We all know from some of our less frequently self-editing brethren that it is clearly a MORTAL SIN for women not to have a head covering in church and that all women are all REQUIRED always to have a head covering in church because of… those emergency powers which … kept… ummmmm… the… yah, okay, got it… the OLD CANON LAW in force despite the fact there is a new canon law.

The Shrine has this amusing piece.  Be sure to drop in with your contributions.

Technically Permissible but Inappropriate Substitutes for the Mantilla

Tonight at a late-ish dinner with some new Milwaukee friends (a bunch of us had been out playing, believe it or not, kickball), a female acquaintence piped up to mention she was going with some others to a Tridentine mass to see what it was like, and was trying to decide whether to wear a veil. I told her some Trads wear it, others don’t, and usually there isn’t too much of a fuss over such choices (okay, well, maybe in le meilleur des mondes possibles), though, of course, it can be a beautiful expression of piety if one is comfortable with it. Mantillas are, though, one must remember, not strictly speaking traditional, but rather a substitute offered when hats went out of fashion in the fifties and sixties. And they’re not the only substitute, as anyone who has heard tales of girls bobby-pinning Kleenex to their heads (presumably after, when in a frenzy of excitement at a Tallis Scholars concert, they lost control and threw their mantillas onto the stage). Some others spring to mind:

1. Doily
2. Baseball cap with "I (Heart) Hans Kung" on it
3. Black bandanna with skulls and crossbones (unless it’s November 2) [or Talk Like a Pirate Day]
4. Wig (unsuccessful marketing campaign: "The Stealth Mantilla.")
5. Balloon animal hat
6. Cardinal’s galero
7. Hard hat with beer cans strapped to the sides.
8. Phrygian cap (1789 was a bad year)
9. Rubber Nixon mask (JFK might be permissible in some circles)
10. Spiked helmet (unless you are a girl Hohenzollern, and if so, my apologies.)
11. Lampshade
12. Ninja facemask
13. Urban Sombrero
14. Souvenir Statue of Liberty crown
15. Whatever that thing Subcommandante Marcos is always wearing
16. Man’s toupee
17. Inverted tupperware container
18. Plastic shopping bag
19. Full-body gorilla costume.
20. Deep-sea diving bell

[Hmmm… sometimes some of those are quite appropriate.]

Also, if you have no hair, a mantilla is unnecessary: so please, no using double-sided tape to stick it to your baby’s head.

Anything I missed?

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Chris says:

    “Anything I missed?”

    Yes, respect to tradition.

    Typical modernist liberal — even if just joking.

  2. lofstrr says:

    I have wondered about an item of trivia. I could look it up I guess but have never gone to the trouble since the point is now moot. Under the old law, at what point or age did it become necessary for a female child to wear a covering in Church? I am sure there were many traditions surrounding it depending on location but what were the requirements of the law?

  3. FrCharles says:

    No joke, at the Mass at (liturgical) Midnight (10pm) last Christmas, two women arrived in Santa hats, one of which had revolving lights. I haven’t seen them in church since.

    To me #3 would be to me the most fetching, but that’s just the subcultural self-attributions I vainly carry with me from adolescence. And let us not forget that #4 serves our married Orthodox Jewish sisters very well for the analogous purpose in Jewish practice.

    I would only add one from own Capuchin novitiate, the makeshift miter made from red duct tape and a shiny bag in which a gift ham was shipped to us.

  4. Mary Ann says:

    Yellow foam cheesehead hat ;)

  5. :|

    Has this Web site been hacked today?

  6. The elevation of recent fashion to Tradition is exactly the kind of humorlessness the post addresses.

    But the difference between solemnity and sourness is difficult for some of us.

  7. Childermass says:

    Of course, the really liberal and progressive thing to do would be to require the head coverings again—such a display of modesty would please some of our interreligious dialogue partners. Our Muslim brothers and sisters would be especially happy.

  8. Ana says:

    The ever handy hankie always found in a lady’s purse can also be used and even serve a dual purpose when the homily brings tears (good or bad) to your eyes. :D

  9. Allan S. says:

    I thought a mantilla WAS a doily! I mean – really – they are, aren’t they?

  10. Traductora says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! This was too funny!

    We are getting ready to have our very first EF mass in our town (well, in about 45 years) and the only thing women I have invited have wanted to know is whether they “have to wear a mantilla” and what would happen if they didn’t. If that’s what the EF has come down to in most people’s minds, it’s no wonder we have problems.

  11. chorst01 says:

    Assuming (always a dangerous practice), the author was semi-serious I’m afraid this commentary reflects the “devastation of the vineyard” thanks be to Br. Weakland. Assuming (same caveat) this was an attempt at humor, she needs to check-in at the local bar.

