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Modesty: Does It Include Bare Shoulders In Church?

Bare shoulders in Church?  

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jeffpugh
[quote name='photosynthesis' post='1378334' date='Sep 4 2007, 11:50 PM']I don't think it's appropriate for women to wear strapless tops in Church, even those that don't reveal any cleavage. It's simply too much skin. One might ask, "Why not? It's just a woman's shoulders. What's so sexy about that?" Miniskirts only show a woman's thighs, and some women choose to wear low-rise pants and t-shirts that show midriff. While those aren't necessarily sexual parts of a woman's body, they should not be put on display.

Modesty encompasses more than just covering up sexual organs. It's about not drawing attention to yourself. The most beautiful, sacred things in life are hidden. I'll use the Eucharist as an example, for it is the most beautiful reality man has ever encountered. Jesus Christ, our Most High Lord and King, hides under the appearance of bread and wine. Instead of beholding Him in all of His splendor, He wants us to see Him, hidden in the Eucharist, with the eyes of faith. The devout soul gazes upon the Eucharist and says, "Hidden God, devoutly I adore Thee, truly present underneath these veils: all my heart subdues itself before Thee, since it all before Thee faints and fails!"

Our culture is very permissive when it comes to talking about sex, to the point where most peoples' conversation about sex is completely inappropriate. The sexual union is so sacred that man should not speak about it. It's a private encounter between a man, a woman, and the Holy Trinity and when someone reveals intimate details, it cheapens the act. This isn't repression, it's reverence.

In a similar way, a woman's body is sacred because God has endowed her with the ability to bear children. The experience of pregnancy is an awe-inspiring encounter with God the Father as he 'knits' a baby in its mothers womb. This isn't to discount the experiences of fathers, but childbearing unites a woman to God in a most intimate way. With this special grace comes the duty of protecting it, and that is why it is especially important for women to dress modestly for her own sake and for the good of Holy Mother Church. A woman's body is like a rare flower that only grows at the top of a very tall mountain. Only the man who is brave enough to scale its height is worthy. If you owned the most expensive house on the face of the earth, would you go out and leave the door unlocked? If you inherited the most expensive diamond in the world, would you show it to everyone you meet? Someone is bound to take advantage of you. Why would wearing immodest clothing be any different?

Clothes are an extension of the human person. What you wear expresses who you are. Am immodest outfit sends the message, "I want everyone to pay attention to how attractive I am. Hey you! Behold me!" But when a woman dresses modestly she says "My body is a temple of the Holy Spirit. It is too beautiful to be kept on display, so I guard it like a precious treasure."

I don't think miniskirts, strapless tops, or outfits that reveal midriff are appropriate for Church, or anywhere else. In the eyes of God, the body is holy, but it must be protected from the eyes of the world, lest the sacred be turned into something profane.[/quote]
Wow, that's a beautiful post. Thanks for that!

[quote name='XIX' post='1378431' date='Sep 5 2007, 12:56 AM'][img]http://funnyjoke.files.wordpress.com/2007/01/image005.jpg[/img]
[img]http://funnyjoke.files.wordpress.com/2007/01/image004.jpg[/img][/quote]
The first one is not spaghetti, it's noodles.... :unsure:

[quote name='Terra Firma' post='1378695' date='Sep 5 2007, 03:14 PM']I'm not arguing that modest dressing doesn't make a difference (although it would be interesting to see what [i]kind[/i] of difference these guys think it makes). The question is where to draw the line, and who should bear the responsibility. When it's 95 degrees outside on a Sunday, and the air conditioning in my car is not working, I don't feel bad at all about going to church in a sleeveless dress. While I'm all about helping a brother out, guys [i]must[/i] bear some of the responsibility of restraining themselves from succumbing to the hyper-sexualization of the female form that is rampant in our culture.

It's necessary on BOTH sides to see one another and ourselves rightly.[/quote]
Amen.

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adt6247
[quote name='Terra Firma' post='1378727' date='Sep 5 2007, 05:15 PM']I agree ... it's just that so often discussions of this sort focus wholly on what a woman is or is not wearing, and I think that's lopsided. I apologize if I came out too strongly ... :blush:[/quote]
No apology necessary; I merely wished to clarify.

