Due to traveling and other obligations, I recently needed to attend Eucharist at a different worship space than usual. Although this particular community is somewhat more traditional than I am used to (my requests to provide the reflection during the Eucharistic celebrations have been denied several times in the past), I have attended there in the past without feeling too repressed. On this last visit, however, I saw something that deeply disturbed my spirit: a woman wearing a so-called "mantilla". Even for those not familiar with this repressive, out-dated tradition, the name alone ("man"-tilla) betrays the male domination inherent in it.
I'll be honest and say that I had thought this particular sign of male domination had died out. Maybe I was just hopeful. Maybe I was naive. In any case, it would seem that I underestimated the influence of the traditionalist hierarchy, even so many decades after the Spirit of Vatican II liberated women. After all, Veronica of the New Testament removed her veil when she came in contact with Jesus.
Needless to say, I won't be returning to Celebrate with that community anytime soon, and will instead stay within my own community, where I am comfortable and can avoid the glaring patriarchy. However, this occasion served as a jarring reminder that there is still much work to be done before we can rise to victory in the spirit of today.