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Catholic Answers Live September 10, 2004 A caller asked about an article he saw in Catholic Famil !

!ews concernin" veils# Apparentl this was a recent issue, and it cited St# $aul and several Fathers and %octors o& the Church# $er 'imm Akins, the Con"re"ation &or the %octrine o& the Faith published ()nter )nsi"nores* in the 1+,0-s# .hile the document was primaril a statement that women cannot be priests, it also covered the topic o& veils# Accordin" to 'A, )) makes it clear that veils are based on tradition, not on Sacred /radition# 'A said that veils are a cultural product o& the !ew /estament times# 0e said there is no natural law ar"ument &or veils, i#e# to wear a veil onl in church and not otherwise# 'A also noted that the 1+1, Code o& Canon Law contained a re1uirement to wear a veil# Accordin" to 'A, the 1+1, Code was abro"ated in 1+23# 4$resumabl b the publication o& he 1+23 Code, or perhaps it was more e5plicit than that#6 /he 1+23 Code does not contain an such re1uirement# 4) would at least ar"ue that even i& this is not Sacred /radition, and also no lon"er the positive disciplinar law o& the Church, there is still the matter o& tradition itsel&# /he chan"e in canon law ma now mean that there is no sin o& disobedience in !7/ wearin" a veil, and that bishops, priests and la persons now have no le"al basis to re1uire the use o& a veil# 0owever, it does not mean that such persons have no basis in tradition per se to so re1uire, or at least to persuasivel ar"ue the matter# 7ne interestin" point is that the caller asked whether veils had been abandoned as a nod to &eminism# ) think it was at that point that 'A mentioned )), and stated that there is no natural law basis# )t is worth notin", per the 8odest 9eils website article, that in 1+:2 ;or thereabouts< there was a press con&erence, broadcast to the world, in which a priest or bishop o& some stature at 9atican Council )) made a statement that was interpreted b the press to the e&&ect that veils were no lon"er re1uired# $er that article, the same person subse1uentl noted that this interpretation was in error, but that correction was never broadcast in the same wa # =iven that 'A was correct about the 1+1, Code containin" that re1uirement, this means that &or 21 ears, &rom 1+:2 to 1+23, there was a widespread impression that veils were not re1uired, which impression had been created b a misinterpreted ;or perhaps deliberatel ambi"uous>< statement b that o&&icial# /here&ore that o&&icial led people into the sin o& disobe in" the Church-s positive disciplinar law, and other o&&icials who knew the re1uirement was still in e&&ect also participated in that because the never promul"ated ;as &re1uentl as needed< a correction# 4See )) to &ind out i& it points out that the re1uirement still e5ists#6 ;7& course, "iven the widespread misimpression, a woman who then chose not to wear a veil was not necessaril doin" so out o& a deliberate desire to violate Church law# )& so, it was more a venial sin#< So ou have to wonder i& the &ailure to correct the misimpression wasn-t a result o& &eminist pressures# Another strikin" thin" is that, "iven the accurac o& the 8odest 9eils article, the use o& the veil, even as a tradition, was widespread in the Church in the ears immediatel prior to 1+:2# An

ar"ument here would be that this shows that, albeit a mere tradition, it was !7/ ?ust the cultural norm o& St# $aul-s time, rather it has alwa s been the tradition o& the Church as a whole# A"ain, that "oes ri"ht to the issue that althou"h the veil ma not be bindin" in conscience as part o& divine positive law, or the Church-s currentl e&&ective positive disciplinar law, or part o& Sacred /radition, still it is an immemorial tradition o& the Church which should be respected and promoted as such# As a counter it could be ar"ued that the reason this tradition lasted so lon" was because the lait were under the mistaken impression that this was either divine positive law or part o& Sacred /radition# /hat ar"ument would "o &urther and ar"ue that this misimpression meant that the tradition was practiced ;as &re1uentl and widespread as it ma have been< more than it would have otherwise# )& one were to ar"ue that the Church-s positive disciplinar law then re1uired it, the counter ar"ument mi"ht continue b statin" that an tradition backed up b the Church-s positive disciplinar law is not reall a true tradition at all, and that the demise o& such a putative tradition so soon a&ter the revocation ;or supposed revocation< o& that positive re1uirement is et another proo& that this is not a tradition# ;)n essence this would be an ar"ument that real traditions stand on their own without &orce o& law#< )n &act, the counter ar"ument could "o et &urther, and ar"ue that since this is merel ;at best< a tradition, the Church-s positive disciplinar law on the matter was much akin to the $harisee-s la in" up burdens o& human tradition on people, condemned in the !ew /estament# ;7& course, there are broader rami&ications# 7ne is that A!@ Church disciplinar law base solel on such tradition is likewise condemnable b the same !ew /estament approach# 4Althou"h the counter to this is simpl that the Church has an authorit in these matters which the $harisees did not have#6 Another is that it would mean that &or centuries the Church has (laid up this burden* on la women# )n an case, re"ardless o& the basis &or the Church-s o&&icial interpretation o& the veil as a mere tradition, it can certainl be ar"ued that &eminist pressures andAor ideas were the basis o& the "eneral &ailure to announce, let alone en&orce, the Church-s e5istin" disciplinar law &rom 1+:2 to 1+23# /he bottom line is that, to m knowled"e, a Catholic can still make all the ar"uments in &avor o& the veil as a tradition# =iven the interpretation &ound in )), and the chan"e in canon law, the diocese and the parish could reasonable want, or even e5pect, that an "enerall circulated ar"ument &or the reinvi"oration o& this tradition would mention the interpretation and chan"e, and perhaps even e5plicitl state that there is no violation o& divine positive law, Sacred /radition, or even the Church-s disciplinar law, and that it is not sin&ul !7/ to wear the veil# 4)s there an indul"ence &or wearin" one> Could be, now that it is not re1uired#B6 /he point isC St# $aul &avors the veil# /he Fathers all understand St# $aul to mean D@E re"ardin" the veil# 7ur Lad is alwa s depicted wearin" a veil# !uns have traditionall worn a veil and &or la women to do so reminds them o& their own connection with women livin" in the reli"ious li&e#BB

