Modesty in Church


#1

Should there be any rules/standards and yes I mean for both sexes?

Of course let's face it ladies as far as immodest goes it seems to fall more on us. Sleeveless tops/dresses, spaghetti straps, low cut necklines, barely covering your butt shorts and dresses, or leggings so tight you can literally tell what kind of undergarments are or are not being worn. No matter how hard you try, it is sort of distracting and I would think even more so for some of the men in the congregation. Yes, they should have better self control, yes, they should have their eyes on the tabernacle/altar/priest etc., but still....

I also do wonder a bit about the new(er) trend of brides wearing totally sleeveless and strapless gowns, that are tight at the top with their breasts almost pouring out and revealing some/much cleavage; well doesn't it sort of remove the whole idea of the white dress being a symbol that some associate with purity.

I know I'm getting old at 40(ish), so feel free to tell me, but should there be some/any guidelines or heaven forbid requirements?


#2

You know, it probably shouldn’t matter, I mean like you said our focus should be on God, does He really care what we wear? But then again, The first thing God said to Moses was to tell Moses to take off his sandals, for this was a holy place.

Been to a service at the beach where some women wore bikini tops and sarongs/wraps if that’s the right term for bottoms.

I see a lot of men wearing T-shirts with sayings/logos, shorts and sandals at our Church which I’ve always found to be lacking a certain respect. Maybe it’s just me…


#3

[quote="styrgwillidar, post:2, topic:225890"]
You know, it probably shouldn't matter, I mean like you said our focus should be on God, does He really care what we wear? But then again, The first thing God said to Moses was to tell Moses to take off his sandals, for this was a holy place.

Been to a service at the beach where some women wore bikini tops and sarongs/wraps if that's the right term for bottoms.

I see a lot of men wearing T-shirts with sayings/logos, shorts and sandals at our Church which I've always found to be lacking a certain respect. Maybe it's just me...

[/quote]

Why shouldn't it matter? If we are leading our brother or sister into sin, by our actions, then it does matter. We should not try to cause another to stumble.

Most women don't just dress that way to stay cool or comfortable. They dress that way to look sexy.

Also I don't understand your reasoning that because you've been to a service at the beach where the women were wearing bikini tops and sarongs/wraps that it makes it OK.

Or that because men are wearing T-shirts that show no respect, that makes it OK.

If you realize that they are being disrespectful, I would think it should bother you. When we sin, we should be alarmed, not just shrug it off and not care.

Yes they were told to go barefoot on that holy ground. They showed their feet. Not quite the same as showing your butt or breasts.

The first thing God did after Adam and Eve sinned, was to make them some garments. They had tried to cover themselves with fig leaves but God did not think that was enough.

“Yahweh God made clothes out of skins for the man and his wife, and they put them on.”


#4

Oh boy, another modesty discussion!

I think modesty means covering up so your body parts don't distract people. That means guys shouldn't wear sagging pants, tight muscle shirts, or mesh shirts. Women shouldn't expose cleavage, wear short skirts with bare legs, or wear saggy pants either.

Really, the whole modesty issue is quite simple. Don't expose sexual body parts, or wear tight clothing. Discussing modesty in dress is different than discussing the kinds of clothes people wear. Seriously, if this becomes a suit versus casual/non-dressy clothes discussion, I'm out. We've had just too many of these threads and it just becomes combative and ridiculous.

I personally find it offensive when bridal parties are wearing clothes that expose cleavage, but honestly if a bride's dress is strapless, but cut higher, or it's a spaghetti strap dress, but you can't see cleavage I don't see the fuss. Finding modest dresses are impossible unless you are plus-sized, or make your own dress. And white has nothing to do with purity-- that's a myth, the whole white dress thing became popular because a British queen wore a white dress, and wearing white symbolized wealth, not purity. Besides, don't you know that most brides on their wedding days aren't even virgins?:rolleyes:


#5

Oh well, I just thought it would be a break from the “Should I get a divorce?” threads or “Can we do this in sex?” threads or “Why can’t I take the pill?” threads.

