Priest Tells Woman Not to Wear Veil at Mass

Here is another excellent response by Father Z from his ASK FATHER series.

From a reader…

“A woman was told by her priest to NOT wear her veil to Mass. It was blessed and so she didn’t know if she was required by obedience to not wear it, or since because it was blessed she should ignore his request. I believe she stopped when he gave a scorching homily about women trying to seem holier than thou by what they wear to church.”

First, shame on that priest.

While there is nothing that requires a woman to cover her head in church (except perhaps for Paul’s inspired words in 1 Corinthians), neither is there anything to prohibit a woman from covering her head.

Moreover, there is nothing immodest about these head coverings. On the contrary.

Moreover, there is a long and well-founded tradition of women wearing a head covering.

The blessing of the veil would not make a difference insofar as obedience is concerned. Father doesn’t have the authority to tell her what she can wear on her head unless it is patently immodest.

Does he also tell women that they cannot wear makeup or jewelry? Those are certainly vanities, whereas a head covering is meant to obscure rather than to reveal.

And I doubt that Father is psychic so that he can read the hearts of women… the most obscure of all mysteries to men, come to think about it.

Father ought to mind his own business and see to himself and how he is appareled.

Does Father wear the proper vestments for liturgical worship and dress properly as a cleric?

I don’t know who this priest is, but I suspect the answers to the above are “No” and “No”.

Does he similarly preach about the beachwear worn by the rest of the non-veil wearing congregation?

I’ll bet he doesn’t.

Anyone who wears, say, shirts with the flashy logos of their favorite teams is also saying: “Hey! Look at me and think about something that has nothing to do with why we are in church!”

Maybe Father is distracted by the beauty of modest women in veils. In that case, I recommend two solutions to his problem. First, back in the day and today in traditional circles priests were instructed to keep their eyes lowered while processing and while saying Mass. Second, stop saying Mass facing the people and start saying Mass ad orientem!

These could help him with either his distraction or his misogyny.

(The comment section on this topic at Fr Z’s blog is worth reading too.)

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25 Responses to Priest Tells Woman Not to Wear Veil at Mass

  1. Mary Salmond says:

    Perfectly said! Modesty is always good policy!


  2. johnhenrycn says:

    Father Flapdoodle (a generic name I recommend for progressive priests) would, on the other hand, welcome and wax eloquent in his homily about any niqab-shrouded divorced woman with a Wiccan pentagram tattooed on the palm of her hand wishing to partake of communion in his parish.

    God bless the Pope.


  3. kathleen says:

    Father Z says:

    a head covering is meant to obscure rather than to reveal.

    Exactly! It is the reason so many women are returning to veiling at Mass and Liturgical devotions, even (though less often) at Novus Ordo Masses, because it is “a sign of reverence, modesty and piety in their recognition that they are praying in the Sacramental Presence of God”. See HERE.

    It is clearly something this priest with a pique against women wearing veils has not understood. Or perhaps he is a simply a typical spirit-of-V2 progressive who loathes anything that sniffs of Catholic traditions.

    I really sympathise with the poor woman in question, especially when she had to listen to that “scorching homily” that she realised was directed at her. I hope she was able to forgive the priest for this injustice towards her.


  4. johnhenrycn says:

    …as I remarked over lunch to the very nice Catholic gentleman who ushered me through R.C.I.A. thirteen years ago, Catholics are known (amongst High Anglicans) to be less than respectful in their style of dress on Sundays. Instead of dressing for a house of worship, many dress as if going to the House of Pancakes. Mind you, this is no longer merely a Catholic issue, if it ever was. I used to tell people to dress in their “Sunday Best” when testifying in court. Now, they do not understand.


  5. larryzb says:

    While more priests need to remind the faithful about dressing modestly for Mass (we are referring to the many young people who do wear “beach” wear to church during the summer), I think there is a larger issue to ponder.

    “Father doesn’t have the authority to tell her what she can wear on her head unless it is patently immodest.”

    This quote is an interesting remark. I think the celibate ruling caste of the Catholic Church would benefit if they seriously considered the limits to their authority and did not abuse that authority.


