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Offline Matthew

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Modesty and how to dress
« on: June 27, 2010, 02:29:20 PM »
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  • MODESTY AND MODES OF DRESS
     
    We are all born with a fallen nature and, consequently, we must keep
    our bodies covered in order to avoid the dangers of concupiscence.
    This fact, a result of original sin, is deliberately ignored each
    time that naturalism attempts to insinuate itself into our Christian
    customs. Then it is that the purpose of clothing is lost sight of,
    and instead of being an invitation to virtue, it becomes an
    incitement to sin. The Church, like a vigilant Mother, full of tender
    care for the holiness and eternal salvation of Her children, has often
    been obliged to warn the faithful so that they might avoid the errors
    of fashion, and to take the measures necessary to ensure that the
    holy places and sacred things should not be profaned by immodesty in
    dress.
     
    Unfortunately, we are living in times that have lost the sense of sin
    and, as a result, we see around us an eruption of styles of dress
    which are, in every way, contrary to Christian modesty. Christian
    people must not allow themselves to be carried along by the spirit of
    the world but must firmly resist such deviations . . . Jacinta Marto,
    one of the little seers of Fatima, although she was only eleven years
    old at the time, had a wisdom taught her by the Mother of God.
     
    She merits, therefore, our attention. Here is what she said with
    regard to styles of dress: "Fashions will arise which will greatly
    offend God." When we consider the fashions of our day, we are led to
    conclude that the times foretold by the little seer have arrived.
    Indeed, the styles of dress of the women and girls of today such as:
    very tight clothing; dressing like men, including slacks and tights;
    low necklines; skirts with hemlines or slits which do not cover the
    leg below the knee -- are absolutely contrary to the norms of
    Christian modesty.
     
    For this reason, in order to conform to the recommendations of the
    Holy See, and in particular to the instructions of the Sacred
    Congregation of the Council, we urge our faithful people to refrain
    from following such ways of dressing.
     
    "Those who keep the Law of God", Jacinta said, "should not follow
    fashions". Our priests must try to apply the instructions of the
    Sacred Congregation of the Council, without violence or rudeness, but
    with firmness. They must not let persons, dressed in the styles
    described above, receive the Sacraments and, as far as possible, must
    not allow them access to the Temple of God.
     
    Furthermore, they must frequently remind the faithful of these
    regulations. Also, when couples present themselves for marriage
    preparation, the priests must tell them to inform their wedding
    guests of the rules for dress in church. People dressed in these
    unacceptable ways must not be accepted as witnesses to the marriage
    and, after due warning, they must not be admitted to Holy Communion.
     
    It is highly recommended that these prescriptions be posted at the
    entrance to the church.
     
    -Bishop Antonio de Castro-Mayer-
     
    MODESTY STANDARDS
     
    On January 12, 1930, the Sacred Congregation of the Council, by
    mandate of Pope Pius XI, issued emphatic instructions on modesty of
    dress to all bishops, directing them to insist on these
    prescriptions: "We recall that 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 knee. Furthermore, dresses of transparent
    material are improper.
     
    "Let parents keep their daughters away from public gymnastic games
    and contests; but, if their daughters are compelled to attend such
    exhibitions, let them see to it that they are fully and modestly
    dressed. Let them never permit their daughters to don immodest garb."
     
    Rufino J. Cardinal Santos, Archbishop of Manila, also quotes these
    standards as "The Church's Stand concerning Modesty in Dress" in his
    Pastoral of December 6, 1959. The feminine loss of the sense of
    modesty was indicated by Pope Pius XII who said: "Now many girls do
    not see anything wrong with following certain shameless styles
    (fashions) like so many sheep. They would surely blush if they could
    only guess the impressions they make and the feelings they evoke
    (arouse) in those who see them." (July 17, 1954.)
     
    "O Christian mothers, if only you knew the future distress, peril and
    ill-restrained shame that you prepare for your sons and daughters by
    imprudently accustoming them to live barely clothed, and permitting
    them to lose the sense of modesty, you would be ashamed of
    yourselves, and of the harm done to the little ones entrusted to you
    by Heaven to be reared in a Christian dignity and culture."
     
