trying to understand why its important to wear the veil. I came across
this and I dont understand it.
man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head, but
any woman who prays or prophesies with her head unveiled dishonors her
headit is the same as if her head were shaven. For if a woman will
not veil herself, then she should cut off her hair; but if it is disgraceful
for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her wear a veil. For a man ought not
to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but woman is the
glory of man. For man was not made from woman, but woman from man. Neither
was man created for woman, but woman for man. That is why a woman ought to
have a veil on her head, because of the angels.
1 Corinthians 11:410
of resent being told I was created for man. I dont understand why
thats the reason to have a veil on my head. And what does it mean by
because of the angels?
his passage is often misunderstood.
Not only will you find that many women today who wear a chapel veil at Mass
cannot explain the real reason for covering their heads, but also you will
find contemporary Biblical commentators trying to explain away
this passage by saying that it refers to an ancient social custom that no
longer has any relevance to todays world; then they will say that they
dont have a clue as to what Saint Paul meant about the
The truth is, Saint Paul was
emphasizing a mystical principle here that is just as relevant today as it
was in his own time; moreover, being mystical, not secular, this principle
has no sexist implications.
To understand the passage, we
need to distinguish two separate concepts: (a) social dignity, and (b) lust
as one form of demonic influence.
In the ancient world, even the
pagans recognized the value of human dignity and used clothing to protect
that dignity. Slaves may have gone around nearly naked, but respectable citizens
wore fine clothes to mark their social status. Moreover, slaves may have had their
heads shorn to facilitate their menial laborsor to strip them of their
individuality and dignitybut respectable women kept their hair long
as a statement that they had the freedom and the means to care for their beauty.
Respectable women also kept their heads covered as a form of natural and
protection, not mere custom.
For both men and women, head
coverings protected the hair and face from natural elements such as sun,
wind, and dust. Furthermore, head coverings protected women in particular
from the social danger of mens lust.
Note that, in a paradoxical twist
of psychology, an ordinary veil tends to cover something only to incite the
viewer to wonder what is behind the veil. When a veil is used as a head
covering, however, it serves a function different from an ordinary veil. Rather
than hide a woman’s head from view, the veil makes a psychological and
spiritual statement about the woman’s dignity and thereby protects her
from any lustful gaze.
Keep in mind here that all humans
have a basic human dignity as individuals created by God, but that men and
women also have a particular dignity deriving from their gender. Men have
the dignity of being fathers, and women have the dignity of being
For the Jews,
these gender roles derived from God Himself, and the male-female bond in
marriage symbolized Gods personal care for humanity. Christianity
heightened the meaning of this bond, pointing to its penitential, prayerful,
and sacrificial nature of personal renunciation for the sake of the Kingdom
Consequently, a womanwhether
pagan, Jew, or Christianof Saint Pauls time protected her social,
feminine dignity by shielding her head from the gaze of men, to signify that
she was, or intended to be, a
and that she was not a slave to lust.
Saint Paul referred to this concept
of social dignity when he said that a woman, like a slave, loses her dignity
when her hair is shorn, but the point he makes about a woman covering her head
during prayer takes us a step beyond the social level into the mystical realm
of demonic influence.
Chapter 6 of the Book of Genesis
tells the story of the origin of the Nephilim. Biblical commentators tend
to dismiss this account as something borrowed from ancient mythology and
therefore of no real theological value. Sadly, they miss an important point.
Nevertheless, Anne Catherine Emmerich,
in her mystical visions of ancient Biblical history, brings us right to the point
of the story of the Nephilim.
I saw Cains descendants becoming more and
more godless and sensual. They settled further and further up that mountain
ridge where were the fallen spirits. Those spirits took possession of many
of the women, ruled them completely, and taught them all sorts of seductive
arts. Their children were very large. They possessed a quickness, an aptitude
for everything, and they gave themselves up entirely to the wicked spirits
as their instruments. And so arose on this mountain, and spread far around,
a wicked race which by violence and seduction sought to entangle Seths
posterity likewise in their own corrupt ways. Then God declared to Noe His
intention to send the Deluge. During the building of the ark, Noe had to
suffer terribly from those people.
