Sunday, May 6, 2012

The Veils Are Multiplying

The church we attend up here seems like your standard slightly-better-than-average American parish.  We chose it more for convenience than anything else, and while it's not "traditional" in the strict sense of the word, services resemble our idea of a proper Mass more than they do a campfire jamboree.  We are still some of the most straight-laced people there, but the crucifix is at the center of the design, the tabernacle is in the right place, and we haven't heard anything heretical from the pulpit.  I can't speak for the 9:30 "contemporary" service because we've never been brave (or foolish) enough to attend.  All in all, it's a fair compromise.

I used to waffle back and forth between wearing my veil or not at a non-traditional parish.  The Mass we occasionally attended at the military chapel in California was so dominated by the guitar and drum set that I just couldn't bring myself to wear it.  However, this parish here is leaning far enough toward the conservative camp that the choir occasionally sings a Latin hymn during communion.  Sweet!  My dramatic black veil once again became a staple of my mostly black Sunday wardrobe.  I thought at worst it might blow their minds, and at best it may start a trend.

Wearing a veil, nylons, and heels in a modern American parish is a great way to meet like-minded individuals.  It's like wearing a sign on your back describing your liturgical preferences.  "Hi, I'm a young Catholic traditionalist, and I'm as serious as the plague."  My husband and I met two of our new best friends that way.  We turned around and there was a young couple who looked just like us!  Together, we were the four best dressed people at Mass.

We had been making our appearance at this parish for several weeks when we started getting compliments, generally from men.  They usually conveyed their appreciation very discreetly lest the women hear them.  First was an old but very energetic usher who feigned shock at my attempts to be traditional and wondered "What's become of our Church these days?"  The second was a middle-aged gentleman who gave me a thumbs-up and a "Good job!", explaining that his men's Bible study group had just covered Corinthians and St. Paul's exhortation to women to wear veils.  A third occasion also involved our well-dressed friends, when a group of older church-goers approached us all in Ruby Tuesday and congratulated us on how nice we looked at Mass.  Apparently it does make an impression.

Unfortunately (for us), our friends had to move house, so now I thought I would probably be the only one "veiling" at Mass.  But 'twas not so.  I almost don't notice other veils in front of me, coming from the trad culture, but suddenly I realized where I was and why they were an anomaly.  There was another youngish family a few pews ahead in which the mother and two daughters were all veiled.  The next week they were still there, and beside me was a stylish older couple, the wife sporting an expensive looking mantilla.

Beware, modernists.  Whatever will you do when veils become "contemporary?"


  1. Love this article! I just posted it on my own blog's Facebook page.

    Three cheers for your husband and his military service. Three more cheers for you for being a young traditionalist Catholic.

    I don't know if I fit that category, but a lot of my contemporaries would put me there. (If you actually follow Church teaching and thought about being a priest at one time, you get lumped in with traditionalists a lot.)

    I really appreciate you showing on the outside what is in your heart on the inside- a devoted Christian.

    Just out of curiosity: If you attend a daily Mass, or are in church for other than a Sunday or Holy Day, do you still wear the veil?

  2. Thank you!

    I only started wearing the veil during high school, but I'm so used to it now that I feel kind of naked without it. If it feels like church, I put it on. :)

    1. I really should start wearing my veil more often again. I started wearing it in college, but then fell out of the habit after moving to MD mostly because I feel prey to the intimidation of being the only person wearing one (though I kind of used "it's hard to keep a veil on when your dealing with a little one" as an addition excuse). Now I only really wear it when I attend the traditional mass, which isn't often anymore, unfortunately. I did attend a tridintine mass a few weeks ago and wore my veil. It really reminded me that I enjoy wearing that devotional outward sign.

  3. Small curious fingers can certainly make it more difficult to keep a veil in place. ;)