  6. johnhenrycn says:

    ““Father doesn’t have the authority to tell her what she can wear on her head unless it is patently immodest.”
    So you say, and because I agree with (you) and respect the custom of mantillas (the canon law rule mandating which is still in force I think, although I’m not sure) your comment reminds me of what Padre Pio had to say about all forms of immodest dress, not just lack of head coverings:

    “Padre Pio wouldn’t tolerate low-necked dresses or short, tight skirts, and he forbade his spiritual daughters to wear transparent stockings. Each year his severity increased. He stubbornly dismissed them from his confessional, even before they set foot inside, if he judged them to be improperly dressed. On some mornings he drove away one after another, until he ended up hearing very few confessions. His brothers observed these drastic purges with a certain uneasiness and decided to fasten a sign on the church door: BY PADRE PIO’S EXPLICIT WISH, WOMEN MUST ENTER THE CONFESSIONAL WEARING SKIRTS AT LEAST 8 INCHES BELOW THE KNEE. IT IS FORBIDDEN TO BORROW LONGER DRESSES IN CHURCH AND TO WEAR THEM TO CONFESSION.”
    This piece also mentions that Padre Pio frowned upon men with bare arms. I totally agree and I hardly ever go to Church in short sleeves except in extremely hot, humid weather when I at least fasten every button up to and including the collar one. Like today.


  7. johnhenrycn says:

    …by “short sleeves”, I don’t mean I’ve ever worn a muscle shirt to Church. I don’t have any. Muscle shirts, I mean.


  8. Well there are priests for whom any sign of traditional behaviour is like a red chasuble to a bull. The technical term is “modernist wretches”.


  9. johnhenrycn says:

    The 1983 revision to the Code of Canon law (I don’t know what the more current regime has done since my revised 2nd edition in 2004 – and I don’t worry, truth be told) is silent on the issue of mantillas, and because it is silent, this means that mantillas still conform to and are still in force, under the ecclesiastical law of 1917.


  10. Crow says:

    JH, under the ecclesiastical law of 1917, was it mandated that women wear mantillas in church? I ask this because I had thought it was merely customary and I recall reading that there has never been any abrogation of that rule by the V2 documents. If it did expressly provide that women wear mantillas, then we really should do so. I wear the mantilla at our regular TLM Mass but not if I go to NO masses. Perhaps I should do so there too – except I was afraid of making a statement. I might get a response similar to Fr Z’s Lady!


  11. johnhenrycn says:

    Hi, Bruvver:

    I don’t follow your blog, cuz I don’t Twitter. Even though Helen Ayres over there was right to say the expression is not “here, here!”, I’ve made the same mistake. My worst one, however, was ad nauseum, which was corrected by our old pal who blogs under a Pius XII avatar. Imagine my pain: an Eyetie correcting my command of English idiom.

    God save the Pope.


  12. johnhenrycn says:

    Please don’t crow, but I think you’ve hit the nail on its veritable:


  13. johnhenrycn says:

    I’ve always liked The Raven’s avatar on this blog, but why have all the other ones (on the right sidebar) disappeared, as if thrown out of a plane over the south Atlantic? Pope Francis is an Argentine, I know, but even he would never stoop so low. Would he?


  14. Newbie says:

    I am a recent convert and I asked our priest about veiling and he told me not to do it. I do take communion on the tongue, although he disapproves of it but was told in no uncertain terms he would not allow any kneeling when taking the Eucharist. He also informed us that we only need to participate in reconciliation once a month at most. Hearing all of that was very disappointing and discouraging, however, I realize I am not alone in having a priest with those views.


  15. kathleen says:

    Dear Newbie,

    Welcome home! But our “home” (the One True Church Our Lord founded on the rock of Saint Peter) is undergoing a pandemic attack from invading enemies of Christ at the moment who appear to be hell bent on her destruction. You have come into the Church at a time when She is going through a great scourging!

    Don’t be “discouraged”; millions of true Catholics who hold firmly to the unchanging teachings and traditions of the Church are fighting back fearlessly against the errors with which progressives and traitors wish to make a One World Order church at the feet of Satan. With the angels of God on our side, God’s Truth will reign supreme in the end.

