Dressing modestly as Catholics

from: http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com

Summer is on us and with it, the heat. Which makes us feel the need to discard layers of clothes and be freer with our movements. With this desire though, necessarily comes the obligation to continue dressing modestly, and here are some tips about accomplishing this in our own day and age.

It is good to review the dress code that should be posted at the entrance of churches in accordance with Canon Law (CIC 1262, 2). Though this reflects the Church’s mind for sacred places, it nonetheless also comprises a general rule of thumb for public life. And while every Catholic has rights (to receive the sacraments), he or she also has duties to fulfill in order to maintain these rights; thus why the Holy See has gone so far (for the preservation of souls) to prescribe: “to remove from communion and even from Church, improperly dressed women.”[1] – this rule can of course be applied also to men.

Another quick rule of thumb is to dress in a dignified manner that will evoke respect. For in addition to providing an edifying example, our dress also defines who we are in society. Thus the appropriateness of a mother’s or father’s dress (particularly in the privacy of home life) can positively or negatively impact the formation of their children – this important aspect is not only contingent upon the modesty of the clothes worn by the parents, but even by their quality, that is, dressing shabbily versus well within one’s means.

An even further consideration for men and women is to dress properly according to their nature, or respectively, according to their masculinity or femininity. For men, this means they should not wear tight-fitting clothes or in general, go shirtless in public (and especially for fathers, even around the home in front of their children).

For the ladies, to dress like a man (such as wearing pants) is improper and contradicts a woman’s God-given femininity. That this is not merely an “old fuddy duddy’s” quibble, should be evident when we realize that the proponents of unisex clothing have also been the same “gender theory” people behind the promotion of sins against nature. …

Concerning modest dress – and this applies to both men and women – the underlying principle is that it should more cover, rather than expose oneself to the allurement of the public eye. Thus both men and women should dress so as to inspire respect and chaste love, as opposed to the enkindling of lust.

Albeit, finding proper clothes today can be very difficult today, as most fashions are terribly provocative and have been designed to induce impurity. This is especially the case for women’s fashions; however, good women (using a bit of resourcefulness) can still manage to dress with modest attractiveness and charm – and without appearing that they have just stepped off a set of “Little House on the Prairie”!

A last word regarding the issue of swimming. Unfortunately there is little available in the stores today that is even half-way decent, or modest, though some have attempted to alleviate this deficiency by wearing t-shirts over their swimwear. But even more importantly perhaps are the oft-ignored ecclesiastical admonitions against the dangers of swimming in public places. Thus we are compelled to exhort families to make the effort to find a secluded place to swim amongst themselves – or not at all. Better to forgo the recreational (and optional) pleasure of swimming then to endanger the souls of one’s family (or of others)!

In concluding this brief review on the importance of dressing modestly, here are some pertinent quotes (and one illustrative example) – which far from being ancient, are of recent date, and thus ever new.

G.K. Chesterton: “unless we live as we believe, we’ll end up believing as we live.”

Pope Pius XII: “The purity of souls living the supernatural life of grace is not preserved and will never be preserved without combat.” Many women and girls stubbornly persist in “following certain shameless styles like so many sheep.” “They would certainly blush if they could guess the impression they make and the feeling they evoke in those who see them.”

Padre Pio (+1968) repeatedly refused to absolve women who did not wear a skirt that extended at least 8 inches below the knee, while also insisting that they did not wear slacks.

