Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Chapel Veils and Angels

The interest in veiling/wearing a headcovering for Christian women, in my observation, transcends schism, denomination and any other background. There is a desire in Christ following hearts to go deeper than just "going to church and quitting cursing". I've noted in an earlier article, the observation that "the whole spiritual world" is turning their hearts toward more traditional and conservative beliefs and practices, one of the most obvious being the wearing of something on a spiritually minded woman's head. This blog has pointed out, from the various blogs and articles that I've linked to, the trend of young women to "take the veil", be it Muslim, Jewish or Christian. Even the secularists are picking up on it and bringing head scarves into the fashion world. (We affect each other, I think.) Keep watching the trend, and be encouraged.

(Image here from, provider of chapel veils and mantillas. Please also see my Those Headcoverings Illustrated web page to find more places providing chapel veils and other headcoverings.)


"the chapel veil, revisited", by Chris & Co., is another testimonial describing the decision to wear a veil or mantilla in the old Latin style Catholic Mass, and translating that understanding of covering to be more than just a nice "old fashioned" style, but a spiritual, obedient act. Read how Chris puts it, in her blog:
". . . A veil is not a sign that a woman is "holier than thou". It is a sign that she is humbling herself before the Lord where he is present in the Blessed Sacrament. The mentality has seeped into other areas of my life, such as choosing what I wear to Mass and even to work. St. Agnes does not have an official dress code, but the pastor has written some suggestions in the bulletin and for the most part people dress nicely and modestly. Lots of jackets, ties, dresses, etc- in spite of the fact that the church is not air conditioned. I always wear a skirt to church and I kneel on the floor of my bedroom before I leave to make sure the hem touches the floor (then you know the skirt is long enough!) I am much more aware of how women (especially young women and teens) dress, and I can't help but ponder what effect that has on their dignity and how they are treated by men.

Many women cite 1 Corinthians 11 as Biblical support for headcovering. (Funny how fundamentalists, who are so keen on interpreting the Bible literally, don't wear mantillas!) Fellow blogger and mantilla-wearer Mary Rose recently wrote about this on her fabulous blog. It is true that the Church used to require women to cover their heads in church (formerly, this often meant a hat) and according to current canon law it is no longer explicitly required. But no one ever said we couldn't. Or shouldn't. For me, a sign of respect and submission to the Lord is just as valid now as it was 50 years ago. Anything that fosters more respect and reverence in Mass can ONLY be a good thing! . . ."

Please also read: "Veiling Again", from Jonathan Knox of "TestimonyToTruth" at blogspot, for a lengthy discussion of veiling in the Catholic churches and Vatican 2.

Read more about the Latin Mass and Vatican 2 discussion in the article: "Traditionalist parish at odds with Catholic Church - Members favor doctrine before Vatican II", by Jim Merkel, in (St. Louis).


"The Christian Libertarian" offers an answer the question of the angels, including this interesting version of the verse in question:

1 Corinthians 11:10 (Amplified Bible)

Therefore she should [be subject to his authority and should] have a covering on her head [as a token, a symbol, of her submission to authority, that she may show reverence as do] the angels [and not displease them].

What this translation seems to be indicating is that the angels are very reverent and respect the authority of God (their head), and women are to show respect to their head (the husband) in much the same way; otherwise the angels would be displeased (because it would seem they are in a similar position of submission, and being blameless before God, they disprove of disrespect of authority).

Just more to think on, and why I personally see this subject of headcovering as transcendent of local culture, time and even diversity of beliefs.


In summary, the reasons that St. Paul advises women to cover their head in the church are:

  • Our Lord commanded it;
  • It is a visible sign of an invisible order established by God;
  • The Angels at Mass are offended if women don't use it;
  • It is a ceremonial vestment;
  • It is our heritage.
Christian women around the world have other reasons to wear a hat, mantilla, rebozo, gele, scarf, shawl or veil. Some wear it out of respect to God; others to obey the Pope's request, or to continue family traditions. But the most important reason of all is because Our Lord said: "if you love Me, keep My commandments" (John 14:15). We should always be ready with our bridal veils, waiting for Him and the promised wedding (Apoc. 22:17), following the example of our Blessed Mother, Mary, who never appeared before the eyes of men but properly veiled. To those who still think that the veil is an obsolete custom, remember that: "Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday and today, yes, and forever" (Heb. 13:8).
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