Wearing hats in church

Question from Oliver on 10/29/2007:

I have been told many times in church to take off my hat. I don't believe I have to as I have never read any documentation in the Bible or Catholic doctrine stating I have to. Am I wrong?

Answer by Catholic Answers on 10/29/2007:


Traditional Western etiquette states that in a church a man uncovers his head and a woman covers hers. This is based on St. Paul's exhortation to the Corinthians:

"Any man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head, but any woman who prays or prophesies with her head unveiled dishonors her head -- it is the same as if her head were shaven. ... For a man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man" (1 Cor. 11:4-5, 7).

Although the stricture about women covering their heads in church is no longer enforced by ecclesial law, some women choose to do so either out of personal piety or traditional courtesy. For a man, although he is not required by force of ecclesial law to uncover his head in a church, it is still ordinarily considered a matter of common courtesy for men to take off their hats while inside a building, particularly a church. The one exception that springs to mind is when a man visits a synagogue, where he is often expected to cover his head out of respect.

Michelle Arnold
Catholic Answers


  1. AnonymousJuly 13, 2008

    Thank you for posting this matter on covering the head. The drummer in the music worship ministry consistently has his cowboy hat on while playing but takes it off while prayer is conducted. Trying to convey to the younger generation the lack of respect for God and lack of humility before him by keeping the hat on is hard to convey secularly - even common sense etiquette does not convince him. Thank you for the bible reference I will let him know the biblical reasoning.

  2. So Saint Paul thinks women are lessor beings? Here's a question...From all we know about our Lord...if a person walked into a church with a hat on how quickly would Jesus ask the person to leave if they wanted to wear it? Would he care more about the person or the hat?

  3. So then to confirm it is man's directive not gods that dictates man should not wear a hat into a church?

  4. AnonymousMay 10, 2011

    If you are at the church because of what you believe, you should not be bothered by others because of a hat. Whoever cares about it to the point of stopping someone praying to ask to take of the hat should rather consider what's more important and go back to pray.