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The women's veils in church debate: a wearer responds

This is a personal response to the much-read piece that appeared in the editor's choice section.

  • Katy Holland
  • International
  • October 10, 2012
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I recently read an article about the comeback of chapel veils entitled, “Head covering is thinly veiled patriarchy.” The author wrote to call out what us veil-wearers don’t seem to see – that “Catholics are not the Amish,” that this trend is anti-feminist, and that wearing a veil is “downright repressive.”

What I’d like to share is that I’m not a barefoot kitchen slave because I wear a veil, nor do I feel repressed as a woman. I want to share why I choose to wear a veil… and why I love it.

My first encounter with veiling happened when my husband and I were visiting my out-of-town sister-in-law about a year ago. We joined her family for Tridentine Mass one Sunday and it was only my first or second time ever attending the traditional Mass. My 12-year-old niece offered me a veil to borrow on our way there, noticeably excited to be able to share something precious of hers with her super cool soon-to-be aunt. I declined her offer. I’d never worn a veil before and really my only thought was, “This is weird.”

Shortly after, we began attending the traditional Mass regularly. Most of the women at our parish wore chapel veils and my husband soon purchased one for me as a gift. At this point, I’d become familiar with how commonplace they were among women at our church and it seemed no bother to start wearing one myself. It was delicate and pretty & gave me an excuse not to worry about what my hair looked like on Sunday morning.

Then, at Christmastime, we went to visit and stay with my family for the holidays. We joined everyone for the Novus Ordo midnight Mass at my home parish… and I wore my veil. My brother laughed, saying “Take that off!” as we were heading inside, not realizing I was seriously going to wear it for Mass. As we sat down in the crowded pews, my dad came to me and asked if I could help out as a Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion. This was strange to me now, having attended the Traditional Mass for many months, where on Sundays I received Holy Eucharist kneeling… on the tongue… from a priest. I asked if he could please try to find someone else, but to come back to me if it became a desperate need. I anxiously wondered whether I could really serve if he did come back to ask.

A short while later, he did and I had to stand by my decision. At first I couldn’t quite justify my choice, but suddenly I realized what was keeping me seated in the pew: my chapel veil.

In that moment, unlike any time before, I recognized the sanctity of my chapel veil in its ability to demonstrate my utter unworthiness to receive Christ in the Holy Eucharist and my humility before God. I could not as I had before, stand in the sanctuary with Christ in my unblessed hands and with proper dignity be the one to offer His Body and Blood to the faithful.

Full Story: I love my chapel veil

Source: Fide et Literis
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