    I am so sorry to hear you have come up against a Modernist priest so soon after taking the courageous step to join the Catholic Church. A few thoughts on your comment:

    In reality this priest has no right to forbid you from kneeling to receive Holy Communion. There are many official Church documents that clearly state this is a right and fitting way to receive. I was only once refused Communion when kneeling (I had gone to Mass at a Church I had never been to before) and it was a very painful experience. The fact is, all previous Popes, Cardinals, saints and Catholic theologians have stipulated that Holy Communion should be taken when kneeling and on the tongue. Many people just don’t realise this, so common has the modernist practice become of receiving in the hand.

    Wearing a veil to Mass, or whenever entering a Church where Our Lord is present in the Blessed Sacrament on the altar, is also a beautiful, pious and ancient tradition for Catholic women. Unfortunately there are far too many who, having been imbibed with the errors of Modernism and thus having lost the sense of the supernatural, do not understand its significance.
    Unless you can gather a group of other women to also wear the veil to Mass – making it almost impossible for your priest to put a stop to it – it might be preferable to wear a beret or something else instead.

    About the Sacrament of Confession (reconciliation) he has, once again, no right to say how often a penitent should receive the Sacrament. This priest sounds like a dictator!

    It might be better for you to seek out a different more reverent parish if that is possible.


  16. kathleen says:

    JH @ 01:09

    Haha… yes, you are observant and have spotted the overlarge Raven pic below “Blog Stats” and the disappearance of the other CP&S team’s avatars. As you can probably imagine, we are having a few techno problems since our techno-savvy Brother Burrito departed to seek other pastures 😉. Hopefully we’ll get it sorted soon.


  17. John says:

    “While there is nothing that requires a woman to cover her head in church (except perhaps for Paul’s inspired words in 1 Corinthians), neither is there anything to prohibit a woman from covering her head.”

    This is a surprising comment.

    The inspired instruction of St Paul doesn’t mean anything?

    Then the is the issue of the resulting tradition for thousands of years and the canon law.

    Is the reader a Protestant?


  18. John says:

    That is from Father Z not the reader. I always assumed he was Catholic?


  19. Carrie Andrews says:

    ‪From the Catechism:‬
    ‪2197 We are obliged to honor and respect all those whom God, for our good, has vested with his authority.
    (The priest was wrong, but still deserves respect)


  20. Newbie says:

    Thank you, Kathleen, for your words of encouragement. I wish we could switch to a more traditional Catholic church but the area I live in isn’t overwhelmed with many parishes so at this time, we are making the best of it. One of the most difficult things we are dealing with is that we are the only ones ( my children and I- my husband did not convert with us) in our parish who takes the Eucharist on the tongue. So, whenever it is our turn to take the Eucharist, there has always been an awkward moment of each of us waiting for the person administering the Eucharist to realize we want to receive it on the tongue, with me usually having to actually request it aloud. That feels so stressful that the lead up to that moment is full of anxiety and it admittedly clouds the moment for my kids and myself; however I cannot, I just absolutely cannot allow myself to recieve in the hand because I KNOW that is wrong and I KNOW how I will feel afterwards if I do that. One of my kids has already given in and now receives the Eucharist in the hand and the other two struggle each week against giving in. I wish this, at least, would be the joyful moment I dreamed it would be in the years leading up to my finally converting and joining the Catholic Church. I would love to veil at Mass but for now, we have enough to deal with. Our priest told me that wearing a veil would make me look like I thought I was superior to the other members in a holier-than-thou way. He said the head coverings were legalistic etc. and said he wishes the fancy hats would become fashionable again because they were so pretty to look at. I thought he pretty much missed the whole point of veiling and so I just dropped it. I would very much like to increase our confessions to once a week or even once every two weeks but again since he is the one we are confessing to and he was plain spoken about his belief that confession more than once a month was also legalistic and that there aren’t any such things as mortal sins anyway, I have found it difficult to go to him more often. We are brrand new converts but I studied the Catholic faith for several years before we converted and hoined this last Easter, so I know how much of what he says is actually error; in time, as we get more comfortable I am hoping to try to find a priest and a church who isn’t such a modernist and ant-traditional, but in the meantime, I will keep praying for him anf for our beloved Catholic Church! For the record, though, when we did finally convert to Catholicism, I did feel like I had come home!


