09 December 2008

Patrick Madrid Weighs in on the Veiling Debate

The noted apologist Patrick Madrid has written a post on his blog concerning my previous post on the obligatory nature of head coverings for women at Mass.

Here is his post in full:

I just read an interesting discussion at a blog called “St. Louis Catholic” about whether or not the Catholic Church still requires women to cover their heads with a veil or hat at Mass.

The unnamed canon lawyer whose opinion that, yes, women are still obliged to wear them (even if virtually none do anymore), critiques the contrary opinion, advanced by Father John Zuhlsdorf, canonist Ed Peters, and Jimmy Akin. Even though I have long been of the opinion that the Church no longer requires this custom, at least not at Novus Ordo Masses, I must admit that this article has gone a long way toward convincing me that I have been wrong about this. The fact that “nobody does this anymore” is not a good reason not to observe this venerable Catholic custom.

I do, however, have a respectful complaint for the proprietor of the St. Louis Catholic blog (who goes by “Tinman” rather than give his real name), and that is: It is a mistake for you not to name the canon lawyer whom you quote and whom you refer to only as “an out-of-state canonist.” There's no reason that I can see why he should not be named, especially since he publicly critiques others by name. That seems unjust to me. The unnamed canonist's argument has great merit, but its effects are blunted by his remaining anonymous.

I would like to respond to Mr. Madrid that I appreciate the comments he made, and his acknowledgement of the persuasive nature of the argument I posted.

Moreover, I completely understand his desire to know the identity of the canon lawyer. If I were authorized to reveal his or her name, I would do so quite willingly. But I have not been so authorized. I apologize, but I am bound by the conditions this expert set for me in preparing the piece.

I had come to the conclusion that veiling was still obligatory some time ago, but as my particular background is not in the canon law, I decided to engage an expert to see what he or she thought.

As for my own relative anonymity, my screen name exists only because I am not in the public arena like Mr. Madrid or some other famous apologists, priests, and Catholic advocates. However, the contents of my blog over the last couple of years will easily provide a picture of my take on most of the issues of the day in Holy Mother Church.


Fr. John Zuhlsdorf was kind enough to comment on the original post. In order to make sure his position is made clear, I'm happy to post his comment and my response:

Fr. John Zuhlsdorf o{]:¬) said...

I think, in the interest of fairness, you might clarify that even as I stated that there is no obligation under the Church's law at this time, I nevertheless think this is a very good tradition. I think woman and girls should use mantillas. I have always made sure to include that when stating that there is no obligation.

thetimman said...

Dear Father Z,

Thank you for your comment. I am happy to let people know that you have always advocated the use of the mantilla.

God bless.


StGuyFawkes said...

The biggest problem with the mantilla, or veil is that women look even MORE womanly, and attractive by wearing them.

That woman whose photo you have used for the top of this post IS ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL. I hope she has ten Catholic children and and one hundred and ten grandchildren and lives one hundred and ten years.

Kansas Catholic said...

Bravo to Mr. Madrid for his openness to discuss and admit the possibility of having been wrong about this matter before. I do hope, however, that the canon lawyer in question will allow the Timman to reveal his or her identity.

Anonymous said...


I bet your hits will go up dramatically because of this. Wouldn't it be wild to hear the Timman on EWTN?

Not to digress too much, but another post on Madrid's blog, entitled "Undercover at an Abortuary" is a must see.

Anonymous said...

Any reader of this blog knows that timman is "in" with His holiness Burke... If I was a bettin' man...my money that the "out of state cannon Lawyer" is Burke!

Titus said...

From the original post:
"it appears that they do not intend to bind themselves to a new obligation of not wearing a hat or veil."

It seems that this isn't the only possible contrary tradition. You could, for instance, have a tradition to establish a right to be free from the law's provision, i.e. a tradition of being permitted to attend Mass without a head covering. I would be curious to know how this formulation of the tradition would fit within the analysis. It would seem that it is possible to develop a right or ius by tradition, as can be seen today in religious communities and dioceses that enjoy dispensations from universal laws regarding vesture by virtue of their tradition.

