Mantilla the Hon on Comfortable Churches

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.

Okay hon. Sorry I not been writing here for such a long time, but I been really pretty busy with my business Veritas Vestments you know? So I am making a trip to America to see some people who maybe want to buy my range of fashion birettas and I have a good time, but let me tell you something hon. The Catholic churches there are not too great you know?

In Spain maybe we get used to having these beautiful old churches. They have been there for maybe a thousand years and maybe they are part of the scenery you know? That’s a hill. There’s a church. Same thing. But in America the churches that are new are not so good. Sometime they look like a teepee or maybe one that I see looks like a ice cream cone that has fallen upside down on the floor.

So, I go into this church and it has carpeting on the floor and the seats all have cushions on them and they don’t have no kneelers in them. When Mass starts up they have low lights sometimes and bright lights and big sound machines. People are singing into the microphones like we are at some kind of pop music concert. Then I notice Father is not preaching a homily after the gospel. He come down among the people like somebody you see on TV being real friendly and smiling too much. I think maybe he is going to say “Let’s make a deal!” or “Hey, Maybe you win a trip to Disneyland this week at Mass!” or “Hey, this week we are going to have a talent show!”

Everything is like a theater or something like that, and this one priest he has a mustache and his hair is combed so you can’t see he is maybe a little bald and he is smiling all the time. He make me feel creepy and I remember Augusto say you should never trust a priest who has a mustache. Anyway hon, I have been to some concerts,  and let me tell you, this is not a very good concert.

At the side there is this woman who is somebody’s Madre. She nice big woman who should be sitting there maybe praying her rosary and being quiet, but she is waving her arms around and trying to make everybody sing. Her arms and other stuff is wobbling around. Let me tell you hon, it’s not so good. This place needs Mantilla to get it into shape.

So I am thinking about this, and you know what the problem is? I think maybe the church is too comfortable. In the winter the church is real warm and in the summer it is very cold. All of this is too comfortable. I think it’s better when the floor is cold stone and the seats are hard wood and maybe that will keep people awake more.

So I thinking about this some more and I remember what Monsignor Quixote say. He say the problem is people think the church is a place to meet each other and hear a homily. He say they think it is their house, so they make it like a living room. But it’s not their house. It’s God’s house. You know what I mean hon? They should stop for a minute. The church is not just a nice place for them to come and hear music. That is what the Protestants do. A Catholic church is a temple. It’s God’s house. He lives there in the tabernacle and what we do is we go to see him and worship him and pray there.

Maybe if these Americans think of this first they would spend more money on making their church beautiful and less money on making it comfortable, and then maybe they would also think again about the music they play there. If they are thinking this is God’s house they would say, “You know what? Maybe God doesn’t like to hear this kind of music you might hear at a barn dance or a pop concert.” And maybe the priest will stop being such a show off man.

I am telling Augusto this and he say to me, “If they want to see a man show off let them come and see me do the bullfighting.” I remember Monsignor Quixote saying to us once, “The priest–he should be like the invisible man. All wrapped up in Jesus so people see Jesus and not him.”

You know what I mean hon?

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  • John

    You know what I mean hon?

    Yes, Mantilla, yes I do…!

  • Mitchell

    I like that I often hear Orthodox Christians (big O) refer to their churches both as temples and as churches, depending on the situation.
    I think it is important to remember that a diocese is a Church (η εκκλησία = the assembly), a parish or a cathedral is a temple for the worship of God.

  • Philip

    Excellent!! I love it already.

  • Sid

    Spot on!

    Love it.

  • Arnold

    I think Mantilla wandered into a pentecostal church by mistake.

  • David N

    I’m falling in love with Mantilla, you know what I mean, hon?

    A church designed for God, not for us? What a radical idea……..

  • teomatteo

    Stop… your kill’en me!!!…. so great…

  • Will

    I noticed some of the same things when I went to Mass in Europe.

  • Gentillylace

    When I went to the historic mining towns of Diamantina and Ouro Preto in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais in 2002, I noticed that the beautiful 18th-century colonial Baroque churches had singularly uncomfortable wooden pews and kneelers. It took me a while to get used to them. When I attended Mass in Westminster Cathedral in London last year, the kneelers were padded, though the seats (there were no pews per se) were not (Westminster Cathedral began construction at the end of the 19th century, and is still not quite finished). The next week I attended Mass at the chapel of the Tyburn Convent in London, built in the 20th century: the pews were not padded, though the kneelers were.

    Usually in the Southern California parishes that I am familiar with (built between the 1950s and the present, for the most part) at least the kneelers are padded, and sometimes the pews are as well. The (in?)famous Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles has very nice wooden pews with deeply cushioned kneelers, for example. My parish church, built in the 1950s, has wooden pews and cushioned kneelers, though they are not as nice as the cathedral’s kneelers.

  • Mrs C