The Church Lady

Glorious Hats Make a Comeback








The American Catholic Jackie Kennedy instinctively grasped what the English always knew: there’s just something about a lady in a hat. And in England, hats for church weddings have always been de rigueur.

For centuries before the 1960s Vatican II, women veiled themselves in church. In fact, in 1917 the Church clearly prescribed head-coverings for women with canon 1262 — which under pressure from modernists was abrogated in 1983.

The English fondness for hats in church derives from their 1394 years of Catholicism before the Reformation. The biblical source for this proscription is the Apostle Paul’s injunction in 1 Corinthians 11:2-16. 

While in the last 50 years most Catholics have abandoned head-coverings, the Anglicans retained this churchly tradition, especially for weddings.  Kate and William’s wedding has brought hats out in full force – first, all over Westminster Abbey, and now, the world! Who knows, perhaps hats will make a comeback in Catholic churches, too?


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