As a note, I am not opposed to women wearing head coverings, or to laws compelling head coverings, or to legal exegesis (cf, the commenter with the broken caps lock on the previous post who confuses canonical jurisprudence with Scholasticism). I'm just curious about exploring the legal analysis presented by the expert.

Anonymous said...

I hate to say it, but I tend to agree with Patrick Madrid. If you can't name your source, maybe the issue isn't as decisive as you're saying.

Alison said...

There is a tendency for Traditionalist to take something that is a good and to say that it is a Church requirement. Veiling at Holy Mass is a good thing but the view the it is mandatory is obscure.

The whole women's dress and women's veiling comes off to me as Catholic poker. Some prominent "traditionalist" that promote the wearing of the veil as Church teaching have extremely low views of women. Some of these comments are found on at least one of the blogs to which you link. To paraphrase of favorite blogger of mine, Romans commands us "Put ye on Jesus Christ." Definitely harder than putting on a veil.

Anonymous said...

Pardon me. I'm a very orthodox woman, truly supporting the Church's teachings. I find it amusing and interesting that MEN are the ones here commenting on what WOMEN should be wearing on their heads. And I don't understand why you don't get your canon lawyer's permission to use his/her name. I would think the person would be grateful for the opportunity to correct what seems in some of your eyes to be an "error"! Bring him or her on!

Veiled Prophetess

Anonymous said...

Interesting discussion, however I'd like to see more discussion on these blogs about REAL moral problems in traditional catholicism such as women who "look the part' with thier long veils and skirts, but use artificial contraception.

Anonymous said...


I'm a 14 year old girl and it means so much to me to be able to wear my mantilla and show reverence to God at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
Even if is not law, it is still a beautiful tradition to be able to show reverence to God, the creator of heaven and earth.

I know people mock and laugh at me,
but it only strengthens my faith.

In regards to purity- I have never seen anyone wearing a veil and a short skirt.

Maybe if we showed Respect for God by having the traditional Latin Mass, we wouldn't have all this disrespect, immodesty, and disobedience in reference to fake apparitions in our culture today. Maybe if people showed reverence to God present body, blood, soul and divinity in the Most Holy Eucharist
75% of Catholics would not have left the Catholic Church. Out of the 25% remaining Catholics 75% of them don't even believe in the real presence of God in the Holy Eucharist!

I am convinced that the Latin Mass is a Necessity.


thetimman said...


anon re: being "in" with Archbishop Burke-- don't assume too much about me being "in" with anybody. :-)

cmziall, this is a bit unfair, perhaps, since I know you, but I think this line is a red herring-- if I told you I consulted St. Thomas Aquinas, or Thomas Eagleton, or Tom Thumb, would it change whether the argument was proven or not? Of course not.

And since you know me, you can trust me when I tell you that this is the considered and researched position of a qualified canon lawyer. Surely you can see already that there may be good reasons why such a canonist does not want the scorn of some who may have the ability to harm them professionally, and chooses anonymity? I do not say whether he or she should do this, only that it is certainly understandable.

Hope, one issue at a time. I have posted on artificial contraception at least twice in the last week.

Paul, thank you for your comment and query. But, in order to establish a custom contrary to an immemorial custom with the force of law, one must intend the contrary to bind. In this case, the contrary would be that NOT wearing head coverings would be normative. In other words, the intent must be that one not be allowed to cover.

Even if we, for argument's sake, allow that the contrary custom of "optional veiling" be possible, it must be the intent of those who do not veil. They must have the intent to establish a custom; then they must continue this practice for at least forty years (under the old code, when this "custom" began, or thirty years, after 1983. Either way, even if this were the case, the amount of time necessary has not been reached, and the consent of the proper authority must be given, either explicitly or tacitly. Until such time, people who knowingly--I said knowingly-- are acting contrary to law. Whether they wish to do that is their business. Again, I think there are very few people who really have done this with full knowledge of the Church's teaching.

