Considerations on the 1983 versus 1917 Code

Lately, one of the things that’s been popping up in the Islam-West Culture War is the concept of veils-whether having any kind of veil at all or complete head-to-toe covering. You see headlines about schools taking field trips to mosques and girls refusing to wear veils.

You know, just 40+ years ago, Catholic women were required to veil their heads in church, and arguably, anywhere in public.

And there are those who use a Calhounian argument that for anything not explicitly mentioned in the 1983 Code of Canon Law, the 1917 Code should be presumed to be at least the more preferable option.

But that raises one of many questions about “the Spirit of Vatican II” and “the changes of Vatican II.” The Vatican II Code of Canon Law was not published until 1983–20 years after the Council.

Presumably, the 1917 Code was still in force until the 1983 Code was issued. Yet women stopped wearing mantillas *long* before the 1983 Code was issued, and many of the other policies reflected in the 1983 Code were in place long before the Code took effect.

This is an honest question: would someone like to explain why between 1965 and 1983 it was OK to ignore the 1917 Code?


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