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Dress Code For Churches


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JohnnieWalker

Nunca se camina solo
Donating Member
#2
Hola - despite the personal opinions expressed on this subject there is no dress code to enter churches on the Camino. Some specific churches such as in the Holy Land and in Rome require visitors to dress modestly - in saying that yesterday in Saint Peter's basilica in the Vatican I saw people of all ages wearing shorts.

Churches on the Camino are well used to pilgrims wearing pilgrim dress. I say wear what you feel comfortable wearing to church.

Buen Camino

John
 
W

whariwharangi

Guest
#3
Should I pack a skirt to wear when I enter a church on the Camino?
I found that if I at least wore a towel and a pair of shower clogs ... it went over better than if I didn't.

On a more serious note ... if its good enough for walking on the camino for protection from sun wind and rain ... its good enough for attending churches along the way ... Getting you inside the church is one of the reasons the camino exists ... it doesn't much matter that you aren't dressed up for it.
 

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Bala

Active Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (Oct 2015, SJPdP-Burgos)
Camino Frances (Burgos-Santiago 2018)
#7
If you are planning to go to mass, a general rule of the thumb is to have your shoulders and knees covered. If you are just stopping in as you walk along the Camino, whatever you're wearing should be fine. Be on the lookout for the statue of St. James. Every church will have one, and every one will be different. ;)
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances: 2013, 2014
Madrid: 2016
Portuguese: 2015, 2017
Invierno: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2017
#8
The only thing I have encountered along the Camino in Churches and Cathedrals is a request to remove hats.
The remove hats thing is for men. Women are permitted to wear headgear at Mass. Traditionally, it dates back to the early years of the Church.

I am NOT a mysogynist; however, one regularly sees some women wearing a mantilla, or lace scarf, in church, in deference to this old tradition.

In the modern context, any headgear a woman would wear walking is fine in church.

I hope this helps.
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
#9
If you are planning to go to mass, a general rule of the thumb is to have your shoulders and knees covered. If you are just stopping in as you walk along the Camino, whatever you're wearing should be fine. Be on the lookout for the statue of St. James. Every church will have one, and every one will be different. ;)
I think many on this Forum would be in shock of they saw what locals are wearing these days: tight as can be, short as can be, open backs, belly showing. It can be quite the fashion show in villages. Let's not doegwt mass is also a social event in Spain: who will be there? Will I see him?
 

Bala

Active Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (Oct 2015, SJPdP-Burgos)
Camino Frances (Burgos-Santiago 2018)
#10
After some of the things I see in my local parish week after week -- including the young woman whose slight bow to the alter revealed nothing but a thong under her very short skirt -- nothing really surprises me in church these days :eek:. But I assume anyone asking the protocol on this forum would like some guidance on what's respectful and what's not. Obviously, everyone has their opinions. :) But shoulders and knees covered is never out of place.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Caminho Português (Out/2016)
#11
I think many on this Forum would be in shock of they saw what locals are wearing these days: tight as can be, short as can be, open backs, belly showing. It can be quite the fashion show in villages. Let's not doegwt mass is also a social event in Spain: who will be there? Will I see him?
I second that. In Portugal, only (some) old people care about "church clothes"; everybody else wears "normal" everyday clothes (long, short, cleavage, no cleavage)

You don't need to give it to much thought; it isnt as strict as people think it is... Portugal and Spain aren't that conservative anymore.
 

waveprof

Enthusiast
Camino(s) past & future
May-June 2013, Camino Frances
#12
Being respectful is nice everywhere you go, and knowing how others feel is something to be mindful of. But, on the whole, most churches are even extra accommodating about this for pilgrims. Really, can anyone afford to be haughty about what someone who is walking 500 miles on a traditionally religious pilgrimage wears (or doesnt wear) in a church?
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances SJPDP to Santiago August 2016

Frances SJPDP to Santiago, Finnistere + Muxcia June 2017
#13
I wouldn't worry about bringing a skirt or anything especially for that but I would always cover my shoulders with a light shawl no matter what church it was during the day along the way or in the evenings. It always just made me feel more comfortable and it was being respectful by covering my shoulders in the local's place of worship.