It has been a while, but obviously not as exciting as the aforementioned to most…

It’s an issue that is of interest to me, but obviously not for others…I’ll get over it…lol


#6

Sorry I didn’t mean to burst your bubble:o I honestly wish that it was possible to have a reasonable discussion on modesty but er…previous threads have demonstrated that it’s not.

One thing that’s always bugged me is the Westernized ethnocentric viewpoint that people tend to take when talking about modesty. Or the reference to other cultures being “pagan.” Oh yeah…I totally dig being referred to as a pagan whose culture has no semblance of modesty, because people don’t wear dresses and skirts from Penney’s:rolleyes:

Okay, off my soap box now.


#7

[quote="heart4home, post:3, topic:225890"]
Also I don't understand your reasoning that because you've been to a service at the beach where the women were wearing bikini tops and sarongs/wraps that it makes it OK.

Or that because men are wearing T-shirts that show no respect, that makes it OK.

If you realize that they are being disrespectful, I would think it should bother you. When we sin, we should be alarmed, not just shrug it off and not care.

[/quote]

Sorry, I wasn't trying to indicate that I thought it was ok. Simply stating how low the standards have become in some places, and my belief that this lacks respect from my perspective. But, I also have to wonder whether, isn''t God more concerned with our devotion to him more than our clothing. I also should have added, who am I to judge what people are wearing? I don't know their income, their culture or what is in their hearts. For all I know they have a more sincere devotion to the Lord than I ever will.


#8

It would be nice to have a dress code. But the best we can do is choose our clothes carefully and watch what our children wear. I like to layer my low cut tops and do not wear tight pants. I know it would be better to wear a dress or skirt but I hate dressing up.


#9

Hey I don’t buy my skirts from Penney’s, I much prefer Chadwick’s.:wink: I do wear skirts 90% of the time, but it is not something I expect all others to follow. I wear slacks or even jeans when I see them as being more modest or sometimes when I’m just doing more physical work and they are more practical.

I have no issue with other women wearing pants. I do have an issue with the flashing boobs, the short shorts and the view of boxers in society in general. I have an even bigger issue with it in Church.

I’m not sure how we are suppossed to keep our children chaste and pure when they are watching what at one time would have been considered material for a Play Boy, at the local beach.

I realize I’m in the minority, but I feel sad that girls feel the need to expose so much of themselves in order to draw attention to themselves. It’s not about self confidence, it’s about wanting to look sexy and be admired/wanted by the opposite sex.


#10

I don't think it's "better" to wear a dress or a skirt-- if a woman is wearing appropriate and modest slacks, dress pants, or trouser jeans, why wouldn't that be okay? Skirts and dresses can also be immodest just as jeans and pants can be. I think people tend to have problems with female behinds, and that's ironic considering the skirts and dresses show the movement of hips more than anything.

Not all cultures wear skirts, dresses, or even pants. Gosh, to think that the Scots are probably laughing at us when we say that some skirts are immodest:rolleyes: Either that, or Americans are weird.

ETA: heart, you're not in the minority. I personally am against dressing in a way to attract sexual attention from the opposite sex, especially in Church. I don't think it's necessary of decent to show inches of cleavage, or wear super short skirts that make it dangerous to lean. What my problem is with these discussions is that it becomes a suit versus non-dress clothes or a dresses/skirts versus pants debate.


#11

What is modesty? Does anyone even know in our society anymore (North American society as a whole)? Modesty seems to be a concept that is totally lost on our culture.

So maybe we should define modesty.

I don't think it's just covering up, personally, I feel modesty is also a mindset. A certain way of thinking and being, not JUST a certain way of dressing...


#12

[quote="styrgwillidar, post:7, topic:225890"]
Sorry, I wasn't trying to indicate that I thought it was ok. Simply stating how low the standards have become in some places, and my belief that this lacks respect from my perspective. But, I also have to wonder whether, isn''t God more concerned with our devotion to him more than our clothing. I also should have added, who am I to judge what people are wearing? I don't know their income, their culture or what is in their hearts. For all I know they have a more sincere devotion to the Lord than I ever will.

[/quote]

Sorry that I misunderstood.

I try very hard to not judge, and yes I fail miserably at times:(

I don't sit in Church and analyze what everybody is wearing, but there have been a few times lately where the view when you stand up is hard to just ignore, because well I'm human.

