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.