    And, men also are held to the virtue of modesty; witness the
    admonition of Canadian bishops in May of 1946: "Man himself does not
    escape from the inclination of exhibiting his flesh: some go in
    public, stripped to the waist, or in very tight pants or in very
    scanty bathing suits. They thus commit offenses against the virtue of
    modesty. They may also be an occasion of sin (in thought or desire)
    for our neighbor."
     
    The opinion which allows custom to dictate the question of modesty
    was refuted by Pope Pius XII in one short sentence: "There always
    exists an absolute norm to be preserved."
     
    Custom, of course, pays no attention to absolute norms; but, it is a
    follower of this false principle: ". . . the majority cannot go
    wrong."
     
    To say that "... modesty is a matter of custom" is just as wrong as
    to say that "... honesty is a matter of custom."
     
    What about those who teach "What is customary does not affect us?"
     
    Pope Pius XII calls this application of an ancient principle to the
    virtue of modesty, "the most insidious of sophisms." He calls
    attention to the fact that some people use this sophism "...in order
    to brand as 'old fashioned' the rebellion of honest people against
    fashions they consider too bold."
     
    The Pope's pronouncements make no distinctions for various types of
    garments. Pius XII states "...an unworthy, an indecent mode of dress
    has prevailed" without any distinction of place, "on beaches, in
    country resorts, on the streets, etc." (Aug. 29. 1954)
     
    His quotation: "Vice necessarily follows upon public nudity," applies
    as well to the beaches, or the streets, or resorts, or elsewhere.
     
    Cardinal Pla y Daniel, Archbishop of Toledo, Spain, stated in 1959:
    "A special danger to morals is represented by public bathing at
    beaches... Mixed bathing between men and women, which is nearly
    always a proximate occasion of sin and a scandal, must be avoided."
     
    Modern Catholics may now consider themselves "far too adult" and
    disdain such directives, but nevertheless they remain the wise
    counsels of our Holy Mother the Church.
     
    PADRE PIO
     
    The saintly stigmatized Padre Pio was always a merciless enemy of
    feminine vanity: he never tolerated low-necked dresses, short and or
    tight fitting skirts, and forbade his spiritual children to wear
    transparent stockings. In the last few years of his life, his
    severity increased enormously, as fashions became more and more
    immodest.
     
    He unrelentingly dismissed from his confessional, before they could
    step inside, all women he judged to be incorrectly dressed. By 1967,
    on some mornings, he turned them away one after another, until he
    ended up confessing very few. His brethren noticed this with a
    certain unease, then decided to post on the door of the church a
    warning: "By Padre Pio's explicit wish, women must enter the
    confessional wearing skirts AT LEAST 8 INCHES BELOW THE KNEE. It is
    forbidden to borrow longer dresses in church and to wear them to
    confession."
     
    The beginning of the struggle with no concessions whatsoever
    coincided more or less with the advent of the mini-skirt, launched by
    the English girl Mary Quant. It had not yet reached Italy as Padre Pio
    was thundering against short skirts. As fashion houses announced:
    "Eight inches above the knee", Padre Pio warned: "Eight inches below
    the knee".
     
    WHEN SUMMER IS HERE
     
    When summer comes, a pastor of souls worries a little more than usual
    about the salvation of the flock that Our Lord has confided to him. He
    knows that, in the summer season, souls are more exposed to occasions
    of offending God, "of attacking God with His won gifts", especially
    through sinful fashions of dress.
     
    Our Lady said to Sister Lucy at Fatima: "There will be fashions which
    will greatly offend My Divine Son". Today's fashions prove Our Lady's
    words true, for these fashions are occasions of sin, occasions, alas,
    of serious sin, by reason of the sinful thoughts and desires which
    they provoke. In the Gospel, Our Lord warned us about such evil
    desires: "But I say to you, that whosoever shall look on a woman to
    lust after her, hath already committed adultery with her in his
    heart." (Mt.5:28).
     
    In the life of Saint Frances of Rome, we read of a vision of Hell
    which was granted her, and which lasted for four hours. God willed to
    show her, in the fires of Hell, certain ladies whom she had known in
    Roman society. For what sins had these souls been damned? They had
    been damned:
     
    - for guilty desires, even though these had not been put into act.
    - for indecent styles of dress, which were the fashion of the day,
    and which had been a cause of seduction and of sin.
    - for dances, considered inoffensive by the world.
     
    This vision of Hell so marked Saint Frances of Rome, that she had it
    painted on the murals of her chapel, as a constant reminder of the
    judgments of God. God then gave her the mission of drawing the Roman
    ladies out of their luxury and their vanity.
     
    Our society is much worse than the society of Renaissance Rome. What
    can we do in order not to yield to the corruption which surrounds us,
    especially in the matter of dress? Let us, first of all, recall
    certain Catholic principles. It was with the help of such principles
    that Father Emmanuel, at Mesnil Saint-Loup, was able to make his
    Parish a truly Christian society once again.
     
    Christianity is stable and solid only insofar as it permeates the
    whole being of the baptized person. It must, first of all, penetrate
    the inner man, and transform him into the image of Jesus Christ, in
    order to then regulate, according to this image, his exterior
    actions, words, and attitudes. It is not sufficient, Saint Paul tells
    us, for the heart to believe; we must also confess with our mouth, if
    we wish to be saved. And this external confession must extend to all
    our gestures, movements, habits, and relationships.
     
    >From this, it is easy to understand the importance of modesty for
    women. A woman who is vain gives the lie to her baptismal promises. A
    woman who tries to attract men's glances to herself, shows by this
    conduct that she has no desire to please Jesus Christ.
     
    In Holy Communion, Our Lord takes possession of our whole being, so
    that the soul becomes subject to Him in humility, and the body in
    modesty and restraint. From which it follows that a person who goes
    to Communion must be different, even exteriorly, from one who does
    not.
     
    Modesty in a woman is the sign that Jesus Christ dwells in her heart.
    It is a sweet perfume of edification which she is called upon to
    diffuse.
     
    Modesty in dress and behavior is, therefore, an indispensable way of
    making us more attentive to the obligations which we contracted at
    our Baptism. It is a consequence of that dogma of Faith which tells
    us that the baptized soul is the dwelling of the Blessed Trinity and
    that the body is the Temple of the Holy Ghost. Saint Paul, infallibly
    inspired by God, tells us: "Know you not that your members are the
    temple of the Holy Ghost, Who is in you, Whom you have from God, and
    you are not your own? ... Glorify and bear God in your body". (1
    Cor.6:19-20).
     
    Today's fashions, on the contrary, dishonor and corrupt the Christian
    woman. Their aim is to seduce and to arouse concupiscence, to the
    detriment of the soul's spiritual beauty, which is the true goal of
    our lives. All of this is a strategic Masonic maneuver. The
    destruction of Christian society, for which the Lodges have been
    working for two centuries, is to be realized through the destruction
    of the virtue of modesty in those who are baptized. This corruption,
    which has been deliberately and carefully programmed, is being
    systematically brought about.
     
    It is, therefore, always necessary to remember the indispensable
    rules of Christian modesty, rules which are not to be practiced only
    in church! Let us, then, look at these rules, first in general, and
    then, in particular, with regard to assistance at Mass.
     
    IN GENERAL, clothes should hide the shape of the body rather than
    accentuate it. Only this kind of clothing can truly be called
    "decent". This rule automatically excludes slacks (which are
    masculine apparel) for women. Feminine apparel is a skirt or a dress
    which must cover the woman's knees when she is seated. Decency in
    dress is to be observed, not only at Mass on Sundays, but every day
    of the week. The deciding factor is not whether slacks or culottes
    are more comfortable than a skirt, but rather to do the Will of God,
    by "loving Him in all things and above all things" (Collect of the
    6th Sunday after Pentecost).
     
    IN PARTICULAR, when attending Mass, we must be still more careful
    about how we dress. For instance, women must cover their heads:
    "Every woman praying ...with her head not covered, disgraces her
    head" (1 Cor.11:5). This rule has been the constant teaching of the
    Popes, and Pope St. Pius X had it included in the Code of Canon Law
    (Canon 1262). It is a sign of humility and submission for a woman to
    cover her head, and draws down God's graces and blessings upon her.
    Now is it an indifferent matter, just as no exterior act is an
    indifferent matter, for it proceeds from our very person and reveals
    what kind of person we are.
     
