20 June 2012

Modesty is Unremarkable

This is an e-mail that my friend Fr. Enzo sent me. I tried to find the source, but realized that he copy and pasted from a bunch of sources. Some of the words to sew it together may even his own. I thought it was so good, I had to post it here:

Modesty is Unremarkable

By Chris Pelicano | February 17, 2012 4:14 PM

From Our Store: Essays in Apologetics, Volume II (eBook)
My daughters told me recently that modest clothing is unremarkable in itself, but remarkable in its potential effects. Ironically, the benefit of modest clothing is its transparency, so to speak. Modest clothing attracts attention neither to itself nor to the superficial qualities of the person wearing it. In fact, by not being a distraction or an end in itself, modest clothing allows the character of the person to become more evident.

Indecent fashions tend to reduce the human person to the superficiality of their exposed or accentuated body parts ... saying, in effect, "Look at me, I'm an object. Look at me as an object." On the other hand, prudish clothing, although rare, tends to provoke an opposite but equally superficial criticism that the prude is socially inept, awkward, and out of touch. Both styles miss the truth about the dignity of the human person.

In our cynical culture obsessed with shallow sensationalism, modesty is like truth in advertising: rare but powerful. It's the real deal—and that's what makes it so special.

of the 
Catholic Church
2521. Purity requires modesty, an integral part of temperance.  Modesty protects the intimate center of the person.  It means refusing to unveil what should remain hidden.  It is ordered to chastity to whose sensitivity it bears witness.  It guides how one looks at others and behaves toward them in conformity with the dignity of persons and their solidarity.

2522. Modesty protects the mystery of persons and their love.  It encourages patience and moderation in loving relationships; it requires that the conditions for the definitive giving and commitment of man and woman to one another be fulfilled.  Modesty is decency.  It inspires ones choice of clothing.  It keeps silence or reserve where there is evident risk of unhealthy curiosity.  It is descreet.

2523. There is a modesty of the feelings as well as of the body.... Modesty inspires a way of life which makes it possible to resist the allurements of fashion and the pressures of prevailing ideologies.

On reverence:

2691. The Church, the house of God, is...  the privileged place for adoration of the real presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament]

The words of the Blessed Mother at Fatima to St.Jacinta Marto.
Blessed Jacinta Marto

"the sins which bring most souls to hell are the sins of the flesh.  Certain fashions are going to be introduced which will offend Our Lord very much... the Church has no fashions; Our Lord is always the same..."

Jacinta on Holy Silence:

Noticing  that many visitors chatted and laughed in the chapel, Jacinta asked Mother Godinho to warn them of the lack of respect for the Real Presence this represented.  When this measure did not bring about satisfactory results, she asked that the cardinal be advised that "Our Lady does not want people to talk in church."

Some days, Jacinta while in the hospital, was very saddened by the worldliness of the visitors, the women dressed in fashionable clothes, often with low-cut dresses.  "What is it all for?" she asked Mother Godinho (her guardian ). "If they only knew what eternity is."

Saint John Chrysostom

Saint John Chrysostom instructed women of all times about dress when in the fourth century he declared:

"You carry your snare everywhere and spread your nets in all places. You allege that you never invited others to sin. You did not, indeed, by your words, but you have done so by your dress and your deportment. ... When you have made another sin in his heart, how can you be innocent? Tell me, whom does this world condemn? Whom do judges punish? Those who drink poison or those who prepare it and administer the fatal potion? You have prepared the abominable cup, you have given the death dealing drink, and you are more criminal than are those who poison the body; you murder not the body but the soul. And it is not to enemies you do this, nor are you urged on by any imaginary necessity, nor provoked by injury, but out of foolish vanity and pride."

St. Francis de Sales

"Be neat, Philothea; let nothing be negligent about you. It is a kind of contempt of those with whom we converse, to frequent their company in uncomely apparel; but, at the same time, avoid all affectation, vanity, curiosity, or levity in your dress. Keep yourself always, as much as possible, on the side of plainness and modesty, which, without doubt, is the greatest ornament of beauty, and the best excuse for the want of it."

