Catholic tradition has generally dictated that women wear a head covering - be it a veil, mantilla, etc. - while at Mass. First and foremost, the 1917 Code of Canon Law stated: "...women, however, should be with head covered and modestly dressed, ..." The abrogating 1983 code seems to have eliminated this requirement, and so many women today do not wear a veil to church anymore. However, I believe that it is still required, as 1 Cor. 11:4-6 says:
Any man who prays or prophesies with his head covered brings shame upon his head. But any woman who prays or prophesies with her head unveiled brings shame upon her head, for it is one and the same thing as if she had had her head shaved. For if a woman does not have her head veiled, she may as well have her hair cut off. But if it is shameful for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, then she should wear a veil.
In addition, Laura Bush, Michelle Obama, and Nancy Reagan, all wore short veils (not only during mass times, but all throughout the Vatican) during their visit with the Pope:
That's because the State Department makes sure that all American dignitaries follow the protocols and customs of the foreign governments they visit. So, clearly there is a requirement - or at least expectation - that women wear a veil to church, as the State Department clearly advised Michelle Obama to do so, and would not have had there been no expectation. Vatican canon law also says that later Canon Law abrogates earlier Canon Law only when this is made explicit and that, in cases of doubt, the revocation of earlier law is not to be presumed; quite the opposite. Based on this, we can assume that the tradition is still alive:
Canon 20 A later law abrogates or derogates from an earlier law, if it expressly so states, or if it is directly contrary to that law, or if it integrally reorders the whole subject matter of the earlier law. A universal law, however, does not derogate from a particular or from a special law, unless the law expressly provides otherwise.
Canon 21 In doubt, the revocation of a previous law is not presumed; rather, later laws are to be related to earlier ones and, as far as possible, harmonized with them.
I remember my mother wearing a veil when she took our family to church in the 1970's, but all of our family stopped going after I entered high school when my father lost his job. I never wore a veil to church. So now, in the present, I am married and I currently have two daughters, one is high school age and the other one is a toddler. I would like to have them wear veils at some point, as I remember my mother wearing one and I believe that it is my duty to pass this custom onto my children, especially since I never wore one when I was young. However, I am wondering if it is appropriate. The Bible and Christian traditional only requires that a "woman" wear a veil. So at what point does a girl become "woman" enough where wearing a veil would be appropriate, and what type of veil should be worn?
I've looked this question up online, and answers vary. Some parents have their daughters wear a chapel veil or bonnet as soon as they can hold their heads up while wearing one (around two or three maybe). Other families believe after First Communion, some say puberty, others say age eighteen (the age of majority in the Catholic Church), and yet others say marriage. Some say no veil at all, which I don't support. Many others that I have asked personally say that it shouldn't be done because it is no longer required. But, what do tradition, Catholic teaching, and the Bible say about this? What is a good age to begin my children with a veil?