Friday, May 20, 2011

Article Review: National Catholic Register on The Law

"Women's Head Coverings at Mass: Won't Say I Told You So, But ..."

-- blog article in: National Catholic Register (
-- author: Jimmy Akin
-- religious description: Roman Catholic
-- head covering belief: "I have no problem with women wearing head coverings. In fact, I’m rather partial to the practice, and I fully support any woman’s right to wear one.. . . But I’m not going to falsify what the law requires concerning them."

This is a pretty thorough and recent article, written in response to replies made regarding an earlier essay written by this author. The discussion is a common one in Roman Catholic forums on the subject: the old law that a woman partaking in mass has to wear a head covering was not included in the Second Vatican Council and was done away with by the 1983 Code of Canon Law, and therefore women do not have to wear a veil to mass according to law. But wearing a covering is still a good thing. Discussions of this sort do not have to do - usually - with Biblical scripture, but the various writings and interpretations of canon law. Several quotes of which are included in this article,especially that of Cardinal Burke, a head man in the church court. He concludes that a woman who does not cover her head at any form of mass is not in violation of law, nor should she be considered a sinner in the eyes of the Roman Catholic Church.

I appreciate his addendum here:
"Nevertheless, it is clear that those who participate in the extraordinary form of the Mass are intending to celebrate it as it was celebrated in 1962, to the extent provided by present law, and that included head coverings. Those regularly celebrating this form of the Roman Rite thus have an expectation that head coverings will be used. Failure to use them could be cause for puzzlement, even if it is not legally required. And the expectation (without legal requirement) may extend higher up the hierarchical chain, though Cardinal Burke does not make this clear."

Added interest and further study in this subject is included as you read past the author's signature in this blog, and arrive at the comments section. Comments sections must always be approached with a certain expectation of some good, some hostile, of course, and though I have not read through all of the seeming hundreds of comments, I did find this little tidbit, which I can also appreciate, from a writer called "Johnno":
"This is sort of in the same boat at kneeling for Holy Communion. I recognize that women do not need to wear a veil. But like not kneeling for Communion and receiving it on the tongue, a generation of women and men have lost a beautiful significance of such acts and the true reality and beauty that is before them."

I personally believe that covering for the explanations found in scripture are enough for me, but I also understand the additional ceremony and tradition of the Catholic church as it encourages seriousness, contemplation and humbleness when coming together to worship at a mass. Many folks do seem to think that modern philosophy, human perception (even when faulty) and fashion should alter tradition and even law. I suppose some folks would merely dismiss me as "conservative" or even closed minded, but I believe that there are some things that do not change. And an outward respect for GOD and the church of the believers (not to mention all others) is one thing that should not change.

Please read the article (and the links there, even), and let me know what you think.

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