Pope Pius XII – Fashion and modesty should go together

Translated from original french

On 6 October [1940], about 20,000 girls belonging to the Italian Catholic Action Youth women gathered in San Damaso courtyard to offer their gifts to the Pope and receive his blessing.

Deeply moved, the Supreme Pastor lavished vibrant meeting its guidance and encouragement in the speech here:


4. – linen altar, altar cloths, these fine works are pure white out of your hands; pure white they will serve the holy mysteries that bear no impure contact. Look at the altar and tabernacle: one fully covered with a linen tablecloth falling on both sides; another veiled the tabernacle veil.

So who so piously clothed the altar and the house of Jesus Christ, always remember that you carry God in you by the grace that takes your soul; remember that this divine presence is not only your soul, but your body a holy temple.

“Do not you know, wrote the apostle Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians, that your bodies are members of Christ? … Do you not know that your members are the temple of the Holy Spirit, dwells in you, you belong on the part of God, without you belong to yourselves  ? ” (1 Cor 6,15 and 19)

Conscious thought of this divine indwelling, this incorporation into Christ, has created and developed over the centuries among peoples obedient to the Gospel a religious respect for the body which results in a set of human understanding, ways, maintenance, words wisely adjusted and measured: modesty.

And from the beginning of the Church the same apostle wanted women portassent the veil in sacred meetings and say therefore to the Corinthians:

“Judge therefore for yourselves: is it appropriate for a woman to pray uncovered head … It is an honor for the woman to maintain her hair;? because the hair was given to him by way of sailing . ” (1 Cor 11,13 and 15)

You recorded this year at the top of your projects and your initiatives the great crusade of purity, the purity of which is the guardian of modesty. As nature has every creature instinct that pushes the door and to defend his own life and the integrity of its members and the conscience and grace does not destroy but perfects nature, infuse in souls as meaning that puts them in vigilant guard against the dangers that threaten their purity.

This is especially characterized by the Christian girl. We read in the Passion of Saints Perpetua and Felicity, properly viewed as one of the most precious jewel of ancient Christian literature, that when in the amphitheater of Carthage martyr Perpetua Vibia thrown into the air by a cow very fierce fell into the arena, her first care and her first act was to adjust her tunic, which was torn on the side to cover the even more attentive to the modesty that pain pudoris potius memor quam doloris .

… and modesty.

Fashion and modesty should well go and walk together as sisters since both words have the same root, the Latin modus which means just measure, below and beyond which can be just or reasonable (Horace , Sermones [Satires] I, 1, 106-107).

But modesty is out of fashion! Like those poor lunatics who, having lost the instinct of preservation and the notion of danger, throw themselves into the fire or into rivers, many feminine souls, forgetful in their ambitious vanity of Christian modesty run miserably au to the dangers that their purity can be killed. They suffer the tyranny of fashion, even immodest, in such a way that they seem not even suspect impropriety ; they lost the same sense of danger, the instinct of modesty.

Help these unfortunate to regain consciousness of their duties will be your apostolate, your crusade in the middle of the world: “Let your modesty appear to all eyes” (Philippians 4.5).

Your apostolate will be primarily by example. It will be for your beloved President, your ruling sages teach you how, before making a garment you need to ask your awareness of how the judge Jesus Christ; to warn you before accepting an invitation, you need to consider if your invisible and heavenly guardian angel will follow you like go without covering the face of its wings. They will tell you which shows, which companies, which beaches you should avoid; they show you how a young woman can be modern, cultured, athletic, graceful, natural and distinction, without bending at all the vulgarities of an unhealthy fashion, maintaining a face that ignores devices like the soul which it reflects,

In defense, generously active, your purity, we recommend above all prayer and in a special way the worship of the Holy Eucharist and of the Immaculate Virgin to which you are devoted.

In the Eucharist you will find God who is purity itself, because He is infinite perfection when He gives to you. It pleases us to repeat the words of the prophet – as “the elected wheat and wine that germinates virgins” (Zechariah 9:17), our Lord “who is the brightness of eternal light and the mirror without blemish” (Wisdom 7.26) purifies your soul and its faculties, your body and senses. The more a creature comes to God and unites with Him, the more it is pure: the more it aspires to the purity, the more it tends towards the infinitely pure.

When the Word incarnate and would be born of a woman, he cast his eyes on the most ideally perfect creature; a child in the grace of her virginity. After this grace that came to add, by a single miracle, that of the divine motherhood, she appeared in a sublime beauty that artists, poets, saints ardently tried, but always in vain, to to portray.

The Church and the angels greet the names of Queen and Mother; securities whose piety of the faithful has surrounded his forehead like a diadem with a thousand lights or rays are innumerable. But of all these names and fame, it is one that is particularly dear to him and that is enough to designate the Virgin.

May the Virgin of virgins, Mary, Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, be your model and your strength, all your Catholic youth life and especially in your crusade of purity.

With this wish and as a token of her maternal protection and more abundant divine graces, from my heart We give you, and also to persons, works, the holy companies for which you requested, Our Apostolic Blessing.


Pius XII, Address to young girls of Catholic Action , October 6, 1940.

URL source http://www.clerus.org/bibliaclerusonline/pt/cjr.htm#g4

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