Modesty
#1
Great article from the SSPX. There is some wisdom there.

http://sspx.org/en/news-events/news/how-...dress-2203
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Now that the heat of summer is upon us, this is a good opportunity to briefly review the topic of how Catholics should apparel themselves.

Pastor's Corner for Sunday, July 7

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.

It is interesting to note that the “Lion of Campos”, Bishop de Castro Mayer, once famously remarked in a pastoral letter that he would prefer a woman to wear a mini-skirt rather than pants. For while the mini-skirt was immodest, it was at least feminine, while pants contradicted a woman’s nature (thus the former attacked the senses, while the latter warped the intellect).

Therefore, so-called “woman’s pants” (usually worn out of pleasure or commodity) are not the proper garb of a Catholic (or Marian-like) girl or lady, either in the parish, domestic or social life. However, if the wearing pants by women cannot be completely avoided due to the circumstances of our time (profession, security, extraordinary activity, etc.), they should at least disappear from family, social and parish life.

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.

Quotes

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 of 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 refuse 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.


Footnote

1 January 12, 1930, S.C.C.
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#2
1/3 of the article on pants. Oh lawdy. Prepare yourself for maximum jimmy rustling!
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#3
I wouldn't say the article is great. It is okay. It is very brief, and I have read much better treatments. My church posts this well-known sign:

[Image: tumblr_masjcnlyz61r0b7tro1_500.png]
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#4
Thank you for posting this! My tastes in wardrobe, music and film changed suddenly after my 2010 pilgrimage. I got a taste for things from the 1940s-early 1960s. Maybe it's nostalgia for my late parents, or a simpler time. Anyway, here's what happened:

I rarely wear pants or jeans anymore. I'm in dresses 7 days a week for church and work (I'm in outside sales.) I only put pants on if it is so rainy or snowy I feel I must cover up. I'll do chores at home in pants, shorts or jeans depending on the weather.

I have more solid structured one piece swimsuits than bikinis anymore (possibly because of my age.) I rarely swim in public anymore and prefer my private lake. When I do go swimming or skiing with family and friends once a year, I wear a solid one piece. I don't believe in women wearing oversized t-shirts, long skirts or big swimming trunks in the water. It's overkill and dangerous for certain sports. In fact, I believe that hiding femininity by wearing oversized and/or gender neutral clothing is morally wrong--unless you are a nun in a habit.

My late mom is still my personal standard of modesty. She dressed in classic Jackie Kennedy style:  suits with knee length skirts, dresses, 1 piece swimsuits, bermudas and dresses. She never wore anything bohemian or Little House On The Prairie. She didn't own any jeans and rarely wore pants. This lasted until she was 65 when her arthritis made it difficult for her to do activities of daily life anymore. Then she wore stretch pants, tunics and white support shoes every day so she could dress herself. Who can blame her?

My takeaway is:  the church sign makes perfect sense and is reasonable to me. Somewhere between the extremes of Kim Kardashian and Mother Theresa is a happy medium. That's where I'll be.
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#5
Where we don't want to go is extreme modesty in Sharia law. It's pushing a good thing too far, like denying an award to woman by using modesty as an excuse. Or endangering a woman's life by making her wear too many clothes in the water. The fact that she could compete and win against men despite pounds of clothing on is a credit to her gender: 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/glo...c-swimwear

I saw a Jewish orthodox couple on a boat cruise yesterday. It was a May-December marriage. She was young, in her 20s, with 2 sons and a daughter all under age 8. Her husband was easily twice her age. She wore a black stripe knit top with 3/4 sleeves and a black polyester stretch knit dirndl skirt that was nearly down to her ankles. Black flats with gum soles and no makeup. Long straight hair. The traditional Catholic in me admired her modesty despite the heat and humidity index of 89 degrees. I was moved by this couple's declaration of modesty apart from the culture, and thought I should live up to that standard too. I have a Catholic friend who lives similarly. After I had thought this through, I realized there are aspects of their lifestyle that won't work in our situation.

This young woman will likely become widowed before 40, and her kids may or may not be grown. She probably doesn't use a computer or have a resume, a business suit for interviewing, or any makeup. She may have few marketable skills, even within her own community where modern activities are discouraged or limited. Unless her relatives agree to support her, she'll have to scrap her parts of her lifestyle, get an education, and support herself. Otherwise, she's looking at 20 to 30 years of poverty and welfare. If the government cuts these programs in a solvency crisis, she's in deep trouble.

