About that Veiling Debate

I have been very quiet about veiling, since I hosted a massive veil giveaway with some veil makers last Advent. I then wrote about the topic, and shared my experiences about this part of my faith. I’ve been silent because I stopped veiling. There, I said it. I’m not interested in the debate over why women choose to wear it, or why they don’t.

Having a debate over veiling or head coverings is petty. There, I said that too. I’ve spoken with friends about it and explained my thinking. Here’s the debate that I’ve seen, played out, on social media.

I don’t think women should wear veils to mass. The women that I’ve seen come off as holier-than-thou and it’s not really a rule anyway.

We don’t have to adhere to old-fashioned dogma. We don’t sit separately from men at mass, do we? I mean, let’s get with it.

I think women should wear veils to mass, this is how they show others that they revere the Real Presence of Our Lord.

I think those that don’t veil are giving the impression to others that they don’t know what they’re participating in when they come to mass.  Wearing a veil could open the topic of discussion with other women who are curious, don’t you want to Evangelize?

You look like an Islamic woman, you’re not wearing it right. If you can’t afford a real veil made by a Catholic, you shouldn’t wear one at all. I’m sorry I didn’t know that she wasn’t a Catholic veil maker. 

You know, it’s not just Catholic’s that veil, it’s not just your faith that veils, but others too. Stop claiming it for yourselves.

If you’re going to veil, you shouldn’t post pictures of yourself wearing them because you’re giving off the wrong impression, like it’s a fashion statement. You’re making the “devotion” about you, when it should be about Him. 

Veiling is not a devotion, it’s just something I like to do, stop calling it that. Praying the rosary is a devotion, get the difference?

About Veiling #catholic #headcovering #mantilla
Taras Loboda, Silvia, 2005.

And I know this topic will start a debate like no one has ever seen on this blog. I know I am going to piss people off. I am not saying anything to hurt anyone, but this topic is so divisive no matter how you slice it. It’s that much of a flaming topic. And really, isn’t that what’s so sad?

There are more examples I could share on both sides of the debate, but these, are the ones that irk me the most. Do these sound catty to you? They should, because they are. Why did I decide to leave my veils alone, neatly packaged for when I am ready (if ever) to wear them again? I don’t want what I wear or choose not to, to contribute to a senseless, assumptions based debate.

But why is it senseless, Cristina?

I am so glad you asked. All of these arguments are around what women think other women think of them. Not what they know. As far as I can tell, no one has ever asked anyone else if they wear a veil because they feel holier-than-thou. As far as I can tell, no one has ever asked anyone why they don’t and received a response “get with the times”. And as far as I can tell, I don’t read about women posting pictures of themselves because they want all the attention, or to try and get the likes of Beyonce to take notice.

I still have a Pinterest board devoted to women who wear veils, again, I am not hating on anyone who chooses to wear them or chooses not to. I got love for everybody, we all know that. I am all about inspiring and building up of people, women especially, because honestly, we sorely need it. I think we can all agree on that.

So, if you choose to comment, please do so with respect for me, yourselves and for those who visit. I am not saying that you should or shouldn’t veil. I am not committing a sin whether I wear a veil to mass or not. Nor are you, for that matter. What I am saying is, just do what you feel personally called to do, and quit arguing about it. God don’t like ugly; and arguing based on assumptions? Ugly.

So let them argue, I’ll be here, having a sandwich.

*jumps off the soap box*

46 thoughts on “About that Veiling Debate

  1. Wouldn’t it be nice if all on either side could act as the faith that they’re so passionately devoted to? Let’s build each other up instead of tearing down – that is, live your Catholic Christian faith, don’t just leave it at the Church on Sunday morning. Thanks for bringing the argument to light, sounds like it’s sat in the dark far too long.

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  2. It’s certainly a situation that I wish were different. I haven’t worn a headcovering to Mass in months, and it makes me sad. But in the end, it’s about what a person is comfortable with (since it is not a requirement) and I just wasn’t comfortable with it anymore (at least for now). And so, we forge ahead. :) Discussion is always good, so thank you for writing this post!

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    1. Agreed on all fronts. It’s always, [unless we're talking sin, people] “do what’s best for you and your family. Always. There’s no room for nastiness, in my book – as you know – just the alphabet ;)

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  3. It’s so much about what is comfortable for the individual. For example, at my current (I still consider it my “new” parish, ha), lots of women and girls veil. If/when I do it, I don’t feel strange. At my old parish, NO ONE veiled. At all. I had never seen anyone do it except in old movies or Mass at the Vatican.
    I think it’s up to you. If you choose to do it, more power to you. If you choose not to do it, that’s totally legit. And as for “what” you wear to veil, I’ve just bee wearing a scarf I got at the Limited! :-P

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Right,and to extend that further, I would much rather create a loving and accepting group of women rather than perpetuate the “catty” stereotype – which with all the arguing, is what’s taking center stage. Let’s be about building our faith. We don’t have to tear each other down in the process. There’s a commandment, thou shalt not kill. Ya know? Every time we say “I don’t think you should” or “I don’t like that she” we’re breaking that commandment. Instead, let’s love one another, or try to, as He has loved us. <3

      Liked by 2 people

  4. I was wondering myself dear friend if you were still veiling…and you know you can rock a veil anytime in my book : ) I think you were doing it for the right reasons per our discussions. So, what made you take a pause? I am curious since I am continually discerning.