    Both men and women must have their arms covered in church, even when
    the weather is warm. It is true that this is a sacrifice, and we
    should offer it to Our Lord, who suffered so much for us in His Body,
    in order to save us. Let us learn to imitate Him in mortifying our
    body.
     
    We must hold to these rules, of which we are mentioning only the most
    essential, without human respect, especially in these times of ours.
    For, as Dom Bernard Marechaux used to say:
     
    "The evil of our day is this: that the line of demarcation between
    Christian and non-Christian, between Christian and heretic, between
    Christian and idolater, is gradually fading away. The cancer of
    Liberalism attacks everyone and we must be careful not to be infected
    ourselves. Those who still call themselves Catholic live, too often,
    like those who have renounced this title. Women who go to church
    dress just the way women who do not go to church dress; they read the
    same books and magazines as these women; they go to the same -- often
    immoral -- shows as these women; they no longer pray or do penance.
    It is a confusion of license and worldliness. As a result of these
    customs, the Church is beginning to disappear in the world.
    Christianity is being lost. Only rarely does one find Catholics to
    whom the following words of Saint Paul can apply: "...be blameless
    and sincere children of God, without reproof, in the midst of a
    crooked and perverse generation; among whom you shine as lights in
    the world". (Phil.2:15). The early Christians stood out among the
    pagans like shining torches in the dark, and the example of their
    courage and their virtue attracted the pagans strongly to the Faith.
    This is something which we do not see today, except in rare cases.
    Everything is a mish-mash of unrestraint."
     
    Pope Pius XII said substantially the same thing, in an allocution to
    young Catholic girls during World War II (May 22, 1941):
     
    "...Numbers of believing and pious women...in accepting to follow
    certain bold fashions, break down, by their example, the resistance
    of many other women to such fashions, which may become for them the
    cause of spiritual ruin. As long as these provocative styles remain
    identified with women of doubtful virtue, good women do not dare to
    follow them; but once these styles have been accepted by women of
    good reputation, decent women soon follow their example, and are
    carried along by the tide into possible disaster."
     
    Pope Pius XII indeed called Catholics to a CRUSADE OF PURITY. Good
    example is a great act of charity. It is an apostolate which God
    richly blesses, as we can see, for instance, in the diocese of Campos
    in Brazil, where the priests followed the good example of their
    bishop, Monsignor de Castro Mayer. Traditional priests -- alas still
    few in number -- are eager to have such a Crusade of Purity. In
    France, we can see the good that is being done by the "Mouvement de
    la Jeunesse Catholique de France", and by traditional Catholic
    schools, in producing Catholics who are enthusiastically practicing
    the virtue of Christian modesty (which does not, by the way, prevent
    a woman from being gracious and lovely). In other countries, too,
    this Crusade is producing visible fruits of goodness and holiness.
     
    We must mention here the important role of Christian mothers in
    teaching their children, their daughters especially, and from the
    time that they are very little, a true sense of Christian modesty.
    "Men are lost through women and they are saved through women", a
    preacher said one day. "By their vanity, they will make a man fall;
    by their modesty, they will save him. The world of morality
    oscillates between Eve and Mary. As long as modesty is not practiced,
    the world will not rise from its decadence."
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    Offline Elizabeth

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    Modesty and how to dress
    « Reply #1 on: June 29, 2010, 12:32:32 AM »
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  • Can you imagine what Padre Pio would say about all of the vulgar tattoos?  :facepalm:


    Offline MyrnaM

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    « Reply #2 on: July 04, 2010, 07:37:35 PM »
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  • I'v been trying to get the Mount to have a mother/daughter tea fashion show, where the girls model very modest and classy outfits.  So far they all love the idea but then it seems to die right there on the spot.  

    I just thought it would be fun for the girls to put some modest clothing on and yet be fashionable, we don't have to dress like little house, unless you want to.  

