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veil

veil

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Published by Quo Primum

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Published by: Quo Primum on May 07, 2009
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02/01/2013

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THE GREAT COMMENTARY
CORNELIUS A LAPIDE S.J.
ON WHY CATHOLIC
WOMEN VEIL THEIR
HEADS IN CHURCH
FIRST EPISTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS, ch XI.

Vs. 4 and 5... It is disgraceful for a man to be veiled, and, therefore, the honour, freedom, and manliness of man require that he veil not his head, but leave it free and unconstrained. On the other hand, it is disgraceful for a woman not to be veiled, for womanly honour and modesty require a woman to veil her head; therefore the woman ought to be veiled, the man ought not. The phrase, "Every woman that prayeth or prophesieth," does not use "prophesieth" in its strict and proper meaning of uttering a prophecy or an exposition, but in the improper sense of singing hymns or psalms to the praise of God. For S. Paul is here speaking of the public assembly, in which he does not allow a woman to speak or to teach, but only to sing her part well when the whole congregation sings. Prophet means singer in I Chron. xxv. I, and in I Sam. X. IO. So Saul is said to have been among the prophets, that is among the singers of praises to God. So in the Books of Kings those are called prophets who served God with praises.

Some explain "that prophesieth" to mean "that hears prophecy;" but "prophecy" has never this passive meaning. Moreover, the Apostle here means any woman, whether unmarried, virgin, married, or unchaste. He bids all alike to go veiled. So Tertullian (de Veil. Vir;. c. 4 and 5) lays down, and adds that the Corinthians understood this to be S. Paul's

meaning, for up to that time, he says, they follow S. Paul's
injunction, and veil their wives and daughters.

Ver. 6 For if a woman be not covered, let her also be shorn. 'For' here is not causal, but an emphatic continuative. It is as disgraceful for a woman to have her head uncovered as to have her hail cut short or cut off. Heretics infer from this that it is wrong for religious virgins to he shorn; but I deny that it follows; for the Apostle is speaking in general of women living in the world, especially of married women, who are seen in public in the temple: he is not speaking of religious who have left the world. These latter rightly despoil themselves of their hair, to show (I.) that they contemn all the pomp of the world, (2.) that they have no husband but Christ. This was the custom at the time of S. Jerome, as he says (Ep. 48 ad Sabtn.). The Nazarites did the same (Num. vi. 5).

It may be urged that the Council of Gangra (can. I7) forbids virgins to be shorn under pretext of religion. I reply from Sozomen (lib. iii. c. I3) that this canon does not refer to religious, but to heretical women, who left their husbands and against their will cut off their hair, in the name of religion, and donned man's dress. It is these that the Council excommunicates, as Baronius rightly points out (Annals, vol. iv.). Add to this that religious virgins wear a sacred veil instead of their hair.

It should be noticed that, although Theodosius ( Codex Theod. Iib. 27, de Epis. et Cler.) forbade virgins to be shorn in the West, that is to say, younger women not living within the walls of a monastery, but wishing to profess a religious life of chastity in the world, his reason was to prevent scandal, which would be caused if, as sometimes was the case, they happened to fall away into the ordinary secular life. This actually happened in the very same year that this law was passed by Theodosius, as Baronius has well pointed out (Annals, A.D. 390). Sozomen, too (Etb. vii. c.20), gives the same reason for its being passed. A

young matron at Constantinople, and of noble birth, and a deaconess, had been, it would seem, seduced by a deacon; and when, according to custom, by the order of her confessor she was making a public confession of certain sins, she proceeded to confess also this sin of fornication to the great scandal of the people; and because of this Nectarius abolished public confession and the office of public penitentiary. Still it has ever been the common practice of the Church that virgins, when taking vows of religion, should be shorn. S. Jerome (Ep. 48) says that in Egypt and Syria women who had dedicated themselves to God were accustomed to cut off their hair. He says: "It is the custom of the monasteries in Egypt and Syria, that both virgin and widow who have vowed themselves to God, and have renounced and trodden underfoot all the delights of the world, should offer their hair to be cut off, and afterwards live, not with head uncovered, which is forbidden by the Apostle, but with their heads both tied round and veiled."

Palladius (in Lausiaca) is our authority for saying that the Tabeunesiotae, an order of sacred virgins founded by S. Pachomius in obedience to the command of an angel, did the same. Moreover, S. Basil (in Reg. Monach.) prescribes, that at the very beginning of the monastic life the head should be shaven, for he says that this well becomes him who is mourning for his sins.

Ver. 7. For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, inasmuch
as he is the image and glory of God. This is a hendiadys, (i.e.

the expression of a complex idea by two words connected), for man is the image of the glory of God, or the glorious image of God, in whom the majesty and power of God shine forth most clearly. He is placed on the topmost step in nature, and is as it were God's vicegerent, ruling everything. This is the major of a syllogism of which the minor is: but the glory of God must be manifested, the glory of man hidden. Therefore, since woman is the glory of the man, the man of God, it follows that woman

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Ifechukwu U. Ibeme added this note
HEAR THIS TRUTH! The Bible never said that the veil is a sign of women inferiority or subjugation to men!!! WOMEN’S WORSHIP VEIL COMMANDS RESPECT FROM ANGELS IN CHURCH ASSEMBLIES (1Cor 11:10) http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%...
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