I do wonder as well if it is our responsibility to not lead our brother into sin then maybe we need to point out that fact a little more often to each other.

If people are truly unaware that they could cause another to stumble by what they are wearing, and if they were truly devoted to God and have a good heart, caring about the salvation of souls, I think they might be willing to change a bit.:shrug:


#13

[quote="nickybr38, post:11, topic:225890"]
What is modesty? Does anyone even know in our society anymore (North American society as a whole)? Modesty seems to be a concept that is totally lost on our culture.

So maybe we should define modesty.

I don't think it's just covering up, personally, I feel modesty is also a mindset. A certain way of thinking and being, not JUST a certain way of dressing...

[/quote]

Absolutely, it's why we choose to wear the clothes we wear? If are first thought is to turn around and check out our bottom side, or we plump up our breast and pull the shirt down just a little lower, or buy the jeans, just a little snugger, what is our motive.

Are we modest in our thoughts in other areas as well?

Yes good points. It just seems to me that many are only thinking about themselves when they purchase their clothing, how they look in it, what others will think of them, etc. etc.

It's normal to want to look acceptable/nice/fashionable in society, however it just seems that the focus is more on self and either drawing attention to one's self or only caring about the comfort of one's self more than of those around you.

When we take a young preteen boy to Mass, and the girl in front of him has a good deal of her breasts hanging out. Is he wrong for looking? Yes, but is she not just as wrong for showing them?


#14

I don’t think it’s too much to ask for a woman, who goes to church, to not wear cleavage-baring tops, or wear tight pants, or wear leggings with a top that doesn’t go past the behind. I also don’t think it’s too much to ask that shoulders be covered with sleeves, a shawl, or a sweater-- turns out, those modesty views are shared in other faiths as well.

I also don’t think it’s too much to ask for men to not wear inappropriate shirts-- I saw a kid wearing a shirt yesterday that said “legalize marijuana.” I was like, WHAT?? If I had been the kid’s parents, he wouldn’t have set foot out of the house wearing that garbage! I also don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect men to not sag their pants, and to not wear shirts that show off how ripped they are.

Modesty standards really, are quite simple. The problem is that most people don’t follow them. It’s really easy as that.

We should also be careful of not thinking ourselves to be more pious than others, because we are modest and someone else is not. I’ve worked with children before whose parents would send them to school or their programs wearing immodest clothes, either because they couldn’t afford very much, the parents didn’t see the big deal because the kids weren’t 18, or because the parents were careless.


#15

But this always seems to be the stumbling block. We are not to judge… correct. We are not to have pride…correct. We are not to think ourself more pious…correct!

However, how can we teach or change anything, when everybody is so afraid to say anything for fear of being called judgmental or thinking one self more pious?

Who is going to teach those parents to care or that it may be a big deal. Modest clothes are just as inexpensive as immodest clothes. I think that’s a really marginal excuse and seldom the real issue.

We could say, just set a good example, but somehow I think it’s too late for that.


#16

[quote="spunjalebi, post:10, topic:225890"]
I don't think it's "better" to wear a dress or a skirt-- if a woman is wearing appropriate and modest slacks, dress pants, or trouser jeans, why wouldn't that be okay? Skirts and dresses can also be immodest just as jeans and pants can be. I think people tend to have problems with female behinds, and that's ironic considering the skirts and dresses show the movement of hips more than anything.

Not all cultures wear skirts, dresses, or even pants. Gosh, to think that the Scots are probably laughing at us when we say that some skirts are immodest:rolleyes: Either that, or Americans are weird.

ETA: heart, you're not in the minority. I personally am against dressing in a way to attract sexual attention from the opposite sex, especially in Church. I don't think it's necessary of decent to show inches of cleavage, or wear super short skirts that make it dangerous to lean. What my problem is with these discussions is that it becomes a suit versus non-dress clothes or a dresses/skirts versus pants debate.

[/quote]

I just want to clarify, I have no issue with women wearing slacks. I'm not sure if this was because I said I wear skirts most of the time, but certainly there are tons of immodest skirts. Honestly, half the time, I'd rather see some of these girls in a pair of dress slacks, if it would avoid the skirt or dress that barely covers the behind....