Our Lady of Fatima:

The sins of the world are too great! The sins which lead most souls to hell are sins of the flesh! Certain fashions are going to be introduced which will offend Our Lord very much. Those who serve God should not follow these fashions. The Church has no fashions; Our Lord is always the same. (Tip and source: SSPX U.S. District
(Note: Perhaps not quite like the photograph below, taken sone years ago – but I am sure you get the idea!)
Picture Copyright: granolacatholic.blogspot. 2011

About Gertrude

Sáncte Míchael Archángele, defénde nos in proélio, cóntra nequítiam et insídias diáboli ésto præsídium.
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20 Responses to Dressing modestly as Catholics

  1. johnhenrycn says:

    Agree 100% and made a similar point not long ago bemoaning the habit of people attending Mass as if they were going to the House of Pancakes than to a house of worship. Except for the homeless and mentally ill, there’s no reason I can think of for anyone to go to Mass dressed in a slovenly or excessively casual manner. Good post. Good suggestion too about posting a dress code admonition in the narthex, except I don’t think the current Code of Canon Law actually contains or mandates one.


  2. Toad says:

    This topic is aired every so often.

    Last time Toad summed it up as, “Down with trousers, up with skirts.” But he won’t do that again. People took it the wrong way.


  3. Toad says:

    “Better to forgo the recreational (and optional) pleasure of swimming then to endanger the souls of one’s family (or of others)!”

    So, it’s possible to swim to Hell then. Cripes.


  4. I agree completely. The sad thing is that there are Catholics out there refusing to live as their Church asked them too for centuries, and mocking Catholics like us who do – for dressing the way we do.

    One rather famous blogger whose name I will not mention, made a scoffing comment about Catholics with skirts down to the floor, insinuating that was somehow bad and gave Catholics a bad reputations as “stodgy.” 😦

    We have a long way to go.


  5. johnhenrycn says:

    If you grew up next to The Road to Wigan Pier, I take your point. But the fact is that decent respectable clothing is now remarkably cheap. There is no need for working people to come to Mass in scruffy clothes, although of course people coming to weekday Mass before heading to their places of employment ought to be excused from having to wear their best bib-and-tucker.


  6. Frere Rabit says:

    Oh dear, another Phil sockpuppet. No point in further conversation folks.


  7. johnhenrycn says:

    “…patrician sneer…”?

    You talking to me, pal? If so, you’re picking a fight for no good reason. Off with you.


  8. johnhenrycn says:

    You could be right, FR, and you know how much I loathe sockpuppets. Fact is, the Adrian/MyCavity tag team reminds an awful lot of an echo chamber.


  9. johnhenrycn says:

    Tried twice to give you 5 stars, RTS. Had a peek at your own blog’s “About Me” section. Fairly impressive.


  10. Thank you. 🙂 No worries; the glitches of the tech world can pop their little heads up every now and then. Thank you for making the attempt. 🙂


  11. Brother Burrito says:

    A sickly post McCavity!


  12. johnhenrycn says:

    FR will tell you that we’re not exactly what you’d call a “team”. More like a mongoose and a cobra in an uncomfortable ad hoc alliance, likely to end in, oh, five minutes or so. You know, you remind me of an old Teleblogging socialist from north of the Clyde called “Carlismo”, who said he was a Catholic Glaswegian. Of course, you’re coy about your allegiances, but one detects the same tone of grievance and moral superiority.


  13. Brother Burrito says:

    His alleged patrician sneer trumps your certain straw man, without doubt!


  14. Toad says:

    It is in no way illogical to imagine worshippers removing all their clothes before entering a church for Mass.
    1: Because we are made in God’s image, and we can best demonstrate that fact naked.
    2: Because then we echo the image of Christ naked on the cross.

    But instead we have chosen to regard our bodies as a source of shame and disgust, to be constantly concealed.
    With good reason, in Toad’s case.

    (But even he, wrinkled, flabby and gnarled, refuses to go swimming clad in a dustbin liner.)


  15. kathleen says:

    And the eyes of them both were opened: and when they perceived themselves to be naked, they sewed together fig leaves, and made themselves loincloths.” (Gen 3:7)

    It is true, there is nothing bad about our bodies; after all they were created by God to be ‘temples of the Holy Spirit’.
    But (and it’s a big but), having lost that enswathing light of purity which previously engirdled their bodies before the fall, Adam and Eve became aware that their naked bodies could become an occasion of sin. Innocence was lost to Mankind due to Original Sin. From then on Men and Women have had to cover their bodies – well, parts of it – from the lustful eyes of others.