The shawl also came in handy to cover the back of my head, neck and shoulders on the days I was feeling extremely overwhelmed by the heat of the sun. Particularly during the Meseta stretch when there was no trees or greenery for shade!
 

oursonpolaire

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002, Toulouse/Aragon 2005, Cami S Jaume/Aragon 2007/9, Mont Saint Michel/Norte/Vadiniense 2011, Norte/Primitivo 2013, Norte/Primitivo 2014. Norte 2015, Cami S Jaume/Castellano-Aragonese 2016
#14
Townspeople and villagers along the Camino seem to have no trouble accepting pilgrims in hiking gear-- indeed, they seem very pleased to see us there. The Spanish are known to wear clothing which is a bit on the revealing side, although I must admit that they do it in a stylish manner. It does astonish me that there are male pilgrims who need to be reminded to take off their hats in churches-- I sometimes wonder if their baseball caps have been nailed on!
 
A

AJ

Guest
#16
The cathedral authorities in Barcelona deem shoulders to be sinful. I think that is the only cathedral/church in Spain where I have encountered this. In Italy however I have been forced to wear a lacy "skirt" to cover my sinful knees on more than one occasion.
 

grayland

Moderator
Staff member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Yes
#17
The requirement in Canon Law for women to wear head coverings or "mantilla" (veil) dates far back in Church history.
It was mandated in the 1917 Code of Canon Law.
Canon #1262 states:

"1. It is desirable that, consistent with ancient discipline, women be separated from men in church.

2. Men, in a church or outside a church, while they are assisting at sacred rites, shall be bare-headed, unless the approved mores of the people or peculiar circumstances of things determine otherwise; women, however, shall have a covered head and be modestly dressed, especially when they approach the table of the Lord"

It was changed and abrogated in the 1983 Code of Canon Law which is in effect today. Other changes were also made. Thus it is no longer necessary for women to cover their heads.
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
#18
1. It is desirable that, consistent with ancient discipline, women be separated from men in church.
You can read the whole document.
Well, on Palm Sunday in Torremejia on VDLP, the men all gathered around their cars in front of the chirch whole the wives actually attended mass. It was quite a sight. I did realise then they were just obiding by the ancient rules of separaring men from women, I just thought they had gotten away with not attending mass and chat with their friends instead. :D
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
#19
Should I pack a skirt to wear when I enter a church on the Camino?
Only if you want to pack a skirt to wear while walking on the Camino or in the evenings after the hiking.

Appropriate churchwear is less formal in Europe than the US, more important is the underlying reverence that the formal clothing may express in your own churches.

But you will find that if you try and express that formality in gesture and reverence, your ordinary dusty pilgrim gear will be as your best Sunday finery.

God bless you, and happy Easter.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
#20
The remove hats thing is for men. Women are permitted to wear headgear at Mass.
Actually, Catholic pilgrims who have completed the Camino may, if they insist, wear their pilgrim hats in church, and even during the Holy Mass -- it's a very old Indult -- I've only ever formally insisted on it once, at Lourdes in 2005, which was a beautiful occasion, however the Indult does not apply to those who have never completed a Camino nor to those simply on their Way.

Informally a couple of times too, but in that case you remove it during the Mass proper.

I would not advise insisting on it if you were not a devout Catholic, under these conditions, and probably not unless you had walked from your parish altar to the altar at Santiago in the "purist" manner. The Indult does not formally require this condition, but when it was created, that was the condition that existed anyway.
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances: 2013, 2014
Madrid: 2016
Portuguese: 2015, 2017
Invierno: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2017
#21
Gee, you learn something new every day. That makes it a good day for me. Thanks.
 

Rebekah Scott

Camino Busybody
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Many, various, and continuing.
#22
All that said, a thoughtful and considerate visitor to any kind of holy place should think twice about his short shorts, singlet, halter top, or other very revealing clothing. It's a matter of respect. For many people, a church is God's house. And I dare say God doesn't want to see your bum any more than the rest of us do.
 

JohnnieWalker

Nunca se camina solo
Donating Member
#23
Actually, Catholic pilgrims who have completed the Camino may, if they insist, wear their pilgrim hats in church, and even during the Holy Mass -- it's a very old Indult -- I've only ever formally insisted on it once, at Lourdes in 2005, which was a beautiful occasion, however the Indult does not apply to those who have never completed a Camino nor to those simply on their Way.

Informally a couple of times too, but in that case you remove it during the Mass proper.

I would not advise insisting on it if you were not a devout Catholic, under these conditions, and probably not unless you had walked from your parish altar to the altar at Santiago in the "purist" manner. The Indult does not formally require this condition, but when it was created, that was the condition that existed anyway.
Fascinating. And to help T2andreo explain to the security personnel in Santiago Cathedral that he is entitled to wear his hat could you give us the source of this Indult please?
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
#24
Fascinating. And to help T2andreo explain to the security personnel in Santiago Cathedral that he is entitled to wear his hat could you give us the source of this Indult please?
Crikey, it's mediaeval -- I'd need to search for it, and it's not certain it exists online.

