Immodest Dress

Just this week my pastor sent all the congregation a little booklet on Immodest dress. The name of the book is Immodest Dress, by Louise Martin.

He said “As your Pastor and for the love I have for God and for your souls, I need to address this subject more than ever before, because as Catholics we have been influenced by the secular fashion of the world”. He went on to say that Our Blessed Mother Mary should be our model and example.

I belong to a very traditional parish that offers both the OF and EF Mass. The Pastor is a very humble man and although strict about Catholic teaching is a most loving person.

He had mentioned the problem of immodesty a few weeks ago, but I guess his words didn’t get through to some of the parishioners.

Has any of your priests ever mentioned dressing appropriately when in a church or attending Mass?

I feel very lucky that our Pastor loves us so much that he would go to all the trouble and cost to inform us how we should present ourselves to our Blessed Savior. Of course he was not speaking about expensive clothes, just be sure to wear clothing that is not provacative in the presence of God.

Yours in the Hearts of Jesus and Mary


I wish my parish Priest would be more like yours in this regard. Don’t get me wrong, I love our Priest but I do wish this and some other “touchy” issues would be addressed.

Yes, our priest just recently posted a note in our bulletin about dressing for church. And as usual, I heard a lot of griping about how God is happy that we just show up to Mass and He doesn’t care what we wear. For myself, I’m glad our pastor addresses this issue (more than once!) because it is really ridiculous what some people (okay, women) wear to Mass. Plunging necklines, short, short skirts, spaghetti straps, practically see-through blouses, 4 inch heels… I’m a woman, and I am sometimes astonished at some of the outfits I see women wear to church. Modesty doesn’t mean dowdy. It’s quite possible to dress age-appropriately, and to dress with some fashion sense and flair, and all the world does not have to see everything you’ve got. You don’t have to wear the most expensive clothes in the world. You don’t have to dress to the nines. But a nice dress or a nice pair of slacks and a blouse…come on, is it asking too much? Really?! And for the guys, can you put on a nice pair of slacks that aren’t jeans and a shirt that’s not a T-shirt? For just an hour? It always amazes me that people get so offended and bent out of shape when you suggest they dress nicely for one hour out of the week. As I say to my daughter when she gives me the teenage rolling eyes about her outfit for Mass, “Jesus was up on that cross for how long? And you can’t wear a nice dress for an hour? If it’s such a hardship, offer it up to the Lord - and go change your clothes, and no griping!” :slight_smile:

I wish the pastor in my church would do the same as well. Though I have heard a priest in another region did and the congregation felt offended. :shrug: Don’t know why they would. I think it is good that a priest would show that much concern for the congregation under his charge. Many in my parish would certainly benefit from such advice, especially the young people who come to mass in tight jeans. :thumbsup: for your parish priest.

This can go way overboard.

Mary dressed like a middle eastern woman of her time. If we were to dress as middle eastern women of the first century, we would be immodest because that dress would attract undue attention.

Not all shorts are immodest in every circumstance.

Mary would dress in a proper way where she was.

Yes, we’ve had priests at different parishes through the years talk about appropriate attire for mass. They even would sometimes put it in the bulletin. Usually something is placed in the bulletin at the start of the summer. I’m not sure if it always gets through, though. In our parish defense, many of the people who attend mass there are visitors/tourists, so they might come for one or two weekends and you don’t see them again. Often times, when there are marathons, families and individuals will attend mass either before or after they have completed the marathon, so it is not uncommon to see people in their running/walking attire or all wet and sweaty from finishing it up. (Our parish is right along every marathon and parade route and it’s the cathedral for our diocese, so I think it’s something people who run by, will immediately see and then decide to attend mass again or plan to go to mass there since it is right there.) The regulars - parishioners, college students, etc. - mostly will dress fairly appropriately for mass. It’s more of a conservative parish.

