The world changes continually. Whether you like it or not, Catholic teaching does not. It may develop, but never change. Under the direction of Pope Pius XI, on August 23, 1928 G. Cardinal Laurenti sent our a catholic description of “Mary Like Modesty.
“A dress cannot be called decent which is cut deeper than two fingers breadth under the pit of the throat; which does not cover the Arms at least to the elbows; and scarcely reaches a bit beyond the knees. Furthermore, dresses of transparent materials are improper.”
On Salve Maria Regina web site, they have a beautiful interpretation of this:
1. Mary like means modesty without compromise because Mary is Jesus’ pure and spotless mother.
2. Mary like dresses have sleeves extending to the wrists; and skirts reaching to the ankles.
3. Mary like dresses require full and loose coverage for the bodice, chest shoulders, and back. The cut out around the neck must not exceed “two fingers breadth under the pit of the throat” as around the back of the neck.
4. Mary like dresses also do not admit as modest coverage with transparent fabrics like laces, nets, organdy, nylons etc unless sufficient backing is added. Fabrics like this should be used moderately as trimmings only.
5. Mary like dresses avoid improper flesh colored fabrics.
6. Mary like dresses conceal rather than reveal the figure of the wearer, they do not emphasize unduly the parts of the body.
7. Mary like dresses provide full coverage, even after jackets, capes and stole are removed.
8. Mary like fashions are designed to conceal as much of the body as possible, rather than reveal. This would automatically eliminate such fashions as slacks, jeans, shorts, culottes, tight sweaters, sheer blouses, and sleeveless dresses.
9. Mary like standards are a guide to instill a “sense of modesty”. A girl or woman who follows these and looks up to Holy Mary as her ideal and model, will have no problem with modesty in dress. She will not be an occasion of sin or source of embarrassment or shame to others.
There is a young woman who teaches confirmation at the parish were I used to be pastor. She made all the girls in her class sign a letter saying that they would come to confirmation class with modesty. One grandmother came very angry at me saying I was chasing away all her grandchildren from the parish her family had belong to for four generations. Many other parents left the parish because I back this teacher. Now this teacher only has four students in her class. The director of confirmation put all the other girls in other classes. The director also said I was sexist because some boys come in immodest clothing. I have never seen, all though it is possible, a boy coming to class in immodest clothing. They wear shorts or tee shirts that may not be the best, but their clothes are not meant to accentuate the sexual parts of their bodies.
Women in my parish continually harassed me when I brought up modesty. They harassed any teacher who tried to install catholic modesty. But the main reason the harassed me was because they said it was the fault of us men who look at the women in an unclean way.
Men are different from women. We men perceive things differently. Visual sensual things stimulate us sexually very easily. Now I am not a woman, but if an woman was honest, they would have to say that naturally men are more sexually attracted to the visual than women. Yes, we men need to have custody of the eyes. But we are different from women because we have testosterone and women have estrogen.
I was told by some priest who criticized me for enforcing modesty at my parish, that the theology of the body by Pope John Paul II says the body is good and there is nothing wrong with women’s styles today. Yes the body is good, but it is to be veiled like anything that is precious. We see the veil on the tabernacle. We see the veil on the chalice. We see the veil on Holy Mary’s head. The body is precious, so we veil it.
If you do not like that the Bible says to dress modestly, If you do not like that the Catholic church says dress modestly. At least dress modestly for vanity sake. Immodest clothing were designed for prostitutes. Do you want to dress like a prostitute? Are you ashamed that you mother, your sister, your daughter, or your wife dresses like a prostitute. If you can not dress modestly for fear of going to hell, for fear of sending men to hell, at least dress modestly for good taste. Look at how Queen Elizabeth dresses. She is classy, I have never seen her in pants or immodest dresses. What about our heavenly Queen Mary. She has the perfect taste. Why be afraid to copy her and please her Divine Son Jesus Christ. Pray for the grace to dress modestly.
We men have sexual weaknesses. We easily sin in this way. Women help us to be pure and chaste.
But maybe women’s sin could be vanity. I do not know. But why would so many women treat me, a catholic priest, with verbal abuse when I enforce catholic modesty, if there is not some connection with vanity. Let us men and women try to root out all that is not God like and asked for the virtues of humility and purity. It is wonderful to be a traditional catholic.
The original author of this blog passed away in July of 2016. RIP Father Carota.