Monday, April 23, 2007

"Catholic Identity Crisis"

I feel like I am living a double life. Haha. No, seriously. I have read many historical and scripture referenced accounts on the use and discontinuation of the chapel veil. I understand the purpose, the meaning and the reason for all women to wear them in church, always(yes, I know it's a choice). Being in such a liberal diocese, the only women that use them are homeschoolers, traditionals and some of the older ladies(very few of them). I'm interested to see how other ladies deal with this issue. I always wear to any Tridentine Mass/devotion/etc., but the same Jesus that is there is in the NO and when there is no Latin(such as daily), I am not willing to just stop for the sake of the NO. For those unfamiliar with this practice/tradition, here are some great links:
The Veil
Wear Your Mantilla with Pride
Mantilla Sell Out or Sacramental?
Why the Veil?
I know this is a non-issue in cities where there is an indult parish(sigh....someday) but my daughter and I try to wear them whenever we can. I just don't think this "double life" thing is going to last. I am not ashamed of who I am or what I have come to. There is a humility issue that comes into play with all of this, too. I feel like someone in blogdom should institute an international "Show Us Your Veil" week. Then all of us will come out of the closet the same week. See what happens when I blog on less than a half a cup o' joe? Regardless, St. Paul deserves so much credit for "getting it right" and being fearless. I guess that is where I should take my cue.

Jimmy Akin has comments on the discussion at the tailend of his entry here: Mantillas & Chapel Veils
I am to the point where I want to always because I now feel uncomfortable NOT wearing because of my belief. It is one of those things that was in Canon Law and now is not and these things puzzle me. Because they wanted Canon Law to be more concise? Like Cliff Notes? Eh, okay. Odd, but okay. This person's comments on another Jimmy Akin entry is what I have been battling:

One irony of the sitution is that many women feel disinclined to wear a veil on personal initiative precisely because of the (possibly deliberate) confusion about its necessity and even its praiseworthiness. Holy women don't want people to look at them and think: is she trying to make a scene? does she think she's better than me? and so on.

Culturally, we've dropped the ball on this just as with weekly Friday abstinence. While neither practice is canonically mandated, both are praiseworthy. Unfortunately, the faithful have scarcely been exhorted to regular abstinence and even less so to veiling.

I feel we don't have that many traditions left as Catholics. I think this "thing" I am battling falls in the greater context of "Catholic identity crisis". How many more sacred traditions will we lose? Art, music, architecture, prayers, devotionals....makes the head spin. I've apparently gone further into this issue than I originally intended but it does get the mind churning.
EDIT: Another perk to the veil is hiding my face slightly if I get "weepy"(yes, women do that in church sometimes). It's a weird thing. Like that comment suggested, I want to wear because of my knowledge/belief, not because of pride. I most of the times feel incredibly unworthy in church and feel more meek or respectful veiled.


Ma Beck said...

Great post.
I'm sure you have already read all this, but for the benefit of your readers who may not have:
I was shocked when I bought Code of Canon Law 1983 and read that, in fact, the law regarding veiling is still in effect.
1) CCL 1983 states that earlier laws are derogated when specifically stated. Canon 20.
2) CCL 1983 states that Custom is the best interpreter of laws.
Canon 27.
3) CCL 1983 states that a custom is revoked by a contrary custom or law. But unless the law makes specific mention of them, it DOES NOT REVOKE CENTENNIAL OR IMMEMORIAL CUSTOMS. Veiling is, of course, one of the few immemorial customs of the Roman Church.
4) CCL 1983 didn't mention veils. It also didn't mention taking the Body of Christ home to sell at a garage sale, but that's still prohibited. It also didn't mention modest dress at Mass, but that's still expected. Had the CCL 1983 mentioned every rule and custom of the Church, I would need a bigger bookshelf.

