In regards to Modesty in Church... a suggestion from me. (not a modesty thread)

Hi all.

I’ve read a couple threads since joining where members will begin posts to complain about what some other people wear to mass. It inevitably turns into them talking about what others should and should not wear to church, what is and is not modest, etc.

This is what I think:

Truth is, there will always be people who dress in a way that we don’t like. We cant change what other people choose to wear. We have no control over what other people choose to wear. But we do have control over ourselves. What we can change is how we react to it. So next time we see someone dressed in something we don’t like for whatever reason, instead of focusing on the fact that they are wearing what they are wearing, we can look away. And we can make it a point to pay special attention to the priest and to Jesus who is present in body, blood, and spirit.

Also, just as there will always be people who dress in a way we don’t like, there will always be people who don’t like the way we dress. We cannot possibly please everyone in the same way that everyone cannot possibly please us. So let’s let go and stop caring so much what shirt the lady/man 3 rows down has on. It is a much better option than dwelling on it and complaining about it.

That is all. I hope you all like my suggestion and will consider putting it to good use. :slight_smile:

(PS - please keep the modesty debates far, far away. I don’t need nor care to know what you think is modest in your opinion.)

Completely agree. This forum sometimes seemed to be filled with people who spend Mass critiquing everyone else’s dress and conduct and in trying to catch the priest in some alleged error. .These folks also call in to Catholic Answers Live trying to catch the priest in a mistake. Surely, we all have enough to do paying attention to what we do ourselves.

Oh goody, a meta-modesty thread!



  • 4!

We will have our hands full working off our own Purgatory! We have no hands free or discretionary time to police the modesty/formality/lack of either by others.


Seriously? :rolleyes:

I’ve brought up the point of paying attention in Mass as well.

Well…I’d say that if the men wore suits and all the ladies wore dresses of an appropriate length, most people may catch on pretty quick.

There’s nothing quite like being at an event in shorts and T-shirt surrounded by folks in nice attire…:blush::o


Most of the time, I’d be with you 100%. There was a thread on here awhile ago about whether or not jeans are acceptable attire for Mass, and it made me depressed and angry. But then I thought about it, and made some room in my budget, and bought some nicer pants and some nicer shirts. Because other people matter.

Some people (usually us men, but not always) struggle with lust and desire on a regular basis, and to extreme degrees. As a woman, you might find it easy to ‘ignore’ the shirt that the lady 3 rows down is wearing (or not wearing), but not everyone has the equal capability to simply redirect their own attention ‘to the priest’ so easily. Some young ladies (I can’t believe I’m saying this) might actually need to be taught that there are differences between men and women, and that what is pretty and feminine in the eyes of a young woman might be over-the-top seductive in the eyes of a young man (or not so young). Although the difference is indeed subjective, I think you would probably agree that A) there is a difference between dressing attractively and dressing provocatively, and that B) the effect we have on other people matters, and that C) not everyone understands the impact their personal attire can have on an entire group of people (other times, I think some people dress provocatively precisely because they are aware…)

I’m a liberal person. I would never, ever tell a woman that she looked trampy at Mass. But Mass shouldn’t be a place where our carnal desires are awakened. I think there has to be a balance, between reasonable expectation (Don’t Wear X) and reasonable accommodation (You wore it anyway, so now I have to ignore you). I’ll try and look the other way when necessary, but please don’t wear something that makes it difficult to focus on the appropriate thing when I am trying to encounter Jesus at church–is that an unreasonable general principle?

I’m too involved in the Holy Sacrefice of the Mass to notice or even care what people are wearing.

Maybe people can’t afford nice suits and dresses. My parish is very poor. We are lucky people even show up at all, young people especially.

I find this comment kinda ironic. If people were really paying attention in Mass, they wouldn’t notice what other people were saying/wearing/doing.

Thank you for the post. :slight_smile:

The point is though, that we can’t change what the lady at mass is wearing. All we can do is do us, if that makes sense.

Of course, if a lady here on caf started a thread asking men what they would be comfortable with her wearing, you should certainly weigh in. But most of the time, people are going to wear what they want, and our only duty is to be good about it. Complaining about it, or starting threads about it won’t change the situation at all… so my suggestion was for people to stop doing it and just focus on themselves.

Saying that our job at mass is to ignore our distractions does not mean other people shouldn’t be considerate. The two are not incompatible.

You say you almost always agree with the sentiment that the job of the person being distracted is to avert their eyes and double down their focus on the Mass itself instead. So under what circumstances is this no longer what the person being distracted ought to do? When am I allowed to just give in to the temptation to be distracted (and/or lust) because of the way other people are dressed?

If it’s that much of a distraction to you then the simplest solution is to make everybody wear the same thing, both men and women. A simple robe perhaps, like the monks.

I doubt that will solve anything though. People will find something to distract them and complain about. People always do.

I thought our job at Mass is to worship the Lord, nothing more, nothing less.

I find American Catholics to be way too judgmental of others, saying that other people should change or say or do something different because of the effect it has on them. Perhaps that is the reason that the Church is having such a hard time attracting people to the Faith in America, especially young people.

No, the simplest solution is not to control what everyone else does, that is an extremely complex attempt at a solution. The simple solution is to always take responsibility for yourself and learn how to overcome/avoid such distractions on your own. :shrug:

Yes. Thank you. That was my point.

You say you almost always agree with the sentiment that the job of the person being distracted is to avert their eyes and double down their focus on the Mass itself instead. So under what circumstances is this no longer what the person being distracted ought to do? When am I allowed to just give in to the temptation to be distracted (and/or lust) because of the way other people are dressed?

Why did Paul encourage woman to be modest, if men should just always ignore immodesty? Because human beings are hardwired to to pick up on sexual cues, whatever those cues might be in their culture or circumstance. It is pragmatic to encourage modesty in women, because men can be simple idiots.

Of course men should ALWAYS be gentlemanly and chaste, and women should ALWAYS be modest–but lets talk about reality, and not just about ideals. Church is a place where sinners go, so it makes sense to encourage saintly behavior precisely when we are at church–right? To teach sinners how to become more saintly?

Hmm, Im not exactly sure what you’re trying to say or what type of solution you are looking for… :frowning:

With the exception of the women living in the middle east, people are going to wear what they want. There’s nothing we can do to change it. We have control over our actions alone, no one else’s. So I don’t see what the point is in dwelling over what we wish others would wear. We should be using that energy to better ourselves, if we’re having issues.

This is why this kind of discussion is always so frustrating. :banghead:
It always seems to turn into people banging heads because they keep repeating the point they want to emphasize without paying attention to what was actually said.

Ok, lets start over. You said you do not entirely agree with the OP. Which part of the OP do you disagree with?

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