  16. Toad says:

    “….having lost that enswathing light of purity which previously engirdled their bodies before the fall, ”

    Entranced as I am – as indeed we all are – by “enswathing “Kathleen, I have to confess that your comment is, to me at least, virtually incomprehensible. Gibberish, in fact.
    But then, it would be, wouldn’t it?
    Anyway, the post reminds me wonderfully and obligingly of what a total Pagan I am become, and why.
    And how I require very few things in life more than the blessing of the sun on bronzed bodies, including my own battered, raddled, antique, specimen – with my dogs snoozing blissfully in the shade, and a copy of Montaigne or Flaubert or Evelyn Waugh for me to read, and Mahler or Shostakovitch on the CD player, and a bottle of Toro at my elbow – to make my cup runneth over. Which it doth often,
    …And persuades me to take no care for the morrow.
    Sage advice, I suggest.

    Although, of course, if Kathleen and the Christians are right, I’m in for a somewhat uncomfortable eternity.
    We shall see.
    No point in taking an indecent swim cozzie to Hell, for sure.
    But one thing at a time, I reckon.

    And, regardless, I’ll be content enough if my dogs are allowed to go to Hell with me.
    Even though they haven’t earned it.
    Everyone else can go to Heaven.
    Surely God wouldn’t deny me that?.

    And the best of luck to one and all. Even grumpy Rabit.
    Especially Rabit. Who is very kind to beasts..


  17. Toad says:

    …Indeed, on a little refection, Toad is also inclined to think, from what you advise – that if we are advised to cover our bodies to avoid, “occasions of sin,”. should we not also gag our mouths, and plug our ears, and blindfold our eyes – Yea*, and cut off our offending members to avoid similar horrors from other offending and offensive organs?
    Or, after you with the scalpel, Kathleen.

    * Biblical!


  18. kathleen says:

    Why paint Catholics as killjoys, Toad? Are you serious? We’re the happiest bunch of people you could find.

    Your love of the sunshine, good books to read and music to listen to, with your well-cared for hounds snoozing at your feet, etc….. is not sinful, you old tease! None of that will send you to Hell, or even to Purgatory. You are appreciating God’s many gifts, and that can only be good.
    Read the psalms, or the writings of some of the saints to see how Man can use all these wonderful natural earthly pleasures to give glory and thanks to God.

    Just don’t forget, that all this is ephemeral, and not our lasting home. 😉

    P.S. I confess to copying 😳 those lovely words, “enswathing light of purity”, when searching for the biblical verse I quoted! I thought they summed up very well the point I was making.


  19. Toad says:

    Very nicely, and enswathingly put, Kathleen.

    I think you might agree, however, there is a subtle difference between English, Irish and North American Catholicism – and Mediterranean Catholicism.
    The article presents the former, writ large. It is very blue-nosed, that is surely undeniable. And all that hogwash about dads not walking around their own house bare-chested in front of the kids. Blimey.
    It presents a notably grisly aspect of the repressive and negative Catholicism of my youth. And is no help to anyone, I believe.
    However, I agree with JH and you that we should turn out smartly dressed for Mass, shoes shined, pants (if worn) neatly pressed, spotless (white) shirt, smart and sober jacket.
    No item with any writing on it.
    …As for an appearance in Court, a marriage, a funeral, or a firing squad.
    But this is a matter of “taste,” rather than propriety.

    Burro is right. I blether too much, too often.


  20. Toad says:

    Re-reading this magnificent farrago of Grundyish gibberish, I’m beginning to wonder if the whole boiling is nothing but a subtle leg-pull – which I, for one – have swallowed whole, “…men in tight-fitting clothes.” and all.
    If so, well done Rorate-Caeli, whoever he is.

    And shame on gullible old Toad.


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