What a coincidence. Several weeks ago, while waiting outside church for the previous mass to end, I recall hearing the priest briefly mention something about appropriate attire for attending mass.

I often attend the TLM at this parish and have never noticed anything particularly distracting or inappropriate. I have seen nuns in habits and seminarians in cassocks before. Perhaps I’m just so concerned about getting a seat in the standing-room-only 10:30 EF mass that I’m oblivious to those around me.

Whatever the case, this time I paid a bit more attention as the dismissed congregation filed past. Although I noted nothing truly astonishing by prevailing OF standards, Father did have a valid point. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is not a push-the-limits fashion show. Check the “runway strut” at the door. There is a certain level of modesty and reverence that should be observed out of respect for God as well as others in attendance. When a pastor observes his congregation slipping in this regard, it is his DUTY to get them squared away.

Bernadette, you are indeed fortunate to have Fr.LM as your pastor. He takes his job seriously. His devotion to the BVM is second to none. He offers my nearest weekly EF mass. Thank God for his service. Small world.

Our priest mentioned it a month or so ago. The weather here was improving (it didn’t last long :rolleyes:) and he said that although he appreciated it would be getting warmer that the church was not the place for strappy tops, short skirts, shorts, swim wear and slobby beach clothes. From what I’ve seen people have listened which is fantastic.

It was so heartwarming to read this! Modesty is very important, inside and out, and it is good and necessary to keep the subject of modesty on the forefront. Tops for the past decade or so have become so low cut, I’m afraid it’s become the norm (and it really shouldn’t be). What if people just don’t think anything of it? And I love, love, love what your priest said about Our Blessed Mother Mary being our model and example. And she’s so beautiful, and such a lady, a heavenly woman (all understatements, of course!), why not have her as a model. I hope the book inspires. Actually, I’m inspired to see if I can find the book online…

Has any of your priests ever mentioned dressing appropriately when in a church or attending Mass?

We have a pretty conservative Parish, but our Pastor has mentioned it before. He said dress like you are going on a job interview, not the ball game.

Emphasis added. I think this is exactly what the priest means though I do not know the priest. I know that as a Catholic we must understand context and listen in love and trust. And context would suggest Mary would be appropriately dressed to be modest in modern times.

As an aside, I heard on the radio a question about long hair at Church. The answer I remember getting was that Jesus has long hair by modern standards, but not by Jewish standards at the time. I think the same applies to modest dress now.

There was a period when I wore sporting gear at church. I know that in certain circumstances this is okay, but for me I could have played sports an hour earlier and change appropriately for Mass. I did not think of it at the time, but then when I got home I realized not only I was a sweaty, I was wearing something only appropriate to the courts. I did not show Christ the respect I need to give him, especially since it is a Mass an not a meeting or social setting.

My wife and I went to mass dressed what I would consider immodestly once.

She had just been released from the ER at our local hospital (she had been bitten by an insect the day before and woken up with an eye that was swollen shut from her allergic reaction) and we were both wearing old t-shirts and shorts that we normally only wore gardening, because they were the first things we found at hand in our rush to get out the door and to the hospital.

As we left the hospital, she realized that the time was just before mass. I suggested that we shouldn’t go - I had just read a message about “proper dress” (similar to the sentiment expressed here) on the parish web site from one of the priests, so I felt especially unwelcome there in the clothes I was wearing. Still, my wife thought it was important to go to mass and we didn’t have time to go home and change. So we went. We got stared at and frowned at a bit, but we stayed anyhow. It was the second-most unpleasant mass I’ve ever attended.

Now… I know that “immodest” dressing isn’t always for reasons like this, but I think the story is somewhat relevant.

I once saw a Catholic church that had a dress code which said women had to wear long sleeves and a long skirt, and men a jacket and tie. (Presumably pants too.)

To be honest, I found it a bit offensive, especially the bit about the men. Not because I don’t think people should normally present their best face for church, but because for many that might not actually include a jacket and tie.