That is my argument. The canonist may choose to give his own effort if he reads this.

One final note-- I am not saying the answer here is to start denying communion or arbitrarily taking a hard line. No way. Charity is the key, and we know that most Catholics are unaware of the law here. So, we propose the truth in charity, as St. Francis de Sales says. Set example. Teach about the beauty of the custom. Things won't change overnight, and that is o.k. One step at a time.

The point is to, in all areas, interiorly and exteriorly, to bring ourselves into right relationship with God. This is just one small issue.

Anonymous said...

You're right, I do know you and I do know that you wouldn't lead anyone astray or give information that you hadn't researched first.

Of course, too, you know how I feel about doilies :-p

With that being said, this particular "issue" is extremely minor compared to the other issues that are going on in our Church today. I'm really excited (and hopeful) to see changes being made soon and that it will all be positive. . . .our archdiocese is SO blessed and we have to remember that too! We have just ordained some AWESOME priests AND the seminary has many more to come!

Patrick Madrid said...

I think the fundamental reality here should be acknowledged (which is not to say that the posters here do not acknowledge it) that virtually *no one* anymore understands the custom of women wearing veils at Mass, much less observes it. Many Catholics have no living memory of even having seen it observed at the typical parish over the past 40 years.

It seems to me that, in order for this custom to become prevalent again, some sustained heavy duty catechesis from the pulpit will have to precede it — years of it. Any return to this practice in the West, at least in the United States and Canada, will very likely take years to effect.

thetimman said...

I agree. Do you think we will ever see such a catechesis?

StGuyFawkes said...

Regarding the need for catechesis to aid the return of the practice of wearing the mantilla: GIVE ME A BREAK!!!

One pretty women wearing the veil makes better argument than a thousand hours of catechesis.

Look, women wear the mantilla because they want to honor God and honor their own created womanhood.


Beauty has always been a great aid to the Faith.

I'll say it and be damned. Women are DEAD SEXY in those things.


Patrick Madrid said...

Yes, Tinman, thank you. All fatuous comments to the contrary aside (ahem), I do think we will see, and have already begun to see, pastoral catechesis aimed at strengthening and broadening the faithful's awareness of, retrieval of, and love for Traditional Catholic piety from our present Holy Father and those bishops who are united with him "in spirit and in truth." I'm sure we'd agree that Pope Benedict XVI's landmark document Sumorum Pontificum is a very big step in that direction.

Anonymous said...

If a woman chooses to veil because it enhances her beauty, the veiling is a farce. The practice is meant to give glory to God, not to the beauty of woman. Honestly, with all the talk of the dignity of woman which accompanies this subject, it discourages me to hear that you like the veil because it makes woman into a pretty thing to look at. Being "dead sexy" is something most traditional women try to avoid while at Mass, and if a simple veil can ruin that than why bother? In that case I think I'm going to wear a burlap sack over my head next time to spare you the temptation.

Anonymous said...

What gets me are the women who assist at mass wearing pants but they'll put a veil on...what a hoot. Which is worse... pants and veil or dress and no veil or pants and no veil? You tell me...

Titus said...


That's a good counterargument. I've now reached the point at which my one semester of Canon Law no longer suffices for me to analyze the question meaningfully. For instance, I don't really know whether the "contrary custom" must stand in some specific logical relationship to the original custom, or whether it suffices to be merely inconsistent.

Everyone who thinks there are more important things to talk about,

You're right, of course. And your point would be quite valid if we were righting all of this by hand on vellum. But this is a blog, one of thousands, kept and commented on by people who (usually) aren't competent to make policies or effect change in the Church. It consumes no physical resources. Its chances of being the second coming of the Summa are low. We can talk about something of comparatively little importance and that's OK.

Anonymous said...

