October 10, 2006

TIME TO GET MEDIEVAL:

Why I wore a veil when I met John Paul II (Cristina Odone, 10/10/2006, Daily Telegraph)

The framed photograph sits proudly on my bookshelf: Pope John Paul II stands in the Sistine Chapel, surrounded by intellectuals from across Europe – and, in a black mantilla, me.

In 1999, the Vatican held a conference to prepare for the Jubilee Year of 2000. They invited a group of academics, writers and broadcasters. Despite some raised eyebrows from Westminster Cathedral about my eligibility, I was Britain's representative. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I was nervous: would my speech on religion and the media be OK, would my fellow delegates discuss the Summa Theologica over their cornflakes, would I have to kiss the Pope's ring?

The one thing I felt certain about was what to wear: the mantilla – a lace head-covering, usually black – perfectly blends humility, modesty and respect. This doesn't mean I choose to wear it to Mass every Sunday. For one thing, although it was once the must-have accessory of Catholic womanhood, only a very few, very pious women use it any more; and, anyway, the mantilla seems a bit ostentatious now that it has adorned Diana, Princess of Wales and Cherie Blair. But as a sartorial statement of my Catholic faith, there is nothing to beat it.


Presumably the Islamophobes think she should have worn a babydoll.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 10, 2006 8:44 AM
Comments

It's a quaint old tradition and some traditions are better let go, especially since women in Iran are dying to not wear it.

However, even I as a Protestant covered my head and wore a skirt when I visited the Vatican. There's rules.

But there's also dress rules entering the Monte Carlo casinos.

Posted by: Sandy P at October 10, 2006 9:25 AM

It's a quaint old tradition and some traditions are better let go, especially since women in Iran are dying to not wear it.

However, even I as a Protestant covered my head and wore a skirt when I visited the Vatican. There're rules.

But there're also dress rules entering the Monte Carlo casinos.
------
It's early - brain not functioning.

Posted by: Sandy P at October 10, 2006 9:26 AM

Sure you can make fun of Islamphobes, but as you can see from this youtube video Muslims of the female persuasion are out to get us.

Posted by: h-man at October 10, 2006 9:29 AM

Ah, more lackwits (OJ and Ms. Odone) pretending not to understand the significance of a human face. Any standard of modesty that requires the public obliteration of a human face is perverted.

I have a pile of lovely inherited mantillas in my wardrobe. Unfortunately, memory and photographs attest to the shamelessness of the ancestresses from whom they came, as they are all engaged in full frontal facial exposure despite the modest veil.

Posted by: Moira Breen at October 10, 2006 9:59 AM

"Islamophobe" Gotta love the modern self-proclamed anti-rationalist: stealing a phrase from the secular homosexuals which itself was a falsehood and an attempt to medicalize a moral decision and portray it as a curable perversion.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at October 10, 2006 10:48 AM

Ms. Breen: I don't recall the mantilla covering anything but the hair. Many older ladies in my parish wear one and I don't recall any of them covering their faces, either. A quick look on Wikipedia also shows a lack of face covering, too. Please supply links showing when and where women used the mantilla to cover the face. Thanks.

Posted by: Buttercup at October 10, 2006 10:50 AM

And if you happen to forget your mantilla, you can always just cut two holes in a paper bag, but be sure to clearly write 'provided for your protection' on the front before you put it on.

Posted by: lebeaux at October 10, 2006 11:03 AM

Why only the face?

What if the eyes are visible but not the nose?

Is the nose the window to the soul?

Why should I let you look in my nose window?

Should we ban veils at weddings?

It's all just Islamophobic double standards.

My doctor and even my dental hygienist wear masks--should I make them stop?

Why do ha;lf the folks in Asian cities seem to be wearing masks?

The local hospital asks you to wear a mask when you're sick and visit during cold and flu season--should I tell them to stuff it?

Posted by: oj at October 10, 2006 12:05 PM

Raoul:

Yes, no one fears gays. You guys are terrified of Islam, with good reason.

