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Sunday, September 7, 2008

Show of Hands please many of you... particularly women, remember when women and girls were more or less socially forced to wear a freaking Kleenex on their heads to enter a church if they didn't have a hat or a veil?

I noticed some of the younger women doing blogs seem to get a charge out of veils. Listen, if it floats your boat, do it, especially since you don't *have* to.

But for me, there is an inner core which strongly says: "Not only NO, but HELL NO."

I wonder if there is a divide on this subject between women who are old enough to remember having to put a freakin' paper nose rag on their head with a bobby pin in preference to going bare headed. My guess is women under a certain age have no such cultural baggage against veils in church, while older women tend to resent memories of that.

One friend of mine who is about 12 years older than me told me that she had a small head and always looked bad in a hat. The subject came up in her convent school and the nun (well pre-Vatican II) told her "there is no canon law that says you have to wear a hat." Next Sunday she went in without one ... an usher actually chased her up the aisle with a Kleenex and she told him, in a nice way, to go chase himself. She said after that OTHER women also decided they didn't particularly like it either, and also stopped wearing hats/veils.

Frankly, I've always had to force myself to read Paul. Not the saint I want to meet first. Or particularly 2 millionth and 1st. I bet I talk to the guy whom Paul made chop off his foreskin before I talk to Paul. "So...was he as big a jerk as he makes himself sound?" Just because someone's a saint doesn't mean I have to like him or her!

Just saying.

[BTW, you guys can feel free to kibbitz too. But I warn you, it may be stepping into a "Honey, does this X make my butt look big" kind of thing.... wise men may fear to tread.]


The Digital Hairshirt said...

If I went to a TLM Mass, sure, I would go in with my head covered because that is the tradition for that particular liturgy. When in Rome and all that rot.

But I go to NO Mass in part because that is where I feel comfortable AND - above all - where I can remain focused on the Eucharist.

Yes, I remember the days of Kleenex and bobby pins. And I have a childhood memory of seeing a bar head in front of me one Mass and thinking, well, the roof isn't caving in.

In short, I would only wear a hat to channel the spirit of my eccentric old Aunt Edie . . .

X said...

Gee....could a post I did recently have set off this fire storm ?!!! LOL!

And thank you for saying I am TOO young to remember the hat wearing days. I suppose that's why I got such a charge out of my veil. However, I do not and will not wear it to my local regular NO Mass. Ever.

I should also note that when I did go to the TLM I had emailed the priest first to ask if I HAD to wear a veil and/or skirt and he said no, but they do encourage it.

gemoftheocean said...

Yeah, but WHY is it the "tradition?"
Just because "Paul said so." BTW, I went to one this summer, that Father Sean had when he was here, and the roof didn't cave in either. There were a small handful of us, as it was a weekday Mass. If I recall correctly another woman or two present either out of our handful also didn't "indulge."

But you have given me pause for thought. Just to see your Aunt I might cross my fingers and wear one too. But it's coming off right after she appears.

At this point in my life were someone to insist I wore a hat in church, I'd wear a baseball cap for spite! So help me if I'd been there when Paul fell off the horse, he'd still be sitting on the ground before I'd have helped him up! By contrast, I have the feeling Jerome and I would have gotten on fine together. I'm down with the crabby saints, but not with the ones who took it out on the women because their older sister probably regularly bested them in a footrace. [I hope she told him he was adopted too!]

gemoftheocean said...

Angela, it wasn't so much you, although I had noticed the post. I also noticed Jackie (bless ya honey) has gone off her long skirt kick... having not fallen for the "we women are so much more womanly" thing. It's okay for nuns, it being a uniform and all, ...but what about us "regular peeps." Nah, what set me off was one of dear little "Z"s comentators...who ripped off a list of what s/he didn't like about the NO and the "no veils" thing made him/her ill...among other things.

I'd been holding this observation back for a while but finally had "had it."

But I AM curious about the age of the people embracing the veil. Is it just us older ones who remember having to slap on a damn kleenex if we forgot that stupid ugly school beanie? I was REALLY infuriated when I was old enough to read what Paul said about it - how men were the image of God, and we were just relative peons who should be ashamed. I thought then and think now "well, the HELL with that, you lame *******." If I ever DO get around to meeting him I think I'd say something like "what was your problem, dude?" [I hope an older sister DID beat the tar out of him on a regular basis, just on that score alone!]