The Life of Jesus Christ
Vol. 1, Sin and Its Consequences, Ch. 5
as told by the Venerable Anne Catherine Emmerich
The point of this story is not just that
wicked spiritsthat is, fallen angels, or demonscan exert a powerfully
negative spiritual influence over us, but that one primary pathway of this demonic
influence is seductiveness and lust.
We know that lust is
a sin because it is one of the seven deadly
Lust is a sin precisely because it makes a person into an object; that is, it sees
another person in terms of whatever pleasure that person can bring to you. Whereas
love wishes good to
lust seeks your good at the use of someone. You can use a person in actuality or in
your imagination, but, either way, lust, being the opposite of love, is an act of
As infants, we all need acceptance from our
parents in order to receive from them the resources necessary for our survival. Moreover,
throughout childhood we continue to need parental acceptance so that we can grow and
thrive. But as we progress through childhood and adulthood, men and women, because of
their natural God-given differences, develop different identities
from which to gain acceptance from the world in general.
Traditionally, men get acceptance through
their minds, using mental strategy for mastery in business and science. They also get
acceptance through their bodies, using physical strength for mastery in such things as
athletics and combat.
Traditionally, women get acceptance through
their minds, using emotional sensitivity for success in such things as raising children,
teaching, and health care. They also get acceptance through their bodies, using physical
attractiveness for mastery in social status and
Notice, however, that none of these paths
to social acceptance impress God. Military power and athletic prowess mean nothing to
Almighty God, and business and science are trifles to the All-knowing God. Similarly,
emotional sensitivity and physical attractiveness are unsurpassed in the spiritual realm.
But if men and women take pride in these things they give offense to God because pride
is a form of hatred for the divine.
This is why military
and police uniforms, athletic insignia, and showy jewelry cause scandal during
As for the demons, military power, athletic
prowess, business, science, and emotional sensitivity are all irrelevant, but, well,
physical attractiveness is something to be noticed. The demons feed on lust. They also
feed on the hatred underlying pride.
Consequently, in all things, both men and
women need to present themselves before God, and protect themselves from demons, with
reverent humility, and, in all things, women in particular
need to protect their physical attractiveness from demons with reverent
modesty. Moreover, in church especially, where
we open our hearts in deep vulnerability to Christ, women need to protect themselves from
demons by covering their heads, the apex of their physical attractiveness, with a veil,
lest their attractiveness, with its underlying desire to be accepted, become a pathway
for demons to accept them and enter their vulnerable hearts.
Angels and Fallen
The Church has always known that angels
exist. The Bible recounts many stories about the archangels Michael, Gabriel, and
Raphael. Moreover, even today in the Angelus we recall
how an angel announced the Incarnation to the Blessed Virgin, and even today, at
Mass, in the Roman Canon (Eucharistic Prayer I) we affirm that angels carry our
sacrifice to heaven. We also know that demons exist because Christ cast out demons
as a regular and on-going aspect of His healing ministry.
Many persons today—even
many priests—propagate the false idea that when Jesus cast out demons He was really
curing a mental illness. But the truth is, Jesus well knew the difference between a
demon and a psychological or medical problem. How could the Lord Himself not know
His own creation?
Saint Paul, too, knew that
fallen angels exist, and he knew of their demonic influence.
