Friday, January 13, 2012

On appropriate headgear for ladies at Solemn Mass

I liked the fact that the NLM featured (as a good example of liturgy in the OF) the First Mass of Christmas from St George's Cathedral, Southwark as it was featured on the BBC. It really was very good - plainchant, a dignified celebration according to the rubrics, the good Dr Macmillan's motet.

I couldn't help but notice this in the first few minutes of the broadcast. This single shot shows conflicting styles of wear for Mass - the traditional mantilla and the Santa Hat.

Now it is easy to get upset about this, when it might appear to be trifling. I suppose the important thing is that one is at Mass. My father used to attend 6am Mass in a bricklayer's overalls and I am sure the Lord was pleased with this. I have heard Mass in a hospital chapel wearing surgical blues when on-call. I'm not averse to wearing jeans and a hoodie if that is what I have on that day. To an extent, Catholics in the UK have been a bit less into 'dressing up for Church' in the way that their separated brethren might have been.

I guess for ladies, fashion matters. The tradition that women should have their heads covered during the Liturgy in Church is venerable, stretching back to apostolic times and abandoned, some might say rashly (as with so much else), a mere 40 years ago.

Now, I suppose men have it easy here. My boys like wearing hats (beanies, woolly hats, furry hats with earflaps at the moment in Canada and baseball caps).Both my boys know that at in Holy Places and on Solemn Occasions they should take them off (though they sometimes need a gentle reminder at the Church door). At the 2 minute's silence at Murrayfield on Remembrance Day a couple of years ago, they took off their hats. At hockey games and CFL games here, the announcer reminds fans to remove their caps for the singing of 'O, Canada!' and this is universally followed. Heck, most guys know to take off a hat when eating in a restaurant.

So the deliberate choice of a Santa Hat for Solemn Mass seems a little, erm, kooky to say the least.



Blogger Bertie said...

Thought you might find the BBC's own description of this Mass amusing.

8:10 PM  
Blogger Paulinus said...

Love it!

8:54 PM  
Blogger epsilon said...

The BBC's "Strong Language" is hillarious!

Re the hats - Come on!! The lady in front is celebrating Christmas in a very Catholic way by being at midnight Mass, in a very secular country. Who knows how many non-churchgoing people watching this might have felt a sense of identity with this lady and were encouraged by this to actually go to Mass the next morning!

7:37 PM  
Anonymous berenike said...

I'm with the santa hat.

9:48 AM  
Blogger Paulinus said...

Ok. I was a wee bit harsh on the hat. Santa hats are ok.

4:53 AM  
Blogger Pablo the Mexican said...

"...So the deliberate choice of a Santa Hat for Solemn Mass seems a little, erm, kooky to say the least..."

The Negro woman with a head covering is kooky to you but no problemo with the girl altar boys?

It is sad how much Catholicism has been lost by eating Springtime fruits.


1:18 PM  

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