    The mother/daughter tea of course would only be for us women.  No men included.  

    Does anyone think it is a bad idea, I was thinking, well maybe they like the idea but fear the girls might get a taste of being a model and off to Hollywood they go.  

    Offline Raoul76

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    Modesty and how to dress
    « Reply #3 on: July 04, 2010, 09:39:20 PM »
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  • Quote

    I just thought it would be fun for the girls to put some modest clothing on and yet be fashionable


    I think that would be the venial sin of dressing to impress.  The mortal sin is dressing to inflame desire, but if you want to dress to get attention, even from other women, to stand out, it's venial.  Such is my understanding anyway.

    I'm sure there's a way to be modestly fashionable but I think the idea of a fashion show is counter to Catholicism.  Your artsiness is showing, Myrna.
    As I was a new convert when posting here, my posts are often full of error, even unwitting heresy and rash judgment, all of which I renounce, and all my writings are best avoided -- MDLS

    Offline SJB

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    « Reply #4 on: July 04, 2010, 10:30:10 PM »
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  • Quote from: Raoul76
    Quote

    I just thought it would be fun for the girls to put some modest clothing on and yet be fashionable


    I think that would be the venial sin of dressing to impress.  The mortal sin is dressing to inflame desire, but if you want to dress to get attention, even from other women, to stand out, it's venial.  Such is my understanding anyway.

    I'm sure there's a way to be modestly fashionable but I think the idea of a fashion show is counter to Catholicism.  Your artsiness is showing, Myrna.


    How did you come to this understanding?
    It would be comparatively easy for us to be holy if only we could always see the character of our neighbours either in soft shade or with the kindly deceits of moonlight upon them. Of course, we are not to grow blind to evil


    Offline Raoul76

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    « Reply #5 on: July 04, 2010, 10:58:13 PM »
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  • I read somewhere that it was a mortal sin to tempt men, but venial to dress out of vanity, to show off wealth, and so on.  

    I just figured that if the mortal sin is to dress to INFLAME MEN, then it would be venial to dress to make other women jealous or to show off -- such was my deduction.   Of course I realize that just dressing to look nice at Church is not a venial sin, there has to be an element of ostentation to it.

    If I'm wrong, please correct me.  Moral theology isn't my field so much as plots and conspiracies.  If they somehow impinge on moral theology, then I get interested...
    As I was a new convert when posting here, my posts are often full of error, even unwitting heresy and rash judgment, all of which I renounce, and all my writings are best avoided -- MDLS

    Offline Matthew

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    « Reply #6 on: July 04, 2010, 11:54:28 PM »
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  • God's judgments are not man's.

    In one of those "pious young girl" TAN books I read -- a girl who could physically see her guardian angel -- the girl got a very angry scowl from her guardian angel just for looking around at Church. Not for looking at a man, etc. we're talking about "mere" curiosity and lack of mortification of the eyes.

    Apply this to dress, and I could see vanity as being an actual venial sin.

    Keep in mind how few people are sinless enough to go straight to heaven.

    If we want to know what it takes to be perfect, read the lives of the saints. We'd have to be as "extreme" as them to be pure enough to enter heaven directly after death.

    Were any of the saints obsessed with not being "frumpy"? Seems to me the female saints embraced "frumpiness" with both hands, so as to have the least chance of offending God. Just as most saints didn't go after choice foods, but rather went the "old potatoes" or "mix in some bitter herbs" route.

    It's a question of mortification and orienting one's soul toward a main goal (being with God forever). Every choice you make either helps you or hurts you.

    Matthew
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    Offline MyrnaM

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    « Reply #7 on: July 05, 2010, 07:55:43 AM »
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  • My thinking or idea on this was to get the girls thinking about modest fashions.  It seems even Catholic girls desire what they see in magazines, T.V. "so called models", why not instruct them to me models for Christ.

    I was hoping with my idea; not do something like this so they might have an opportunity to primp, but to educated them and get them to think, as a Catholic girl I could and perhaps should stand out, be an example, not just follow the crowd.  

    There are fashions that when put together a young girl could learn to dress according to the culture but modest, and still look very up to date.  