    It’s a beautiful practice when someone is covering before the Sacred Presence of our Lord and that is their main reason. I agree it can get out of hand and the reason gets lost, sometimes, in all the debate and comparison and the opinion there is only one way to veil. I still rock a scarf girl : )

    I will be following along…I find this intriguing.

    xoxo

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    1. I don’t want what I wear or choose not to, to contribute to a senseless, assumptions based debate. And it’s all left such a horrid taste in my mouth that I will abstain until I feel called, if ever to wear one again. I rocked the scarves too, but apparently, I was wrong in doing so. And there we are, back at the start of the post!
      xoxo

      Liked by 1 person

    2. It is an excellent custom to behave reverently when in the presence of our Lord—especially in a Catholic Church. Head coverings might be one way to express reverence. So is kneeling. So is bowing, So is maintaining silence. One could go on and on about that.

      Usually it is women who choose cover their head. It would be odd to see a man do so.

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      1. I think we know the history and guidelines (for lack of a better term) of veiling are. The issue here is that there is a very active debate whether among younger Catholics or not (I’ve actually witnessed a few senior citizens dive in on it) bottom line, it’s just ridiculous conversation to have. “The Lord gave me a tongue as my reward and I will praise him with it” Sirach 51:22 not argue about veiling with it. ;)

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  5. I’m not catholic but I believe everyone has a right to choose how or how not to express oneself. As long as the actions don’t infringe upon a third person’s right, it’s the best to let people be. Healthy debates, in my opinion never harmed anyone but then there comes a point where the motive of the debate shifts from encouraging a thoughtful discussion to forcefully enforcing certain beliefs.
    I’m muslim and I do don the hijab but that in no way gives me the right to judge others who don’t. That also doesn’t give the right to others to assume certain things about me.
    I think this debate is one of those things that never reach a conclusion because instead of listening to the other side people are too busy harping about their side of the argument. I feel the final judgement comes from God. It is not our place to label people.
    Wow that was long. Probably my longest comment ever :)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you SO much for commenting, Sania. I loved your point “the motive of the debate shifts from encouraging a thoughtful discussion to forcefully enforcing certain beliefs.” I believe, this is where the debate here has led, and it’s just sad for all involved. The final and only important judgement is from God, and for that we have to wait a lifetime to hear, so what is all this debate do to further one’s faith. Nada. Thanks again for visiting and I hope to read you weigh in soon.

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  6. I’m with you, Cristina. I love the beautiful aspects of this tradition, but we’re in a parish where the culture just does NOT support veiling. It’d be misinterpreted, and has been.

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    1. Really, all I can do is shake my head in that “what a shame” manner. Because we’re all just trying to be closer to Him, we should help, not judge. Pride stinks.

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  7. Cristina, I am a senior citizen Catholic who attended Mass when women and girls were required to cover their heads. No woman entered the church without a head covering. Men, on the other hand, were required to remove hats. There were hook gadgets in every space on the pew for men to hang their hats. No one ever talked about it or debated it. No one in my family or at my Catholic school ever explained the reason for these customs. When the requirement was relaxed after Vatican Council II I didn’t hear anyone mourning the fact that head coverings were no longer required.

    This debate seems to be among younger generations of Catholics. I say live and let live when it comes to externals that are optional. Veils are optional.

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  8. I respect both sides–absolutely no judgement either way, but know I could never wear one without feeling self-conscious. Oh, and that portrait you posted is absolutely gorgeous–very captivating!

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  9. It’s so interesting that you wrote on this because, after covering for six years, and feeling very, very strongly called to do so, I began to doubt whether I should continue, entirely based on the debates that I saw and almost entirely because of comments from people who were for it (and who generally believed strongly that it was required). So many of the conversations were so ugly that I had to step back from the conversation altogether. I kept making headcoverings and I have continued wearing them but I really had to step back from any forums or discussions about them for about six months just to cool off and almost detox from what I’d seen being said. I’ve slowly begun dipping my toe back in the water now and trying hard to remember the reasons that covering felt like such a helpful devotion to me, personally, initially, while leaving all that other stuff aside.

    But I can definitely see where you’re coming from… my heart has sort of ached about this subject since around Advent and while it’s gotten a little easier it’s still definitely been baby steps (and some self imposed isolation) away from the conversations that go on!

