Saturday, July 28, 2018

Yet More On Chapel Veils -- I

I've had a couple of thought-provoking comments on chapel veils, and a single post responding to them would be too long, so barring more important developments, I'm going to break this in two. A visitor commented,
Veils were not optional for girls and women at the time of my Episcopal confirmation in 1969. When I entered college six years later, it had gone out the window.
This may well be the case, but it brings up several issues. One is that head coverings for women in church seem to have disappeared as a general practice well before any denominations formally recognized the fact. The 1983 revision of Catholic canon law clearly ratified something that had occurred decades earlier. However, I assume TEC never covered the subject at all in its canons (someone may be able to correct me). Nor, I would guess, was it ever covered in a triennial convention. So precisely how it went out the window is an interesting question.

I would guess that head coverings for women was a general Christian practice observed in Protestant denominations as well as the Catholic Church, with clear scriptural authority, until it wasn't, and unlike subjects related to the sixth commandment, the Church has not been insisting that it's still a sin for women not to cover their heads.

On the other hand, the practice seems to date from times before 1534, so it really isn't part of any Anglican patrimony. Another visitor, whose comments I'll cover more extensively tomorrow, said

Head coverings for women were not required at a mass until 1917. It wasn’t necessary, because until the 20th century, a woman wore some sort of head covering whenever she left the house. After the First World War, this custom was dropped (to be followed by more dramatic sartorial changes). The 1917 requirement for the chapel veil was almost certainly a response to changing secular fashions.
The first visitor also sent me a link to a fashion blog, of all places, talking about why "millennial Catholics" (I assume this means millennial Catholic women) are re-adopting the chapel veil. All I can say there is that the reason given is what you'd expect from a fashion blog, everybody's doing it. But if everybody were doing it, wouldn't guys be doing it too? I wouldn't rely on a fashion blog for spiritual direction.

Everybody tells lies, for that matter. Doesn't make it a good idea. More on this tomorrow.