Wearing a Veil?
From INTER INSIGNIORES:
(Italics in the text by John Wijngaards)
Another objection is based upon the transitory character that one claims to see today in some of the prescriptions of Saint Paul concerning women, and upon the difficulties that some aspects of his teaching raise in this regard. But it must be noted that these ordinances, probably inspired by the customs of the period, concern scarcely more than disciplinary practices of minor importance, such as the obligation imposed upon women to wear a veil on the head (1 Cor. 11:2-16); such requirements no longer have a normative value. However, the Apostles forbidding of women to speak in the assemblies (cf. 1 Cor. 14:34-35,1 Tim. 2:12) is of a different nature, and exegetes define its meaning in this way: Paul in no way opposes the right, which he elsewhere recognizes as possessed by women, to prophesy in the assembly (cf. 1 Cor. 11:5); the prohibition solely concerns the official function of teaching in the Christian assembly. For Saint Paul this prescription is bound up with the divine plan of creation (cf. 1 Cor. 11:7; Gen. 2:18-24): it would be difficult to see in it the expression of a cultural fact.
For the full text, see: INTER INSIGNIORES.
From the Commentary by the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on the Declaration Inter Insigniores:
On the other hand there are prescriptions in Pauls writings which are unanimously admitted to have been transitory, such as the obligation he imposed on women to wear a veil (1 Cor. 11:2-16). It is true that these are obviously disciplinary practices of minor importance, perhaps inspired by the customs of the time. But then there arises the more basic question: since the Church has later been able to abandon prescriptions contained in the New Testament, why should it not be the same with the exclusion of women from ordination?
Here we meet once again the essential principle that it is the Church herself that, in the different sectors of her life, ensures discernment between what can change and what must remain immutable. As the declaration specifies, When she judges that she cannot accept certain changes, it is because she knows that she is bound by Christs manner of acting. Her attitude, despite appearances, is therefore not one of archaism but of fidelity: it can be truly understood only in this light. The Church makes pronouncements in virtue of the Lords promise and the presence of the Holy Spirit, in order to proclaim better the mystery of Christ and to safeguard and manifest the whole of its rich content.
For the full text, see: Official Commentary on INTER INSIGNIORES.
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