OK hon. I know this isn’t really my subject, but in a way it is. Listen. Maybe some people think Mantilla is only a pretty face. They are right, I do have a pretty face, and you better believe I have been working on it. This is no accident believe me. Anyway hon. I’m talking about beauty, and I’m asking you, why is it that so many people in the Catholic Church have this thing against beauty? Can you figure it out? Somebody tell me that some of these architects design modern Catholic churches to make them ugly on purpose. Can you believe it? I can. They had to do it on purpose. Nobody could make something so ugly by accident.
Mantilla on Beauty and Truth
Let me tell you hon, when I was at Salamanca University doing my degree in Ecclesiastical Haberdashery, it was the architecture students you couldn’t trust. They are all sitting around being post modern you know what I mean? They are all having these short haircuts kind of spiky and wearing suede trousers and tight T shirts and smoking these Turkish cigarettes and being serious. Some of them were Germans too. It was not nice hon. Not one little bit. Then they are always talking about “form follows function” and “Bauhaus” and all this, and making nasty buildings out of concrete that look like that bunker that Adolph Hitler shot himself in. You know?
So I wonder why do people not want to have beauty? Then I am visiting Sister Scholastica, one of my friends who is a Benedictine nun and she tells me it is because beauty and truth are sisters, and you can’t have one without the other, and if you kill one you kill the other. So ‘SS’ (which is my funny little name for Sister Scholastica) says, “Mantilla, this is important. This is why I am a nun, because I want to live a beautiful life.” Anyway hon, I’m telling you this because maybe you think it is interesting. SS tells me that beauty is the key to the contemplative life. If you first see something and maybe it is interesting, then you think about it, and you find out that it is interesting because it is beautiful and this beauty leads you to feel awe and reverence and this leads you to a kind of stillness and this is leading you to contemplation you know?
So now I am feeling very good about my degree in Ecclesiastical Haberdashery because my brother Raul is telling me that I should do a degree in something useful like maybe business communications (which really means being a typist) or something totally boring. Now I am understanding why Ecclesiastical Haberdashery is, you know, pretty cool. This is because I am wanting to make Mass beautiful again. So everything I am doing is part of making the Mass beautiful, because I’m thinking, if Mass isn’t beautiful, then nothing is beautiful, and if Mass is beautiful you can start to see that everything is beautiful you know? Now I’m thinking about this and I’m starting to get a little bit misty again. Underneath the high heels and fan, Mantilla is a big, what you say? softie.
Now I’m realizing that when I see that polyester chasuble with felt grapes on it, it’s okay to be a little bit angry. When I see a church that looks like a cross between a slaughterhouse and a dunce cap and feel angry, that’s okay, because ugliness is next to Godlessness. But when I see this nice brocade vestment or this antependium made out of this nice tapestry or I see a gothic chasuble in dark purple silk, or an altar boy wearing a lace cotta or a nun praying in a full habit it is okay for me to be happy because beauty is truth and truth beauty and this is all you need to know, and Raul can take his business communications degree and put that where the sun don’t shine.