Mantilla on Church Architecture

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.


Hon. Let me tell you something important.  You know my friend Fr Longenecker? He write this very good blog and let me sometime come on as guest blogger. Well, Fr Longenecker is a little bit deaf you know? He hear funny things like one day I am helping him clean out the vestry and I am finding this big old red book which say, “Roman Missal” on the back, so I say to him, “Padre, do you need a big red Roman Missal” and he think I say, “Padre, do you need a big red Roman Nipple.”
So he is very embarrassed and ask me again what I say, and then I am embarrassed too, so anyway hon, Padre needs these hearing aids, and how is he going to pay for them unless the people who read this blog give some more money, you know? So he is having this what he call ‘Stick ‘em Up’ campaign for people to make donations and he ask me to get people to help out.
OK. Now I want to tell you something Fr. Longenecker tell me. He’s building this new church in his parish and Madre de Dio it is really going to be beautiful! And so Padre is thinking, thinking all the time about church buildings and he say, “Mantilla, what do you think? You think cheap, nasty boring church buildings produce cheap, nasty, boring Catholics or you think maybe it is the other way around?”
He is always asking these kind of questions, so I am working on some new vestments and I say I think maybe both are true. It was cheap, boring people who make cheap boring churches and then those cheap boring church buildings produce more cheap, boring Catholics. Then I am thinking that in the Bible it say that ‘we are God’s building’ and I get all excited because this fits everything Mantilla is trying to do you know what I mean?
Padre and the other priests want to make saints–which are like beautiful churches–beautiful works of art by God, but how can he produce beautiful building saints who are the temple of the Holy Spirit if the buildings they look at are ugly and cheap and boring? Eh? You see what I mean hon?
It’s the same with vestments. You put padre in some kind of polyester poncho and what do you get? A padre who is a bandito. You dress padre in some kind of day glo orange chasuble and you get the disco padre. On the other hand hon, if you make chasuble out of good quality cloth, stitch it up with care and love and make it as beautiful and careful as you can then maybe that will help padre to be beautiful too on the inside.
Padre tells me that the kids in his school say, “Buildings don’t matter.” But Mantilla thinks that is maybe some kind of heresy. What’s it called Manatee or something like that. You know what I mean hon?

PS: to read all of Mantilla the Hon’s posts use the label facility.

About Fr. Dwight Longenecker

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