Sunday, June 25, 2017

To Veil or not to veil.......

When I first converted to Catholicism in 1997, I wore a chapel veil to mass because it was the right thing to do. This practice was slowly abandoned by me for several reasons: hardly anyone else wore one; it felt conspicuous; other women would tell me not to wear it because it was no longer practiced due to Vatican II and so, I let it slip away because it was easier to do so. Lately, I have been thinking that the abandonment of this ancient teaching and tradition by women is really wrong and a lie.
I just read this really great article written by Rebecca DeVendra about chapel veils and want to share it:
"In my experience, it is impossible to talk about the Catholic custom of women wearing chapel veils at Mass without encountering judgment. Progressives will insist that the practice is an outdated custom to be tossed aside. Reactionaries will declare that women who do not cover their heads in Mass are sinning and that canon 1262 is still in force. Both are wrong.
Here is what we all need to realize about the chapel veil: it is a form of devotion to God that is only open to a woman. This means that it is a strictly feminine form of prayer that excludes men. Men who cover their heads during Mass signify a rejection of Christ; it is to dishonor His spiritual head. Even a priest who wears his biretta will remove it when in prayer: he never wears it while kneeling or while standing at the altar reciting the prayers of the Mass. Women, however, may veil at all times when in the presence of the Lord because they have a sacred role that demands their dignity be acknowledged.
Catholic people who do not understand the custom of veiling and push against it usually do not realize their own inconsistencies. Would they say, for instance, that nuns ought not to wear habits? That a bride ought not to wear a veil on her wedding day? That a young girl receiving Communion for the first time ought not to be veiled? The veil or desired head covering in these instances is never a symbol of oppression. It would be ridiculous to apply most arguments against the chapel veil to these instances:

“Yuck, you’re wearing a veil on your wedding day? You look so silly. You do know you’re not a Muslim woman, right?”

“Why is that nun in a habit? Does she think she’s better than me?”

“Why are you wearing that thing on your head for your first communion? Is some man making you do that? You poor thing.”

Paul states in I Corinthians 11:10-12: “That is why a woman ought to have a veil on her head, because of the angels. Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man nor man of woman; for as woman was made from man, so man is now born of woman. And all things are from God.” (RSV)
I wear a veil regularly now at Mass. It took some time and prayer to feel at home in it. It helps to find a parish where half of the women wear head coverings (veils or scarves or hats, as all of these things are acceptable substitutes), and to know that people will not make it their personal mission to comment on your attire. I can assert comfortably now that there is great solace in the practice of veiling. It is conducive to prayer, and like all acts of loving devotion, freely chosen.

Modesty, chastity, dignity. This is what a chapel veil represents, and it belongs to a woman in respect to God, not only to man. It is a symbol of her authority and of her right to communicate with God in a specifically feminine form of devotion."

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