I am not progressive, but we must never return to the restrictions that women faced in the early 19th and 20th centuries. Perhaps the people of that time had fewer occasions of sin through immodest dress. But the dignity of the womanhood in the work place was not respected, nor was it valued enough to allow women to sustain themselves. The life of Les Miserables was real. St. Bonifacia Rodriguez Castro had a rough time convincing bishops that employing women in her cordmaking shop was not immoral. Before that, they were on the streets prostituting themselves. My husband has limited skills and was frequently unemployed throughout our marriage. I went back to college and got my degree before our daughter was born. If I hadn't done that, we could have qualified for welfare.
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#6
But women who wear pants are going to hell.
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#7
(07-07-2013, 10:51 AM)lauermar Wrote:   I don't believe in women wearing oversized t-shirts, long skirts or big swimming trunks in the water. It's overkill and dangerous for certain sports. In fact, I believe that hiding femininity by wearing oversized and/or gender neutral clothing is morally wrong--unless you are a nun in a habit.

Your statement here is one of subjective silliness.  If a woman is swimming in privacy, then she has to observe the modesty of that forum.  It is not modest for women to appear in private settings in maillots for their children, siblings and parents to gaze upon their intimate forms.  If a woman cannot swim in privacy and without danger, then she's really not being modest if she goes swimming at all.  This doesn't equate to wearing "oversized t-shirts, long skirts or big swimming trunks in the water" by necessity, but rather modest swimming garb.  I've swum all my life and done water sports (tubing, jet skiing, volleyball, racing, etc.).  Never have I had a REAL problem doing so modestly.

I also have a HUGE problem with you calling a nun's habit gender neutral.  A nun's habit is utterly feminine.  Merely because it doesn't highlight or accentuate her private and intimate forms, and is actually modest dress, doesn't make it gender neutral.  If you see a nun from the back, you know immediately that therein the habit is a woman...you don't mistake her ever far off for a man.
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#8
(07-07-2013, 12:10 PM)lauermar Wrote: Where we don't want to go is extreme modesty in Sharia law.

Islamic modesty, oddly enough, is ACTUALLY closer to the natural law than what many who profess to be Catholic practice.  They do fail in internal modesty, however, since they don't actually have a concept, only praxis.

(07-07-2013, 12:10 PM)lauermar Wrote: This young woman will likely become widowed before 40, and her kids may or may not be grown. She probably doesn't use a computer or have a resume, a business suit for interviewing, or any makeup. She may have few marketable skills, even within her own community where modern activities are discouraged or limited. Unless her relatives agree to support her, she'll have to scrap her parts of her lifestyle, get an education, and support herself. Otherwise, she's looking at 20 to 30 years of poverty and welfare. If the government cuts these programs in a solvency crisis, she's in deep trouble.

It's not to her detriment if she doesn't own a business suit, use a computer or have a resume.  It's not to her detriment if she has no, or few, marketable career skills.  I think it's quite presumptuous to jump to the conclusion that her husband would leave her and his children destitute at his death, anyway.  Even if that did happen, however, there are many things that women can do to support a family and get by that doesn't by necessity demand that she obtain a career or even work outside of her home at times.

(07-07-2013, 12:10 PM)lauermar Wrote: I am not progressive, but we must never return to the restrictions that women faced in the early 19th and 20th centuries. Perhaps the people of that time had fewer occasions of sin through immodest dress. But the dignity of the womanhood in the work place was not respected, nor was it valued enough to allow women to sustain themselves. The life of Les Miserables was real. St. Bonifacia Rodriguez Castro had a rough time convincing bishops that employing women in her cordmaking shop was not immoral. Before that, they were on the streets prostituting themselves. My husband has limited skills and was frequently unemployed throughout our marriage. I went back to college and got my degree before our daughter was born. If I hadn't done that, we could have qualified for welfare.
The picture that Victor Hugo painted which is Les Miserables is fiction.  One cannot gain any certain information from the book alone.  Where it conforms to actual history, it can be used to convince.  Where it departs from actual history, it is useless.  The "dignity of the womanhood in the work place" as you call it is STILL not cared for, and female employees still are not respected.  If there was care for the dignity of women in the workplace, or if they were respected, they would not be thrown in indiscriminately with male co-workers, nor would male employees suffer job loss in favor of hiring women. 
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#9
A modest one piece swimsuit is absolutely fine. Anything beyond that is not necessary unless a woman chooses to wear more for whatever reason. I wouldn't call the woman not wearing more than a modest one piece swimsuit in a swimming pool immodest or immoral.  Its just common sense.
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#10
Stoning women (or any kind of discrimination) for showing their ankles or their face is NOT modesty, nor is it close to it. God created woman apart from man and our bodies clearly reflect that. To cover everything but the woman's eyes is fighting the natural order. That does not mean I approve of Kim Kardashian's wardrobe, but there is definitely a balance between Islamic "modesty" and immodest clothing. Genuine modest clothing should obey Catholic teaching on modesty, which is embracing femininity without it being contrary to one's dignity.
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