Guest blogger Mantilla Amontillado is the founder of Veritas Vestments. She holds a degree in Ecclesiastical Haberdashery from Salamanca University. She has done the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostella three times on horseback and is engaged to the famous matador, Senor Augusto Torquemada.
OK hon, I got to say “Sorry” for maybe not writing anything here on Padre’s blog for some time. To tell you the truth I been a little bit crazy about Papa Francesco. I am wondering why he don’t do nothing about looking good, so I write about it here a little while ago for Padre Longenecker, but hey hon. It’s okay. The Pope is the Pope. Maybe he don’t dress like Papa Benedict, but everybody has a different gift. This man is brown shoes not red shoes. You know?
Also, I been very busy. My company, Veritas Vestments got a big order from some traditionalist priests in California so we have been busy trying to make all these vestments. Madre de Dios! Do these California priests ever got taste! Let me tell you h0n, these guys know their stuff! I am seeing pictures of them with their nice shoes and vestments. I call them the brogue and brocade brigade. My father always tell me you can judge a man by his shoes. You know what I mean hon? The girls in the office are getting all red in the face over those shoes. So I am telling them, “Girls, forget the brogues. Pay attention to the brocade.” We are making these sets of vestments and it is not cheap you know what I mean hon?
So I am learning about the Catholic Church in California when one of the priests sends me pictures of the new cathedral in California. He say it is called Crystal Cathedral and it was built by a Protestant but now it is called Christ Cathedral and the bishop has bought it and they are going to make it for Catholic Church. At first I am thinking, “Crystal Cathedral. Madre de Dios. It look like somebody make it who is on crystal meths.”
Ok hon. So hold on. I am trying to be open minded, but at first I am saying, “What is this a greenhouse for growing lots of tomatoes?” Not that I have anything against tomatoes. Every year in Spain we have a nice time doing a big tomato fight, but a cathedral like a greenhouse? So I am talking about this with my fiancé Augusto and he say, “So what’s wrong with an unusual cathedral, don’t we have the Sagrada Familia by Gaudi? Maybe you should be more open minded!” says Augusto.
OK hon. So maybe he’s right.
Think about it. It’s California. This is the home of Walt Disney and Hollywood and cowboys right? Maybe if they build some gothic church it would be fake anyway, you know like Cinderella’s castle at Disneyland, so what are they going to do? It’s the twenty first century. It’s a big problem and I make vestments, not cathedrals. How do you make a modern cathedral in a city of skyscrapers. It’s not easy hon. It’s not easy. Maybe you just build something modern, but then they show me the cathedral in Los Angeles. It look like a shopping center or a parking garage. Not for me hon.
But the Crystal Cathedral? I think maybe it is nice in its way. I’m thinking of those Gothic churches in France like Sainte Chappelle. Isn’t that what they wanted to do? Make those thin walls and fill them with glass? And what does a cathedral do. It’s supposed to lift you up to heaven. Maybe this church does that. What do you think? I’m open minded about it. Maybe its the best they could do–after all it is California. What do you expect?
So I’m saying maybe it’s okay. But now I ask what kind of vestments do you want for a church like that? Maybe space age stuff made out of lycra and tin foil? I don’t think so hon. Polyester with pictures of grapes and wheat? No way.
This is where the vestments still need to be made traditional. Just simple, good fabrics with simple craftsmanship. Nothing too fancy, but nothing to cheap or flimsy. To tell you the truth hon, the most simple, traditional vestments, like the most simple, but good quality liturgy: they both look good anywhere. It’s like my grandmother used to say about black dresses. “A simple black dress?” it look good in a palace and in a pauper’s hut. Same thing with good vestments made in a traditional way. They look good in a space ship church or a gothic cathedral.
I wish they give me a chance to design something for them. I sure they won’t be disappointed. “Veritas Vestments to the rescue!”