---St. Francis de Sales, Introduction to a Devout Life, Part Third, Ch. 25

St. Padre Pio insisted on..............Modesty
Padre Pio on Women's Dress
from Prophet of the People,
by Dorothy M. Gaudiose, pp. 191-2

Padre Pio wouldn't tolerate low-necked dresses or short, tight skirts, and he forbade his spiritual daughters to wear transparent stockings. Each year his severity increased.  He stubbornly dismissed them from his confessional, even before they set foot inside, if he judged them to be improperly dressed.  On some mornings he drove away one after another, until he ended up hearing very few confessions.  His brothers observed these drastic purges with a certain uneasiness and decided to fasten a sign on the church door;
"By Padre Pio's explicit wish, women must enter the confessional wearing skirts
Okay!  You might say," that was then" now things are different.  Granted but the principles of modesty and proper dress are the same.

the free encyclopedia

Body modesty

Standards of modesty usually discourage non-essential exposure of the body. This applies to the bare skin, hair and undergarments, and especially to intimate parts. The standards not only call for the covering of parts of the body, but also obscuring their shape, by wearing non form-fitting clothing. There are also standards covering the changing of clothes (such as on a beach), and the closing or locking of the door when changing or taking a shower.

Standards of modesty vary by culture, or generation and vary depending on who is exposed, which parts of the body are exposed, the duration of the exposure, the context, and other variables. The categories of persons who could see another's body could include:

a spouse,
a friend or family member of the same sex,
strangers of the same sex,

The context would include matters such as whether it is in one's own home, at another family member's home, at a friend's home, at a semi-public place, at a beach, swimming pool (including whether such venues are considered clothes-optional), changing rooms or other public places. For instance, wearing a bathing suit at the beach would not be considered immodest, while it likely would be in a street or an office.

Proponents of modesty often see it as a demonstration of respect for their bodies, for social norms, and for the feelings of themselves and others. Some people believe modesty may reduce sexual crimes.

Modesty in dress

Most discussion of modesty involves clothing. Issues of modesty and decency have arisen especially during the 20th century as a result of the increased popularity in many countries of shorter and form fitting dresses and swimsuits and the consequential exposure of more of the body. This has been more pronounced in the case of female fashions. Most people consider the clothes that they are wearing to be modest. Otherwise, they would not wear the clothes. What is considered "modest" in this context will depend on the context when the clothes will be worn and can vary between religions, cultures, generations, occasions, and the persons who are present. Those who intentionally wear clothes which they consider immodest may be manifesting exhibitionism or seeking to create an erotic impact.

(see Catechism of the Catholic Church above)

I was standing at a bus stop down town when a woman came along dressed in a skin tight knitted suit light tan, i.e. skin colour. Almost every car that passed honked the horn. They honked approval not of her as a person but her seeming nakedness, and I am sure a lot of them remembered her not as a person but an apparently naked woman.  Not the beautiful person she may have been but her image as a naked woman was probably on some of their minds and perhaps on their lips and in their hearts long after she had vanished on the bus she waited for.  

The same principles apply to the dress code for both men and women.  

Again the same applies to the dress code for men and women in church.  How could anyone present them selves in front of God in the Blessed Sacrament and receive him in Holy Communion and not be properly dressed; not even dressed as one would be at a wedding?

Words of our Lord:

{You have heard that it was said to the ancients, "Thou shalt not commit adultery." But I say to you that anyone who so much as looks with lust at a woman has already committed adultery with her in his heart.}.

Relevant words from the Bible

Gal.5:22-23  "But the fruit of the Spirit is, charity, joy, peace, patience, benignity, goodness, longanimity, mildness, faith, modesty, continency, chastity."

Romans 12;1,2  "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercy of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, pleasing unto God, your reasonable service.  And be not conformed to this world; but be reformed in the newness of your mind, that you may prove what is the good, and the acceptable, and the perfect will of God."

1 Corinthians 3:16,17  "Know you not, that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?  But if any man violate the temple of God, him shall God destroy.  For the temple of God is holy, which you are."

1 Timothy  2, 9  "In like manner women also in decent apparel: adorning themselves with modesty and sobriety, not with plaited hair or gold, or pearls or costly attire."

Ecclesiasticus (Sirach) 19:26-27: "A man is known by his look, and a wise man, when thou meetest him, is known by his countenance. The attire of the body, and the laughter of the teeth, and the gait of the man, shew what he is."
Saint Matthew (5:27-28)