December 17, 2009

Why Veil?



Father Zuhlsdorf recently posted about veils/mantillas on women during Mass. The comment thread made me think that sometimes Father Z is actually better off posting about what he’s eating than wading into the minefield of ladies fashion!

I wear a chapel veil to Mass. Some times I wear a snood or a hat rather than a veil but my head is usually always covered at Mass. I’ve been doing this for several years.

I can’t select one reason why I like to veil, but I have a couple.

•The veil helps me focus on Christ. I’m wearing it for Christ so right there I’m forced to reflect upon Christ simply by putting it on.
•The veil often acts almost like blinders. It can cut my peripheral vision a bit which, again, helps me focus on Christ and shut out the disturbances around me (people talking, people walking by etc.)
•The veil forces me to step up my dress. I’d feel ridiculous wearing jeans and a sweatshirt with a nice veil on my head.

This is all about me. Why? I have NO issues with women who choose not to wear a veil to Mass. We can quibble all we want to about whether the Canon Law of 1983 abrogated the Canon Law of 1917-fine. Until, that issue is definitively settled we are free, as women, to elect to veil or not.

Also, allow me to make it clear that I do NOT think that by veiling it's an outward expression of my inward belief that I'm holier than everyone else. On the contrary, I'm well aware of my shortcomings and no veil can cover those up.

Sometimes, I deal with sour expressions, usually on other women, when they see me with my veil. I have a method for dealing with this: smile, nod and acknowledge them quietly "hello". The smile you wear underneath the veil goes a long way towards placating those who think the veil is a throwback to some legendary era when women were slaves.

17 Comments:

Blogger Terry Nelson said...

"The smile you wear underneath the veil goes a long way..."

I've found that too.

I like the veil in the photo. I like Hermes scarves too.

Hey - do you know where I can find a neck-ring for men?

One thing I'd never be caught dead in is a cape - especially a pleated one.

December 17, 2009 3:20 PM  
Blogger Ray from MN said...

On thing that I would never be caught dead in is a "snood!"

What the heck is a "snood?"

December 17, 2009 4:54 PM  
Blogger Nan said...

I saw a woman in her winter mantilla at Mass the other day.

http://www.northerntool.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/product_6970_200343165_200343165

December 17, 2009 5:47 PM  
Blogger Terry Nelson said...

Oh for heaven's sake Ray - you never heard of Jean Arthur the actress?

December 17, 2009 9:30 PM  
Blogger Ray from MN said...

Jean Arthur? I think she's even older than me. But that still doesn't tell me what a snood is.

December 17, 2009 9:56 PM  
Blogger Cathy_of_Alex said...

Ray: It's a knitted (usually with embroidery like thread) net that is worn over the hair. It may have beads or multi-colored threads on it. Lady McSnood sells them. Yes, that's her name and website! They are popular at Renaissance Fairs! Too bad, Bede, is illin' she'd stop over and testify to the snood!

December 18, 2009 8:43 AM  
Blogger nazareth priest said...

I think wearing a veil is a very respectful and reverent action in honor of our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.
As monks, we are to wear our hood at various times, as well, although it is not quite the same as a woman's veil.
Keep up with the traditional reverence of our Lord, Cathy.
Your spirit, revealed in this blog, shows you are not thinking you are holier-than-thou.
Let the rest deal with it!

December 18, 2009 3:27 PM  
Blogger Georgette said...

That's it...giving off the false impression that I thnk I'm holier than thou...that prohibits me from wearing the veil. Here in the US, especially.


I did wear one of my many scarves from India on my head once, at the TLM, and that felt good, actually. So I know all of what you speak of is true.

December 19, 2009 7:46 AM  
Blogger Georgette said...

Re: the "snood"...the women wearing them look like they work at a seafood processing plant. :-X

December 19, 2009 7:48 AM  
Blogger Cathy_of_Alex said...

Gette: LOL!

Father JM: You act like a tonic upon my soul. I'm always so happy to "see" you!

December 19, 2009 11:10 AM  
Blogger Ray from MN said...

Well, since nobody could describe one, I had to avail myself of Google images to figure out what a snood was.