To my good friend Cmziall,

Why don't you look at the veiling thing from a Pascal's Wager kind of perspective:

1. If veiling is not required by Church law, and you wear the veil anyway, you may not feel as fashionable, and maybe even a little out of place on the minus side. On the plus side, you will be following scripture and the tradition of the Church for over 1950 or so years.

2. If veiling is required by law, and you wear the veil, you will be avoiding serious sin.

3. If veiling is required by law, and you don't wear it, you may be committing serious sin.

The plus/minus argument here isn't even close. And when a respected apologist like Patrick Madrid says that this is a very convincing article, you take away from it only that it could be even more convincing if the canonist were named, and treat that as the main point.

Don't deceive yourself! Just because thetimman advocates something doesn't mean it's wrong :)


Anonymous said...

To proveil:

Obviously dress and no veil is worse because one is seemingly required under canon law and the other is not.


Anonymous said...

Gotta love the pic illustrating this post. The modest young lady to the left certainly compensates for her decorous veiling with a lot of bling and a bang-up nail job, all of which looks so fabulous with her hands piously folded in prayer.

StGuyFawkes said...

Dear Maria,

Please don't go under burlap over my foolishness. The word "burlap" sounds too much like "burkah" and this would convert an ancient Catholic practice into a Moslem one.

On your substantial point: let me apologize to all women who reverently wear the veil. Women who wear the veil wear it for reverent motives and not to "look good".

My comment was aimed not at the ladies' reverent motives but at the positive effect it has on the male of the species. (Although I admit by using words like "hot" and "dead sexy" I may have compromised my case.)

The sight of a reverent woman, wearing the veil, has the following effect on the reverent man.

The man recognizes by the veil that a woman's beauty belongs first to God and it is not for him, but for God, who created it.

And thus, by seeing a woman's beauty "sourced" as it were in God he cannot but find the woman all the more beautiful because she has returned his mind to the true source of all beauty.

The beautiful and the good leads the mind towards the source of all Beauty and Good: God. This is basic St. Augustine.

Not to say that women should be expected to underestand this platonic tangle in the hearts of men, but here it is. When you get good it leads our minds to the "good" too. Not that it's your responsibility to make us good. You just have the opportunity now and then, and certainly every Sunday.

Let me put it another way. A reverent practice taken up a lady may have a collateral effect on a man which is hard to fathom (because men are so unfathomable).

Before I leave off, let me add that in no way is it proper for a Catholic gentleman at Mass to allow his mind to wander from the bloodless sacrifice of Calvary re-enacted on the altar.

Alison said...

While I am no canon lawyer, I still find the excerpts from your out of state canon lawyer non convincing. For something that is suppose to be a Church teaching, I find it odd that it would only be on your blog. No main stream Traditionalist order puts forth this view and, in fact, although they encourage for good and pious reasons the wearing of the veil, they do not say it is mandatory but the opposite. No other canon lawyer or bishop (and we have some who are great friends of Tradition) put forth this opinion. Canonist Edward Peters did not have a bad counter argument as you suggest. Not being a canon lawyer but a civil one turned homeschool mom, I really could understand the time and complexity that it would take for anyone to research this issue. Still, I can't believe that you couldn't have found one other canon lawyer to address the issue or analyze the answer you were given. There are canon lawyers who do hold some strange views and you yourself have featured them on your blog. I will give you that your canon lawyer appears a little more benign. Does every brief submitted by a civil lawyer get determined ultimately by a judge to be the correct opinion?

This problem persists in other areas where Catholics take a document and assert things like the only economic system endorsed by the Church is distributionism or women should never wear pants. Most people would not even care or have the time to research these matters. I do thank the Traditionalist writers who have written on these subjects and presented a more balanced view. I guess I care because this type of behavior has some bad consequences. Fighting "neo-cons" becomes more important than the pro-life cause. It also saddens me about the way some Traditionalist have written on woman which this issue seems to bring up in me in some of the comments made. I am no feminist but all my worth, if I have any, comes from the most High God. What I do not wear, what I wear is not for anyone but to glorify God.

thetimman said...

Alison, what mainstream traditionalist order has issued a statement on whether head coverings are binding, pro or con?

Can you please give a citation to your claim?

Certainly there are some canon lawyers who hold strange views. Some of them believe veiling is not obligatory, for instance.


Alison said...

I don't know if any mainstream order has issued a written statement on this but I have heard it mentioned from priests in mainstream "traditionalist" orders including from the pulpit. This would include three orders and one monastery compromising of at least six priests and one being an abbot and another being head of the seminary of his order at one time. Sorry if I overstated. I'd like to give details but I do not feel comfortable nor am I authorized to give names of orders or priests. The orders should be easy enough for you to figure out. It would not be a hard question for you to ask yourself and I'd be surprised if you could get a different opinion from any order. If this were the true position of the Church, some good clergy would have pointed this out as he would have been bound to do so by Charity. Our present Holy Father is well familiar with liturgical issues and practices and he would have pointed it out.

Quite frankly, why this does bother me is because a lot of the people who advocate that veiling is mandatory are the patriocentrists. Sadly, this is showing up in Christian circles. For instance, a Catholic blog you link to posted an interview the blogger did of Bishop Williamson and let go unchallenged shocking statements including the following:

"There is wisdom in the wearing of the burqa. There is no persecution of women in Islam."

"Alas, women going to university is part of the whole massive onslaught on God's Nature which characterizes our times. That girls should not be in universities flows from the nature of universities and from the nature of girls: true universities are for ideas, ideas are not for true girls, so true universities are not for true girls."

"The deep-down reason is the same as for the wrongness of women's trousers: the unwomaning of woman. The deep-down cause in both cases is that Revolutionary man has betrayed modem woman; since she is not respected and loved for being a woman, she tries to make herself a man. Since modem man does not want her to do what God meant her to do, namely to have children, she takes her revenge by invading all kinds of things that man is meant to do."

While Bishop Williamson a not mainstream traditionalist, these thoughts have certainly permeated the mainstream. It makes me wonder where the anonymous canon lawyer fits into this scheme. Further, while I have some questions and do see some holes in arguments he makes, who do we question. I agree with the prediction that we will see for the calling of women veiling outside of Holy Mass.

thetimman said...

Alison, thanks for the concession; it leads me to this-- I am certain you have heard priests say that it is no longer binding. This is their private opinion; just as your specialty is not canon law, neither (necessarily) is theirs. Also, there may be valid pastoral reasons not to insist on a strict observance of this law in the current climate of almost total lack of knowledge and practice. Thus, they may not require it yet hold the opinion it is binding. Sometimes, not disturbing the ignorance in an objectively wrong position is the better path. I am not a moral theologian, and so I am neither advocating nor condemning such an approach.

I could trade anecdotal evidence with you that I have heard several prelates of varying rank, canonists, and priests who have acknowledged it is binding. This is all well and good.

That head covering was binding at least until 1983 no one will dispute. Let me state this another way: From the death of Christ (at least) to 35 years ago, this law was not in any doubt.

This law bound, even though from 1970 or so is began to be ignored. Were those who refused to veil (assuming knowledge) right to do so?

Why emphasize history? Because the current practice is not indicative of whether the law is in effect. I am sure (and my parents have attested) that many priests from 1970 to 1983 told them veiling was no longer required. They weren't right, and you would agree.

I would urge you not to be overly defensive about the practice, as though head covering would mean you are less valuable or dignified than a man. That is a very modern way of thinking, and I don't mean that in a good way. The Church didn't hate women for 1950 years and only start respecting them in 1983.

As for Bishop Williamson, I have not ever quoted him favorably on this blog, and you will acknowledge that I can't control whether someone who posts a comment likes him or not.

I respectfully submit you are focusing on the identity of the arguer to the exclusion of the foundation of the argument. The argument is not merely an opinion without citation. It is well researched. The Vatican has spoken on these issues. Read the cites. Take on the argument if you disagree.

