The only thing I can think of that I wish we had was veiling. In Minnesota so many of the women veiled, and it was wonderful to join them - feeling the veil on your head really helps tie you to the place and the experience. It’s both an expression of modesty, faith, and it it helps me focus!
Do you think if I started veiling again that I would stick out too much? Or would it make other people who are used to veiling feel more comfortable and follow suit?
So I’m just going to be as honest as possible which is that I think expected/enforced veiling is terrible terrible terrible and if there is no man or woman in Christ than why are men baring their heads while women have to cover up? According to Corinthians, the reason women need to veil is because they are not made in the image of God but in the image of man, made for men and wow fuck that (it also says our hair shouldn’t be “shorn” and I see no problems with pixiecuts (I have one) or women with shaved heads going to mass)
IMO: everyone has to or no one has to, and that gendered misogynist “women aren’t made imago Dei" anti-Genesis-1:1 bullshit can happily go the way of not allowing laity to receive the chalice.
Because of that source material and the fact that it’s no longer required, I also think that if you show up at a church where people don’t veil there may be people who take your veiling as a sort of “look at me I’m so pre-VatII pious” and I would probably not approach anyone who was veiled for church in an obvious ~veiling~ way, because it reeks of TradCat and I don’t need to ruin a good church experience with a Trad conversation.
HOWEVER: those are just forewarnings, not reasons to not veil. Any spiritual discipline that helps you in your prayer life and your experience of mass seems fair game to me. If you have a husband telling you you need to or you do it to remind yourself of the submission of women, nopity nope nope. If it helps you concentrate, great. So go for it if that’s your thing!
And what I used to do in order to give a nod to the tradition, was to wear a fancy hat to mass. That’s how many women in much of history followed “veiling” requirements. But that definitely also just fit into my fashion sense generally so it worked for me — vintage skirt, cardigan, little 1940s hat pinned to my curled bob. As a Catholic I mostly saved this for feast days but once I started going to Anglo-Catholic Episcopal masses I did this nearly every Sunday that I could swing it until the hassle of switching between my scooter/motorcycle helmet and a hat become too much of a pain in the ass.
The great thing about veiling in modern society, in my opinion, is that - what I’ve seen of it - is really stripped of what some might consider it’s original misogyny. Because no one is standing at the door of the church doing head checks, no one is required to cover her head. .So the women that do so choose to do so for their own personal reasons. And it has less to do with not being made in God’s image, which we know to be not true since we are repeatedly told to opposite, and more to do with the reverence I was mentioning.
Also, someone pointed out to me the other day, that it is a right that - in the modern definition of veiling - is not only exclusive to women, but a tribute to our Holy Mother. An invitation to imitate her strength and goodness. Men don’t get the option of veiling during mass as an additional devotion.
There is, and I think this is wonderful, and up and coming resurgence of veiling among teenage catholic females for just this reason. It’s a right they can lay claim to that they do not have to share with the boys.
And I LOVE that you used to wear hats to Mass. One thing I should have mentioned in my original post was how versatile the modern practice of “veiling” can be - in that it doesn’t require the traditional lace veil. Hats are very popular, also scarfs, yes the original chapel veils, and also pashminas - there has even been a great sharing of head covering techniques between women of different faiths.
LeeLach is a company based in Jerusalem that markets modest clothing to a variety of cultures and religions around the world, leading some modern Catholic women who veil to opt for the beautiful and practical tichel originally worn by Orthodox Jewish women. Or beautiful scarfs like Eastern Orthodox church members. Even the hijab - all of which has lead, rather than to anger over “misappropriation”, to this great dialogue between women of different faiths who all choose to cover their heads for reasons of religion, of modesty, or pride in their culture and their beliefs.
I have yet to meet one person, of any faith who, upon meeting someone else who covers, greet them with anything but welcome (and tips on how to better tie that scarf!).
Opps! This turned into a bit of a rant! Sorry, this is just such a moving topic for me. I think it’s beautiful, whether women choose to cover just during worship, or all day, every day.
And I know that in some corners of the world, covering the head is still a forced practice, used to oppress. But in someways I think that makes a woman’s right to choose to cover her head that much more important.
To be clear, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with veiling itself — only when it’s a forced/expected thing or when it’s proof-texted with Corinthians. I think it can be in many ways like cosmetics or shaving — serving an entirely different purpose obviously — but in the sense that you can be a feminist and choose to do it for your own reasons but women should know where it comes from and what factors might limit the objectivity of the choice, etc etc. I guess my worry about doing it myself would be silently communicating to other women that I buy the Corinthians decree, which I certainly do not. I wish the dialogue were more fully dominated by the kind you are expressing, rather than being a mix of that (which is a great sentiment) and sort of terrifying traditionalist attitudes that quote Corinthians or tell stories about how they weren’t sure about it but “it was really important to my husband and now I think it’s great.” I probably wouldn’t’ve included that whole disclaimer except that as soon as I started researching (I was trying to figure out if there’s a cultural difference between hats and shawls and lace veils) I ran into that kind of stuff.
So I guess to me it’s like, what of this is for me? what of this is being expected of me by men? and what am I communicating to other girls and women in my parish? ”It’s okay to veil” is obviously communicated but I think if you AREN’T a tradCat there’s kind of a duty to be public and clear about your belief that women aren’t secondary in the Church or in the eyes of God or any of that and this is humility and worship, not submission or averting scandal. I mean, I also went to church with my girlfriend/fiancee/wife so that did its own counter-communication.
I’d actually really love it expanded so it’s not a right reserved to women but something anyone can do as a gesture of humility and Marian devotion. Maybe it’s just me but I’d love to see little boys imitating their mothers and veiling to be like Mary too. They may not have wombs but they’re still bearers of Christ in the Eucharist, right? But then, I’m also Episcopalian Anglican and not RC, so my liturgical/church life is built more on an assumption that there is nothing a man can do that I can’t, so I don’t have the same need to reclaim spaces for myself, which could be more necessary in Roman or Eastern Orthodox circles.