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Browsing Fr. Joel Hastings

Veils at Mass/ Salvation through the Church

If, as a woman, I attend the Extraordinary Form Latin Mass, should I wear a veil?

          You (that is, all readers of this column) may have noticed a recent trend:  that many women and girls are once more covering their heads whenever they are in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, particularly when participating in Mass – no matter if that Mass be the Latin Mass or the Ordinary Form of the Mass.  This trend may be the result of several factors.  However, it is true that among these factors is that for many women the intention to be modest in their approaching of the Eucharist and to do so with the utmost reverence has become a renewed priority in their practice of the faith. 

At the Extraordinary Form Latin Mass, that many may “expect” women to wear a veil (or some other fitting head covering) is not new.  However, such external expression of reverence should always be kept with the right interior intention – which is once again includes modesty and reverence in the presence of the Eucharist.  Accordingly, while I myself do give encouragement to the custom of women wearing a veil, I hope that those who attend the Extraordinary Form Mass would also realize that not every woman may be fully aware of this external act and of its interior meaning – and thus may not be wearing a veil – and therefore we must be patient and non-presumptive about any who choose not to wear a veil, as they may have never known about the veil or why it even matters.

 

No matter what a person’s religion is, if they are a good Christian but never attend Church what happens to their soul when they die?

          God alone is the judge and He sees beyond appearances into the heart.  That said, the Church has always understood that there is no way to eternal life except through Jesus Christ, and that Jesus founded one Church as the means to salvation:  the Catholic Church. 

          Does this mean that all who are not Catholic, or any among Catholics who do not so to speak “follow all the rules” will not go to heaven?  That all will be held accountable before God is without question.  However, God’s way of judging accounts for the possibility of our not knowing the fullness of the truth – and therefore one is not held to account for that which they (of no fault of their own) did not know to be true.  Thus, there are many who never are exposed to or learn the truth of the Catholic faith of no fault of their own – and God will judge them accordingly based upon what they really did know and how they lived.

For us who profess Catholic faith (and who read this column), it is essential that you understand the following:  that the fullness of Jesus’ saving works are to be found in the Catholic Church.  Such fullness means that if the Church did not exist, no one would be saved, as no one would have access to His saving gifts.  That the Church does exist means that the Church is necessary for our salvation.  In particular, the sacraments of the Church are God’s way of offering salvation.  To not receive the sacraments in their right manner (knowing full well that they offer us God’s eternal life) is to say “no” to Jesus Christ and His saving works.  This truth is why we must evangelize and seek to lead people to life in the Church – for we can never assume that any who are outside the Church are saved, as they need the benefit of Jesus’ saving works just like you and I.  To not seek for souls is to deny the mandate of Christ, and we who “know better” will be judged more harshly than those, of no fault of their own, did not know. Thus, I encourage you to do two things in response to this question:  to live your Catholic faith well and to not be afraid to encourage others to “come and see,” that they may discover Jesus Christ’s love and the salvation he desires to give to them. 

 

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