As a child in America during the 50's and 60's, we always wore hats to church.. Easter bonnets, or winter hats..Both Orthodox and RC churches had this practice.. maybe others.. in general a woman always wore a hat and white gloves when dressed up in public. According to my mom, it was the 'teased' hairstyle of the 60's that did away with them..Jackie Kennedy was the last first lady to really have been pictured regularly wearing a hat as part of 'dressup' wear. ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€š Recently I visited a little monastery on Santorini.. and we had been on the beach in shorts.. so we covered up our legs with big towels to enter the church.. hubby too by the way!!.. but I was not asked to cover my head..
There are several things to consider here..
-first, in general dressing modestly is always a guideline.. church or not.. this style where guys have their pants halfway down their butt is one counter example..skirts so short the panties show, I'dtake pants over that, ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€š ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€š Body piercing, tattoing, etc.. i.e. mutilation.. another counter example.. my son was the only one of his peers who knew how to put on a tie because of our church practice.. so, in general, it is not just church dress, but general dress that must be considered.
- second.. while in general I agree that proper dress and behavior should go hand in hand... I have learned some frightening truths..consider our local ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€š RC parochial high school that espouses modesty, chastity, Christian values, prayer, etc.. It is a top notch Blue ribbon awarded school...Orthodox in the area use it.. we do too..all the kids wear uniforms and the parents pay to send the kids to this environment... I was shocked to learn that these same parents hold parties serving alcohol to minors and rent hotel rooms for post prom partying at the beach... a senior class pre prom meetingof kids and parents- with the Sisters telling the parents this is wrong,illegal, unsafe, ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€š not to do it.. etc.. -this went on deaf ears.. and, I've learned from my son that most girls have been 'dishing out sex' since sixth grade...girls who I thought were 'modest', polite, Orthodox or not...
So, the priest who said 'head coverings was the least of his worries' was right... There are much bigger issues at stake and Mr. Williams while comparing head coverings to statements of the Holy Fathers is talking about 'how to win a battle.. when the war is already lost'. he is missing the big picture... The question is not why aren't women more modest in church.. the question is how did the church lose it's flock? And how can it get it back?
IMHO, the answer is in the fact that for years ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€š the church & it's services- many in 'foreign language ' just ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€š did not connect with the youth, offer solace for victims of domestic abuse, counseling for troubled youth, etc. ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€š these ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€š were left to govern't institutions and non-profits... so, people found their help elsewhere. ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€š Women left destitute by irresponsible husbands learned they needed to take care of themselves...got educated, went to work, and you will not convince them that a man is their head... Only recently have priests been given guidance on marriage counseling.. and some are awful at it...get them away from the altar chanting the DL and they are all thumbs...Let's also remember that until 20+ years ago, it was believed that women's brains were inferior in physiology to those of men...and therefore they had to be 'headed' by a man in order to survive...some of the older teachings are based on this.
Mr. Williams article, while I understand his intent, ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€š is chillingly frightening in it's complete lack of understanding of the true challenges for the church and society as a whole. ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€š If in fact he is a teen or young adult... then that would explain this as simple naivete... Ask yourself -if you learned that your teen was doing something wrong.. drinking, drug, sex, you name it, ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€š would your priest and parish be able to assist you? My bet you would be shown a list of gov't. social services to help you...& they will ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€š show the kids the condoms and tell the parents to cool it...or give the pregnant girl an abortion reference...
In my opinion, a truly smart priest will not turn people away because of lack of head scarves... but will keep them coming back to church more and more with homilies that inspire, excite, and teach...if the people are not in church, he can't influence them.. so take them with their 'imperfections' and work to help them..
In XC, Kizzy.