Does the Church regulate what Clothing/Make-Up/etc one may have in Mass?

Hello all. I have seen many types of “Appearances” in the Masses of my parish. I have seen Traditional African Clothing, Traditional Indian Clothing, “short-shorts” and shorts, I believe a Mohawk and some gothic clothing, sweaters and hoodies, and a lot of casuals. Of course, there are people who dress rather formally in my parish during mass, but I am just sharing with you some of the examples I have seen. I, myself, wear somewhat casual collar shirts, khaki pants, a digital watch, my most formal looking rubber shoes, and a fedora (I do not wear it during mass of course). I also shave in the morning before I go to mass and clean my glasses.

My question to you is this: Does the Church regulate what one may look like during Mass? Would it be sinful for me not to wear my very best clothing to Mass? If I come to mass with dirty glasses or an unclean, unshaven face, then would I have sinned? I thank you all in advance for your answers.

Oh goody, a modesty thread!

Short answer, no she does not regulate this at all, other than appealing to our own well-formed consciences for what is modest and acceptable in public.

The pastor of the parish may rightly regulate this in his authority. My pastor publishes a perennial notice at the beginning of summer about clothing that is not acceptable in the church building. Even people visiting the parish office are held to these modesty standards. If your pastor has guidelines then you are expected to abide by them unless there is a serious reason not to.

No. This is left wholly to the discretion of parishioners, who are expected to exercise common sense.

As you username implies that you suffer from scrupulosity, I encourage you to bring any questions of sin to a priest or counselor for guidance.

The Church not regulate what you must wear. Common sense and love of the Lord tells us we should present ourselves in clean, sensible, not too revealing clothing or scandalous, or clothing with inappropriate slogans on them. You’re showing up at God’s house after all. :slight_smile:
Anyone who tries to tell you that one HAS to dress a certain way, for ex: women in dresses, head coverings for women, suits for men, etc. is simply present their own personal preferences.
Think about it. Christ said everyone is welcome at the table. That means your traditional cultural clothing is permitted. That means the homeless guy who doesn’t have a suit is permitted. That means a child who comes in rather casual cords and a tee shirt is permitted.
Common sense. That’s all anyone really needs. That, and a profound respect for Christ in the Eucharist.

No. The Church doesn’t do that because she’s a mother, not a dictator. She expects us to use common sense, but she also knows everybody is in a different situation. What if you came straight from taking care of a sick relative and didn’t have time to clean up and be presentable? It’s better to be there looking sloppy than not at all.

What matters is what’s in your heart. If you are there out of genuine love for God, that will count more than any suit or fancy neck tie.

The traditional african clothing is seen as formal. My friend only “breaks out” the traditional wear for formal occasions and church. So the person who wears it to mass is not trying to be disrespectful.:smiley:

Good answer! I think people should “dress up” if possible. But if a homeless person comes in dressed in rags, would Jesus want him turned away???

You mean Notre Dame / NFL / Nascar attire is not actually required? :wink:

THREAD CLOSED. Question answered.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit