MERGED: Inappropriate attire worn by girl assisting at mass/Dress Code

Should there not be some level of decency as to what one wears while serving at Mass?! At last Sunday’s Mass, the girl (about 16 yrs old) who did the readings and the petitions wore extremely tight and very short shorts. Her tank top was somewhat revealing as well, but acceptable. Should I complain to the parish priest about this incident? My church, imo, needs to have a dress code for those serving at Mass…

Why doesn’t the Church have a dress code? I think it would be a solution to all those people wearing inappropriate clothing. I used to be Mormon and I remember that everyone wore very modest clothing.

You should tell someone about it. When I lived in Oceanside, we had a very casual mass but those who were serving were expected to dress appropriately. The only problem we ever ran into was when Father had to remind the altar servers to not wear flip flops :rolleyes:
Here, I think they tried taking it too far. They tried telling the girls what color nail polish to wear & that they had to wear only closed toed flat shoes. I say that if someone is given the rules & shows up dressed inappropriately, they should not be allowed to serve.

I’m not defending the girl’s dress, which sounds inappropriate for going out in public, let alone for Mass.
But she wasn’t ‘serving’ at Mass, was she? I thought she was a reader? Perhaps she had been called upon at the last minute.

Insufficient/inadequate/inappropriate attire should be addressed immediately, if not sooner! As its visually based offensiveness is coveyed at the speed of light and the scandal and consequences can be long-lasting, there should be alternate covering garments available for those who wish to serve, as well as a short course or talk on modesty and its practical benefits in everyday life.

Surely servers ARE provided with suitable attire? Cassocks or albs?

But not readers. They are not required (and perhaps not allowed) to wear a robe of any kind, likewise EMHC.

I love it how in Italy there are ushers in many churches and refuse entrance to people who are not appropriately dressed. :thumbsup:

Your desire for this is a sign of your love, but not everyone feels that way about Mass…JPII used to have Masses in the countryside on hikes etc. I don’t think God would be upset if you came, but you came wearing shabby clothes. That said, for those of us that care, dressing up is a sign of love and respect.

I think this is the most charitable assumption to make. Pretend the girl was sitting in her seat, feeling self-conscious that she had to come straight from the beach in order to meet her Sunday obligation , and that she was mortified to be asked to read. Out of humble submission to God, she agreed to do the readings even though she knew she was dressed inappropriately.

I don’t think you’d at all be out of line to inquire about implementing a dress code, but I do think it’s helpful when we’re tempted to judge others’ attire to pratice giving them the benefit of the doubt.

Some do, for example St. Peters in Rome and also the Churches in Malta I know have dress codes. Also some churches that are extraordinary form parishes do have dress codes I hear.

This kind of thing is the parish priests responsibility, the church tries to govern according to the principle of subsidiarity were she can and this is one area she does. The priest certainly does have the authority and in fact the duty to ensure his people are dressing modestly in fact it goes right to the heart of his mission as a priest to sanctify the people of his parish, modesty is for life not just for mass I would also add.

I remember there was a Bishop Amigo here in the UK who understood this, he did not restrict himself to just making sure people came to church modestly he would challenge them about it walking down the street. He loved God and he wished to save souls more than he loved himself and so was not afraid of been disliked or unpopular.

Nice thought but the reality is that many, including women in their 40s and 50s, think nothing of dressing casually even when scheduled to read or when they are well aware that they will most likely be the ones serving at the altar. I see it in my parish all the time, particularly one woman who nearly always comes to the Saturday evening Mass in shorts during the summer regardless of whether she’s scheduled for ministry or not. I find it strange too, considering how conservative she is in all other aspects of her faith.

Definitely a dress code. This girl is 16. How about a woman in her late 50s on the altar wearing short-shorts serving communion?

Can people get over their obsession with jeans? They’re not cheap. They are not appropriate for every occassion.

Spaghetti straps…bra straps and back completely exposed on 30 something woman. Young teenager giving talk from pulpit on the advantage of a Catholic education wearing same. Put a sweater on.

Men wearing collarless shirts, having to be told to remove cap from heads, boys with inappropriate stuff on T-shirts like skulls etc.

Brides…the strapless, backless has become the norm. Thankfully, haven’t seen the corset coming down the aisle. But did see one bride on a TV-show picking out “the” dress where the wedding coordinator remarked, “It will be fine as long as the priest doesn’t see the back.” There wasn’t any back. Cut right down to the bride’s rear end. Wedding DID take place in St. Pat’s.