  21. mmvc says:

    This feels a bit like a #metoo moment:

    Many years ago we attended Sunday Mass (N.O.) in a pretty little Parisian church as a young family. Our three boys were always more attentive when seated in a front pew, which made the following experience all the more excruciating. At Holy Communion we joined the queue to receive, as we always did, on the tongue, and it appeared that we were the only ones to do so. The priest seemed taken aback and somewhat disgruntled, though thankfully he didn’t refuse us or make a scene. But at the end of Mass he gave vent to his anger and frustration by pointing at us and giving us a public dressing down for trying to be ‘holier than the pope’! My poor hubby, a relatively recent convert, was mortified and for a short time reverted to receiving Hl. Communion in the hand.

    May God have mercy on these misguided priests!


  22. kathleen says:

    @ Newbie

    Thank you for this lovely (but sad) testimony of you and your children’s faithfulness to Catholic teaching under such visible duress. It is very unfortunate you are stuck with such a progressive priest for the time being. All I can say is that Our Lord (Who sees even when a sparrow falls) knows the sacrifices you are having to make to remain faithful to Him, and will bless you abundantly for it.

    As a cradle Catholic myself, and having personally known many outstanding converts to the Faith – many, including my own mother, who had to undergo much suffering in their journey to the Catholic Church – I have always had an immense admiration for converts.

    I saw this wonderful conversion story at the National Catholic Register this morning: no less than 12 Anglican nuns at a convent in England came ‘home’ to the Church together! God bless them.


  23. Since I could no longer take the liturgical abuses I observed during NO Masses, I started going to TLM last October. Although I grew up attending TLM, I did not pay much attention to what was going on at Mass, the stupid, ignorant boy that I was. After V2, I easily slid into the new Mass. To my complete surprise, from my very first time of experiencing TLM, I immediately felt comfortable although I did not, still don’t, speak Latin. The reverence, the solemnity, the beautiful hymns, the veiled women, the altar boys, the traditional priest (he wears black cassock all the time) – everything that I wanted were there. I have found another sublime way of basking in the presence of my Lord on a deeper level. It does not matter that the prayers and hymns are in Latin, I know that we are, with one voice, adoring and glorifying our Lord.
    I had to share this newfound joy with someone, and I chose an old friend, a Franciscan Capuchin friar, to tell it to. To my surprise, he attacked me, asking why I would want to go to Mass where I do not understand the language, what is wrong with women’s hair that they had to cover it, why receive communion on the tongue, etc., etc. If he was a layman, if he was a mere acquaintance, not a close friend, if he had used kinder words, I would have accepted his comments more easily. Sorry to say, he lost my respect, he offended me, he hurt me. I invited him to attend TLM with me – no response. Sadly, I think I have lost a friend. Reading the other comments, I now see that many priests share the same view as this friar.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. kathleen says:

    @ Jess Espinosa (2 days ago)

    Thank you so much for sharing your interesting story with us.

    Yes, it is true that it is not necessary to be fluent in Latin to appreciate the beauty and awe of this common language of the Church for Roman Catholics.

    The Traditional Latin Mass was also the Mass of my infancy before it disappeared after the Liturgical destruction reform after V2. I remember not understanding a word that was said when very little before my devout father started explaining the meaning of some of the prayers to me, but I was still aware that something beautiful and godly was taking place on the altar.
    I was still only a child when the English vernacular started replacing Latin, and I remember hating it. The Mass was beginning to resemble the Protestant services of our Anglican neighbours, I thought! My parents were deeply saddened by the watering down of the Mass.

    Like I said above, I think this and all the other destructive innovations that swept in at this time (including the disappearance of women wearing veils to cover their heads at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass) were part and parcel of the same catastrophic reality: PEOPLE HAD LOST THE SENSE OF THE SUPERNATURAL. The Modernists had won the day!

    One piece of happy news for orthodox Catholics, during these recent terrible times for the Church, is the return of so many of those pious practices (eg, veiling) and the opening to the grace-filled TLM once again by dear Benedict XVI.

    In the meantime we must remain faithful to the Truth whilst suffering this onslaught of evil and treachery within the Church…. even if, like you, we lose some friends along the way.


  25. Bryan Lim says:

    God spoke to St. Catherine of Sienna that he is angry when we judge the leaders of the world, even more when we judge the leaders of the Church. There is always recourse, but woe unto the soul that judges God’s representative.


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