Such specific direction as to what to wear reminds me of the Protestant churches I attended before my conversion. It was all about a dress code usually led by the pastor’s wife as to what one could and could not wear to be appropriate. It could really get out of hand to include so and so is immodest because she wears earrings when a proper lady only wears a pin on her skirt suit to church. People were quite often made to feel bad for not having the exact “uniform” deemed appropriate by whomever. I surely hope that as Catholics that we can dress respectfully without going down that road.

Hi Mick,

You don’t perhaps attend San Secondo D’Asti do you? If you do maybe we can meet some Sunday. I attend the 9:00 AM Mass. I just love the parish. If you want you can PM me. Father’s last name does start with an M. He is a dear dear man.

God Bless


What a refreshing change - Bernadette, your pastor is to be prayed for. Whether we know him or not - everyone should offer a prayer for this priest who, in modern times, is unafraid to advise his parishioners correctly. I think if all pastors / priests were more verbal from the pulpit, there could be some positive change. While putting a dress code notice in a bulletin isn’t a bad idea, I think after awhile it becomes overlooked - particularly if it’s a regular announcement. The priests must emphasize this ***strongly, vocally ***- from the pulpits. What’s really sad is that years ago - if a priest offered such advice, people would show evidence that they’d listened. Now, people just refuse to change.

There are rules for everything - sad that when it comes to Church or our Religion, people ignore or bend the rules to their liking. God help us all.

I was a member of a parish several years ago that had a sign above the entry door “Thank you for dressing appropriately for Mass.” It was a back-door way of getting the message out. :thumbsup:to your priest.

Our pastor has mentioned a few times how we should dress for mass. I only go to this one church, so I can’t speak for what goes on in others. But the things I see sometimes horrify and offend me. The low-cut tops, the low-rise jeans, tube tops and spaghetti-strap tops, etc. There is one lady who comes to daily mass wearing really short shorts and tank tops with high heel flip flops. I once saw another lady walking in to the church (with her husband behind her) in low jeans and a tank top with her THONG underwear showing. Okay, maybe she didn’t realize it was showing, but surely the husband had to. I could not believe that someone would offend the Lord by dressing that way. Hats off to all the priests who stand up and say what we need to hear, even if we don’t WANT to hear it! :rolleyes:

Many prayers for your priest and all others who aren’t afraid to “rock the boat” and who are strong enough to express their concern in a loving way towards some of today’s fashions.

I’ve heard a few times from the ambo about dressing appropiately for Mass (well, actually dressing modestly all of the times, but especially for Mass) and have had to fight the urge to applaud each time. The descriptions that the other posters to this thread of attire is identical to the ones I could supply from my geographical parish and another OF Mass I attend occasionally. I do feel a bit out of place wearing my to-the-knee or longer skirt and long sleeve shirt but I offer that uneasiness up and hope that I’m giving a good example. At the EF and Divine Liturgy I attend, I don’t have to worry about getting an eye-full of skin and “tramp stamps”, and thankfully, I don’t stand out.

As far as those who can’t afford to wear “fancy” clothes to Church… the people I know who indeed can’t afford “special” clothes to wear to Mass make sure their jeans and plain t-shirts are always clean and wrinkle free and, within their means, ensure that the clothes they do have are as nice as they can make them. With that, I am reminded of the passage in the Gospel of the poor woman who gave all that she had, though to the rest of the world, was not much, to God.

Our parish priest said the same thing about wearing shorts and revealing tops… I mentioned this to my mother in law a hardcore protestant, and she told me, God does not care what I wear when I worship, angrily! I am a believer that in the house of God you should dress appropriately. I am not sure, but it may have something to do with them not believing in the real presence. I am sure if she knew the body of Christ was actually in front of her… her feelings may change! I have prayed for my in-laws to see the light and actually come to one mass. They almost did, but backed out at the last min!!

Dress for Success!! HAHA

Revert TSIEG

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