Saturday, 29 October 2011

What if I attended Mass tomorrow and.....

...wore a hat?

As a male, I mean. Could I enter the church and take my place in a pew wearing, let us say, a pretty natty fedora?

OK in the Synagogue but not in a Catholic church
that's the custom you see?

Would anyone notice? I think that they would...a man wearing a hat in church would stick out like, well, a man wearing a hat in church!

Would people be scandalised? I would hope so. It is our culture, unlike that of the Jew, Muslim, Sikh or Hindu, for men to go bareheaded at Mass; in church, at all times.

It would be grossly wrong and offensive to do such a thing. As a boy at home I was not allowed to even enter the home wearing my school cap.

"Is thy father a Jew?" was the usual challenge from my Pa and, of course, I would remove the offending article pretty damn quick.

I believe that few men would enter a home with their hat still on. It is not just in church that this rule applies, our culture extends into the home situation as well.

And when men who are wearing a hat meet a priest or a  woman, what should they do? Well they should take it off as a mark of respect, they should doff it to use a quaint old word.

Now, when a woman enters a church, how should she be dressed as regards to headwear?

What does our culture say in this situation?


  1. Funny. Just this morning, as we were waiting to leave the pew on our way to receive Holy Communion, I looked over at the line of people and saw a man under a baseball cap. Hmmm, I thought, this guy's going for a blessing. Many of the local population are catechumens, apparently, as we always see Father giving a blessing to quite a few in the line. Shortly after I noticed him, so did one of the parishioners next to him at the time who immediately slapped the guy on the forearm, pointed to his hat and said what must have been quite a rebuke. He took his cap off quickly, then reached forward to remove his son's cap, too. Later, I saw the father showing his boy how to make the Sign of the Cross.

    Now, I'm reared in the USA as a Latin rite Catholic, and we simply don't permit headgear on the males in the congregation, except for pageantry (The Knights of Columbus 4th degree Sir Knights in regalia, for example).

    But my example above was in a Chinese Catholic Church near Shanghai. So there's two continents checking in...

    Ken Jones

  2. Hi Ken, this sounds a little 'duh-huh' but are there 'real' Catholic churches in China?

    In the sense, I thought the Catholic Church in China was an underground one and constantly persecuted at that...

    I remember meeting a couple of young Chinese Catholics at the WYD in Madrid and the word going around was; they had red spies sent along with them. Most of them came to the WYD not knowing about the safety of their families, jobs etc once they got back home.