Pope Benedict XVI is expected to declare a “Year of St. Paul” tomorrow, on the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, at the Church of St. Paul Outside the Walls in Rome (where Paul’s body was found within the last year). Paul is the Scripture writer who called for women’s heads to be covered during Mass, and even though all the social norms and even church expectations have changed since his time, and since Vatican II. The next year is a wonderful time to honor St. Paul by wearing a mantilla or other head covering to Mass. That is not because we are less than men, but because we have a special way to honor the Lord. Also, there is so much liberal activism by women who are angry that the church doesn’t (and won’t) ordain women to the priesthood, that it is hard for a woman to distinguish herself as not being in that activist group. A mantilla in this coming year is a way to say also that I fully accept the church’s teaching on the male priesthood. Those are the two reasons I plan to wear a mantilla, with a commitment just for a year.
It has always been distressing to me that so many pro-abortion women expect all women to agree with them, and I have been approached often with that expectation, grinding the converstion to a halt when I say, “I am a Catholic; I am pro-life.” Wearing the little hands or feet pin says the same thing, and when I wear it I am also making a relevant statement to other women who assume differently. I hope wearing the mantilla will also be seen as a statement that I am not campaigning for women to be ordained, and will be in solidarity with Vatican teachings, visually expressed. The place I expect to encounter the most negative reaction will be at a Motherhouse where I sometimes attend Mass, with retired nuns in street garb. They held an open meeting a few months ago to explore what else can be done for the ordination of women. Will be interesting.
Anyway, these are my thoughts…and I am wondering what others think.