Some years back I was amused to find that one of William F. Buckley's sister took exception to him too. A chapter in Aloise Buckley Heath's book "Will Mrs. Major Go To Hell" nicely captured her feelings on the subject.

Very funny.

Jay said...

Wow. I'm kind of new to reading your blog, I think I found you a while ago, then lost the link. So, I'm still trying to get your humour, so I'm not sure if all this pent up feeling against St Paul is real or just 'your way' :-)

Anyhow, veiling (and because you asked...)

It was written into the 1917 Code of Canon Law, Canon 1262, that women must cover their heads -- "especially when they approach the holy table" When the 1983 Code of Canon Law was produced, veiling was simply not mentioned (not abrogated, mind you, but simply not mentioned). However, Canons 20-21 of the 1983 Code of Canon Law make clear that later Canon Law abrogates earlier Canon Law only when this is made explicit and that, in cases of doubt, the revocation of earlier law is not to be presumed.

As it goes, I have always considered veiling to be in honour of the beauty of women. The veil hides the glory of woman, so the focus in Church is the Glory of Christ.

Mark said...

I always feel that one of the less attractive aspects of the pre-Vat2 Church was its tendency to take non-doctrinal things that people such as Paul wrote for a specific congregation in a specific part of the world at a specific point in time, and then to turn them into a kind of eternal law which had to be obeyed in a civilization which Paul couldn't possibly have envisaged, and for which (if he had envisaged it) he might well have offered completely different advice.

And maybe a second not-so-attractive aspect of the pre-Vat2 Church was to take pious customs which were useful for many but not for all and to turn them into "laws" which had to be universally obeyed.

The SSPX are dreadful in this regard - they hover over bare-headed women entering church and thrust mantillas into their hands, they preach endless sermons about "modesty in dress", and in some cases they even deny admission to Mass to women wearing jeans or trousers (I guess Americans would say "pants").

I sometimes think that, whereas the post-Vat2 Church had a tragic tendency to throw the baby out with the bathwater, some (by no means all) traditionalist groups have a tendency to want to bring back the bathwater along with the baby.

I hasten to add I'm not referring to people who freely choose to wear headscarves or mantillas as a matter of personal preference and devotion; rather, I'm referring to those hardline traditionalist groups who want to force the old pre-Vat2 dress-codes on people indiscriminately.

ArchAngel's Advocate said...

I can barely remember the veil requirement, and as kids making fun of the more ostentatious ones (growing up in New Mexico some of the mantillas were quite gaudy!). We also made fun of those who used the gum wrapper as their emergency veil.
As for dear ol' Paul, I suspect he was addressing a particular problem in Corinth (maybe a woman wearing a Marie Antoinette beehive so that the shorty in the back row couldn't see what was going on (although I've heard at least 1 Scripture scholar suggest the veil thing was a gloss inserted by a much later misogynist as the Greek in this passage is better than Paul's.) I think he'd be embarrassed that the Church applied his injunction universally.

Stephen said...

"Does ANYONE... still... wear a hat?"

Mark said...

As regards Paul addressing a particular problem in Corinth, yes, that's right.

There was a phenomenon at the time in Graeco-Roman society known as "new women", who went around dressing provocatively and behaving in an openly adulterous way.

Paul is probably addressing men rather than women, and telling them to let women dress smartly and stylishly in church rather than wanting them to wear "new woman" bling.

In modern terms, he's saying to the guys: "women should go to Mass in smart contemporary dress, and shouldn't be pressurized into turning up looking like a member of the Pussycat Dolls".

Adrienne said...

Since I am the oldest here (so far) at 62 I remember well the kleenex and grew up wearing a veil. However, it rarely happened (kleenex) because we kept our veils with us.

I didn't resent wearing a veil but I would probably not wear one to a NO Mass. I do think women should feel free to wear one if they wanted to without feeling like some sort of weirdo.

Given a better climate for traditional things - I would probably wear a veil.

On the other hand, Mark is spot on with his description of SSPX. Having spent 6 or so quality years with them I can attest to the truth of what he is saying.

