Updated: Aug 25
A women once had asked this question when this article appeared in a national Catholic magazine.
"Why is it, that women are starting to wear the veil again?" Maybe she thought that Rome had changed its teaching and now wanted women to return to the wearing of the veil. This pamphlet is intended to address the subject of the veil as it relates to Church teaching, Holy Scripture, and Sacred Tradition. We hope it will shed light on how something that, in itself, may seem insignificant, having no great importance in relation to the Gospel message, when misunderstood, like a pulled-thread on a sweater, can unravel the whole garment.
The question may be asked: When and why did the Church change the teaching that a woman should wear a head covering while attending church services? Answer: The Church has never changed its teaching. There is nothing by the Magisterium stating that the wearing of the veil has been abolished. You may gasp and say to yourself, "I am sure this cannot be true! Why no one, except a few dinosaurs who cannot tolerate change, wears veils today. In fact we were even told that to wear the veil could be prideful in that, we would be "calling attention to ourselves." Using this logic, one would be obliged to become a nudist if nudity became popular. And what about the first women to take the veil off? Did they not defy Church teaching with the express purpose to call attention to themselves? See how such statements sound silly when held up to logic. Who would ever have thought that one could commit the sin of pride by trying to be faithful to what the Church has taught for almost two thousand years? You might also be one of the myriads of women who have been told that the veil was an old Jewish custom, which was a symbol of women's oppression, coming from a people that treated women much like cattle. This statement was touted from the pulpit of a Catholic church at a wedding ceremony. The readings, which the couple had picked, dealt with the wife's submission to her husband. The couple liked the reading, but the priest did not. Then there was the little, crippled lady who said that she had stopped wearing the veil years ago, after a priest told her that she was already sick and the veil made her look sicker. (What happened to tolerance, diversity and Christian charity?) I shared with this little lady a few facts concerning the veil, and she happily returned to wearing her veil, and she looks just fine. Then there was the priest who said that women who wear the veil are women who are trying to act "holier than thou." My response would have been, "Is that not better than ‘worldlier than thou' or ‘sexier than thou'?" Is there any wonder that so many souls have abandoned the veil and also the Church? Church Teachings As stated before, the Church has never changed its teaching concerning women wearing the veil. The nearest anyone could come to this claim is that it was not mentioned in the new Code of Canon Law published in 1983. Those who use this mode of reasoning say that good Catholics are no longer obliged to wear the veil because of this fact. Those who are familiar with Canon Law know that it did not, in any way, say that women should not wear a veil. Yet just for arguments sake, let us say that the new Canon would have stated that women should no longer wear the veil, which of course it did not. We would still have the period from approximately 1969 to 1983, when women throughout the United States were already abandoning the veil in direct violation of Canon Law. So it is clear that Church law cannot be called upon to justify the abandonment of the veil since it had already been abandoned by many as early as 1968, some fifteen years prior to the publication of the new code. This is why it would be deceitful to justify their disobedience by using the law. Admittedly the vast majority of women were told that Vatican II initiated the change. (Please read the documents to find it. It is not there!) And since they, like most Catholics, depended on the clergy to educate, they were badly misdirected. In 1973, a local Catholic paper reported that the ladies could throw away their hankies. (The word hankie was used to mock the wearing of the veil as insignificant.) The article was referring to a document from Rome stating that the veil was of minor importance. They conveniently failed to mention what prompted this remark. It was in response to liberals petitioning Rome to allow the ordination of women. Their argument was basically this: Since the Church allowed women to break Canon Law, Scripture, and Tradition in the matter of the veil, then why not break the teaching of the Church concerning the ordination of women? (This is the normal consequence of unchecked disobedience; it is never satisfied.) As you can see, the statement from Rome concerning the veil was quite appropriate. The veil is of little importance when compared with the ordination of women. It is quite easy for a woman to rebelliously walk into a church without a veil, but she cannot rebelliously ordain herself. Such women will defy any law if it gets in the way of what they want. Misinformation and twisted truths were not targeted at the veil alone; they were responsible in large part to the collapse of Mass attendance and belief in the Real Presence of our Lord in the Eucharist. Mass attendance has plummeted from 70% at the time of the Council to 25% today. No business could endure such a loss and survive; only the Church founded by Christ can endure it, but not without causing great suffering to the brothers and sisters of our Lord. It seems as though these twisters I of the truth are hellbent on continuing their diabolical deception of the facts. "It is only a piece of cloth." We were led to believe that the matter of the veil was an insignificant relic of the past. You may have been told that "It's only a piece of cloth." A statement such as this is hard for a theologian, much less the