Special guest blogger, Mantilla Amontillado, writes on matters of ecclesiastical etiquette and haberdashery. 

OK, hon, I’m going to step on a few toes here, so if you’re not wearing your work boots you better watch out.

I was visiting some friends named Cindy and Bob for the weekend and we go to Mass on Sunday and I’m not real happy about what I see. First, we pull up in the parking lot and I’m saying, “What is that building there? It looks like a big cow flop made out of concrete you know what I mean?”

“Mantilla!” says Bob. “That’s the church!”

“You mean a Catholic Church?” I’m asking. I’m looking over at their kids, Jimmy and Mitch and Sally. They’re all giggling at me.

“That’s right.” OK, hon. I don’t say nothing, but when we go in it’s all soft lights and carpet and these men who are bald, but with long hair and big bellies are playing guitars and singing into microphones. I think they are maybe singing something about walking on a beach with Jesus.

“We made a mistake.” I say to my friend, “this is a nightclub but in the daytime.”

Now they are laughing at me. “No Mantilla, this is our church. We are getting ready for Mass now.” But nobody is kneeling down or anything. They’re just sitting around talking to each other.

“I’m hungry.” I whispered to Sally. “Maybe somebody will come around soon with some cotton candy or a hot dog or something?”

Then the doors open and these girls come walking in wearing those white cassock albs.  You know at first I think they were maybe late for Mass and they were still wearing their nightdress, but no, they are the altar servers. “Where are the boys?” I’m asking Cindy.

“They don’t have boy altar servers anymore” Cindy says. “They all quit when the let the girls in.”

I’m poking Jimmy in the ribs, “Hey Jimmy why don’t you and Mitch be altar servers?”

“Nah,” says Jimmy, “That’s girly stuff.”

So these girls come marching up and one of them is skinny and little and is wearing a ponytail. She’s real cute, but the cassock alb isn’t doing her any favors. It’s way too big and she’s trying not to fall over it. Then a big girl is carrying the cross and she is wearing dangling earrings, and she’s maybe too pudgy you know? She’s wearing bright green sneakers, and the cassock alb doesn’t help. Then the other one is maybe seventeen and she’s very good looking and she has her alb hitched up so you can see she has pretty nice legs, and she’s wearing some nice high heeled shoes with her toes sticking out and with sparkles on. I can see Bob is leaning over to get a better look, and I don’t think he’s thinking much about Jesus.

So what is this with the altar girls? I can tell you hon, I think it’s a mistake. You know, whatever they look like, you’re wondering about their clothes and make up and not thinking about Jesus. I send an email later to Monsignor Quixote, my old professor of Ecclesiastical Haberdashery at Salamanca University.

He says, “Madre de Dios! This is a crime. I know the Holy Father says it’s okay, but that makes me question papal infallibility I can tell you.” He alway make me laugh, Monsignor. Hon, he say to me, “This should be for the boys because the altar servers, they are like little deacons. They serve at the altar and many, many boys first sense their vocation to the priesthood when they altar serve. How is this going to help us get more vocations if they let the girls do it? You see, boys don’t want to do things with girls. They want to do things with their buddies and with the men. Then all they do is think that Mass is for girls.”

“That’s right! That’s what Jimmy said.”

So anyway hon. Maybe I’m making you mad, but you know what I mean? I think the girls should find other ways to serve God. What is this crazy thing anyway when everybody think that to do something for God you have to do something at the altar? This is for the priest.

Why can’t people be happy doing other things for Jesus? These girls should be like me. I’m wanting to serve Jesus so I’m starting up this little business making miters and birettas and zuchettos and maybe even  I’ll try to make a saturno.

I’m trying to think of a name for this business. You have any ideas hon?