Since we are on the topic of Mass etiquette, what about Chapel Veils? I see them becoming more common at my church and I am curious if anyone else has considered wearing them.
Whether we're talking about Mass etiquette or mass etiquette, things have certainly gone downhill. Seen anyone texting at Mass yet? I'll bet you have.
I haven't. But that's only because I'm sure I haven't been sneaky enough. I've lost my nun "suddenly appear behind you with no warning" powers in my old age. Guess my bones creak too loudly. They always know I'm coming these days and behave accordingly. No one has had the nerve to text right in my face at Mass. That day will come, I am certain.
What were we talking about? Oh, yes! Chapel Veils! To answer your question, yes, they do seem to be making a comeback. I used to care. Now I can't get up any steam on the issue. For one thing, the Chapel "Veil" has a curious history. And for another, the lone person wearing a chapel veil has a tendency to look "holier than thou", which is unfortunate, since it's really no one's beeswax.
Women didn't used to have to be told to wear a hat in church, because women always had their heads covered when they left the house. Have you ever seen a picture of little St. Bernadette without that thing on her head? No, you haven't, because she wouldn't have left the house without it. There was never a rule in the church that women had to wear a hat, because women were already wearing hats. You won't find a rule that says you have to wear clothing to church, because everyone already does that.
What clothing is worn is entirely another matter. A rulebook would be handy. I digress.
And then hats slowly went away. The Catholic Church did actually make a rule that women have their heads covered. That was 1917. After Vatican II, the rule disappeared, but wasn't officially announced. There is no rule now.
Vatican II was in the 1960's, the era of big hair. I contend that the Chapel Veil was born to save big hair from being squashed. I can only back that up with empirical evidence: before the Chapel Veil, we all either wore a hat or a bandanna, St. Bernadette scarf to Mass. So we all looked like Polish cleaning ladies, except around Easter, when we all had our new hats. When 60's big hair arrived, so did the Chapel Veil.
I don't know how we ended up with Grandma's doilies on our heads. How many times did you get to Mass, realize you didn't have your doily had have to grab a Kleenex, or a place mat, or the church bulletin and stick it up there? At that point, we can all agree that the whole hat issue has turned to mush.
I am not anxious for the return of hats in church. Are you surprised? I am. I am very old fashioned and was very sad to see the hats go. But they did go, so to have them come back now seems to me just to be one more pointlessly divisive thing to use to sit around and judge each other at Mass. Either way, hat or no hat, once people start in on them again, along with the hand holders against the non-hand holders, the opinions will begin, the teeth will grind, the blood pressure will rise.
We'll have great reason to put on our judges robes, too, as hat wearers cover their heads and nothing else and non hat wearers don their Little House on the Prairie garb. It won't be pretty.
You know what secretly tickles me about that cell phone picture at the top of the page? Someone had to take out their phone to take it.
Maybe I'll write a rule book. Would that help?