Saturday, January 26, 2008

Why do Catholic women wear veils (mantillas)?

To my surprise many Catholics have forgotten about or not been taught about this beautiful tradition. I am frequently asked by my fellow Parishioners why my wife and daughters ware veils at Church and during Mass. After Vatican II it was no longer required that women veil them selves while in Church or during Mass. What supprised them even more was, it's not just Catholic women that wear them, many Protestant and Presbyterian women wear them as well. And for many of the same reasons.

I am very pleased to see, especially at my Parrish, the return of the veils. It is a beautify tradition and I fully support those who choose to do so as well as engorge other women to do so. I can think of no better way to help prepare you for Mass and help to keep you focused on the importance of the Mass, Jesus Christ!

I tried to keep this relatively as simple a explanation as I possibly could. So in a some what a short and simple way I present the most common reasons many Catholic and non-Catholic Christan women ware veils. I have included some links at the end of this blog for those that wish to read more on veils and mantillas:

Scripture basis for veils:

"But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a woman is her husband, and the head of Christ is God. Any man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head, but any woman who prays or prophesies with her head unveiled dishonors her head—it is the same as if her head were shaven. For if a woman will not veil herself, then she should cut off her hair; but if it is disgraceful for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her wear a veil.

"For a man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man. (For man was not made from woman, but woman from man. Neither was man created for woman, but woman for man.) That is why a woman ought to have a veil on her head, because of the angels....If any one is disposed to be contentious, we recognize no other practice, nor do the churches of God." (1 Corinthians 11:3-10,16)

Social / Moral /Faith (Christan):

In obedience to Sacred Scripture, many Catholic women wear some kind of veil or head covering. Some wear a head covering only at Mass. Others feel called to wear a head covering at other times during the day, as well as at Mass. These women are following the call of the Holy Spirit. Society discourages women from wearing a head covering and from doing anything else which shows submissiveness and obedience. Yet these women have found the light of truth in the midst of dark times.

The moral law requires all women to wear the veil on their hearts. A woman should not wear the veil on her head, until she is wearing it first on her heart. A woman who wears the veil on her heart accepts the place that God gives to women in the Church, the family, and society. Women who wear the veil on their hearts are imitating the Virgin Mary in her humility, submissiveness, and obedience to Christ.

The veil should cover her head, but not her face. It is first and foremost symbolic of humility, submissiveness and obedience. When Saint Veronica saw Jesus carrying His cross, she took off her veil and gave it to Him to wipe His face. He handed the veil back to her, and it had an image of His face on it. In this way, Christ gave a special blessing to the practice of wearing a veil. Even Veronica's name comes from this event. She is called Vera icon because she had a true icon of Christ, her veil with His face on it. Nearly every Catholic Church has the Stations of the Cross with this event at one of the stations.

The Virgin Mary wore a veil or head covering because she understood this symbol of the different roles given to men and women. Those women who wear the veil are imitating the Virgin Mary in her humility and submissiveness. Nearly every Catholic Church has a stature or image of Mary wearing a veil.

I also found a very nice poem about the veil written by Hilary Mary Bernadette Flanery:

Oh lowly, little, chapel veil,
You are my dearest friend.
For when my hair's all mops and brooms,
You cover, end to end.

And when my hair's not curling right
Or when it sticks out straight,
You gently hold it all in place
And make it look first rate!

But feminists, they hate you so,
You lowly, simple thing.
To them you are so vile, not veil,
To praise Our Lord and King.

And passing by the Church of Seven,
"Autonomy's", their phrase.
They never know the joys of Heaven,
Such as, no bad-hair-days!

For lowly, lacey, chapel veil,
You tame my hair, so wild!
But truth-be-told, though I look nice,
It's really for The Child.

Here are the links I promised earlier:

God Bless!

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