Anonymous said...

Now, that is all very good and reverent,so now let's address the fact that most Catholics chat and speak loudly, before, during and excessively in the church, especially after Mass.Whatever happened to the Godly practice of quietness?....no talking in the church? This also has been spoken of before.As a "convert",it seems to me that traditional Catholic reverence is nolonger practiced.

Anonymous said...

The following are not my own words but I find them enlightening. So much so that I shared them with my teen dd who was hesitant to wear a veil. After reading them, she made the VOLUNTARY decision to wear a veil. I would be interested in comments: "It would appear the Vatican listened to the feminist movement, and did find a potential problem in the Code of Canon Law that could be made as a case to bolster the erroneous feminist argument. It was possibly for this reason the Vatican dropped the chapel veil requirement from the Code of Canon Law. Under the old Code of Canon Law, women could theoretically be forced under penalty to wear a chapel veil against their will. The problem with this was twofold. First, this canon could be used as a case to bolster the erroneous feminist argument against the chapel veil. Second, this canon actually defeated the authentic Catholic reason for veiling in the first place.
The authentic Catholic reason for wearing the chapel veil is the Biblical reason. It's just something that all Christian women (regardless of denomination) are supposed to do, not because they have to, but because they're supposed to want to. The Catholic Church has decided to no longer enforce this Biblical custom through Canon Law, and in doing so, the Church is saying it does not want to be our nanny. The chapel veil is a custom for women to do voluntarily, because they want to, not because they are being forced to. The idea is that women are to read what the Scriptures have to say, and be convicted according to what is contained therein. In order for a chapel veil to be an authentic sign of humility and holiness, it must be voluntary. Indeed, Christian women are supposed to wear one, but it is never to be forced."

So, I ask... doesn't making the veil mandatory negate its purpose? Isn't it a far wiser choice to leave it optional and allow women to choose or not, thereby allowing them to retain the authentic sign it is meant to convey?

Anonymous said...


Veiling is NOT just a little thing. It is extremely important! I would go so far as to say that if most woman began veiling the Catholic Church would begin to heal.

Think about it now. Women are the ones who basically lead our society - the world. Yes, men may be leaders of countries, or huge corporations, and of the church. But women are the single greatest moral influence on mankind, pure and simple.

I should not have to explain why, but I will briefly. We give birth to sons and raise them, they grow into men whom marry women they love and the cycle goes on and on.

If women show great respect for Jesus upon entering church, their sons and husbands will follow. "(It must really be Jesus in the Eucharist for mom to cover her head and look so humble.)"

Women, you hold the future in your hands. A "little" thing like humbling yourself for Jesus Christ will change your life and your families for the better.

Why is veiling hard? Now crawling on cut glass to receive the Eucharist, that would be hard. Would you do it? Would you risk dying to receive the Eucharist? Just think about all of the holy martyrs. . .

thetimman said...

Thanks, LMG.

Feisty Muse,

I understand and appreciate your point. However that may be, my only point in posting the article is to find out the answer to a question that lingers. Either it is required or not. Like I said, though I think it clearly is, I don't care (for the purpose of this post) whether it is or no. Catholics should know what the liturgical (or theological or moral or etc) laws are that bind them as Catholics.

Notwithstanding your excellent point, if it were indeed binding, that might help to blunt the criticism of veil wearers that they are trying to make a show of piety-- if required, it becomes a simple act of humility and obedience, very much fitting with the example of Our Lady.

God bless!

Alison said...

Actually good arguments have been written on the internet refuting your canon lawyer. The following was put forth and was never answered.

"In 1976 the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith wrote Declaration on the Question of Admission of Women to the Ministerial Priesthood , approved and confirmed by Paul VI, where headcovering is specifically mentioned as a discipline:

Another objection is based upon the transitory character that one claims to see today in some of the prescriptions of Saint Paul concerning women, and upon the difficulties that some aspects of his teaching raise in this regard. But it must be noted that these ordinances, probably inspired by the customs of the period, concern scarcely more than disciplinary practices of minor importance, such as the obligation imposed upon women to wear a veil on their head (1 Cor 11:2-16); such requirements no longer have a normative value.

