17 February 2010

Situational Veiling

From time to time I cover the whole veiling issue at this site. If you have read for any length of time, you know that I am a proponent of making more widely known the fact that covering one's head at Mass is still obligatory for women under canon law.

An offshoot topic is the reality many women who do "veil" at the Traditional Mass (Extraordinary Form), do not veil when attending the Novus Ordo (Ordinary Form). Regardless of whether one veils out of tradition, or obligation, or preference, it is undeniable that there seems to be a reluctance to veil at the Ordinary Form. So, I thought to myself, why should this be? Is God God in the EF and not in the OF? Of course not. Is the EF a "real" Mass but the OF isn't? No again. So what are the reasons? Embarrassment? Something else?

Therefore, I have put up a poll on the right of the blog giving some possible explanations for this anomaly. I ask readers to play this straight, and not to comment if 1) you are a man, 2) if you always veil, regardless of form;, or 3) if you never veil at all, regardless of form. As your name is nowhere attached to the poll, please don't be afraid to participate. This is science, science, I say!

Thanks. Please, all readers, feel free to comment regarding the poll in the combox to this post.


Diego said...

Not directly related to the poll, but on the matter of veiling, one might consider the example set by the women of Japan:

http://www.newliturgicalmovement.org/2010/02/may-we-follow-example-of-tokyo-japan.html (watch the embedded video)

http://www.cbcj.catholic.jp/eng/jcn/jan2009.htm (especially Photo VII and Photo VIII)

Quite incredible, especially given that this is within the context of the Novus Ordo (sadly the closest thing you can get to a TLM in Japan is a Latin N.O., which is itself something of a rarity, though the SSPX does send a priest to offer the TLM several times a month).

Jane Chantal said...

I marked both "don't want to stick out" [I'm a coward] and "other reason". The "other reason" is that I feel there is already so much distrust of and hostility toward the EF on the part of persons who favor the OF, that by wearing a veil -- which certainly would make me "stick out" at the typical OF Mass -- I probably would accomplish nothing beyond exacerbating an already unfortunate situation.

This will continue to be a problem until bishops and priests take a deep breath, step up to the plate and teach on this subject. I sure wish they would. I'm not even saying that they have to appear to favor one or the other pov about covering the head -- I just wish they would explain why it is perfectly proper to do it!

But gee, I guess that would just be too "out there". (Eyeroll...)

Once, I did wear a scarf loosely tied under my chin at an OF Mass, and the scowl that I received from somebody was enough to intimidate me. Of course, the proper thing to at such a moment is to just look the scowler in the eye and smile beatifically :-D

Anonymous said...

I had never even heard of veiling until I began assisting at the EF about 5 years ago. In due time, I began veiling at the EF only. About 9 months ago, I began veiling at the OF. Now, I literally do not walk into a Catholic Church without veiling, whether I'm assisting at Mass or not. If there is a tabernacle present and the red lamp is glowing, I veil! I keep my veil in the glove compartment of my car, so I'm never without it. If I forget to bring the veil in from the car, I go back out and get it -- I feel "naked" without it now. For the record, I assist at an English only NO Mass 2 Sundays out of the month, Latin NO the other Sundays, as well as daily low Mass in the EF some weekdays and English NO other weekdays. One further note: I had been assisting for years at the English only NO parish when I began veiling for Mass there. The first Sunday that I veiled, a friend came up to me after Mass and complimented my lace. Otherwise, no one has said a word; I still receive all the same friendly smiles I received before... but I have yet to start a trend.

Meg said...

You WILL post the results for the humor of us veil-wearers (OF or EF, it doesn't matter!) right?

Peggy said...

I do not own a veil, but I wear a black square head scarf at EF, though it's hard to keep on w/o a hairpin. I can't wear a scarf or veil at the OF at our sappy clappy parish. It would be so out of bounds. We are the only parishioners I have ever seen here receive communion on the tongue.

Another reason I can't. I tried a couple of times and my younger son kept pulling it off my head. Pointless in that case. He'd still do it today.

Anonymous said...

On a related note, many of today's nuns have somehow been coerced into thinking (incorrectly) that the nun's veil bears some relationship to the sign of female oppression in Moslem countries called the berkah. There is utterkly nmo rerlationship betweenthe two. The nun's veil is for us Christians a sign of commitment, chastity, loving service and availability, spiritual motherhood, and consecration. I'd like to hear other positive ways of analyzing the nun's veil so that faithful Sisters who are out of the veil can be persuaded to its return. Our editor will kindly refuse to post any of the mindless and shallow criticisms of the nun's veil from this string (the project of secularizing religious life has clearly failed - we've heard enough from the deconstructionists of the past 45 years) so that I'd just like to gather other life-giving explanations for the proper understanding of the nun's veil.

