Is this letter by Cardinal Siri on dress legit?


I have run into links on many traditional blogs to this letter (link below) but it seems to be an endless circle of links to other traditional blogs and even some sspx blogs in which it circulates but I can’t find mention of it anywhere official or on non-traditional Catholic but faithful none-the-less sites?

Because of that, I’m beginning to wonder if the letter was really written by the Cardinal.

Here’s a link to one of the sites that is featuring the letter.


Even if he wrote it, it’s opinion of one man over 50years ago. There is no scientific backing for those claims.

If you don’t want to wear jeans or pants, don’t. But don’t look to that kind of writing to justify women should only wear dresses

And he certainly did not write that book,


Yes, I know that. My question was whether the letter was legit not that if it was that it would be the law.

I haven’t worn a dress in ten years and usually wear jeans or slacks to Mass so I’m not trying to justify anything.


Is the book it’s quoted from legit

The blog author wrote the book. What are her sources. She claims the letter as a quote in her book. She must have it correctly recorded in the bibliography


The books kind of lost me because she has appropriated the Virgin Mary on its cover. I am not ok with that.


Styles change. A man in a dress is a transvestite, or a Scotsman. Nothing that old should be of concern in a matter of dress, much less universal.


Anyways… does the author mean clothes bought from men’s departments worn by women or clothes that are generally considered masculine such as jeans (but worn in a size and shape most men could never wear). So if a pair of jeans is ripped and has a rose sewn on them - is this a men’s cloth or a woman’s?


Well, everything I’ve seen indicates he did really write it.

That said, should we accept everything said in it?

Like everything else we need to think it through.

First he states that mens trousers cling to women more than skirts would (he acknowledges skirts and dresses can also cling but believes mens trousers do so more). I would argue #1 that mens trousers actually sag on women and often HIDE a great deal. I should know. For some 3-4 years I only wore mens clothes because they hid my body and I was ashamed of my body in my teen years. Womens trousers tend to hug the curves much more.

Second he states that women who wear pants are rejecting their femininity. In which culture? Certainly not in our current culture where womens trousers are a thing.

Third he states women who wear trousers are diminished in the eyes of their children. Having been raised with a mother who wore trousers I must be the exception because I didn’t experience this.

I think he was well intentioned but wrong on many points. I do think he was trying to address a deeper problem but got caught up on the incidentals.


That’s a good question. I’m not sure how to find out though. I didn’t really want to buy that book. The link I gave was just one of many on various traditional sites of the letter.

I suppose I could email the author and ask her.

Thank you.


The Cardinal Siri letter is included in a Colleen Hammond book published by TAN Books.

TAN Books is a reputable Catholic publisher, and I doubt they would publish a letter under a Cardinal’s name without verifying that said Cardinal wrote it.

Having said that, this is one opinion by one Cardinal and it’s old as the hills. Cardinals are not infallible, and he wouldn’t be the first guy from his era to insist that women should be in skirts. That doesn’t mean we’re all compelled to agree with him, he has died, and the world has moved on, to the point where I now see men in women’s clothing sometimes at Mass.


Thank you. That answers my question as to it’s legitimacy.


Do mini skirts countas okay clothes? How about LBD little black dress? If it is long enough to cover…Plato’s golden triangle?


I just read the letter and saw no mention of mini skirts or little black dresses. He was addressing women wearing mens trousers specifically?

Or did I miss something?


I would still be asking for a bonefide link to the original letter. Anyone in a non peer reviewed setting, can publish without providing a bibliography. An appendix is not a bibliography. I would keep digging.

Where did that author reference the letter, where is it kept. Then it’s context will become clearer. For example who was his intended audience, what is the back story.

It’s written to teaching sisters and educators of the time supposedly, but really neglects any backing of his claims. The Vatican was quite an educated and illumed place in the 60’s. Great minds came together to form an extensive and long lived Vatican Council.


This topic was automatically closed 14 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.

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