I would like to see folks a bit more dressed up for Mass. It would be a powerful lesson for the children. Church should be set apart from regular activities and dressing up the kids would go a long way toward accomplishing that.

The people that complain about dressing up would never go to a fancy restaurant dressed as they are at church. Pants on ladies are ok on ladies as long as they are a bit more dressy and modest. And grown men slouched in a pew wearing a slogan T-shirt is just repellent.

Adrienne said...

The word "quality" in the previous post should have had quotes. The time with SSPX wan NOT quality. It more like being dropped down the rabbit hole until we figured out what was going on.

gemoftheocean said...

ay3gsm -hi, thanks for writing and providing the quotes. Now that I know that I have all the more reason to dislike Paul. ;-D

Mark, AA. Adrienne. Yup. Yup. and Yup. If there's anything that I'd have to labor hardest against it would be the SSPX types. Either the LM is going to be for "everybody" what has steered me clear in large measure isn't so much the Mass itself - which is well worth preserving -- it's all the cultural "baggage" that comes with it. The SSPX types gives the impression of wanting to own it and control it. Reasonable modest in dress is one thing ... but being a stickler for "duggar" type evangelical dress for every woman is a real turn off for me. In other words, I don't see why a 7 year old girl should have to run araound 24/7 in a dress the hem of which she is practically tripping over that often looks like a sack, while her brother gets to wear long shorts and a polo shirt.

Stephen: ROTFLMAO!!!! Especially when rushing to a class in optical art. Should have seen that coming but didn't. But oh my dear, you forgot to provide a link ♫.

Jackie Parkes MJ said...

I remember being mortified having to put up my anorak hood! I thought about the mantilla whirl but decided against!

EC Gefroh said...

I vaguely remember that Karen. Sorry but I wouldn't wear a veil or the other small one on top of my head (I forget what we call them). I attended a TLM once in recent years and I had to wear a hat because I had not veil. I was so distracted by the stupid hat that I couldn't really concentrate. I also ended up with flat hair. Shallow reasons but true.

X said...

This morning after Mass I greeted Father with "oops, I forgot my veil!" (he knew I went to a TLM 2 weeks ago) and he started laughing and saying "no way! Don't start that!" We had a good laugh over it. He knows my traddy bent. At the same time I would NEVER call attention to myself by being the lone veil wearer. You'd like Fr. T, Gem.

gemoftheocean said...

Okay, waiting for Tara to weigh in too. [You there, girlfriend?] I know she also recently got a veil and is of .. uh, "my vintage" ... but being a convert I expect she didn't come with the cultural baggage....

The Woman of the House said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stephen said...

And one for Mahler! ♫

Anonymous said...

I've toyed with the dea of wearing one, but it's more about so i can look the hell more pious than anyone else...(i'm not suggesting that is anyone elses motivation)

Seriously though, in a regular NO parish i feel that for me it would look like i was trying to draw attention to myself or make out like i'm extra holy or something.

And actually, i think i would rather like that feeling.

Which is exactly why i shouldn't do it.


gemoftheocean said...

Adele: You KNOW it!!! he can't even get his conversion story straight. Fall off a horse or what, dude?!

Stephen: EVEN BETTER!!!

Anonymous said...

Okay, I'm weighing in here--a bit late--but still here--just a busy time of year.

Wearing a kleenex is weird, and my friend Sheryl told me how horrible it was to "have" to have something on your head to go to Mass--even a kleenex.

Since I've only been Catholic for about six years, all things Catholic are very attractive to me--and the wearing of a veil seems like a beautiful way to show respect and reverence at Mass.

When I was in Rome--it was fun to wear a veil--but I can't seem to do it at home--because you stick out like a "sore thumb."

My veils, one veil, one head scarf, are just sitting in a cupboard--just waiting for a TLM or going back to Rome! And I sorta like the NO Mass better that the Latin--I enjoy "hearing" things I can understand.

After hearing all the women I know be thankful for not having to wear a veil--I'm glad it's optional, I came into the church just at the right time.

Anonymous said...