Anonymous said...

I attend a NO parish. We have several women who veil. If I veiled, I would lead people into gossip. They already gossip about me and if covering my head is going to lead them to sin more, I don't think I should do it. ;) Really, though, it would make me stand out more than I already do (expecting #8) and people have already accused me of being too 'pious'. I would like to veil and I wish that our priest would mention it during a homily or two. In the meantime, I may sound a bit off my rocker, but I feel like my guardian angel is veiling me during mass. I feel like there is something covering my head.

On a snarky note though, how do all those women who barely bend at the waist before they pass out Eucharist get by without being instructed to veil when they went through training to be extraordinary ministers? Isn't that the responsibility of not only the local priests but also the archdiocese?

Jane Chantal said...

Here is part of the explanation of nuns' attire on the website of the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament, first wrt the Novice stage:

"Underneath the white veil, the nun wears a white head covering. This is a symbol that her mind is not on "the world" but on the Kingdom that is to come. No part of her mind, intellect, memory, or will is to be part of the world, part of darkness, or part of anything that is contrary to Jesus Christ.

The white collar is a symbol that the nun is surrounded with "community", the religious life lived in common. She wishes to live in goodness, in love, and in poverty of mind and heart. She puts at the very top of her body, which is consecrated to God, something white as a constant reminder that she is a temple of the Holy Spirit. That temple must be ever clean and pure."

...and continuing at a later stage:

"The black outer part of the veil is a sign that the nun is dead to the world. Inside the veil is white— this represents the glory of Heaven. This white part is partially hidden by the black to symbolize that those who are "of the world" cannot see the reward that is to come. Wearing this veil is the nun's witness to that reward."


StGuyFawkes said...

Good Papists One and All,

I don't want to start up the contentious side argument which I -- the abominable St.Guy -- initiated last time we discussed the veil, but I would like to add that pious single women, piously wearing their veil, look very attractive, and marriage worthy, to pious single men.

It is a clear signal of belief that wise bachelors will notice in their search for a woman to marry.


But it is all part of a larger plan of God's to build the Kingdom of God by attracting like to like.

That's all.


The Execrable One, St. Guy.

Always veil said...

St. Guy,

I hope you find a pious single lady! The only problem is finding the single ones. I think the married women used to wear black veils and the single white and now it is really not that way, although my daughters do not ever wear black. (They are too young for you)

Jane Chantal said...

Well, yes. Excellent point. The aesthetic angle is not to be overlooked, and from the male pov, doubtless is all the more compelling for its signification of feminine modesty and virtue.

From the ladies' pov, what red-blooded female, having donned a mantilla, doesn't look in the mirror and hear echoes of "I Feel Pretty" from "West Side Story"?

It's not for nothing that our good sisters who "take the veil" live mirrorless.

StGuyFawkes said...

Dear Always Veil and Jane Chantal,

Thanks to you each for allowing me to enter into this subtle and delicate topic. I myself have been happily married some 19 years. HOwever, I remember being attracted to my wife on our first date due to the fact that she was so reserved and serious. She was the kind of woman who wore a veil even when she wasn't wearing one.

Morever, I remember in my bachelor years attending the EF at St. Agatha's and wishing someone would introduce me to the twenty something women, observably unatttached, who were wearing the veil. I thought the veil was a commendation and an instigation to any red blooded male who wanted to find Catholic virtue embedded in flesh and blood.........and so desire is placed on the right path right from the beginning.

I don't think women should wear the veil because of the mantilla's effect on men. That defeats the purpose. HOwever, I'm not saying it's a bad reason in as much as it does have a prectical effect.

Serious men see in the veil the sign of a serious woman and respect emanates from that symbol and from there a more basic human interest can begin on a solid footing.

I love the idea of married women wearing black and single women wearing white, although I've never heard of it.

Prots always talk about meeting good women at Church. I wonder if a Catholic practice wasn't destroyed with the vanishing of the veil.

By the way, Jane Chantal, that was a good line about Maria in West Side Story. I wonder if the hispanic or italian Catholics don't understand this whole business better than we do. If a woman wears the veil she doesn't have to work at looking attractrive, she is attractive because her looks are sourced back in the divine where all good things come. The mantilla does an end run around fashion it's the permanent fashion, or as Chesterton might put it the permanent revolution in fashion.

St. Guy