I've seen 'em. And, they are not very flattering, I must say. And I don't know if they are effective in keeping things from falling into the pea soup (or mackerel, Gette!).

December 19, 2009 6:02 PM  
Blogger Bobby said...

The veil ensures you dress better . . . ha! That reminds me of situations at too many churches in this area where sloppy dress is the standard. I've seen kids in shorts and tee-shirts at church by gals and yes, guys, who think they should show as much, or more, leg in church than a female news anchorman on the morning newscasts (notably to me is one who went to college around the same time as I did, graduated from the same university, is the one I am referring), jeans and tee-shirts, often with a certain sports team. There is almost no reverence for serious sacred church music.

And that is serious. Today's generation does not understand proper dress for anything. Just last week at Messiah at a friend's church, one woman in the choir wore a black shirt and black jeans -- this while the men were in "evening dress" at a church service -- and yes, I was in a tuxedo! Choir dress was nearly nonexistent save for the organist, director, and a few women in the choir, and all men.

December 21, 2009 3:41 PM  
Blogger pinksy82@comcast.net said...

I can remember when I would not dare get on a plane without a dress and heels. Don't get me started on attire in Catholic Churches.

December 21, 2009 9:55 PM  
Blogger Ray from MN said...

Ho Ho Ho!

Merry Christmas, Everybody.

And if you think that you knew what a "snood" was, it might be more than you think.

That great arbiter of culture, "Slate", www.slate.com has photos of various fashionable snoods in use this season.

http://www.doublex.com/content/snood-stole-christmas

What is most interesting to me is that especially No. 5 looks like a rip-off of an archbishop's pallium.

The pallium, a vestment made of virgn lambs wool awarded to new archbishops by the Pope personally in Rome, is reminiscent of a good shepherd's sling to carry lost or injured lambs back to the flock.

http://listverse.files.wordpress.com/2007/11/gal.08.pope.pallium.ap-1.jpg

December 25, 2009 12:56 PM  
Blogger Kay said...

Cathy.. May God bless you for you sharing your feelings on wearing a veil to mass.

I wear one as it reminds me of the day I received my first "Holy Communion" and believe shows reverence as we come before the Lord our God.

Thank you for your faith to speak up and May the Lord, bless you with joy!

March 02, 2010 12:55 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

I have been veiling since a little before I got married 8 months ago. I veil for a number of reasons not the least being that I remain a bride of the church and am special in Gods sight. Being so special to God I am for his eyes only in his sacred house. For me veiling is an extension of my modesty. Just as I wear clothes that do not show off my body in public; because, my body is meant for my husbands eyes only, I veil to obscure view of my face from everyone but my Lord. Despite what the feminists would have you believe, veiling is not a way to suppress women. In fact as Alice von Hildebrand reminds us, sacred things such as the Ark of the Covenant, the Eucharist when in the tabernacle and the chalice are all veiled. Why then would a woman be diminished by veiling? I believe just the opposite is true. By veiling in the presence of our Lord, a women is acknowledging that she realizes her place in God's holy plan and the sanctity of that place

August 25, 2010 9:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Heh-hee! I now simply, must, MUST "be-snood" myself anon!

Or, "Alas! She hath besnooded herself henceforth..." Ah, the possibilities! :)

I have seen some nice photos at Garlands of Grace and find them quite lovely!

I have been veiling at Mass for a few years (??) though mostly at Tridentine Mass. *Sometimes* I veil at Roman/"New Rite" and try to give up caring about others' opinions for the obvious reasons that:
1. I'll never really know what "others" think or feel offended by unless I waste time *asking* and,
2. It's not my business to figure that out anyway. Assisting at Holy Mass with my heart, however, IS under my control and IS my business, and I can't let such things distract me from Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament (a wonderful mystery that should keep my mind pretty well occupied for that 1&1/2 hr. in the pew, thankyouverymuch.) All this in addition to the usual reasons for veiling, of course. :)
So, I would be quite pleased if I could indeed be considered part of the choir preaching right back with ya. :)

Thanks for the nice site & info on where to find different kinds of veils. :) Cheers, all!

December 31, 2010 12:30 AM  

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