Posted by: oj at October 10, 2006 12:27 PM

Islamophobia meet Islamophilia and vice versa.

Posted by: jefferson park at October 10, 2006 12:33 PM

Any Christian with any sense of history should fear Islam, like he fears any heresy with political power. This one happens to be perhaps the most formidable of all.

Posted by: Paul J Cella at October 10, 2006 12:34 PM

Orrin:

But the veil is qualitatively different and unlike the hijab, neither mandated by Islam nor welcomed by Muslim women.

Besides, I'm not sure you show the same reverence and respect to the grease monkey down the street as to the Pope. Would you wear those cute trainers and shorts of yours to an audience?

Posted by: Peter B at October 10, 2006 1:06 PM

The veil is lifted in Christian weddings oj, and it stays lifted.

Posted by: Shelton at October 10, 2006 1:12 PM

As several commentators have already pointed out, the mantilla is not a veil. It seems to bear repeating however. Think of it as a Catholic female version of a yarmulke.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at October 10, 2006 1:52 PM

Peter:

To the contrary, Mulsim women find it empowering as regards men and moving as regards Allah.

They needn't agree, but who are these Islamophobes to demand otherwise?

Posted by: oj at October 10, 2006 2:34 PM

Shelton:

What are unmarried women hiding?

When your wife removed the veil in that metaphorical ceremony did she remove it to all men, or to you?

Posted by: oj at October 10, 2006 2:36 PM

Paul:

No, Christians don't fear them. Rationalists do, for the same reasons they fear Christians.

Posted by: oj at October 10, 2006 2:40 PM

jefferson:

Yes, what's not to love?

Posted by: oj at October 10, 2006 2:41 PM

Right as rain OJ. They're all just double peachy.

Posted by: jefferson park at October 10, 2006 2:46 PM

Sandy:

No, they aren't. They haven't had to for some time.

Posted by: oj at October 10, 2006 2:47 PM

I suppose Emperor Manuel II (lately in the news) wandered the courts of western Europe in the late 14th century, pleading for aid, because of his great love for the Turk.

I suppose the Sicilians still have a phrase "taken by the Turk" to indicate dread and shock, because of the benevolence bestowed upon them by that fierce people.

Secularism does not even rise to the category of Enemy; it is a suicide. Islam is an enemy, and was before the faintest faint of secularism touched the soil of the West.

Posted by: Paul J Cella at October 10, 2006 2:58 PM

oj -

My wife didn’t wear a veil, though she did wear a tiara. She also wore a strapless dress, and even though we Episcopalians tend toward sexual tolerance it has now become clear to me that she was indeed making brazen advances toward the entire congregation and shoving God’s face in it to boot. I’ll promptly beat her for it when I get home, just as Allah has commanded. Then I’ll make sure she never shows her face in public again, literally. She’ll have to quit her job right away too, and I’ll go ahead and burn her voter registration. Know any doctors who perform female circumcision?

Posted by: Shelton at October 10, 2006 3:05 PM

Well, I think I'll avoid making any more of a fool of myself by pronouncing on what Muslim women want and don't want. But even though our Islamophobic friends love to rant about how the whole faith is horribly oppressive to women in all respects without feeling the need for any endorsements from the putative victims, they're got lots more friends with the veil. Also, regardless of what some of them may feel about it, Moira's got an important point. It's not all about what they want and feel over here. I wouldn't do business with a Christian who held a cross at arms length towards me to ward off evil either, choice or no choice.

There is lots of Muslim dress around here and I've no problem with it at all. But I saw my first burqa a few weeks ago. It was upsetting on many different levels. Choice and modesty? I don't think so.

But look, I've an idea. In order to get us out of this delicate little gender mess, why don't you suggest we all wear one?

Posted by: Peter B at October 10, 2006 3:21 PM

Peter:

Most of us aren't good enough Christians to be so humble. That's why those who are so modest offend us. It's about our weakness.

On the other hand, most of us did surrender our foreskins for no other reason than a command of God.

Posted by: oj at October 10, 2006 3:26 PM

All of you trying to draw some fine distinction between the burka and the veil ought to reflect on what happened when the French banned the hadith/hijab.

