With all of the recent confusion over the immemorial custom of women covering their heads at Mass, and whether there has been any change to its obligatory nature, Holy Mother Church once again steps in to provide guidance for her children.
In his ongoing pastoral care, and as part of his program for liturgical restoration, His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, has today announced that indeed the obligation for women to cover their heads at Mass continues to be in full force and effect. Yet, because the Holy Father believes in organic development in the liturgy, he has changed the nature of the type of headcovering to be used.
Instead of the venerable mantilla, the Holy Father has mandated that women must wear a snood at Mass.Link here.
What is a snood? It's easier to show than describe. Here is photo of one:
And don't think that the snood is just some novelty. No sir! It has been around for centuries, as this nifty painting will attest:
Even in the tumultuous 1940s, women wore these practical, yet oh-so-stylish lids while manning the Papal factories. Here is a photo of some ladies putting the finishing touches on a sedia gestatoria:
The trend towards snoods is affecting other sectors of modern life, and even other religious and cultural movements. For example, the Rasta-snood:
Even the "womenpriest" movement is getting into the act. This promotional photo (of paid models, not the galpriests themselves--or did I even need to point that out?) shows their new priest-chic line:
In retrospect, this may explain why Cardinal Burke assured his recent correspondent that a veil was no longer expected. The great Cardinal was almost certainly in the know, but didn't dare reveal the glorious destiny that was to confront the snood.
However, not everyone can wear them. Sorry, Your Holiness, but you will have to remove that when you enter St. Peter's: