Thursday, 27 April 2017

Mantilla Can See Ya

Today's traddy entertainment came from the FSSP Supporters page on Facebook, where a young thing tells the story of how she and some mantilla-wearing friends went to Daily Mass, only to discover themselves subject-fodder for sermon. Did I mention this was the Novus Ordo? Anyway, the priest looked at them pointedly and condemned people who bring attention to themselves, and the young thing wonders whether she ought not to wear her mantilla to this priest's masses in future.

Unsurprisingly there followed was an elephant stampede of traddy male commentators virtually shouting about our Lord's commandment to women to wear veils--one I did not know about previously--and even shouting down sensible suggestions to wear a nice beret next time.

What a mantilla in a teapot. I am trying to squash any uncharitable suspicion that the young things did want to attract attention or make personal statements about what they thinks they ought to wear to Mass, especially as I have headscarfed up for the Novus Ordo myself. (I seem to have lost the nice black mantilla I bought in Barcelona [made in China].)  Given my experience, the poor gal probably just feels a bit naked in church without something on her head.

Naturally I think the cranky priest was a meanie and he ought to have had a proper homily prepared rather than wing it on the expense of  innocent mass-goers. But I also think traddy men should calm down a bit on the subject on mantillas. Mantillas are very pretty, but the point of them is not for women to be pretty but to show reverence for the Blessed Sacrament and, perhaps, not distract poor susceptible men with our snake-like tresses. My tresses are more like wild pythons, so I generally bundle them up into a jar-like bun before adorning myself with a scarf, shawl, hat or fascinator the size of a two pound coin.

A fascinator may not sound as veil-like as a proper Royal Enclosure at Ascot hat, but aesthetically it beats a Kleenex tissue, which is what schoolgirls in the old days would perch on their heads if they were caught without anything else. I should like to see the man who would tell me my snazzy new mini-hat isn't good enough for Mass--but then traddy men in the UK are not that interested in female millinery. Trad women in the UK often go to EF Mass completely bare-headed, just as German women went bare-headed to Mass for decades before Vatican II.


  1. Men in my corner of Canada aren't that interested in female millinery either. They appreciate us putting care and attention into our attire, which is encouraging to continue striving for other feminine virtues. But from my experience, men in the US (as a generalization) are very much absorbed in women's general attire. Pants/trousers make you demonic, and lace mantilla's are the only head covering option, apparently. Lately I've been wondering if this stems from the Puritans that helped form America.

  2. Australia doesn't have a hat-wearing tradition and those wearing them to Mass definitely stand out - mainly because they're not nice hats, usually they're sun hats or beach hats or beanies. Not all of the women at our parish veil (or, hat) some of them because they have lots of small kids and kids and veils....
    I've never heard any men approve or condemn veiling or lack thereof though some will occasionally get a comment from an older lady. Or a tactful article will appear in the church porch.
    I've heard many ridiculous reasons why one should veil.. (and when I sing or play organ I never do - can't manage both at once). I resisted, but didn't want to cause scandal, also In wanted to set a good example so I went with "precious things are veiled"' and "humility" as my reasons and now I feel half-dressed without one.

  3. Frankly I think it comes down to personal preference--with the very least a nod to the idea of not distracting anyone else with odd or sexy attire. I really don't think men are in their rights to tell women (who aren't their dependent daughters "living under this roof") what to wear. However, if a woman posts online asking for opinions on her veil, I guess it's open season. It is rather funny, though, when American men fulminate that hats are MEANINGLESS! Apparently they have no idea what American Catholic women wore to Mass from 1800 (or whenever there were American Catholic women) to 1962.

  4. Seraphic, I often think this, but I don't think I've told you before how much I appreciate your incredibly level-headed perspective on the whole trad issue. I love it that you can disagree with Pope Francis (even be grieved by him) without disrespecting him, wear a veil while agreeing that American trad men can be very silly about the whole topic of women's attire, and attend the extraordinary form of the Mass without insisting that the Ordinary Form is soley responsible for every evil in society. Thank you!

  5. That priest is a jerk. Do a homily on the Gospel next time.

    Clare makes a really good point about kids and veils. Babies will grab everything they can. Hair, glasses, necklaces, earrings, veils, bags, skirts. This is why mothers often cut their hair short. I can't imagine managing a veil around a small child, but there must be mothers who have found a way.