Monday, May 28, 2007

Head coverings, again -- for the record

We've been through this before, and we know about the controversy regarding the new Code of Canon Law (1983) and its silence on the question. For the record, however, here is an article from The Atlanta Journal (June 21, 1969) entitled "Women Required to Cover Head, Vatican Insists," which my wife received in a mailing from Halo-Works:
"A Vatican official says there has been no change, as reported,in the Roman Catholic rule that women cover their head in church. The Rev. Annibale Bugnini, secretary of the New Congregation for Divine Worship, said the reports stemmed from a misunderstanding of a statement he made at a news conference in May. 'The rule has not been changed,' he said. 'It is a matter of general discipline.'"
ZENIT recently carried an article (May 22, 2007) interviewing Fr. Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy at the Regina Apostolorum university, on several subjects, among them, head coverings for women. McNamara, not surprisingly, sees the practice as a culturally conditioned custom of no abiding significance. Among other things, he says:
This custom was considered normative and was enshrined in Canon 1262.2 of the 1917 Code of Canon Law alongside the recommendation that men and women be separated in Church and that men go bareheaded. This canon was dropped from the new Code of Canon Law promulgated in 1983, but the practice had already begun to fall into disuse from about the beginning of the 1970s. Even though no longer legally binding, the custom is still widely practiced in some countries, especially in Asia. It has been generally abandoned in most Western countries even though women, unlike men, may still wear hats and veils to Mass if they choose.

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