  12. Mitchell NY says:

    I have always admired women who wear the mantilla to Mass…I wish men had such a powerful outer symbol of piety…I mean the suit is seen all over the business world…Maybe men could do White tie? I see it more oftennow and always throw a smile in the wearers’ direction…

  13. AndyKl says:

    Chorst01 – Abp. Weakland was the cause of women not wearing headwear all around the Catholic world (even in Kiev!)????

    That’s a stretch.

    I expect an apology to my Milwaukee neighbors.

  14. Bogna says:

    I’d love to wear mantilla to Mass, but it’s not a custom in Poland – it would look weird.
    I try to imagine Santa hat with revolving lights. It’s so surrealistic, I wouldn’t believe it, even if I saw it.

  15. Agnes says:

    Oh quit whining.

    Ok, I saw a young woman in a mantilla, spaghetti strap tank top and capris one day. And I thought – HUH???

    Mantilla does not the modest woman make.

    Cowboy hat with big feathers? Or, for the Austrian, a velvet alpine hat?

  16. plaf26 says:

    BTW, the same canon in the 1917 code that called for head coverings for women (c. 1262.2) also called for men and women to be separated in church (c. 1262.1). So, if those folks want to be consistent…

  17. Dismas says:

    No apology needed. Have you honestly been able to endure a “Folk Mass”!? That was Weakland’s baby. I was still rather young by the time they died out, but in the back of my head, “kumbaya” as a Communion Song?

    Now if only Milwaukee could get some apologetics, I’d be more than happy.

  18. Dr. Eric says:

    I wonder if Mantilla the Hon from Fr. Longenecker’s website will comment.

  19. Tom in NY says:

    Cf. 1 Cor. 11:5 – it’s clear in the original, the AV and the NAB.
    Salutationes omnibus.

  20. Vetdoctor says:

    Perhaps drapes? Then one large one could be shared between a group of women.

  21. irishgirl says:

    I wear a brown ‘beanie’ cap when I go to the TLM-a leftover from my days in the TO Franciscans. I have a black mantilla which I wear periodically, but with my short hair it doesn’t stay on my head very well.

    Now if I had some velcro to put the mantilla on my beanie….

    ‘Suggestions’ are pretty funny there, Father Z!

  22. Elizabeth1 says:

    Once I threw a (clean) cloth baby diaper on my head. You know, the white, soft rectangular ones. I was using it as a burp cloth on my shoulder and while in the line for Holy Communion I realized my mantilla was missing. The priest had insisted that women have those or were not to receive Holy Communion. [I’m not going to argue about it with anyone. He said it, I’m fine with it. No need for high horses! :-]

    Anyway, you don’t have that on your list and I must say that it is one VERY PRACTICAL head covering for a SAHM of 4 littles. :-)

  23. ssoldie says:

    In 1973 one local Catholic paper reported that the ladies could throw away their hankies. (The word hankie was used to mock the wearing of the veil as insignificant.)The article was referring to a document from Rome stating that the veil was of minor importance. We were led to beieve that the matter of the veil was an insignificant relic (tradition)of the past. Let us not forget that abortion was made legal in 1973 also, with the help of one organization known as N.O.W. In their N.O.W. Handbook A. Religion Resolutions, “Because the wearing of a head covering by woman at religious services is a symbol of subjection within ‘MANY’ churches, N.O.W. recommends that all chapters indertake an effort to have all women particapate in a “national unveiling” by sending their head coverings to the task force chairman(I can’t understand them not using the name chairwomen). At the spring meeting of the task force of women and religion, these veils will be publicly burned to protest the second class ststus of women in ALL churches (Dec.,1968) And Oh! how many in the Church bought into that BULL, and are still buying it. Why did St.Paul say women shouls be veiled,if it were not important? Why did the Church have the tradition of wearing the veil for nearly two thousand years, if it were not important. Do yoy truley believe that the Church was wrong for two thousand years and just in the past 40 years became wise. Chaos and Confusion.

  24. Lori Ehrman says:

    BTW, the same canon in the 1917 code that called for head coverings for women (c. 1262.2) also called for men and women to be separated in church (c. 1262.1). So, if those folks want to be consistent… (and if this doesn’t bold can someone explain how to for me?)

    It would be most helpful if the men and children were separated from the women in church.

  25. JamesW4CPM says:

    The funniest part is that my grandma really would put a tissue on my aunts’ heads if they forgot their veils.

  26. Kimberly says:

    My friend made me a beautiful but simple mantila that I wore to mass on Sunday. It made me feel humble and ….. I don’t know how to say it. It made me feel respectful. Plus it comes down along side of the face so that you are not distracted by people around you. I was not brought up in the “mantila era” but I encourage them.

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