Sunday, June 5, 2011

Chapel Veils at Mass - and covering up in general

A number of women have asked me about the wearing of chapel veils at Mass. It is striking that many young women feel the desire to wear a veil at Mass but worry that they might stand out and draw attention to themselves.

At an Extraordinary Form Mass there is of course no risk of this being a cause for concern but at a regular Ordinary Form Mass being "different" could be a problem. Still, some have begun to wear the veil at OF Masses.

My opinion: very much in favour - in principle! But each woman must weigh it up for herself.

Here's how Fr Z has replied to a enquirer

Jen at Quodcumque dixeritis vobis facite writes about "That thing on my head".

I think we all need to re-visit our attitude to modesty at Mass. Women need to take care that they are more covered than uncovered. But men too should exercise restraint. Is it acceptable to attend the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in shorts? I know there can be cultural reasons that can make this "normal". There are such things as elegant and even very formal short pants/trousers. To these I would have no objection. But the kind of shorts that one would wear to the beach or on a hike? I'm not so sure.

With the slightest bit of sunshine, people strip off. The priest, however, is required to wear a full set of vestments. This is not a burden to him but rather a reminder of who is standing in place of. Except when I have not had it with me - e.g. when travelling - I do not recall not wearing a cassock under my alb even in the hottest weather. You just sweat - that's all. Perfectly natural.

It's nice to see families that make a special effort to dress up - even casually - for Sunday Mass. I think it's perfectly possible to find the right middle way.


  1. Father John. Thank you for this post. I am one of those women who have sought your guidance about veiling at Mass. I've been discerning it for a few months, and after speaking with you and praying, I felt called to wear one. There is so much humility and modesty in wearing a veil. It brings be great peace at Mass. It makes me feel closer to our Lord, especially Mary, who I try to model after every second of my life. She always covered her head. My husband does not make me wear it, and I don't wear it because of men in my church. I wear it for God. I wear it because I want to be more humble, loving, and faithful. I also dress modestly everyday, and ALWAYS dress up for Mass. Would you wear jeans to meet the president? So why, then, wear them to meet our Lord? I also 99% of the time wear dresses or skirts, and barely wear pants or jeans. Again, modeling after Mary. Thanks for this post! Peace!

  2. Yes, let’s have more ‘dressing up’ for Mass. I confess to being one of the ‘shorts brigade’ up to a few years ago (they were dress shorts – the kind I wore for golf as even the golf club had a dress code). However, for Christmas I always wore jacket, shirt, tie and dress pants. A few years ago it finally dawned on me – my metanoia moment, as it were. Why am I doing this just for Christmas? Is Mass any less every other Sunday or weekday of the year?

    I was mindful of the fact that were I going to a function – a dinner, a wedding and so on, I would dress up. Were I to be meeting the Pope or the President, I would dress up. So why am I not doing it to meet Our Lord…? Now it's always ‘dress clothes’ for Mass any day of the week.

    To the lady concerned about ‘standing out’ with a chapel veil, I am the only male at my parish Mass that dresses up, unfortunately! But I am not doing it to give an example. It is not for them, but for Him. Though I would not be averse to others following suit – in a manner of speaking…

  3. Good to avoid sticking out like a sore thumb, mind. Turning up at your average parish with a bit of fake lace on one's head is just throwing away credibility points unnecessarily. Hats, scarves - there's a whole range of things to put on one's head that don't say HEADGEAR WORN FOR PIOUS REASONS!


  4. What an uncharitable thing to say, berenike. Thankfully it's not for you to be the judge regarding what a woman should or shouldn't wear as a headcovering.

  5. I myself am a woman who veils at Mass. It just feels right: to imitate Our Lady, to veil in respect and love to my soon-to-be Spoyse Christ with a Vocstion to the Religioys Life I love wearing the veil as a reminder of my Calling from Him to be His bride. There are a few African women at my Church who cover their heads avd some of the older ladies have hats but I am alone in wearing the Mantilla chapel veil.

    I am pushing to get my Priest to provide the Latin Mass for any of the faithful that wish to participate in it. Iy is so beautiful I have only seen it on the Internet but the reverence... So beautiful. Please could you prsy for this intention.


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