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Lena
I've seen many sleeveless dresses that look fine, and they are modest. I wouldn't go for spaghetti straps though or strapless shirts. Edited by Lena

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friendofJPII
Strapless is definately not appropriate for Church, I don't care what the occasion.

Now, in the case of sleeveless it depends on how wide the straps are, how low cut the neckline is, and weather or not the bra is visable through the arm holes. I am leaning towards "no" on the Church question, unless the woman wears a shawl or sweater, but I think sleeveless tops can be modest at other venues, if the above guidelines are met. Edited by friendofJPII

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kafka
[quote name='friendofJPII' post='1378798' date='Sep 5 2007, 06:01 PM']Strapless is definately not appropriate for Church, I don't care what the occasion.

Now, in the case of sleeveless it depends on how wide the straps are, how low cut the neckline is, and weather or not the bra is visable through the arm holes. I am leaning towards "no" on the Church question, unless the woman wears a shawl or sweater, but I think sleeveless tops can be modest at other venues, if the above guidelines are met.[/quote]

well said

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kateri05
anyways!

some of those survey questions are nutz!

[quote]A purse with the strap diagonally across the chest draws too much attention to the bust.[/quote]

47.5% said agree or strongly agree! its a purse strap people, come on! i'm sorry, i'm all for modesty, but i just think that is ridiculous :rolleyes:

and actually, i'm thinking more of diaper bags and messenger bags.

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Lil Red
[quote name='kateri05' post='1378847' date='Sep 5 2007, 05:18 PM']anyways!

some of those survey questions are nutz!
47.5% said agree or strongly agree! its a purse strap people, come on! i'm sorry, i'm all for modesty, but i just think that is ridiculous :rolleyes:

and actually, i'm thinking more of diaper bags and messenger bags.[/quote]
but i think the results are very telling - that more affects men/teenagers than we women think sometimes

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kateri05
true. and i don't deny that, and thus care should be taken in dress to help men to keep custody of the eyes.


but in many of those cases, its still THEIR eyes, and their responsibility and culpability needs to come into play. for example, they pretty much said that all swimsuits, unless you're wearing a tshirt or swimshirt and shorts, are immodest. i'm sorry, but i think its unreasonable to expect women to swim in loose fitting sacks. bikinis, thongs and vnecks are one completely inappropriate thing, but tankinis and one pieces are another.

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Lil Red
[quote name='kateri05' post='1378863' date='Sep 5 2007, 05:34 PM']true. and i don't deny that, and thus care should be taken in dress to help men to keep custody of the eyes.
but in many of those cases, its still THEIR eyes, and their responsibility and culpability needs to come into play. for example, they pretty much said that all swimsuits, unless you're wearing a tshirt or swimshirt and shorts, are immodest. i'm sorry, but i think its unreasonable to expect women to swim in loose fitting sacks. bikinis, thongs and vnecks are one completely inappropriate thing, but tankinis and one pieces are another.[/quote]
:yes:

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hoosieranna
Many of them also agreed that if a girl's chest is moving when she exercises it's also a stumbling block. I do the very best I can, but I'm not small. The rest is up the guy.

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kateri05
that's right. no running sports. you skank. :mellow:



anyways, it wasn't news to me that guys are affected more by this stuff, because my husband and i have talked a lot about this stuff and since he once struggled with lust issues, i think he's a pretty good standard to go to when i ask if something i'm wearing is appropriate. and i think he's said, uh-uh, too short/low cut twice in our almost 3 year marriage. those clothes have since gone to goodwill. :) Edited by kateri05

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MissScripture
[quote name='kateri05' post='1378878' date='Sep 5 2007, 07:45 PM']that's right. no running sports. you skank. :mellow:[/quote]
:lol_roll: :lol_pound:

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kafka
My friend wrote this:

Proper Clothing for Catholic Women

"A woman shall not wear anything that pertains to a man, nor shall a man put on a woman's garment; for whoever does these things is an abomination to the LORD your God." (Deut 22:5).

"Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfil them. For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Whever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven." (Mt 5:17-19).

Saint Padre Pio use to refuse to hear the confession of women who were wearing pants or an immodest dress.

Women should not dress or act like men, for this is an abomination in God's eyes. God created the human race with two genders, intending each to have his and her proper place in Creation. Men and women are not meant to behave or dress the same manner. Part of the beauty of the human race is found in the differences between men and women.