He knew that fallen angels can take possession of women, rule them completely, and teach
them all sorts of seductive arts. That’s why he warned women to cover their heads when
they pray. He knew that if a woman in prayer covers her head, she protects herself from
the gaze of the fallen angels and thereby denies them the opportunity to feed upon
feminine immodesty and pride. Therefore, when a woman covers her head in prayer she takes
a noble stand in the great spiritual battle against
The entire Church
Militant is faced with this spiritual battle—but it cannot be fought just with
a manual of prayers to recite with your lips. Christ Himself taught us that the
real weapon against evil must come from deep within the heart: for the love of
God, deny your desire to
The Example of Mary
Consider the following passage from the
Venerable Anne Catherine Emmerich who, in the course of her extensive spiritual
visions, witnessed the actions of the Blessed Virgin just before the
Anne seemed to be
very busy about the household affairs, and for a time she moved about here and
there, while the Blessed Virgin ascended the steps to her room. There she put
on a long, white, woolen garment, such as it was customary to wear during prayer,
a girdle around her waist, and a yellowish-white veil over her head. The maid
entered, lighted a branched lamp, and retired. Mary drew out a little, low table,
which stood folded by the wall, and placed it in the center of the
room. . . . When the little table was prepared, Mary laid a small,
round cushion before it and, resting both hands on the leaf, she gently sank on
her knees, her back turned to her couch, the door of the chamber to her right.
The floor was carpeted. Mary lowered her veil over her face, and folded her
hands, but not the fingers, upon her breast. I saw her praying for a long time
with intense fervor. . . .
The Life of Jesus Christ
Vol. 1, The Most Holy Incarnation, Ch. 3 (The Annunciation)
as told by the Venerable Anne Catherine Emmerich
Now, if Mary wore a veil simply
for social reasons, then why would she bother to put on a veil to pray when
she was alone and hidden from human eyes? Well, she wore the veil for spiritual
reasons, not for human reasons, and every woman today would do well to take her
as an example.
Woman is the
Glory of Man
Still, many persons today say, This
is all ridiculous. Lets bring Christianity into the modern
Well, in order to further its anti-Christian
progressive liberal agenda, our culture of insanity has been working for decades to
undermine reverence for God by defiling the natural, God-created differences between
men and women. Today we are all being taunted by demonic influence to blur gender
and even Christians are becoming blind to the pernicious cultural insanity
surrounding them and slowly infiltrating the Church and the core of faith
Yet in the book of Genesis we are
told that the desires of mans heart are evil from his
youththat is, from the start (see Genesis 8:21). In
other words, men are prone to lust as a fact of (fallen) life, just as much today, in
the modern world, as in the past. Furthermore, demons can fan the flames of
that lust and then feed upon it, just as much today, in the modern world, as in the past.
So from where shall come any help? Well, it comes from women.
To understand this, let’s remember that
in the reproductive act, the woman receives the man. Hence when Saint Paul said that
woman was made for man. this is a statement of logic;
woman was made for man means that womans sexual function was
made to receive the mans sexual function. Neither function is superior
or inferior, and so there is nothing sexist or demeaning about this
That woman is the glory of man,
then, means that when women shield their sexual function from lust they take up a
God-given spiritual authority to put men in their proper spiritual place. Consequently,
the containment of a mans lust must take place especially through the help
of a woman. If a woman detaches herself
from worldly approval, renounces
lust, dresses modestly,
acts in all things with humility, and then protects herself
from demonic influence by covering her head when she prays, she will be of
glorious spiritual help to men.
But, although the veil is worn
over her head, she must pray for it to cover her heart, as the fulfillment of her
renunciation of pride and lust; thus her veil will be real protection, not just a rote
To Wear a Veil Properly
To wear a veil properly, wear it for
the love of God, not for the sake of
let the veil be a proper veil, such as an elegant scarf or shawl covering your shoulders
and head, rather than a flimsy piece of lace precariously balanced on the top of your
head. Similarly, a cropped lace “veil” that exposes the back of your head fails in the
true function of a veil. For the same reason, a hat also is not liturgically
appropriate. Furthermore, a hat can just as well be worn socially to increase a womans
attractiveness, so wearing a hat in church has no protective purpose for a woman.
A veil of
duty that looks like she plopped her husbands handkerchief on her
A chopped veil that
falls short as a proper veil.
A good lace veil that
covers the back of her head and neck.
An elegant use of a scarf
as a chapel veil.