I've heard people speak on both sides, and frankly, I read what I read and it's obvious to me that veiling should still be practiced.
Canon Law clearly states that immemorial custom has the force of law.
"Only a centennial or immemorial custom can PREVAIL over a canonical law which carries a clause forbidding future customs." -Canon 26.
I admit I don't like to veil. It falls down, my baby pulls at it, and I feel odd in some parishes when I'm traveling. I hardly think it makes me holier than anyone, and to be perfectly honest, I'm not offended if other women don't veil. That's their business and most of them have been taught that "the thing about veiling was done away with in Vatican II."
Basically, I wear a veil because I read something that said I should.
It's just how I personally interpret the words I read in CCL 1983.
My apologies for the long comment.

Simon-Peter Vickers-Buckley said...

Like my wife says "If it's good enough for the Mother of God, it's good enough for me."

Yes, the veil or hat is still in force. Basic law school stuff. Unless specifically abrogated any earlier provision is incorporated by reference.

Let me ask you as question. Why do you think it is that not a single person, not one, in the two years my wife has worn a veil at the NO has anyone asked her why? Why? Not one? Nobody's curiousity has overcome their reticence?

By the same token, I kneel and receive, always have, always will wherever I go. Why has no one, in any parish, anywhere, ever asked me what the heck I think I am doing?

Why IS that?

Oh, and before someone says, we do it because it is right and damn the looks or comments. You all might really want to think why no one has ever asked why we do what we do.

Mac McLernon said...

I did a couple of posts on wearing the mantilla. First one and the second !

I haven't been wearing it for very long, but now I can't imagine not wearing one. Go for it!!

northernalliance02 said...

all i care to say is this quote from saint ambrose

"When I go to Rome, I fast on Saturday, but in Milan I do not. Do you also follow the custom of whatever church you attend, if you do not want to give or receive scandal."

Mac McLernon said...

With all due respect, there is nothing scandalous in wearing a mantilla.

Ma Beck said...

Mac's right.
Canon Law is Canon Law, and just because St. Whomever's is operating outside the law doesn't give me the right to do so as well.

a thorn in the pew said...

I will say, it is hard to know what the customs are on a local basis when traveling and the like. I can't be changing who I am based on where I travel or where we are. I long for the days of restoration of the "universal" Church. Truly universal. I don't look at the veil as a fad or fashion.

Simon-Peter Vickers-Buckley said...


elena maria vidal said...

I always wear a veil or hat to Church. It is grounded in Scripture and Tradition and is the right thing to do. We should never be afraid to do what is right, regardless of what those around us are doing. If other women choose to go bareheaded, that is their choice; I don't judge them. I hope they are not judging me, but that is their affair.

Boeciana said...

If wanting to be inobvious in a NO parish, hats and wee scarves are always options, of course. Though I'm so used to veiling that I'll swathe massive silk scarves round my head and not realise that I probably look like a Bedouin and weirder than if I'd brought the mantilla... A couple of girls have asked why I always have something on my head, and seem happy enough with the answer - not that they've started veiling! The case for it from Scripture and Tradition seems very strong, but it's so little known and so many folk are confused that it's surely not a matter of sin for most women when they don't veil. And for me, the challenge is to make it a catalyst to virtue and not an occasion of vanity! More than half an hour spent looking at mantillas online is always a bad sign...

Coffee Wife said...

Oooh what a wonderful blog! I was studying history in college - I love it!

I always wear a hat or veil to Mass. I posted some pictures of my latest foo-foo hats I bought. Something I always wanted!!

I don't think a hat saves me but I wear one anyway in the name of tradition! GOD BLESS!

Coffee Wife said...

"I feel like someone in blogdom should institute an international 'Show Us Your Veil' week. Then all of us will come out of the closet the same week."

Hey, I'll do that. I'll post about that on my blog but I'll need your help spreading the word. (No one will know to look at my blog otherwise!)

I'll call it 'Show Us Your Veil' and write a blurb saying no, the veil does not save us and it does not make us better then women without veils. But it IS a beautiful and humbling tradition that needs to be given just as much of a right to exist as bare heads!!