There such a heavy sarcasm here for a time when you weren't really involved.
It was a more sacred time then, to be sure. It was also a very silly time. None-the-less, those of us who wore Kleenex did it out of reverence and obedience. It wasn't liked and was even embarrassing. Current times dictate a snappier and more caustic attitude of 'Not me'. Just as you said. That is probably why we have so many Catholics that have their own rules. We didn't have that then and were more inclined to (again) be obedient without suffering loss of (perceived) personal identity. I'm sorry for your sarcasm. It smacks of a clever but modern person who can't understand dignity of the time.

gemoftheocean said...

Anon: that's just it. Wearing Kleenex was stupid, not dignified!!!!

It's a good "rule" not to draw focus, i.e. don't wear a bathing suit or a ball gown for instance .. but this going to pieces because some woman didn't do as Paul wanted 2000 years ago is a bit much! And was mid-20th century too.

The few times I got caught out and had to do the kleenex mit bobby pins stuff I *knew* it was a dumb thing to have to do. You picked your battles with nuns back then, and not until at least in high school. Not if you wanted to live anyway. I had great respect. For my own life!!!

Of course it might be fun to go to an SPPX or SSXP or whatever they call themselves "do." Stroll in hatless and when some toad comes running over with a proffered hat, just yank an Angels baseball cap out and don it and give him that "make my day" look.

The Woman of the House said...

Yay, Someone else who doesn't particularly like St Paul's writings. Hope that's not heretical. I was always very annoyed that he had the hubris to tell off Peter and call him a "Super Apostle"

I'm too young (nice to say!) to have had to wear a veil. It's a nice idea. I don't do it. I find SOME (not all) of the Latin Mass types very hard and rigid. Not the most peaceful comfortable place to be when trying to pray.

X said...

The TLM has much more time to simply adore - that was my favorite part of it. That and the singing was SO much better than what I hear at my home parish. And kneeling for communion is better.

As for St. Paul - I have come to appreciate him over the years. The whole "women must be silent in church" and "the man is the head of the women" are very, very idealistic and very, very difficult for women our age but reading Theology of the Body helped.

la mamma said...

Hiya. I'm 33, so I've not much to say about veils but you did ask. I wouldn't wear one out of choice - don't feel the need, and don't see that anyone else (inc. God) needs me to either. I can see how it wouldn't have been fun, though, if it wasn't your thing.

Pastor in Monte said...

When I was in your corner of the world, Gem, in SD, you might remember I went to a wedding. I was amazed (and rather repelled) by the sight of an otherwise well-dressed lady wearing a paper doily on her head—in Europe people rather older than I put those things under cakes! I was told that it was a 'chapel veil'. When I was a child, I remember my mother would wear a headscarf, á la Audrey Hepburn--as did all other ladies of her generation. A handful of posh people wore mantillas, and everyone wore hats on special occasions. I can quite see why you might be put off by chapel veils!

gemoftheocean said...

You got it, pastor. The paper veil was a new one on me. Maybe the usher at TLM came up with that one. Usually you had a veil (and don't get me wrong, the garment itself is pretty, so I have no objection to *other* people wearing one, if it's not forced on them - so I was hoping mac would weigh in too (if memory serves Mac is a revert or convert, I forget which) because I don't think the younger gals carry the "baggage" some of us older gals do. I had two veils for sunday - a "doily" style, certainly not paper. That was more for summer, and the longer. Both white. We ditched them in 70 when we moved to Cali - the Cali women having all ditched theirs by then so we felt free to.
We had those crummy blue beanies for school masses.

I think a veil beat a hat in that you didn't have to worry about blocking someone's view.

Terry Nelson said...

This is a funny. post. I recall my sister folding a kleenix into a square about 2"x2" and securing it on top of her head with criss-crossed bobby pins. Otherwise she wore her "beanie" or what looked like a doilie.

I agree - it shouldn't be mandatory.

Joe of St. Thérèse said...

There was a Pope who said something about this, some guy named St. Linus in Liber Pontificalis wrote about the mandate of women having their heads covered...

Yes, I am for women covering their heads, (and yes the law is still in effect, but not enforced)

I can only speak, that some of my friends have beautiful hair, it's a bit distracting. (not that i'm intentionally focusing on it) I find veiling shows humility and leads me to not sin during Mass.

We guys need all the help that we can get in de-objectifying you women I do believe that veling helps that regard :)

my best friend still wears her veil (and she's my age) it's inspiring...

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