Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
Really old and overdone topic, but rather than sparking debate about it I am simply asking what are the theological reasons why the Church encourages headcoverings for women and why did St. Paul recommend it? I read his reasoning in the Epistle where he discusses headcoverings but I had trouble understanding it.
It is a Semitic cultural trait preserved well into the European Old World. In fact, seemingly it dominates the entire Old World, and considering how traditional such as been adopted amongst Latin American Catholics, it seems obvious that it was pre-Columbian New World too.. It is cultural, not necessarily religious. Paul was mentioning the cultural aspects and reaffirming them. Women wear head coverings out of modesty, but in the Ethiopian Church men also wear coverings in the Church. That being said, I have learned from direct and tangible experience the spiritual benefits of prayer shawls. Further in my Rastafari experience as a dreadlock I wore headcoverings 24/7 for 8 solid years, so I know a bit about wearing headcoverings. It is a spiritual humility, it is a spiritual self-awareness, it is a spiritual politeness. When I wore headcoverings, it was to be humble in the community, and to be tangibly focused on prayerful meditation. When we men were prayer shawls in the Church, we are reminded of humility and further to cling to God because of our inherent weakness. We are covered because our sins make us vulnerable before God. We are covered because of the Almighty power of God, and we acknowledge our nakedness like Adam even when clothed!! I feel then it can perhaps be the same with women. When we expect or appreciate women wearing head coverings, it is not a punishment or some kind of prudish reactionary response to sexuality, after all, I can't speak for y'all, but women with coverings and shawls are just as attractive to me as anyway else, if not a bit more because of the allure of mystery
That being said, what shawls and headcoverings do is (a) serve a constant reminded to stay faithful in prayer and humility and (b) to remind on-lookers the be the same. After all, I would feel its not a punishment on women on behalf of men's sexuality, rather it seems that because God acknowledges that in reality women are the strength of Faith in the world, that these are obligated to remain stronger in constant prayer. Women raise our families in the Lord, women cool the anger of the world, women pick up ALL the slack and do MOST of the work, and so essentially women make the world go round. In this way, since women in God's eye and our societies clearly play the more integral role, they also have the more spiritual responsibility as leaders of our families and communities to be all the more humble, prayerful, and spiritual. Men wear prayer shawls in the Ethiopian and also Jewish traditions as tangible reminder of prayer, and I would assume that with women it is the same experience. This of course, is just my speculative opinion.