    That was my intention in suggesting this.  


    Offline Dawn

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    « Reply #8 on: July 05, 2010, 08:23:03 AM »
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  • I remember reading a book about Pauline Jaricot and her obession with being very well dressed at Mass and how she overcame it. And, in that book she was reprimanded by a  parent for looking around at other girls dress.
    But, I think what Myrna is trying to say is that girls today have plenty of places to see how to dress like trash. And want the tea to be a celebration of girls and their mothers dressing like ladies. And, I think she means for it to be a place where they can see others dressing like ladies and get moral support for it. If I am off Myrna I am sorry.
    But, in this world today, raising two teenage girls I can see where her idea would give encourgement to these girls.

    Offline MyrnaM

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    « Reply #9 on: July 05, 2010, 10:44:23 AM »
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  • To quote Dawn
    Quote
    girls today have plenty of places to see how to dress like trash. And want the tea to be a celebration of girls and their mothers dressing like ladies. And, I think she means for it to be a place where they can see others dressing like ladies and get moral support for it.


    Exactly!


    I wonder now, looking at what Raoul posted;
    Is wanting to look your best a venial sin, I wonder?  I doubt the saints wore make up and such, but is that vain, to put on a little make up?  I never really thought much about that!

    When you read about the apparitations of Our Lady, I read once where she had roses on her feet and a ring on all her fingers.  Could that have been a false apparition, perhaps.

    Makes me wonder after the resurrection of the body, what will women be dressed like, will we still be women and men or just one sex?  Or no sex in particular.


    Offline clare

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    « Reply #10 on: July 05, 2010, 11:05:29 AM »
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  • Quote
    ...dressing like men, including slacks and tights;
    low necklines; -- are absolutely contrary to the norms of
    Christian modesty.


    Tights?? Men's dress? Contrary to Christian modesty? Uh?


    Offline Dawn

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    « Reply #11 on: July 05, 2010, 11:16:31 AM »
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  • There is something in the book of Blessed Taigi. Her husband wanted her to put on her jewels and fancy gowns he bought when they went out. She did not want to but did not want an argument on her hands. Her advisor told her to were the jewels. But, when Domenico her husband so how unhappy she was dressed like that he told her not to do so any longer. I think that we get confused with looking neat and tidy and then vanity.

    Offline JoanScholastica

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    « Reply #12 on: July 22, 2010, 06:32:48 PM »
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  • Quote from: clare
    Quote
    ...dressing like men, including slacks and tights;
    low necklines; -- are absolutely contrary to the norms of
    Christian modesty.


    Tights?? Men's dress? Contrary to Christian modesty? Uh?


    Yes, that's true. I read it from the Modesty Crusade.

    Offline MrsZ

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    « Reply #13 on: July 25, 2010, 03:44:11 PM »
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  • Except for Bl. Maria Taigi I can't think of any other saints who were married and subsequently dressed plainly and without adornment of any kind.

    I've read about other saints that began doing so when their husband's died and they sold their jewels and clothing and often entered into convents.

    I imagine there were plenty who were poor and so it wasn't a choice really to dress in clothes that were more colorful or made out of finer material.  

    St. Therese's mother made lace and is pictured wearing nice clothes, with her hair fixed and I believe she and her daughter's all had their ear's pierced.  Her husband was a jeweler wasn't he?  Aren't the Martin's close to being canonized?

    Weren't most of the saints on record not married and not living "in the world" ?

    I believe based on what I've read and learned that we have to live according to our state in life.  Some saints in the early years of the Church were royalty.  They had to dress according to that particular state .. finery, jewels... However, once the King or Queen died, many saints ultimately gave it all up and led a life of poverty and deprivation.  

    If we're married and have to earn our livings "in the world" we have the tough task of moderating our dress to reflect those states without compromising modesty whether in the form of being properly covered, or by not dress ostentatiously to attract attention or jealousy.


     


    Offline ServusSpiritusSancti

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    Modesty and how to dress
    « Reply #14 on: July 25, 2010, 07:13:36 PM »
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  • I get so tired of seeing women dress so trashy. I hate most of the new fashions, if not all of them.

     

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