It's not just the hat, it's a very old text authorising Compostela pilgrims who have completed the Camino to carry their insignia -- hat, shell, and staff -- in Mass.

Actually though the Cathedral at Santiago might not be OK for first-timers to do this, IIRC, as those that are at Santiago are still on their pilgrimages and have not yet "completed" them per se.

I'm also unsure what precise conditions are attached, since I've only seen the text once, many years ago.
 
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t2andreo

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances: 2013, 2014
Madrid: 2016
Portuguese: 2015, 2017
Invierno: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2017
#25
Fascinating. And to help T2andreo explain to the security personnel in Santiago Cathedral that he is entitled to wear his hat could you give us the source of this Indult please?
Surely you jest my friend? But, knowing me as you do, you KNOW I would never wear a head covering in ANY house of worship, regardless of denomination, except perhaps a kippah in a synagogue...;)

I was raised right, in an era where young people learned good manners...or else. In my case, I had Franciscan nun's beat it into me... I learned...:eek:
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
#27
:rolleyes:I just wanted to see how you got on explaining to the security guards that you weren't taking your hat off because a person called JabbaPapa you met on the Internet said you could keep it on. :rolleyes:
The text will be difficult to find.

But it was more than just a "right", it was an obligation -- pilgrims, if they wanted the benefits of welcome and assistance, were required to wear their pilgrim garb.

Some details are found here :

http://www.aimspress.com/article/10.3934/geosci.2016.3.231/fulltext.html

Before leaving the pilgrims had to undergo a ritual, leaving off their everyday clothes and putting on a large cloak (the pelerine) and taking up the pilgrim’s staff and the knapsack, while later a broad-brimmed hat was added. The pilgrims were solemnly blessed during a service that included the blessing of the objects that they would take with them, each of which had a symbolic meaning. Each pilgrimage also came to be associated with a particular object which the pilgrim would wear or carry on his clothes, for example the oasis of Jericho palm for those who had been in the Holy Land, the traditional image of Christ’s face for those who had been in Rome, the scallop shell for those who had been in Santiago de Compostela. A name was also given to the pilgrims according to the destination of their trip, the word pilgrim actually being that for a pilgrim to Santiago, while palmer was used for those who had been to the Holy Land and romer for visitors to Rome.

You can see that the ritual use by pilgrims of these garments during the Mass is explicitly mentioned.

Thinking about this, I may originally have come across the text explaining the rights in an academic study at University (after my 1994 pilgrimage).

---

And here : http://www.persee.fr/docAsPDF/crai_0065-0536_2008_num_152_1_92110.pdf

Il fallait précisément, pour en bénéficier, vivre pendant un temps in specie peregrini, et donc porter les insignes correspondants : la besace et le bâton ou « bourdon », auxquels se sont bientôt ajoutés le chapeau, et enfin, en lieu et place de la traditionnelle cotte doublée du surcot, la « pèlerine ». (Sur le statut du pèlerin, voir F. Garrison, « À propos des pèlerins et de leur condition juridique », dans Études d’histoire du droit canonique dédiées à Gabriel le Bras, II, Paris, p. 1165- 1189 ; sur les vêtements du pèlerin, J. Chélini et H. Branthomme, Les chemins de Dieu, op. cit., p. 190-191 ; sur les pratiques et la place du pèlerinage au Moyen Âge, J. Sumption, Pilgrimage. An Image of Medieval Religion, London, 1975 ; Le pèlerinage, Cahiers de Fanjeaux 15, Toulouse, Privat, 1980 ; C. Leonardi, « Il pellegrinaggio nella cultura medievale », dans Romei e Giubilei. Il pellegrinaggio medievale a San Pietro (350-1350), a cura di M. d’Onofrio, Milano, Electa, 1999, p. 43-48.)

These are religious rights and obligations, in that the pilgrim's state is religious in nature, on this basis -- the notion that these might be suspended during the Mass is actually quite absurd, given that the vestment of the pilgrim in his gear and the blessing of that gear was a ritual taking place at the Mass.

Very possibly what we'd be looking for might be cited in the texts referenced in that footnote.

---

This second text is extremely interesting in its own right, having much valuable information on the symbolism of the pilgrim's garb and other aspects of pilgrimage from the traditional Catholic perspective -- the staff being symbolic of the Cross, for instance, and the hat of the Crown of Thorns.
 


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