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  10. I think it all comes down to a matter of the heart… and we can’t (and really shouldn’t) judge another’s heart (intention)—not truly. Veiling is (should be) an act of pure humility before our God. Humbly, we come, Lord. Unfortunately, though, some of the images of veils [along with the women modeling them] that I’ve seen online aren’t exactly consistent with humility, but seem designed to adorn the woman, which could end up distracting and drawing more attention to her (the very opposite of what a veil should do). I suppose this may be related to sellers’ attempts to sell their product in a very tough market, capitalizing then on the beauty of their veils—but such ads have concerned me. I’ve actually only seen real veiling on TV only (via EWTN Mass) which is done so lovely; truly humbly there; so I truly understand its purpose and beauty. Yet, I must admit some of the images I have seen online have made me feel uncomfortable (a little too beautiful/captivating). God bless, and thank you for your authentic honesty—I love it.

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    1. What a beautiful comment and really sums it all up. I agree with some of the images you mentioned. I am always drawn back to the simplicity of a plain scarf.

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  11. Worshiping God is a very personal experience and I for one do not think He is judging any of us by what we wear. Sadly enough, it is our fellow worshipers who do the judging. Focus on The Lord – not the person sitting next to you.

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  12. I often tell my children, “Do what you think is right, even if others do not understand.” They have watched me take the road less traveled on more than one occasion. But, I have tried to teach them that it may not be someone else’s road and that it is about listening to God’s call for your life. I actually have to remind myself of that often.

    Doing His will is what it’s all about. For example, although I ran like Jonah for some time, I knew without a doubt that God was calling me to homeschool. I do not veil, but if He made it clear that I should, then I would. Period.

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    1. It really should be as easy as that, but it ain’t – and for that I am sad. All of this arguing and spewing of anger or “veiled” attempts as self righteousness, is all just making us look bad. Unity, what happened to that? Respect? Are these becoming extinct? Sadly, yes. Pray harder, I guess?

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  13. I veil because its something I need to do. For me there’s no controversy. There was a woman in my parish who used to give me dirty looks and I was intimidated. Then it dawned on me, this lady is spending her time at church making fun of me when she could be working on her own soul. What a silly woman. From that day on I wad never nervous again. I wear a veil or a scarf or a hat and that critical lady? She stopped coming to church. I don’t know if she moved or what but now that shes gone nobody gives me grief and other women feel confident enough to wear a headcovering before the Blessed Sacrament.

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    1. Hi Daisy, I am so happy that you feel confident, as other women do in your parish to wear a veil before the Blessed Sacrament. Would you pray for that woman too? You never know what crosses anyone bears. It’s important to pray for those that persecute you. Luke 6:29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. A hard teaching, and one that we all have difficulty practicing when we’ve been wronged. Thank you so much for commenting, and I hope to see you again soon!

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  14. PS: It’s so true, though, what Christina is describing here; that such a “debate” can become quite saddening and even disturbing when some will use this matter as a way of judging others’ degree of holiness, on both sides of the fence; apparently with no shortage of “Pharisee-syndrome” (self-righteousness) in sight still—on many issues… A debate not as a means of healthy discussion/discovery, but for attack, gossip, or being “right” (period). Why must we weary our Lord, or each other, and even ourselves? [Talk about distracting!] “Honor and dishonor through talking! A [woman’s] tongue can be [her] downfall. Be not called a detractor; use not your tongue for calumny… Be not a foe instead of a friend.” (Sirach). May we not forget Love; regardless of lace/no lace on our own heads or upon our neighbor’s head.

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  15. “I got love for everybody, we all know that. I am all about inspiring and building up of people, women especially, because honestly, we sorely need it. I think we can all agree on that.” <3

    You're a wonderfully gifted writer and passionate advocate of any cause you take up.

    God bless!

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  16. I think someone said it above that our relationships with God are very personal. What works for one person doesn’t necessarily work for someone else. And that’s ok. God designed us all to be our own person with our own thoughts. We are all called in different ways. And things change. Change can be good. Just stay true to your heart Cristina. We as Christians should accept people no matter what. We are here to love and not judge. God will do the judging when the time comes. I am not Catholic and have never veiled. Does that make me less of a Christian than if I were Catholic? I don’t think so in the slightest. Thank you for bringing this great post to the inter webs :) Everyone should take away this: You do you and I’ll do me.

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    1. Exactly, exactly my point. But it’s hard, people fall prey to always needing to be right. Pride, it’s sneaky and I think, the ugliest of all sin simply because it’s so incredibly pervasive (and probably the oldest: Adam and Eve anyone?) Thank you for sharing here.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Well I’m not Catholic so I really don’t have an opinion on this matter. Actually I’ve recently come to the realization that I’m more agnostic than anything. I a bit surprised that veiling is even a thing in catholicism. I had no idea that it was a thing outside of certain Muslim demoninations. I think it’s great to raise the discussion whether you believe in them or not, because until we can understand where our differences lie we will never be able to understand our similarities. A bold piece on the matter and a good read.

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  18. I am about to ditch my head coverings too. Lil Miss is at the age of pulling everything and I look like I got sucked into a wind tunnel by the end of Mass. Where it once helped me focus, I lose it now with the constant adjusting.

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