Seven years later, when the 1983 Code of Canon Law was promulgated, it specifically mentions that it abrogates the entire 1917 Code of Canon Law:

Can. 6 §1. When this Code takes force, the following are abrogated:

1/ the Code of Canon Law promulgated in 1917;"

Other side issues:

When I have asked a priest a particular question and he would not give me the truth, that would be wrong. I don't believe that any of the priests I referred to did this in a private conversation or even a sermon.

I did not say that you thought women should wear a veil to put them in their place. I was pointing out that there are in Christian circles a call for veiling that is based on Patriocentristic thought. I also never said that you quoted Bishop Williamson, I was only trying to give evidence that the Patriocentristic ideas exist. While you are not responsible for what other put on their blogs, you do give this particular blog some prominence in your side bar.

The reason it would be important to know the identity of the out of state canon lawyer would be this. Suppose a doctor wrote an article on fertility. Knowing nothing about medicine knowing about the doctor might make me want to explore the concept more if I know his practice, his ethics etc. It would be a stretch for me to take the anonymous teaching of a blogger and canon lawyer over a priest who I know cares about my soul.

Thank you for the comment stating I have modern thought. It allows me to be humble and you just to be you.

thetimman said...

Actually, both of those arguments were brought up on fisheaters forum in one post, and I answered it there thusly:

"Good, I was hoping someone would bring up "Inter Insigniores", from which your first point comes. There are several reasons why that little clause does not apply:

1. The direct and immediate object (or the "holding of the case", from a legal perspective) of that document was to affirm that only men could be admitted to the priesthood. The statement by Cardinal Seper on head coverings is obiter dicta, not essential to the holding and not binding as a pronouncement of law in any way. If this first point sounds overly legal to you, you shouldn't belong to a Church with a two millenia old tradition of canon law. Laws mean things, and rules matter.

2. The Cardinal was referring, not to women covering their head in church, but merely to the custom of women covering their hair everywhere, as had formerly in some parts of the world been the case. Read his exact words. There is nothing that compels the conclusion that he was referring to liturgical veiling. To say otherwise would be to say that the Cardinal intentionally made a somewhat seditious statement-- as this document came out before the 1983 Code and there was no doubt in anyone's mind that the Canon 1262 was binding.

3. This document was issued by the CDF, which does not have competence over liturgical law. If this document was designed to amend the Code of Canon Law of 1917, it would have to had come from the Pope himself. If it was designed to change liturgical law, it would have come from the congregation with the comptetence to do so.

(NOTE: there are two types of approval a congregation's documents can receive from a Pope: in colloquial english general and specific. Specific approval [forma specifica] is necessary for the document to be binding with papal authority. Inter Insignores was of the first kind-- general. Summorum Pontificum was of the second kind-- forma specifica)

It is precisely because of the confusion about the head covering requirement caused by an absolute lack of catechesis and understanding of the law that I commissioned the study and published the post.

Finally, your section 6 abrogation argument from the 1983 Code was soundly answered by the post, and you haven't begun to refute the specific saving clause of section 2 or the immemorial custom argument."

In the end, it is up to you to determine whether you will veil. God's peace to you.

Alison said...

Honestly, I don't say this to be mean. I don't find a lot of your counter arguments convincing. I don't think that either of us are qualified to debate canon law. I would put forth the priests and laity who used this document to state their case have much knowledge or more than you or I do but they just deal with flesh and blood and don't have time for the internet. May God bless those men.

You know how Rush Limbaugh says that he nevers argues with an idiot on the air because you won't win and after awhile people won't be able to tell the difference. So it is time to save one of us from looking like an idiot. I think I can offer a more reasonable solution. I'll email you later today or this weekend.

Anonymous said...

