans maybe a nice oxford buttondown shirt (like lands end) and look casually modest and then wear a long veil that goes to my waist. I think it would look very cool.

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