Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A poll to vote on!

Over at his fine blog What Does the Prayer Really Say, the ineffable Fr. Z has a poll running: Should women wear head coverings at church? I recommend you go over there and vote now; it should be up for at least a week from today, but don't count on it!

Jackie Kennedy rocking the white mantilla!
For my part, I would like to see female head coverings, like mantillas, come back as part of a greater movement by Catholics to dress more appropriately for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. However, I don't see the use right now of legislating it, since "cafeteria Catholics" and "C&E Catholics" don't pay much attention to canon law or USCCB norms anyway. (And, lest you think I'm being sexist, I'd also like to see men wearing proper hats ... fedoras, not baseball caps.)

The appropriate citation is 1 Corinthians 11:2-16, if you're insistent on the matter. My take on it, though, is that head covering is a matter of discipline rather than dogma, and the rule can be adjusted to suit the cultural context; I believe that's also the Vatican's current thought on the matter. (I stand willing to be corrected.) At the time St. Paul wrote, a woman's hair was her pride; even today, after fifty years of women's liberation, in our culture it's more important for a woman to have beautiful hair than for men to have hair at all. Yet I don't really notice any less vanity among men about their hair—or lack thereof—than among women. It was sometime a paradox, but the time gives it proof.

What do you think? Let me—and Fr. Z—know!


  1. Nice blog you have here, I followed over from a comment you left at Creative Minority Report.

    FWIW, I think the whole issue of women wearing a head covering is nonsense. If we really want to concentrate on an outward display of Catholic virtue, let's start hammering all the obese folk that waddle their way into the pew on Sundays. Displaying the results of overindulgence would seem more sinful than a woman or man sporting a bare head.

    Like a lot of other items currently in discussion (reception of the Eucharist on the hand or tongue, girls as altar servers, Latin vs the vernacular, etc.) I'll go by the dictates of Rome. If it's not allowed, we shouldn't do it. If it's allowed, we should concentrate on more important stuff.

    Once again, nice blog.

  2. @ Subvet: Ouch! As an obese person myself, I can say that gluttony is different from all the other deadly sins in that it's the one besetting sin you can't hide. Don't worry, I didn't take it personally.

  3. I'm fifty pounds overweight myself. I only used that example as an obvious alternative for the Masstime fashionistas to indulge in (and I'm NOT including yourself in that group! One shot square in the foot is my limit for the day.)

    Seriously though, at a time when so many Catholics treat the Faith as a spiritual smorgasbord that they can pick and choose from, shouldn't we be hearing more "hellfire & brimstone" talk? There are plenty of topics available, contraception, abortion, the gay "lifestyle", etc. that would be more pertinent to our salvation than whether men and women properly cover their heads in church.

  4. You're a man after my own heart, Subvet. On my main blog, I've posted on the need for repentance as well as how lukewarm "Buddy Christ" homilies affect discipleship. And as I posted on Fr. Z's blog, once we get catechesis, liturgical propriety and better homilies squared away, smaller problems like proper dress for Mass will pretty much solve themselves.