/here are theolo"ical overtones or meanin"s to the veil# ;)s there reall an ar"ument in &avor o& the veil be ond tradition per se> @es F Ge?ection o& &eminism, solidarit with nuns, solidarit with tradition in "eneral, modest , encoura"in" atmosphere o& reverence and solemnit , reverence &or women b visuall linkin" them to 7ur Lad and to the consecrated reli"ious li&e#< B /his raises the point that the Church o&ten encoura"es practices b indul"ences that she does not re1uire b law# BB Actuall this raises two interestin" points# ;1< )& ) am correct, most orders stopped wearin" a veil lon" be&ore 1+23# 0ow could that happen> 8a be the answer is that technicall the sisters were permitted to discard the veil outside church, but that within church the still &ell under the "eneral provision applicable to all women to use a veil# ;/he &act that the , alon" with man or most other women, didn-t obe or know about the on"oin" 1+1, Code provision is another matter#< ;2< /he interestin" thin" is that prior to 1+:2, la women in church temporaril took on the veil, temporaril lookin" somewhat akin to nuns# )n contrast, a&ter the chan"e in "eneral, and the chan"e in habits, that is b 1+,0 or so, nuns took on the look o& women in the world, and that all the time, not ?ust when in the world# ;/o put it more "enerall , rather than la women sometimes bein" like reli"ious, the reli"ious became like la all the time#<

Inter Insigniores
Declaration On the Question of Admission of Women to the Ministerial Priesthood 7ctober 1H, 1+,: b Sacred Con"re"ation &or the %octrine o& the Faith 4/he (ob?ection* spoken o& below is with respect to the prohibition o& women &rom the ministerial priesthood# 0i"hli"ht is m own#6 (Another ob?ection is based upon the transitor character that one claims to see toda in some o& the prescriptions o& Saint $aul concernin" women, and upon the di&&iculties that some aspects o& his teachin" raise in this re"ard# But it must be noted that these ordinances, probably inspired by the customs of the period, concern scarcely more than disciplinary practices of minor importance, such as the obligation imposed upon women to wear a veil on their head (1 Cor 11:2-1 !" such re#uirements no longer have a normative value$ 0owever, the ApostleIs &orbiddin" o& women to speak in the assemblies ;1 Cor 14C34F3HJ 1 /i, 2C12< is o& a di&&erent nature, and e5e"etes de&ine its meanin" in this wa C $aul in no wa opposes the ri"ht, which he elsewhere reco"nises as possessed b women, to prophes in the assembl ;1 Cor 11C1H<J the prohibition solel concerns the o&&icial &unction o& teachin" in the Christian assembl # For Saint $aul this prescription is bound up with the divine plan o& creation ;1 Cor 11C,J =en 2C12F24<C it would be di&&icult to see in it the e5pression o& a cultural &act# !or should it be &or"otten that we owe to Saint $aul one o& the most vi"orous te5ts in the !ew /estament on the &undamental e1ualit o& men and women, as children o& =od in Christ ;=al 3C22<# /here&ore there is no reason &or accusin" him o& pre?udices a"ainst women, when we note the trust that he shows towards them and the collaboration that he asks o& them in his apostolate#* 4)& (the obli"ation imposed upon women to wear a veil on their head* was onl a (disciplinar practice o& minor importance*, wh was it enshrined in canon law> .h does the C%F state that it (no lon"er 4has6 a normative value* i& in &act it was still in canon law in 1+,:> %oes this impl that there was some interim, o&&icial chan"e>6