Can a Woman Wear a Hat in Catholic Church

A woman is a human that has had her way of life defined by so many things. Every culture has defined the way a woman should behave, dress, relate, and live. She’s meant to be hard-working, virtuous, submissive, and quiet. Not only did tradition and culture define how a woman should live, but religion also revealed the way a woman should live and even dress. Every religion has what it expects from a woman.

The Bible says in Ephesians 5:22, ‘Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.’ The woman is meant to live in submission just as she submits to God. Every Christian denomination has its doctrines and dogmas, which they believe are founded on the scriptures. They pattern their lives after those doctrines.

However, the question is, can a woman wear a hat in catholic church?

A woman can wear a hat in Catholic Church because the Catholic Church’s Code of Canon Law of 1917 to 1983 mandated women to wear veils or other head coverings in the church. However, since the Canon Law is no longer active, a woman can choose to wear a hat in the catholic church or not. 

Since it is no longer mandated for a woman to cover her head in the Catholic church per the Code of Canon Law, she can decide to wear a hat or not. If she feels the hat looks better with the dress, then she’s free to. If she doesn’t want to wear it, then she shouldn’t because she’s not mandated to wear a hat to church.

Hats in Catholic Church: An Overview

Hat has been a headwear that has existed for a long time. It is mainly used to cover the head. During those times, hats can depict one’s social status. Women also wear the same color of hats and gloves. The hats were made from different materials, and they have different designs. The men also have different types of hats they wear.

The Catholic Church is the largest church in the world. The Catholic Church believes that Peter was the first Pope in the Bible (Matthew 16:18-19). They believe their doctrines are based on the scriptures. In the Catholic Church, women have the roles they can play. They can be catechists, ministers during Holy Communion at Mass, or servers at the altar. Just as the women have roles, they also have how they should behave and present themselves in the church.

Moreover, many people have asked if women must cover their heads in the church. For a very long time, women in the Catholic Church have always covered their heads with veils. If you see a nun now, you would see her with her veil. Many people believe that women should cover their heads because it was stated in the scriptures. Paul told the women in Corinthians Church to cover their heads when praying to God.

‘But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven. For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered.’ ( 1 Corinthians 11:5-6).

There have been many interpretations given to this part of the scriptures. Some believe that Paul said that women should not uncover their heads. Some people believe that the covering Paul was talking about is the woman’s hair. Understanding the language with which the Bible was written and the people’s culture in Corinth at that time would help us understand what Paul really meant.

In 1917, in the Code of Canon Law of the Catholic Church, women were made to always cover their heads. And because of the norm at that time, women would wear hats in church. In the 21st century, you won’t really find people wearing hats in the Catholic Church. They might just wear fascinators, use scarves or only decide to leave their hair open. The Code of Canon Law was revised in 1983, and it didn’t mention anything about women covering their heads.

Advantages of Wearing Hats in the Church

  • Hats Complement your Sunday best: It makes you stand out. With different designs, hats can be very complimentary. You can cover your head for so many reasons.
  • Confidence: Some ladies believe that hats give them the confidence they can’t explain.
  • It saves the day: Sometimes your hat can save you the effort of spending time to style your hair. You just braid the hair and put your hat on. You are good to go, and you will still look your best.

Can a Woman Come to Catholic Church Wearing a Hat?

Since 1983 when the Code of Canon Law has been revised, women were not mandated to cover their heads. It becomes something of a choice. A woman can wear a hat in the Catholic Church without being queried. If you feel your dressing won’t be complete without the hat, then you can wear it. Older women still wear hats because they are used to them. They grew up wearing hats. It was the norm of society then.

However, there are several reasons why a woman may decide to wear a hat to church, whether catholic or not, and these reasons are; to cover her shyness and speak with confidence.

A woman can wear a hat if she wants her face to be unseen. Hats help to cover shyness at times. You speak with confidence because you are sure the congregation is not seeing your full face.

A woman can wear a hat to show her submission to her husband and God. The Bible states that women should cover their heads in the presence of God. Paul also taught that we should care about others’ faith because some people still have weak faith. To show them that you are submitted to your husband and God, you can wear your hat to church.

What does the Bible say about Women Wearing Hats to Church?

In 1 Corinthians 11: 5-9, Paul was teaching the women in the church of Corinth to pray with their heads covered. A woman was not to pray or prophesy without covering her head. There have been many interpretations given to these verses. Many scholars think the covering of the head is literal. Others think there is a problem with the interpretation.

The new testament was written in Aramaic, which was the language spoken during that time. It was interpreted into Greek, and some words were changed because they could not be expressed precisely. The Greek word used in verse 5 says ‘uncovered.’ Which means a woman should always cover her hair.

The Aramaic translation of the word uncovered is actually disheveled or unbound. That is, the woman should not pray with her hair tousled. In Corinth at that time, the only way to differentiate between a cult prostitute and a decent woman is braided hair.

Paul was teaching them to be decent and modest. Their light should shine among men. People should be able to trust their faith in their appearance. He talked about it being shameful for a woman to cut her hair. According to the custom, it is temple prostitutes who cut their hair in honor of their god, Isis.

Can a Woman Take Off her Hat in Church?

Understanding the concept of Paul’s teaching, we can deduce that a woman can remove her hat in church. The Lord is more concerned about the heart, so removing your hat in the Church shouldn’t make you feel guilty unless the motive behind you removing it is wrong – to show your new hairstyle. The presence of God is not to show off but a place for us to come in meekness and quietness.

Why Should a Women Take Her Hat Off in Church?

A woman can take off her hat for so many reasons.

Itchy Scalp

Covering your hair all the time can give it a bad smell. If you feel your hair is becoming itchy and you know you need to remove the hat, then you are free to. Don’t just distract with it.

Obstruction of View

We all come to the church to hear God speak to us. It won’t be nice when we are sitting down, and instead of seeing the preacher, all we can see is your wide-brimmed hat. It’s unfair. If you notice awkward movements and sounds behind you, and you are sure it’s because of your hat (of course, you’ll know unless you want to pretend) then, you can politely remove the hat. We are not in church to see you but God.

Not Seeing Clearly

Although you love your look and your hat’s feel, you can become uncomfortable with it when you notice you aren’t seeing the preacher, or you have to tilt your head every time the preacher walks to the other side of the altar. Wide-brimmed hats can be uncomfortable at times. You can remove the hat during the sermon and put it back on your way out. You think it’s embarrassing, right? Then you will have to stick with the hat till the end of the service.

Why Can Only Women Wear Hat in Church But Men Can’t?

Wearing hats for men depicts social status in the past. It is also worn as a form of protection for the head. Paul taught that men shouldn’t cover their heads when they are praying. When you cover your head, you dishonor God.

Culturally, it is also considered rude for a man to wear a hat indoors. It is the norm of society. Men even remove their hats when they see a lady. Removing the hat in the church is a sign of respect for God. Women can wear hats in the church because it is believed that women are to cover their heads to show respect to God.


God is actually after our hearts. Our dressing is a reflection of the state of our hearts. Whatever you feel is the interpretation of the verses, don’t mock the beliefs of others. Any woman can decide to open or cover her hair. That is not the objective standard for measuring your walk with God. Paul said that women should adorn themselves in modest apparel. You just have to dress modestly. Your hat doesn’t capture God’s attention; your heart does.

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