I wear skirts, because I personally enjoy the "ideal" of both modest and feminine, although that's just my description and certainly one can do other things to be modest and feminine, both in their clothing choices and more importantly intheir character and actions, so again, it's just what I choose to do, not a standard that I'm trying to set for all women.


#17

Heart4home,
Thanks for your understanding, sometimes I don't write out my complete thoughts and as always on the internet, you think in a certain tone and it doesn't necessarily come across that way to the reader.

I know our society as a whole has gotten a lot more casual, especially on the west coast. I was in England and an invitation with 'casual attire' there was sport coat and tie instead of suit. Put casual on an invite here and it means jeans/cutoffs/hawaiin shirt tank top.
Was on jury duty which requires business casual. Folks showed up in flip-flops, t-shirts, ratty jeans etc. But again, perhaps for some it truly was the best they owned.

I do agree with the point that taking time to dress up and put thought into what you wear to an event indicates a degree of respect and helps with mental preparation, and regardless of what others wear we should attempt to set good examples.


#18

[quote="heart4home, post:9, topic:225890"]
...I have no issue with other women wearing pants....

[/quote]

Mrs. JHow almost always wears pants (slacks) everywhere, and I think she is very modest and looks great. At church, she typically adds a jacket to make more of what I would call a suit (think Hillary Clinton). Mrs. JHow appears in dresses only for weddings, as far as I have noticed. I think the main reason for this is that she doesn't feel she looks her best in a skirt. I'm not going to analyze that - I'm way out on a limb here as it is.


#19

[quote="JHow, post:18, topic:225890"]
Mrs. JHow almost always wears pants (slacks) everywhere, and I think she is very modest and looks great. At church, she typically adds a jacket to make more of what I would call a suit (think Hillary Clinton). Mrs. JHow appears in dresses only for weddings, as far as I have noticed. I think the main reason for this is that she doesn't feel she looks her best in a skirt. I'm not going to analyze that - I'm way out on a limb here as it is.

[/quote]

LOL, well I think Mrs. JHow is obviously a lucky woman to have a Mr. JHow who notices she looks great and modest. Be sure you let her know.;)


#20

Oops, sorry I was responding to another poster. I should have clarified that.

Yes, I agree that many of those excuses are rather lame…but tell that to a parent who is from the inner-city, sends her daughter to a summer program, and has a limited income, and who thinks that her daughter is lucky enough to have a bikini, short shorts, and t-shirts while she never had those things. Yes…that has actually happened. I SOOOO badly wanted to say something, really I did, but I found out I would have been overstepping my boundaries. It really bothered me…and more so because this child wasn’t even a teenager quite yet, but had a very womanly body.

I don’t think it’s necessary to go out or our way and start talking about judgment and no matter what, I am a firm believer of St. Francis Assisi: preach, and if necessary use words. Setting an example first will always be important when it comes to modesty. For instance, at my church I often see preteen and early teen girls wearing very fashionable, yet modest clothing that I would have never thought of when I was that age. I was modest, but didn’t know how else to be modest other than wearing decent pants and shirts. I also recently purchased some dresses from metrostyle.com, and many of them were modest yet stylish. If people never SEE what it means to be modest, they will never know what to attach to the words.

Piousness is something people have to deal with on an individual basis. I often have to catch myself-- it’s gotten sort of bad-- when I go to church and decide in my own mind that someone’s shirt is cut a little too low, or too much of their shoulders are showing, or they should have/could have/ought to sort of thinking. That’s where I have to stop and realize that I’m not any better, especially if I’m doing that at church when my primary focus should be on the Mass. Honestly, I think if churches experience a modesty issue, they should bring it up to the priest or talk to the people who write the bulletin on how to address this issue.

I agree with styrgwillidar that our society has become a bit too casual. I’ve noticed that if I wear a skirt, people ask me why I am so “dressed up,” even though it’s nowhere near a dress skirt. Even when I wear a nice camisole under a cardigan sweater, I am asked why I am so dressed up:shrug: Midwesterners are used to their flannel I guess.


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