Friday, September 20, 2013

Loving Mantillas: brilliant idea for a blog

Mantillas arouse strong feelings; I've done a post on the rationale here.

It is of course a tradition endorsed in the strongest terms by St Paul: I Cor 11.5

'But every woman praying or prophesying with her head not covered, disgraceth her head'

It is common to say that St Paul was simply reflecting the social mores of his day, but he has an elaborate theological rationale for his position, while those rejecting it appear ... simply to be reflecting the social mores of their day. Or else are reacting to some kind of childhood trauma - some older women start jabbering about officious nuns putting hankies on their heads if they went to church without a mantilla, as if they were recalling an episode of water-boarding from Guantanamo Bay. There was a remarkable example in Fr Ray Blake's combox the other week, there is a reference to Kleenex being put on girls' heads, but the position is backed up as follows:

As for Paul, yes, what he wrote about a lot of things is "inspired" but sorry, his "opinions" on social conditions of the day and social norms as he wanted them to be are NOT "gospel." They are HIS OPINIONS - he even says so himself. I find his "reasoning" on a lot of these things are lacking in logic and reason. Frankly, I don't know that the men of the day liked him either -- starting with the two disciples he told to go get circumcised to go preach. Like he couldn't find any former Jewish men to do that, or do it himself? They should have told him to go take a hike. I don't have to kiss his patootie regards his opinions on the social structure 2000 years ago. And I refuse to do so. 
Well, St Paul wasn't just 'inspired', the writings of Scripture are literally inspired, they have a Divine author who doesn't make mistakes. And on the subject of head coverings St Paul does not say it is his own opinion; on the contrary,

If any one is disposed to be contentious, we recognize no other practice, nor do the churches of God. (1 Cor 11.16)

Venerating a relic of Bl Dominic Barberi at the Summer School
I've no reason to doubt the existence of wicked nuns, as well as good ones, and other officious women in the decades before I was born, and the damage they did in their day, but future generations can't be expected to have their lives and devotions determined by them one way or another. Young Catholic ladies are rediscovering the mantilla; the traumatised older generation are going to have to grin and bear it.


  1. I have a few Mantillas BUT they fall off. They need sewn combs in them. I love hats and have a collection of hats so that is what I wear to church. I think that is as good as the mantilla, and possibly more stylish!! Oh dear

  2. Anonymous4:33 pm

    I cannot think why. It is a charming, beautiful, modest, devout and in every way commendable custom.

    I would have, were I not a boy, been rather grateful to those nuns. It's no different than my mother making sure my tie was properly tied, I had polished my shoes, combed my hair and washed my hands before getting into the car for Mass. If you really do deplore the mantilla for some trumped-up reason - a horror of pretty Spanish lace? - wear a hat .

    Of course, neatness and correctness in going to Church are not all that common these days, which is a great sorrow to me.

  3. @Dominie: I used to have that problem with my veil slipping off also. My trick is to use those tiny "bear-claw clips" that you find in the section of your drugstore where all the hair care stuff is. I use one of those tiny ones, clipped on a small section of hair at the top of my head and the veil at the same time. Perfect. You can't see it and the veil won't budge.

  4. I find that the mantilla slips if you have a particularly sleek hairstyle, like straightened hair. I try to wear my hair curly or, a really good way of stopping it from falling off completely without using clips, is to wear your hair in a high bun, almost like a top knot. That way, even if it does slip, the bun will catch it.
    Also, just avoid moving your head very much and also get one made of a nice material. Synthetic materials are terrible for slipping off your head.

    In the comments of this blog post, there are details of a woman who makes very nice mantillas at a low price

    I also bought a really lovely mantilla from this lady:
    I always get complimented on the mantilla that she made me. It's a little bit more expensive but it's worth it to honour God.

  5. Thank you so much Joseph for bringing the Loving Mantillas blog to your readers' attention.

    I agree Rhoslyn that one needs to either attach the mantilla on to one's head securely with a hair grip (or sew in a comb) or buy a more expensive material. Not straightening my hair would be a disaster so not an I choose a comb or such a long mantilla that it hangs enough to remain upon the head.
    There's definitely an art form to mantilla wearing but wearing a veil is humbling and a beautiful devotion.

  6. I don't personally have that problem so I wouldn't use hair grips myself. Wearing a mantilla has also encouraged me to fidget less in mass, which may contribute to it slipping. There is something beautiful about women who keeps her eyes focused either on the tabernacle, the priest or her missal.

    Each to their own!