Read the original question here.
The important thing to remember about interpreting Scripture is the Catholic Church teaches that there is a literal and spiritual sense, and ultimately, the Church guides us (see CCC 115-119). When we look at St. Paul’s writing, we need to consider the cultural significance and how it relates to modern times, as you pointed out in your question. What we as women must understand is that we are morally obligated to dress modestly and reverently. A woman’s hair is viewed as something incredibly beautiful in a variety of cultures, which is why the idea of veiling came about. We also see other beautiful, and even holy things, “veiled” (that is, covered) in the Mass like the Eucharist in the Tabernacle or the blood of Christ being in a solid chalice. “Covering” our beauty rightly orients the focus away from us and towards what the focus of the Mass should be: Christ.
But you raised an important point: what about men? Men are absolutely held to the same requirement of modesty and reverence as women, but this is expressed differently. Though men and women are equal in dignity and value, they are different in other ways. I know this is challenging to accept, and is something I have struggled to understand myself. However, the more I look at what the Church says about the differences, I view it as a celebration because the differences are emphasized as a necessity. Our unique contributions as women represent some of the beauty of the Creator.
When I started looking into veiling, it was based on a personal desire to show devotion to God. It came to my attention at a time I was just beginning to recognize the True Presence. This development in my faith hit me hard, and veiling was a way to unite what I was feeling (awe towards the Eucharist) with an outward expression.
veiling was a way to unite what I was feeling (awe towards the Eucharist) with an outward expression.
I find that veiling (whether it is a mantilla or a wide headband) helps me to keep a posture appropriate for being in the presence of the Lord. At the same time, I recognize that is is a personal devotion and there are women who choose not to veil and are able to maintain that posture much better than me. Because it is a choice and not a requirement, I feel that it is between God and I on how I can improve my relationship with Him. The important thing to me is that it is a choice. I think every person should be modest, humble, and reverent, but how they go about that will have differences from me. If God blesses my husband and I with daughters, we will allow them to make the decision to whether or not they will veil.
Kate Hendrick is a cradle Catholic, but she really started taking her faith seriously about two years ago. She blogs at stumblingtowardsainthood.com where she writes about the struggles of being a faithful Catholic as a young adult in American culture. Kate’s husband Ben is a Catholic convert and she enjoys growing in the faith with him.