She shouldn’t have been allowed through the doors let alone into the sanctuary, raise your concerns with the priest then you will just have to leave it with him.

What I have seen happen here in Europe is the ushers cover such women in a huge shawl.

Maybe he could put up a sign like this one they have at St, Peters at the Vatican.

And more importantly make sure the Ushers ensure the dress code is resepcted, if you turn up at St. Peters dressed immodestly you can only enter if you are cover up and so some people end up looking like this:

I believe that the lack of a dress code across the board is a result of Vatican2, wherein the Church wishes to make the worship of God easier rather than cumbersome or legalistic. There are parishes who still mandate modest clothing, but here in the U.S. I believe the general trend is to defer to the local congregation, and to view any visit to the presence of God a good thing regardless of exterior coverings.

As members, all we can do personally is set a good example, or berate and harangue others out of some misplaced sense of love (of power or of self).

Hard to have a dress code for a Church that is present on all inhabited continents and in virtually every culture. It should therefore be a local matter in a way that fits in with the local culture.

Moreover, cultural norms change. When I started my career 30 years ago I had to wear dress pants, a dress shirt and a tie to work. In the late '90s it became “business casual” and now where I work, in a software development shop, it’s nearly “everything goes”. That said I still have standards for Sunday Mass: no shorts, no jeans, a clean polo shirt and Dockers or similar. For weekday Masses, I often stop in on my way somewhere else so I’ll allow bermuda shorts and jeans as circumstances dictate.

I don’t like to criticize the clergy but this one falls squarely in their lap as the parish authority. It’s all too obvious the laity are hopeless, helpless and powerless when it comes to policing themselves and require firm direction.

They couldn’t fine ONE appropriately dressed grown up in the ENTIRE parish present that day to read??!! :rolleyes: Try again.

Out of humble submission to God, she agreed to do the readings even though she knew she was dressed inappropriately.

To God? You mean God Himself came to her and asked her to read? Wow. :eek:
No - someone from the parish asked her to read, or she was on the calendar for that week, or whatever. The bottom line is someone didn’t stop this from happening and tell her that she could not read because she was not properly dressed for Mass. Someone dropped the ball - period.

I don’t think you’d at all be out of line to inquire about implementing a dress code, but I do think it’s helpful when we’re tempted to judge others’ attire to pratice giving them the benefit of the doubt.

Unacceptable response. This is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass we are talking about - Jesus Christ HIMSELF is present on the altar. If it’s not ok for the priest to show up in shorts and a tank top, then it’s not appropriate for anyone reading at Mass to show up inappropriately dressed either. This is judging - yes. Very good. The ability to judge is what separates us from the animals. It allows us the ability to know the difference between right and wrong, good and evil.

I am so sick and tired of people always being so worried about offending, or being politically correct, or not judging. For cryin’ out loud people - WAKE UP!!! When are we going to finally take back the Mass from those who think it is perfectly acceptable behavior to show up half clothed, and stand up before everyone and read at Mass!!! This is wrong - we all know it’s wrong, and yet it is entirely accepted. WHY?

It is because society has become a bunch of wimps who can’t stand up for what they know is right and decent anymore.

There should have been ONE adult in charge of that Mass who said something to the girl before Mass started, to either go home and change, or to find someone to substitute for her because she is not dressed for her role. No one did this - and that is a huge problem.

AMEN! :thumbsup:


I’m with Liza!!:bowdown::tiphat:

I’ve noticed the same problem with teens in the choir in the church at my hometown. And even in the church where I live now, plenty of people wear tank tops to Mass, and I really wish the pastor would say something about dressing appropriately. Yes it’s hot, it’s not air conditioned, because it’s a historic building, but with all the layers the priest wears for Mass, and survives, no one has any excuse coming in with bare shoulders and most of their legs showing.

Honestly, I kind of wish the Church actually had a modesty dress code that stated what parts of the body must be covered, especially when in a church, but also in general. Not to change the subject though, as this is about during Mass. Just saying.

I’m with Liza, too! :thumbsup: You go, girl!!!

I, too, am tired of seeing inappropriate dress in church! And don’t get me started about what brides are wearing-or should I say, NOT WEARING-at weddings!

This is why I go to the TLM exclusively, because a dress code is posted on the inside door of the vestibule.

I know that EWTN has a dress code at both the chapel in Irondale and the Shrine of the Blessed Sacrament in Hanceville. There are wraps in the vestibules of both chapels for women to COVER UP if they come in wearing shorts and/or revealing tops.


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