Put on the veil before entering the
church and dont remove it until you have left the church. Why? Well, remember
that Christ is physically present in every Catholic and Orthodox church, and to encounter
Him with chaste respect a woman veils her head before stepping into His presence. The
veil brings protection and honor to any womans deep, prayerful encounter with the
holy; the veil is not just a “duty” of the Mass itself.
It is also most beneficial for a woman to
wear a veil when praying formal prayers (such as the Rosary) outside a church, whether
in public (such as in a Eucharistic Procession or outside an abortion facility) or
privately in her own home (as did the Blessed Virgin herself).
Furthermore, let the veil be a true
affirmation of modesty, such that all of your clothing is
modest and reverent. A woman who wears leggings or jeans or slacks (instead of a
loose skirt) while wearing a veil resembles an ostrich with its head buried in the sand
while its butt is pathetically
exposed  for
all to see.
Think of what happened in the
mid-20th century: reverence for the Blessed
Sacrament was lost; the beauty of Gregorian chant was neglected; devotion
to Our Lady and the Rosary declined; women stopped covering their heads when
they prayedand demons frolicked in the Church.
When stripped of its divine dignity,
Christianity is reduced to the intellectual nakedness of humanistic
sentimentality. In that forlorn place, truth becomes nothing more than
diversity. “What’s impurity?” we say. “God is love. God
created everything. Everything is good and pure.” With purity diluted to the
point of irrelevance, belief collapses. And where, then, does that leave faith?
That’s what Jesus asked. “But when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on
earth?” (see Luke 18:8).
So where is our help now? Well,
if women dress modestly at all times, and act with
reverent humility in all things, they will be
a holy influence on men and society, and if they cover their heads when praying
they will protect themselves spiritually from the gaze of demons who feed upon
pride, irreverence, and impurity.
Women have a crucial mission—a
mission of purity—in liberating themselves, the Church, and society in general
from the oppression of pride, irreverence, and impurity that, day by day, are
increasingly attacking us all.
Our help is in the name of the
LORD, Who made heaven and earthand Who made woman as
the glory of man, to honor her and protect man from himself.
1. Nevertheless, some women may willingly renounce
marriage and motherhood for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven.
Infertility, however, is another matter.
2. The seven deadly sins are pride, avarice, envy,
wrath, gluttony, sloth, and lust.
3. To love is to wish the good of another. See Thomas
Aquinas, Summa Theologica I–II, 26, 4. Saint Thomas acknowledged that this
definition of love came from the writings of the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle.
(See Aristotle, Rhetoric ii, 4).
4. Consider that Dante’s Divine Comedy
begins with Dante lost in a dark woods; he tries to escape by climbing over a beautiful
mountain but is driven back by three fierce animals, a leopard (symbolizing lust), a lion
(symbolizing violence) and a wolf (symbolizing malice). He then has to face his inability
to guide himself and, renouncing his cowardice, agrees to follow VirgilVirgil down into
hell as the path to Purgatory. Allegorically, this means that
in order to attain holiness we must all descend into the inner hell of a “will to sin” that
lurks in the unconscious of
us all and that will lead us to our doom unless we encounter it
and pass beyond it with a courageous desire for purification.
For more information about the psychological aspects of this healing process, see my
5. For example, a cultural ideal for women today is
to forsake feminine modesty, throw off the yoke of the “supernatural,” and adorn
themselves with lust and anger. To get on the fast track of social success, women are
encouraged to compete with men by dressing in the same uniforms as men, to compete with
other women as sex objects, and to compete with both men and women in business by acting
like hostile, cold-hearted men.
6. In its psychological sense, duty has
nothing to do with love. When you act out of duty you are trying either to
gain someone’s approval or to avoid losing someone’s approval. Love, in contrast,
has no ulterior goal; the purpose of love is love. Love is its own reward.
Nevertheless, it is possible to speak of one’s “duty” to love
and worship God, but when used in this unique theological sense the word duty simply
points us to a need to avoid being careless about, or ungrateful for, the ineffable
love which God bestows upon us.
7. Its also pathetic for a woman because if the
demons cannot make a frontal attack because of her veil they will come up from the rear
to attack where her defenses are weak.