Which is more "charitable"?


I have a guy friend who is a lot like “Bob” in the other thread - he doesn’t really care what he wears. It’s all about “function” instead of “form”. He wears nothing but jeans and t-shirts (not always with Star Trek stuff on them :)) and Converse sneakers. I think he might own a polo shirt… He’s going into the medical field, and says the only time he will need “real clothes”, as he calls them, is for job interviews (which is still two years away) or funerals.

Lately he’s been rethinking his ideas about God, and he wants to go to Mass with me. We’ve talked about clothes for church, but he doesn’t understand why he can’t wear what he normally does (he doesn’t buy the whole “King of Kings”, etc. argument yet), so he will be wearing is normal jeans and t-shirt, unless I can convince him to at least wear a polo shirt. I’m not the best example of what to wear to church as I rarely “dress up” and wear dresses, and pantyhose are out of the question! It’s strictly business casual for me because I hate dressing up for only a couple of hours then having to change into what I’m going to wear the rest of the day.

Which would be more charitable? Take him shopping and find him an inexpensive pair of khakis, nicer shoes, and a shirt with a collar (which would probably run at least $100, which I don’t know that he has to spend)? Or accept that he will wear jeans and a t-shirt - without logo - but encourage him to wear the polo shirt, and wear jeans and a nice top myself so that he will feel less self-conscious about his own clothes?


Like your friend, I think I only have one or two shirts that aren’t T-shirts or school uniforms. I don’t really see anything wrong with wearing a T-shirt and jeans to mass. It might be an issue if everybody at your parish dresses up, but I still don’t think either of you would be doing something wrong. The important thing is that he goes.

If he has one polo shirt, maybe try to convince him to wear that. My one nice shirt is good for Mass, and although I don’t always wear it, I do use it for that purpose a lot.


He is an adult. I am sure he can decide on his own what to wear. If he feels under-dressed he can always change for next time. Are you afraid people will judge him at your parish? I have never been to a Parish or Cathedral where someone would look out of place with long trousers and a top of some sort. He sounds like a simple guy who is not materialistic.


Have him go to Mass with you in what HE feels comfortable wearing, not what you want him to wear. He is an adult – if he feels uncomfortable he will change his dress. IF not, there is nothing you can do.

What a wonderful thing he is interested in going to Mass and reconnecting with God. Please don’t throw more obstacles in his way.

A more important question is why you feel the need to “fix” him, when you yourself said you are not that great example?


When I still was able to attend Mass, I hope I some day will be able again, I always did wear a black suit, but I am older, and a bit old fashion as well. But it is not about clothes. Of course it is not right to dress deliberately bad or show to much of your self, but somehow I think God don’t mind. We are not all rich, we may have a special way of living, it does not matter I believe. God look at our soul and heart, not what we wear. OK, I would never attend Mass in jeans, but the last time “my” priest came by to hear my confession and give me Communion he had jeans, othervice the “standard” shirt with the white collar. I think you should what God does, accept him as he is. No matter what he may have on it can’t hide a sin nor a good deed. You see, if you buy him a shirt, he will feel obligated to wear it, and he will not be a happy camper, so the best you can do is to do nothing.


Haven’t read the other responses yet…

But my answer is to take this one step at a time…
Don’t create barriers that need not exist…
Let him wear his jeans and plain T-shirt.



The most charitable thing you can do is continue your evangelization and get him to Mass. The whole dress code thing is an argument we’ll never reach consensus on, nor will it add any value to our mission as Baptized disciples of Christ which is to spread the Good News and leave the worldly concerns behind.


Just get him to Church: it’s not a fashion show.

If he only ever showed up in jeans and tee shirts, but was a faithful practicing Catholic would that be so bad?:confused:

BTW we need Catholic doctors -:thumbsup:


Maybe you should let him dress as he wants… after he hears you would feel better if he wore a polo shirt.

Is he just a friend? If he is just a friend, it should not mean too much for you to be with him in T-shirts and jeans at Mass.

If he is your (soon to be) fiance and you are discussing how to attend Mass together as a family… it is important that he understands the hurt you have when he dresses in T-shirt and jeans for worship of God.

Do not buy him clothes unless it is truly his desire. The clothes will be a burden in your friendship if he resents them.

It is acceptable to attend Mass in a clean t-shirt and clean jeans. He will see many people in jeans and T-shirts at Mass.


Let him make his own mind up what he wears and he will see what others wear around him and choose to follow or choose to do his own thing. (if he asks you what he should wear tell him what you wear) Okay am anglican but I don’t fall into the dress for mass trap though it does help that I am always wearing gowns but i hate to see designer labels and sunday bests when the weather is freezing cold and the people are freezing cold in Church and clamour for the heating to be high but got perfectly suitable cold weather clothing at home but wont wear them to Church because it not their Sunday/Church best. To be neat and clean and comfortable is what matters is my twopenneth worth:)


I’d say the latter for sure.




I live in a vacation area so we have people come to Mass in shorts, tank tops and flip-flops. Does everyone at your parish dress up or do some attend in jeans and t-shirt? It is more charitable to invite him to Mass and praise God that he is interested in attending.


If St John the Baptist were here to go to Mass, he would probably be wearing burlap.




Please, let him wear what he wants. Dress does not matter, God does.


I don’t know what his financial situation is, so bear that in mind when reading the following:

There are two factors…first, I agree that it is inappropriate to wear a t-shirt and jeans to Mass and for the reason you state. That, of course, would be tempered by the fact that you don’t want to force the guy into a suit…at this juncture (since he doesn’t yet buy into the “king of kings” argument, as you say)

The other (and likely more important) point is that if you were, hypothetically, to go to Brooks Brothers and get him a nice suit and silk tie and Italian (tight) shoes…and he sees a significant portion of the other men at the Mass dressed in jeans/t-shirt, cargo shorts & muscle shirts, softball uniforms, sweats, motorcycle leathers, or whatever, then he would likely feel uncomfortable. Likewise, if people dress for the occasion in your parish, he would feel uncomfortable if he was in jeans/t-shirts and everybody else was dressed up, then that would also likely make him feel odd, as well.

Bottom line is that I would use the typical dress of people in your parish as a guide. If jeans/t-shirt is typical and accepted, I wouldn’t worry about him (other than to make sure what he wears is clean and in decent repair). If not, then I would suggest assisting him in making sure that he is dressed appropriate for your parish. You can use parish-appropriateness as an excuse if, in fact, khakis and button down shirt would be the appropriate dress.

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