What Does The Chapel Veil Signify?
By Anne Van Tilburg
Published on 02/9/2014
What Does The Chapel Veil Signify?

What Does The Chapel Veil Signify?
Practically every bride wears a veil at her wedding, whether or not she knows what it means. And every marriage is meant to be a sacrament: a grace-giving sign that points to and makes present the reality of the nuptial love between Christ and His Bride, the Church. But every Mass anticipates the royal nuptials between Christ and His Bride. Moreover, every woman, even if she is not married, personifies, however imperfectly, the Church and her bridal status. Accordingly, when the Church gathers to worship Almighty God through Christ her Head, every woman has the privilege (it is no longer obligatory) of signifying this bridal status of the Church by wearing a veil - not because she is getting married, but because she aptly signifies the bridal character of the Church.

Moreover, by wearing a veil a woman discreetly communicates her own dignity, for we veil what we treasure and consider sacred. Just look at what is veiled in the sanctuary: the tabernacle, for, like a woman with child, it "bears" Christ contained in the Blessed Sacrament. And because the tabernacle is sacred (or set apart), it is not permitted that anyone can open it to retrieve the Blessed Sacrament. The same may be said of the chalice, for only the priest is permitted to handle it. Thus, by wearing a veil a woman reminds us that she too is a sacred vessel because of her natural capacity to bear children, and thus deserves the respect similar to that accorded to tabernacles and sacred liturgical vessels, a respect that entails a life-long commitment from the man in the bonds of holy matrimony open to life.

This respect, moreover, goes hand in hand with the cultivation of the virtue of chastity and purity, which in turn give to both men and women the maturity that the life-long commitments of both marriage and religious life demand.

Reviving the ancient tradition of wearing a veil in church is by no means a solution for today's social problems. Nevertheless, inasmuch as it would serve to foster respect for the dignity of women and manifest the truth that the Church is a Bride, whose wedding with Christ we anticipate at every Mass, the dignity of the institution of marriage would also be promoted, as would the virtues of chastity and purity.

Many years ago (in 1955, to be exact), Frank Sinatra sang about "love and marriage", and how they "go together like a horse and carriage" how "you can't have one without the other", and how the institution of marriage is "an institute you can't disparage." That was when contraception was still taboo, and when the mores of society still supported the institution of marriage.

When the horse is separated from the carriage, love from marriage, the practice of fraternal charity becomes impossible: men and women wind up degrading each other. Women especially suffer degradation. And no pill, no scientific innovation or technological  bypassing of nature will ever change that. Pope Paul VI put it in this way: "When a man grows accustomed to the use of contraceptive methods, he may forget the reverence due to a woman; will disregard her physical and emotional equilibrium, will reduce her to being a mere instrument for the satisfaction of his own desires, no longer considering her as his partner whom he should  surround with care and affection.

In an unobtrusive yet powerful way, the better a Catholic understands Catholic worship the better poised to cultivate a genuine Christian culture so that once again, everyone will appreciate and live by the truth Frank Sinatra sang about almost sixty years ago: that love and marriage go together like a horse and carriage.

Source: Courageous Priest.