Let me tell you something hon, I went to England one summer for to study the English you know? I was maybe seventeen and I go to this English Language School in Kent. It was really nice, and on Sunday I go into town to go to Mass with my friend Anna. So we find this nice old church and go to Mass and it is beautiful. The priest is very nice. He’s wearing an old lace alb and fiddleback chasuble, maniple, the works. The deacon has on this beautiful brocade dalmatic and I can’t believe it the priest is wearing a biretta and everything is so wonderful I could weep. The music is fantastic and there is incense smoke everywhere. “Why can’t they do Mass like this in Spain?” I say to Anna.
So I’m coming out of church and we’re walking through the gate of the church and Anna says, “Hey look Mantilla! Look at this sign!” So I’m trying to read the English and it says, “St Barnabas Church of England.” Akkk! I just about choke. “What’s this?” I scream to my friend Anna. “This is a Protestant Church!” She looks at me and she’s– what you say? horrified. Her eyes are big like those olives we grow in Spain and she whispers to me, “Mantilla, we received the Body of Christ in that Church! They’re not Catholics you know! I think maybe this is a mortal sin.”
So we are walking home totally silent and thinking that probably we are going to hell. Then I’m thinking. “Hold on a minute hon. They are not Catholic right? OK. We make a mistake, but if they’re not Catholic then it wasn’t the Body of Christ anyway. It was just bread.” I’m thinking for a minute and say, “So that’s okay then I guess.” Anna says, “I know what you mean hon, but I still don’t think it was right.”
Anyway, this is my first experience with these people. Now I know better. We studied all this when I am doing my degree in Ecclesiastical Haberdashery at Salamanca University. The Anglo Catholics, they dress up like Catholics, but they’re not the real thing. Like those guys who dress like a bullfighter in tight pants and those sequin jackets, but they’re not really a matador. Maybe this is not so, what you say, ecumenical, but you know what I mean and I’m only telling you what old Monsignor Quixote say in the theology lessons.
Me? I’m not so close minded. I think I like these Anglo Catholics. They have style you know what I mean hon? They understand that the liturgy is supposed to be beautiful. They take time to dress right. They know how to be reverent. You know what, they know some other things too. They know about sacred music. I’ve been back to England to some of their churches. The worship is beautiful. Maybe they have one or two things to teach us Catholics, and maybe they’re not so Protestant and maybe a lot of them want to believe the Catholic faith.
Now I hear the Holy Father likes them to and he wants them to join the Catholic Church. I don’t know what you think hon, but this is music to my ears. If this happens this is going to shake up the world of ecclesiastical haberdashery that’s for sure. I mean think about it, has anyone decided what the proper outfit is for someone called ‘An Anglican Ordinariate’?
I don’t know, but I can tell you one thing, he aint’ going to wear black, and you’re going to see some serious lace, and he ain’t going to be wearing no polyester vestments and you not going to see sneakers in the sanctuary and you bet all those cassock albs are going to go.
The other thing about these Anglo Catholics is that their priests can be married! Now that is one hot tamale! I’ve seen some of these guys and they are not all fat old priests with hairy ears you know? I don’t know what you think hon, but I have really big mixed emotions about that one you know what I mean!!