average Catholic, to deal with. So take a deep breath and I will demonstrate how one can logically respond to such subtle statements. Visualize a mother and father who have just lost a son in battle, a son who gave his life in the defense of his country. These parents come upon a young man spitting on and burning the flag of the United States of America. How do you suppose these good people would react? Is it possible that they would be tremendously upset? Could you see how they could be upset? Even without losing a son, those who love their country would most likely be moved to anger. Then imagine the young man looking up, seeing their frustration and saying, "What's the problem? It's only a piece of cloth." The young man would be accurate in saying that it is only a piece of cloth, but his statement would not be completely honest. The flag is being spat on and burned for what it represents, not for what it is made of. Now a person who neither loves this country nor hates it might be indifferent to the situation, but for those who have chosen sides on the subject, there can be no indifference. Now let us move from the cloth flag to the cloth veil. The feminists hate the veil not because it is a piece of cloth, but rather for what it represents, that being submission. (I hope you have already read the pamphlet on submission; if not, do so.) The hostility feminists have toward the God-established order in the home is manifested in their hatred of the veil, just as the young man's hatred of his country is manifested in his hatred for the flag. Unknown to the vast majority of people is the fact that the feminists had their own public veil burning (more on page 13). To understand the significance of all this, one must realize that there are three groups that exist in most debates; with the veil, as with the flag, feelings run deep. We have those who hate the Godly order of the home; those who do not really care, possibly due to ignorance; and those who know and understand why this Godly order is so important. The latter are in the minority. Yet, with proper education and the desire to follow God's Holy Will, the home can be reordered, but not without a fight from those who have united themselves to this evil and materialistic world. Facts to be Considered In the new Code of Canon Law, Can.21, we read: In doubt, the revocation of a previous law is not presumed; rather, later laws are to be related to earlier ones, as far as possible, harmonized with them. My dear reader, if the law concerning the veil had been revoked, which it was not, you would still have to harmonize with the latter, which was to wear the veil. Then from Can. 27, we read: Custom is the best interpreter of law. The veil has two thousands years of being a custom to its credit. (The rosary does not come close to that. Yet who would try to discourage people from saying the rosary? Nor was the rosary ever in Canon Law or in the Bible.) The misinformation concerning the veil is a sinister flight from a truth (submission) that is hated by some today as much, if not more, than the hatred some have toward the flag. I would now like to share with you a few events that took place over the past thirty years to illustrate that this whole matter of the demeaning of the veil was a plot orchestrated by those who were determined to destroy the family. Many in the Church were unaware of what was happening, and it remains the same today. Like many fathers in the home, many fathers in the Church do not see things happening until it hits them in the face. Even then they are still not sure what happened. (Married women are well aware of what I mean.) When the shepherds are preoccupied and are not vigilant, the wolves are there to take advantage of the situation. Bishop Maurice Schexnayder, a holy bishop in the Lafayette Diocese back in the seventies, when referring to the veil picked up the Bible and read from I Corinthians 11. He said, "Now, this is the Word of God; the Church cannot change it." Was Bishop Schexnayder correct or not? He later wrote to us and stated that he could assure us that the Church has never changed its teaching about the veil. His predecessor when asked, "Is it a sin if a woman disobeys the Church's teaching by not wearing a veil?", replied, "It would be a sin if she knew what she was doing." One could assume that the way to keep people from sinning is to keep them in ignorance. Few today are teaching. Most are just explaining things away as "nonessentials." Now nonessential has become a popular word today. When you hear it, please ask the user, "Just what is essential?" You see, when we relegate everything to the status of nonessential, why should we belong to a particular church? We are all aware that one can go to heaven in any of the twenty-odd thousand different denominations, so one could conclude that the Catholic Church has become a nonessential. I have said on many occasions, "What is happening in the Church is the same as what is happening in the home." By and large the father in the home has degenerated into a silly, fun seeking, un- committed, dodger of responsibility. He has no vision of what a healthy family should be and is frankly not interested in finding out. I want to hasten to mention that not all fathers in the family nor all in the Church fall in this group, but many do. And here lies our problem. Rejection of the veil is just an exterior manifestation of an inner problem. Intelligent people know that truly successful people are those who do the things that the unsuccessful think is not necessary ( Nonessential ). One could avoid breaking any doctrine of the Church and still destroy his marriage. Catholics who have good marriages go far beyond the letter of the law. They go to the spirit of the law and are actually freed from the law, for they have risen above the law. This is what liberation truly is, rising above the law, not getting permission to break the law through unrelenting disobedience.
Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J. was a very holy man as well as an extremely intelligent theologian. He was a consultant to the Holy See for more than thirty-one years. Among the more than thirty books he published was The Catholic Catechism. Somewhere in the middle 90's, I phoned Fr. Hardon. I asked him if women should still be wearing the veil; his answer was an emphatic, "Yes." Could Fr. Hardon be wrong also? Here is a quote from a bishop that most everyone will surely know, Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen. From his book Three to Get Married we read: St. Paul speaks of Christ as the invincible Head of the body, and this is because: "The head to which a wife is united is her husband" (I Cor. II: 3). It is very likely that the Divine Prohibition against women appearing in church with their heads uncovered is related to this idea. Did the good bishop say Divine Prohibition? Wow! Now when we turn to the front of the book, we read, "Nihil Obstst: John M. A. Fearns, STD; Imprimatur: Francis Cardinal Spellman. The Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur are a declaration that a work is free from doctrinal or moral error." Wow! Wow! Wow! Could Bishop Sheen be wrong also? And what about the Imprimatur of Cardinal Spellman? Is the Cardinal wrong also? Well, these are people who are highly regarded that say the veil is to be worn. Try finding credible people like these who tell you that the law has been changed, and have them reveal the source of their information. Ask yourself this question. If the Pope wanted the veil dropped, why is it that all of our Presidents who visited the Holy Father in Rome were instructed to have their wives and daughters wear a veil? Be sure to keep in mind that, except for Kennedy, they were all Protestants. To further validate my point was the article in a popular woman's magazine which told of a lady's dilemma with that horrible veil. This lady, the head of one of the feminist organizations, was telling of her papal visit with the then reining pontiff, Pope Paul VI. She was told that she would have to wear a veil and a dress at her papal visit. She related that she had no problem with the dress, but she did have a problem with wearing the veil. She proceeded to explain how she and a friend combined a comb with a veil on top, structured in such a way that the veil would not touch her head. Unlike our good Catholic women, this feminist leader was well aware of the meaning behind the veil. Words One thing the liberals are really good at is the use of words for the promotion of their own destructive agenda. For instance, when they break the teachings of the Church, they use the word DIVERSITY; when a faithful Catholic does something completely within the teaching of the Church which the liberals do not like, they use words like DIVISIVE and NONESSENTIAL. (More on nonessentials in a future pamphlet.)