We each live within a larger society. We are each influenced by the culture around us. Yet society and culture often teach us false things, which lead us away from God. Most women (at least in Western society and culture) dress and act very much like men. They seek the same roles in society, the family, and the Church. They are following a popular teaching of our culture today, that women and men are meant to have the same roles, and especially that women are meant to take up roles formerly held only or mainly by men. They are displaying their adherence to this teaching by dressing like men. This teaching of our culture is contrary to the teaching of Christ.

God wants men and women to act and dress according to their gender and the place God has given each one in Creation. Clothing and hairstyles are expressions of one's thoughts, behavior, and attitude. Women are not mean to behave like men, nor to have the same roles as men, therefore they should not dress or groom themselves like men. And vise versa.

Women should wear skirts and dresses; they should not generally wear pants (although there may be some exception for certain sports, certain types of work, etc). Women should have longer hair than men; a woman's hair style should be feminine (not masculine and not androgenous). Women should dress and groom themselves in a feminine manner, to show that they accept the place God has given women in Creation, in society, in the family, and in the Church.

Modesty is a separate issue. A woman wearing modest pants still offends God, not by lack of modesty, but by dressing like a man. A woman wearing an immodest skirt or dress offends God less than a woman wearing a modest pair of pants. The offense of a woman wearing pants is an offense against the very order which God built into Creation and humanity. The offense of a woman wearing men's clothing is called an abomination by Sacred Scripture. When a woman dresses and acts like a man, it is an offense against the very order which God built into Creation and human nature. God is offended, even more so, when women dress and act like men in churches and during holy Mass.

By comparison, when a woman wears a short skirt, or a tight dress, her offense is only a matter of degree (the same skirt, if lengthened, might be considered modest). Such an offense is not intrinsically disordered -- it does not contradict or rebel against the fundamental order which God gave to Creation and humanity.

But most women, and even most men, do not accept this teaching. They accept the teachings of their culture and ignore the teachings of Sacred Scripture. When the Church teaches one thing and their culture teaches another, they follow their culture instead of Christ.


12 Point Summary:

First, male and female clothing was distinct during biblical times. The passage from Deuteronomy saying that men should not dress like women and women should not dress like men must have made sense to the Israelites. They lived the Scriptures before they wrote them down.


Second, though men wore robes, women's dresses were distinctly different.


Third, during New Testament times, Roman soldiers did wear trousers, so pants were known and were worn only by men.


Fourth, for a very long time in the Church, men wore pants and women did not. This had become established within Christian culture as one of the main differences between men's and women's clothing. Only very recently has this difference been obscured.


Fifth, Padre Pio would not even hear the confession of women who wore pants.


Sixth, the passage from Deuteronomy specifically forbids unisex clothing. Even if some persons or many persons in ancient times dressed the same, Scripture is still true and must still be obeyed.


Seventh, when the Virgin Mary appears in apparitions, she is always wearing a dress, never pants. All of the images and statues of her throughout the history of the Church present her wearing a dress, never pants.


Eighth, when visiting the Pope or the Vatican, women are not permitted to wear pants. And they must wear a headcovering. When George Bush and his wife Laura visited the Pope recently, she wore a dress and a headcovering.


Ninth, some Protestant groups still retain this insight, based on Scripture, that women should dress in a feminine manner, should not wear pants, and should wear a headcovering.


Tenth, clothing is an expression of behavior and role. Even in our sinful society, clothing is still associated with roles, for example: police officers, judges, nurses, priests, nuns, and others wear particular clothing appropriate to and indicative of their roles. And one's clothing is also an indicator of behavior and attitude. For example, nuns who are obedient to the Church like to wear the habit, but those who are disobedient hate to wear it.


Eleventh, men and women are meant to have different roles in the Church, the family, and society. Men and women are meant to have different behaviors. Clothing is an indicator and expression of that important difference. So, the more important thing is the correct roles and behaviors for men and women. That is the main point of that passage from Scripture.


Twelfth, when a woman gives up wearing pants and strives to dress in a manner pleasing to Christ and Mary, even though the culture around her tells her otherwise, she will be blessed by God and her prayers will be answered.

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