08 April 2009
‘To veil or not to veil, that is the question…’
It’s controversial and an often emotive subject, and one that’s quite close to my heart, so I thought I’d write some very brief thoughts down on the subject.
Nailing my courage and my least favourite mantilla to the sticking place, I’ll at once admit that I think veiling is a lovely thing to do, and wouldn’t dream of not wearing one when I’m at an EF Mass. I’ll also admit that I’m inconsistent, and I don’t wear one when I’m at an OF Mass, but I wish I did. So why do I, and why don’t I?
There are many great articles about why a woman should cover her head, and about why it’s no longer required and I read these articles many times over, one in particular from Fish Eaters. Being a bolshie sort it takes a lot to convince me of anything, but I came to the conclusion that far from being demeaning, or implying women to be second class Catholics, the very opposite was true.
So why do I? Most unspiritually, because it’s always been the Catholic thing to do and what’s so wrong with a two thousand year old tradition? It’s part of our Catholic heritage which I believe we ought to claw back, along with other Catholic traditions that I wasn’t brought up with. More spiritually speaking, putting on a mantilla in the narthex makes me reflect on where I am, and Our Lord, who I am about to meet. It’s something I can physically do to show respect, it’s something I do nowhere else and for no-one else, it’s just for God.
Why don’t I then at the OF, if I feel it’s so important and meaningful? Number one, I suppose I’m a coward who doesn’t want to stand out from the crowd. I’m very conscious that wearing distinctive headgear (however flat and lacy) can be considered to be distracting to others when it’s perceived to be ‘out of context’, or even anachronistic. It can smack of the holier than thou, although it really isn’t and isn’t meant to be. I’m still grappling with this one, one day hopefully I’ll be brave enough, although I do sometimes wear a hat, but usually only when it’s raining!
So, ladies and gentlemen, what do you think?
Update: I started veiling at NO Masses shortly after writing this post, no longer able to cope with my own double standard!