Only you will decide to whom you listen; the fruits of your choices will manifest themselves in the quality of your life and that of your family. We generally get what we deserve. A good choice, good result; a bad choice, bad results. Now let us bring this subject to a climatic closure. We have demonstrated that though few in the Church defended the wearing of the veil, it is clear that it was disobedience that ruled the day and trashed it. It has been demonstrated that neither the Church nor the Pope ever said that women should abandon the veil. So, this being the case, from whom are our Catholic women getting their marching orders? Or another way of putting it is, who is most influencing our Catholic women? The answer can be found in the National Organization of Women Handbook. Please read carefully the following quotes taken from the N.O.W. Handbook. It has some very interesting information that you truly need to know and seriously ponder. We read under A. Religion Resolutions, " Because the wearing of a head covering by women at religious services is a symbol of subjection within many churches, NOW recommends that all chapters undertake an effort to have all women participate in a "national unveiling" by sending their head coverings to the task force chairman. At the Spring meeting of the task force of women and religion, these veils will be publicly burned to protest the second class status of women in all churches. (Dec., 1968)" Well, one must concede, these feminists were extremely successful in getting Catholic women to not only break Canon Law, but to go directly against Holy Scripture. These feminists were truly courageous, and their efforts have paid off; sad to say, to their own detriment, and that of all the women of America. Let's continue. " Take the lead in uniting women of all denominations and religious groups to work together to support efforts to recognize the right of women to be ordained in religious bodies where that right is still denied." As previously mentioned, stopping a woman from rebelliously walking into church without a veil is impossible. Ordination is much more difficult a hurdle for them to jump. Thirty years have passed and they are still fighting, while our clergy ( for the most part ) have hoisted the white flag. And last but not least we have this quote. " NOW will challenge the tax exempt status of the Catholic Church since it is lobbying against abortion law repeal. (Apr., 1971)" As stated before, these nice little ladies had their own (flag) veil burning. Did you notice the attitude they held regarding our Catholic Church? Could you possibly be one of their misinformed followers? Why would any Catholic want to adopt a practice that was promulgated by such people? Finding a logical explanation to justify it would be quite hard. A book I would strongly encourage anyone to read is Slouching Towards Gomorrah by Judge Robert Bork. Under Radical Feminism we read: Even the language of the movement mirrors the mood of fascism.
The apocalyptic and hate-filled rhetoric of radical feminists expresses their eagerness to inflict harm. A radical magazine, using the acronym for the National Organization for Women (NOW), declared on its cover: NOW is the time to take back control of our lives, NOW is not the time to assimilate to bureaucratic puppeteers who want to control, degrade, torture, kill and rape our bodies, NOW is the time to drop a boot heel in the groin of patriarchy. NOW IS THE TIME TO FIGHT BACK. NO GOD, NO MASTER, NO LAWS” Were you aware of all this? Do you think our good Catholic women would have abandoned their veils had they been made aware of it? I think not! THE JEROME BIBLICAL COMMENTARY In I Corinthians Chapter 11, St. Paul admonishes the women concerning the veil. The following is from The Jerome Biblical Commentary explaining why Saint Paul wrote that letter. "Some Christian women, influenced perhaps by the liberal atmosphere of cosmopolitan Corinth and emboldened by the attitude of "the knowledgeable" toward their freedom, were attending the assemblies without wearing a veil. Paul reprobates this behavior as unbecoming to a woman, because God has established a hierarchy, in both the natural and the religious spheres, in which the female is subordinated to the male sex. This hierarchical subordination of the woman should be recognized in her behavior and dress. The veil is a symbol of this subordination." This took place two thousand years ago, and possibly many times since. We are definitely sure that it started taking place again in 1968. We just did not have a Saint Paul to sound the alarm. Well, there it is, ladies.
The ball is in your hands. You have been presented with just a few of the facts behind the abandonment of the veil. And we did not even touch on the respect aspect, which in itself would be a wonderful reason for a woman to wear the veil. This is only a pamphlet; it would take a book to cover all that could be said concerning the veil and its detractors. Questions to Ponder Why did St. Paul say women should be veiled, if it were not important? Why did the Church have the tradition of wearing the veil for nearly two thousand years, if it was not important? Why did the Church mandate it in Canon Law, if it was not important? Could the Church be truly holy and wise and yet mandate something for two thousand years that would be a sign of oppression to women? Do you truly believe that the Church was wrong for two thousand years and just in the past few years became wise? If we are wiser and more knowledgeable today, why is it that in 1870, there were only eighty-one divorces per 100,000 married population, and today more than half of all marriages end in divorce? And finally, to the reader who disagrees with all of this. Have you been reading lives of the Saints? If not, read a few and then reread this article, I believe you might see things quite differently