Read the original question here.
Hey, Carey! Your question about veiling is a good one! There are a lot of layers to this question and to its answer, some of which I am still uncovering myself. But I’ll do my best!
Paul’s requirement that men not cover their heads while women do has to do with the spousal, nuptial imagery between God and His people that is found throughout the bible. Christ is considered the Groom and His people (the Church) are considered the bride. Ephesians 5:25 ties this relationship to the relationship between men and women, specifically husbands and wives: “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loves the Church.” Men are to Christ as women are to the Church. And because veiling is traditionally a sign of submission, it would follow that women veil while men do not, because again, women represent the submissive nature of the Church under Christ. It’s why women religious veil: they are representatives of the Church, submitting to the love and care of Jesus, their Spouse. It’s why the bride veils on her wedding day: she is submitting to the love and care of her husband. A lot of people these days don’t like that word “submission,” but again, notice here that it means a woman submitting herself to the love and care of her spouse. It’s a sign of trust in him, not a sign that her free will is being taken away!
It’s a sign of trust in him, not a sign that her free will is being taken away!
Veiling is also traditionally a sign of reverence and an acknowledgement of the sacred. The tabernacle in some churches is veiled because it contains the Eucharist, the Bread of Life. The chalice is veiled before consecration at mass because it will contain the Precious Blood, Jesus’ life and our life. Women are encouraged to dress modestly and might consider veiling because it’s an acknowledgement of the sacredness of their bodies–they have the ability to bear life.
I started veiling a few months ago and I love doing it because it reminds me of my commitment to Christ and my submission to His authority over and love for me. I also see it as a way of recognizing before Christ that I am different from men. Of course, a woman can recognize her beauty and sacredness and beloved-ness without veiling. But even though veiling is not a required practice anymore, it still represents the transcendent reality of how men and women represent the bond between Christ and His Church, and of the reality that women have the unique capacity to bear life. It’s a sign; it points to something deeper than itself.
I hope that at least starts to answer your question!
Erin is a youth minister and writer currently living in Cincinnati, but she’s noticed that God doesn’t usually let her stay in one place for too long, so who knows when she’ll be on to her next adventure! She’s passionate, among other things, about Catholicism, the Eucharist, and music. She recently started a women’s discernment blog called Vocavite.com.