Christ among the Doctors of the Law



Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Chapel veils, again

In the December 8 "Saint Louis Catholic" blog, a post went up on whether women are required by canon law to wear veils in Church. Responding in part to my post on this topic some two years ago, it's an interesting read, though I frankly think the author makes several errors. Thus I still hold that head coverings are not obligatory for women in church. Alas, the issue is not high enough on my "to-do" list to warrant writing more about it than I have, but I wanted to acknowledge reading the opinion with interest. I do wonder, though, why it had to be offered anonymously? Professionals who publish significant opinions in their field should sign their names. Or at least, that's my practice.

Update 12 December 2008. How interesting. May I make a couple of observations, not about chapel veils, but about some people who seem to think that chapel veils are among the most important issues the Church faces in these troubled times, and that I am remiss not to join their discussion of same?

A number of posters, not all of them, of course, but a number of them, at various blogs around the net see my declining further comment on chapel veils as some sort of tacit admission on my part that I now know I am wrong on veils, but I don't want to admit it.

Baloney. Why can't my stated reason for not replying further, that I have other things to do, be the honest and sufficient reason for my not revisiting this topic?

Where does it say that, once having posted an opinion on a topic (a considered opinion mind you, even if informally presented), I am somehow honor-bound to reply to any, let alone every, subsequent post that might be put up by someone else who disagrees with me? Many of my canon law posts generate scores of responses; I could not possibly reply to all of them. And I need not reply to any of them. I have a day job, and a part-time evening job, and I engage in all sorts of professional work on the side (including responding to some challenges of my canonical positions, both publicly and privately.) If people want to see my not responding to a given challenge as an admission that the "other side" must be right, well, such folks simply don't know how to think.

Moreover, it strikes me as odd that I am criticized for not posting more on a given canonical topic than I already have when, in fact, I post more canonical information for the free use of laity and ecclesiastics (and have done so for many years) than does any other canon lawyer in the world. In fact, if anyone can find ten canon lawyers who, put together, post as much as I do, I'd love to meet them.

Finally, if nothing else, has no one noticed that the post of mine to which the anonymous canonist is replying is over two years old? If he or she gets two years to reply to me, shouldn't I get at least that long to reply to him or her before people start dancing on the grave of my position? Or do people really think that canonical debate is an adult-form of "Tag! You're it! 1-2-3 no tag-backs! I win!"

So, no, I'm not going to invest more time in proving that chapel veils are not required by canon law. In response to an ad that claimed chapel veils were required by canon law (ridiculously citing a specific canon!) I posted my thoughts two years ago on why I thought that ad was wrong, I read the recent anonymous post opposing my position, I thought the post was interesting (and said so), I thought it was wrong (and said so), and I don't feel a need to, or perceive a significant purpose served by, my prolonging the matter further. What so exorcises some people about that? I don't know.

Oh well. Back to projects that I think warrant my poor attention, like the Bourgeois case, above.