I love the women at the latin mass! They cover their heads in an attempt to be pius but there is no charity in their thought, word or deed. But insted they spend their time in gossip, lies and ruining anyones reputation who appears to look "normal." Maybe the practice of humility should be practiced in all aspects of their lives.

thetimman said...

Anonymous, I posted your uncharitable and untrue comment because it is a specimen of the worst of internet conversation.

I am simply amazed that you can read the mind and soul of any person, let alone the untold many women at the Latin Mass.

Maybe the first soul you should size up is your own. Print your comment and take it to your parish priest at confession and see if he approves. Of course, going to confession requires that practice of humility you rightly point out we all need.

Your comment is one of a type that convinces me that the head covering issue must be important, or so many wouldn't react by spazzing out. What is it about women wearing a head covering at Mass-- a two millenia old practice-- that frightens you so much?

Anonymous said...

How can you deny that these so- called traditinalist arent doing as I said in my previous posting? I attended the latin mass for almost 10 years only to leave after being so discussed with the the fake and eliteness of these people. I love the beauty of the Latin Mass but cant stand the fakeness of its people. Why is it that the people of the local parishes (non-latin mass I might add). Are more charitable to outsiders? They are friendly and open their arms out to a non familiar person? While the people especially the women at the latin mass are too busy tring to size up any newbees when they ask how many children the newcomer has? They have an era or superiority when they find out that they have more children that the newcome and since the newcomer or seasoned veteran (such as myself) does not cover their head, dresses in the non little house on the prarie fashion or wears make up they immediately deem them as a "sinner" and turn their back on the newcome. Please tell me how this makes the latin mass, veil believers better than anyone else. And for your interest in my spiritual well being, I have spoken to many priests who concern with me when it comes to lack of charity at the latin mass.

As far as your claim about the "two millenia old practice" of covering ones head, I personally have no problem with it. I just hate the lack of charity that these so called humble women (and men for that mattter) have as they pretend they are so pious and above everyone.

But thank you for the spiritual advice!!!

thetimman said...


It is not the goal of this comment to win any argument, truly. So I would like to come to some kind of meeting place with you. Of course, as human beings attend the Latin Mass, and the Novus Ordo, too, there will be the full panoply of human faults and failings. I don't know what Latin Mass church you attended, and I don't want to, but I cannot say that I see this attitude at the Oratory. Most women wear veils, but I have never heard anyone saying a mean word to another on the subject, nor have I heard it in conversations about others.

This evidence, like yours, is anecdotal. But perhaps divining an "air of superiority" is more the issue with the receiver than the alleged sender. What kind of judgments the novus ordo attendees make for one who does wear a veil, who does have a large family, and who does respect the Tabernacle and its Contents we will pass over in silence. Because, you see, we cannot know the heart of a person by our speculations.

The beauty of the Latin Mass comes from its being the liturgy of the Church handed down for over 1600 years (at least) in this form, and with close antecedents to apostolic times. It is the liturgy God has given us over time. It is not just beauty, but truth. Don't let a few gossips scare you away.

KarensMusic said...

Hello, Tinman
My husband sent me the link regarding Patrick Madrid's comments. I am a returning Catholic (30+ years as a Protestant), and have been distressed over the lack of God-honoring via head covering. So I've begun a mini-campaign at our Parish. The females who serve Eucharist are coming onboard, along with some in my Consecration to Mary Retreat and Our Lady of Guadalupe women. I've been slowly educating...and making veils to sell. I'm hoping all this will lead to other traditions being reinstated (First Eucharist Veils, Wedding Veils, modest clothing at Mass, no-meat Fridays, etc.) It is heartening to see that others are coming around. St. Paul gave us such good instruction on this!

KarensMusic said...

One comment to cmziall

Whether or not we want to read the 1985 Cannon Law 20-21, 27-28 (which help us understand that if a previous law was not abrogated, we should not abandon it), at least read St. Paul in I Corinthians 11:1-17. That in inself is enough to solidify the requirement for veils.