11 December 2008

The To-Do List

Another of the three cited opponents of the position that women must wear head coverings while praying in Church, Canonist Ed Peters, posts that responding to the argument that chapel veils are still obligatory, advanced by a canon lawyer in my previous post, is not "high enough on [his] 'to-do' list." He stands by his previous position, though acknowledges reading the argument "with interest".

UPDATE: In all sincerity, I wanted to acknowledge that Mr. Peters is undoubtedly very busy, and I am sure he does not need me to reorder his to-do list. That being said, I did want to point out for my readers, and for the record, that this makes 2 of the 3 anti-requirement proponents who have declined to refute the argument or more fully explain and bolster their previous statements in light of the pro-requirement canonist's article. Jimmy Akin has yet to respond.

So far, nobody has taken the opportunity to seriously address the canonist's argument in my post.

From his blog:

Chapel veils, again

In the December 8 "Saint Louis Catholic" blog, a post went up on whether women are required by canon law to wear veils in Church. Responding in part to my post on this topic some two years ago, it's an interesting read, though I frankly think the author makes several errors. Thus I still hold that head coverings are not obligatory for women in church. Alas, the issue is not high enough on my "to-do" list to warrant writing more about it than I have, but I wanted to acknowledge reading the opinion with interest. I do wonder, though, why it had to be offered anonymously? Professionals who publish significant opinions in their field should sign their names. Or at least, that's my practice.


Anonymous said...

Enough already on the veils. Please.

thetimman said...

TGL, so I take it you have enjoyed these posts so much that you are completely satiated?

Anonymous said...

I will say that I'm completed satiated.

Anonymous said...

Have you noticed how hard it is these days for anyone to admit they're wrong? (I'm not referring to you, Mr. Timman.)

I was in the 6th grade when Vatican II ended. The very first question I asked Sr. Margaret Thomas was "Do we still have to cover our heads in Church?" She said "No." I later looked for documentation to support this. I never found any.

There are no "small things" anymore. Everything is connected.

Anonymous said...

Let's move on to speculation about the appointment of a new Archbishop. That is much more interesting. And much more practical.


"Ready to Move On" in St. Louis

Anonymous said...


All Dr. Peters does is give us a 'professional' conclusion, without giving us an explanation - Just like Zuhlsdorf. This is really disappointing, "Not too high" on his "to-do list."

And Jimmy Akin, on his end, has decided to avoid even entering the fray... It's probably because he knows that he can't defend his opinion, and so he choose to write instead on the perenniel expert's topic, SEX. "Razzle-dazzle 'em," as Richard Gere's character would say...

Great work on obtaining that canonist's analysis. It's a breath of intellectual fresh air, compared to the blah-bloggers who just think they own the scene.


thetimman said...

KD, thanks for the nice words; I saw your very reasonable (and unanswered) request in the comment thread on Fr. Z's blog, too.

I didn't really expect Fr. Z to admit he could be wrong-- his argument for the "not-required" position was a tad conclusory and not actually a thorough analysis (no offense to him-- I don't think he meant it to be).

Jimmy Akin, apparently, has been going through some sort of family emergency, so I don't know if he has the time. Maybe he will enter the fray later.

Dr. Peters doesn't identify what the errors are he claims to see in the argument. That is a bit disappointing, but perhaps in time he will be convincec the issue should be higher on his do-to list. Until he points out the errors, I'll assume that they aren't fatal to the argument.

Thanks, finally, for your compliments. I agree the argument is first rate-- devastating, really. But I don't deserve the credit, UCLX does. My own "lay" argument would not have sealed the deal.

God bless.

Anonymous said...


If this blog is correct about veils at mass, then this is just another case in which the vast majority of the bishops are seriously negligent.

We Catholics want to idealize out bishops, and love them, and follow their lead.

So how do we cope with modern bishops who are so indifferent to what God wants for the good of the Faithful?

I cope with it by just believing that most bishops will end up being thrown into Hell.

Oh! I know that is harsh. But what is the alternative? To assume that these bishops are really doing the right things for God and for the Faithful? I KNOW that is not true. So they must be on the road of perdition. Isn't that irrefutable logic?

But of course, there's still time for the bishops to repent. I pray that they do.

Tom the Malcontent, "Libera Nos..."

Athelstane said...

Amazing the fun I've missed while I've been away from here...

1. I have found Dr. Peters to be a man very much worth listening to on canon law. Not to say he is immune from error (who of us is?) - but I give him a certain presumption on canonical questions I wouldn't give to others (such as bloggers).

2. But that said, to my theologically but not canonically trained eye, the case made by the anonymous canonist looks fairly compelling. The 1917 code is no longer in effect as such, but Canons 2 and 5 of the current code are pertinent, it seems to me, unless there is some specific abrogation out there we've not reached yet. Especially if, indeed, there was law on this prior to the 1917 code (which is a revelation to me). Thus I would be interested to see further discussion of this by professional and reputable canonists. Especially as it might relate (vis. Dr. Peters' point about seperate seating from women and men) to other canons which might likewise still be unabrogated.

3. That said, I take Dr. Peters' point that it would probably help matters if the canonist abondoned his anonymity. Although I can certainly conceive of reasons why he might be reluctant to do so.

4. I can also understand why it ranks low on some to-do lists, given the current disorders in the Church. Especially in regards to, alas, a law which, even if it is still technically in force, has fallen into almost complete desuetude. To be sure, that's more a pastoral question than a canonical one, but a problem just the same. Which is another way of saying that it's less likely to be a problem once sanity is restored to the Church's liturgical life (and broader theology and catechesis), and until then, likely to be akin to speaking to many pew sitters in Esperanto: it will seem bizarre to many who don't have the internalized liturgical praxis of the traditional life of the Church. In some parishes, it will be worse than that. Consider how much trouble and catechetical preparation many diocesan priests go to in merely re-introducing celebration of the canon ad orientem to their parishes.

5. I concluded some time ago that the custom was a prudent, sound, and certainly scriptural rule, pastorally observed: a healthy supply of regularly cleaned loaner veils in the narthex, and a welcoming attitude to the mass, especially to newcomers. In the latter regard, there is much room for praise for the sensibility of the ICK, as I'm sure members of St. Francis de Sales will heartily agree.

Patrick Kinsale said...

I think this veil issue is a fascinating debate, although I admit I am not sure what to think. I thought that the new Canon Law replaced the old in its entirety. Those who wrote the new law have chosen not to clarify this point, which makes me more curious.

That said, I don't think it matters a wit (whit?) who the lawyer is you cite; the substance of his or her argument is what is important.

thetimman said...

Tom, it pays not to form rash judgments on any particular bishop. Their office alone deserves respect--your larger point that many have not held that office as it should be, and that catechesis has been woeful and souls lost, is a sound one.

Ken, thanks for your comment.


Nice to hear from you. Now here's a mind-blower: when Ed Peters has a blog, does his character change from immemorial canon lawyer to that of a blogger himself?

--If canon law abrogated bloggers (hmmm.....) would Ed Peters no longer be binding?


Anonymous said...

Have you ever noticed how its a bunch of men who are always trying to reimplement or insist that veils are really required for chuch? Instead of obsessing over the "requirement" or non requirement of veils pay attension to your prayer in mass and keep you thoughts on God instead of what you think women should or should not be doing.

Anonymous said...


First, it's "attention," not, "attension."

Second, it's not only "a bunch of men" (!woof!) as you write, but quite a few ladies as well who believe that the law is salutiferous for those who respect it.

Anonymous Too.