Militant secularism is a bigger enemy than Islam.

Posted by: Chris B at October 10, 2006 3:33 PM

"most of us surrender our foreskins for..a command of God"

And some will surrender our b*lls due to a command from Muslims.

Posted by: h-man at October 10, 2006 3:36 PM

What did happen, Chris?

Posted by: h-man at October 10, 2006 3:40 PM

h:

That you feel emasculated by women in veils explains their utility better than any Quranic commentary ever will.

Posted by: oj at October 10, 2006 3:42 PM

Au Contraire, I'm an islamophobe who doesn't care whether they wear veils.

Posted by: h-man at October 10, 2006 3:46 PM

Orrin:

Oh, I agree the modesty is profoundly upsetting to most modern Westerners, still more so when we are told they actually believe in it. That's why the anti-Islam cant is all-encompasing and uncompromising and why nothing good can ever be said about it. Can you imagine trying to defend the JonBenet Ramsay syndrome and muffin-tops over the hajib in a fair fight?

As to foreskins, you make a deep and profound point, as always. I'll get back to you when I figure out what it is.

Posted by: Peter B at October 10, 2006 3:52 PM

h:

The genie's already out of the bottle.

Posted by: oj at October 10, 2006 3:53 PM

Terrorism works! Fear is a rational response.

Posted by: h-man at October 10, 2006 3:58 PM

Yes, it works against the rational. We aren't, which is why we employ it successfully but never succumb to it.

Posted by: oj at October 10, 2006 4:15 PM

Shelton:

Episcopalean? Nevermind.

Posted by: oj at October 10, 2006 4:17 PM

h:

As Chris points out, the rest of the superstitions were banned too:

news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/3309885.stm

Posted by: oj at October 10, 2006 4:34 PM

It's what they're packing underneath which really concerns me now. and who says there are women underneath?

Of course to really torque 'em just say how nice it is for them to follow in Mary's footsteps......

Islamophobe has got to go, it's not a medical issue unless....

Hijabs are Westophobic.

Posted by: Sandy P at October 10, 2006 4:35 PM

Of course they're Westophobic. Why shouldn't they be afraid that secularism will do as much damage to them as it did to Europe?

Posted by: oj at October 10, 2006 4:57 PM

OJ

My supposed phobia is similar to your Wiccaphobia?

Your link didn't work for me, but yes it better that they remain in Arabia, than for countries to ban the practice of their religion.

Posted by: h-man at October 10, 2006 4:57 PM

h:

No, witches are to be burned because God commanded it, not because there's anything to fear about them. Likewise Muslim women cover themselves at God's command. You fear of them is about you, not them.

You're right though that Christians, Jews and Muslims should leave countries like France that ban religious observance. That's the issue here: religion vs, secularism.

Posted by: oj at October 10, 2006 5:00 PM

Hijabs are Westophobic.

Indeed they are, Sandy. Indeed they are.

Posted by: Peter B at October 10, 2006 5:44 PM

Paul:

Yes, suicide is a greater threat than murder.

Posted by: oj at October 10, 2006 6:27 PM

Sandy:

The point is that they do follow in Mary's footsteps. God thought it good enough.

Posted by: oj at October 10, 2006 6:29 PM

Is it just me or has this string moved into the surreal?

Posted by: erp at October 10, 2006 6:38 PM

I'll just point out that "most of us" didn't "surrender" our foreskins due to God's command. Only Muslims and Jews do that. Christians are now circumcised for health reasons, and that is a very late phenomena indeed, post-World War II, at least as far as I can tell from in my family.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at October 10, 2006 7:51 PM

Muslims, Jews and Americans.

Posted by: oj at October 10, 2006 8:19 PM

OJ:

Not for those of us who will not participate in it.

Posted by: Paul J Cella at October 10, 2006 11:08 PM

They're eager participants and you can't stop them. Nor can you blame them. What does a nation of seculars have to live for?

Posted by: oj at October 10, 2006 11:13 PM
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