Showing proper dignity when attending supper of the Lamb – Bishop Paprocki

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ:

Summer is upon us, bringing vacations, picnics and beach parties. Actually we have been blessed with summer-like weather for several weeks. The warm weather has also brought out summer apparel earlier than usual. Unfortunately, skimpy garb more suitable for vacations, picnics and beach parties has also made its way into church as the clothing of choice for many people. In visiting many of our parishes this spring for confirmation as well as attending some commencement ceremonies, I have noticed more and more people wearing short shorts, tank-tops and flip-flops. Even the more formal wear with slit-leg dresses, bare midriffs and strapless tops looks more suited to a House of Blues than the House of God.

Now I’m sure some people will immediately object to my making these observations, rationalizing that it is better that these people come to church even if they’re not properly dressed rather than not have them there at all. They argue that we should just be happy that they’re in church, regardless of what they wear. I disagree. 

St. Paul said “to dress modestly, with decency and propriety,” adorned “not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds” (1 Timothy 2:9-10). Similarly, St. Peter wrote, “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight” (1 Peter 3:3-4).

In the parable of the wedding banquet, Jesus said that “when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. He asked, ‘How did you get in here without wedding clothes, friend?’ The man was speechless. Then the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ For many are invited, but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:11-14).

Of course, Jesus did not tell this parable to give a literal instruction on how to dress at a wedding, but to illustrate God’s righteousness as “garments of salvation” and “robes of righteousness” (Isaiah 61:10), where the acquisition of these qualities is likened to clothing given us at a wedding. But Jesus could tell this parable because his listeners were familiar with the custom that refusal to wear a proper wedding garment was an insult to the father of the groom and could get a guest ejected from the festivities.

The church is the Bride of Christ (Ephesians 5:25-27) and the faithful, clothed in their wedding garments, are called to the “marriage supper of the Lamb” (Revelation 19:8-9). Our revised translation of the Roman Missal now brings out that imagery more clearly when the priest presents the Body and Blood of Christ to us at Mass saying, “Behold the Lamb of God. Behold him who takes away the sins of the world. Blessed are those called to the supper of the Lamb.” As we go up to receive Jesus in holy Communion, we should not insult the Father by not dressing properly for this foretaste of the heavenly banquet.

In contrast to the casual dress now commonly seen, people were much more formally attired at the Solemn Pontifical High Mass in the Extraordinary Form that I celebrated at the Shrine of St. Rose of Lima in Quincy last Sunday. During this celebration, I consecrated new altars, administered the sacrament of confirmation, offered the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and carried the Blessed Sacrament in procession in honor of the Solemnity of Corpus Christi. The ceremony took fours hours, which is usually how long it takes me to run a 26.2 mile marathon, so one could say that this was certainly a marathon liturgy! 

St. Rose of Lima Church just marked its 100th anniversary, and it looked splendid for this grand occasion. I commend Father Arnauld Devillers, the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, and all the faithful who made this such a dignified event by which we gave glory and praise to God. 

In 2007, Pope Benedict XVI wrote an Apostolic Letter called Summorum Pontificum, in which he said that it was “permissible to celebrate the Sacrifice of the Mass following the typical edition of the Roman Missal promulgated by Blessed John XXIII in 1962 and never abrogated, as an extraordinary form of the Liturgy of the Church.” Last year, Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, said that the pope hopes for the eventual development of a newly reformed liturgy, combining elements of both the traditional Latin Mass and the ordinary form of the liturgy that has commonly been used since the Second Vatican Council ended in 1965. Cardinal Koch said that Summorum Pontificum, with its call for expanded use of the traditional liturgy, is “only the beginning” of the pope’s overall scheme for liturgical reform.

For now, one very practical area that we could work on would be for everyone to dress with proper dignity for Mass, whether it is celebrated in the ordinary or the extraordinary form.

May God give us this grace. Amen.

Did Karol Wojtyła ever say partial nudity is okay?

This article is in response to a question concerning the idea supposedly promoted in the book, “Love & Responsibility’ by Karol Wojtyła, before becoming Pope John Paul II.

The book supposedly promotes the idea that, “an attire (he explicitly mentions attire that would include one being ‘partially nude’) in it’s proper place and function is modest! The Church teaches that our sexuality is to be integrated in the entire of our being. Not eliminated! It is not about ‘what’ is worn but about why and where it is worn. This includes bikinis.”


Here is our reply.

“Love and Responsibility” is a book written by Karol Wojtyła before he became Pope John Paul II. Therefore, it is not infallible and can be only taken as his opinion on the subject, and is not in any way an explicit example of what the Catholic Church in her entirety promotes and teaches concerning how we are to properly dress our bodies in a way that keeps with its dignity.

Also important to note, “Theology of the Body”, is not magisterial teaching. “In short, the whole argument is about a fascinating and potentially useful constellation of ideas that do not form part of the essential teaching of the Faith…. It’s just somebody’s opinion, not the End of the World or the Consummation of All Things.” source


Logically and Theologically, what the Church teaches concerning these matters has much more weight than one Cardinal who had an opinion, that seems to contradict previous Church Teaching, Theology, Papal Encyclicals, and Father / Doctors of the Church’s counsels on the matter.


Does this mean that men and women who are unaware of the dignity of their bodies and who dress immodestly are sinning? God knows the details. But those who are aware of the inherent dignity that our bodies have, will be held accountable.


Let us first break down the inherent dignity of our bodies.


We know that our bodies are not bad, for when God completed the six days of creation, “He saw that it was very good.” (Genesis 1:31) They were created specifically to give honor and glory to God. Alice von Hildebrand, gives a good explanation of this in her article, “Nakedness or Nudity” :

” The most perfect among all the creatures mentioned in Genesis, is man, (homo) for he is made to God’s image and likeness. There is an endless hierarchy among creatures, but those that are “images” (imago) of God are greatly superior to those who are just traces (vestigium) of His power.”

” Adam and Eve were created beautiful. I am not only referring to the ontological beauty of creatures made to God’s image and likeness, but also “artistically” beautiful. The body of a human person is a masterpiece. Magnificent as animals are and can be, none of them has the dignity and nobility of a human body. “

” Nudity calls for covering because of its mystery, and this mystery should be unveiled only in the privileged moments when God allows the spouses to reveal themselves to each other in the sacrament of matrimony.” (Which is pretty much what Karol Wojtyła was talking about in his “Theology of the Body” and “Love & Responsibility”. He was not giving us the “OK” to walk around half naked.




Original Sin gave us Concupiscence; we now have the obligation to honor our God-given bodies by covering them with dignity and modesty, and are unable to live without being subject of the rebellions of the flesh, as Adam & Eve were before the Fall.


Before Original sin came about, Genesis Chapter 2: 25 says that “And they were both naked: to wit, Adam and his wife: and were not ashamed.” Then, in Genesis Chapter 3 verses 6-10 it relates:

” And the woman saw that the tree was good to eat, and fair to the eyes, and delightful to behold: and she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave to her husband who did eat. And the eyes of them both were opened: and when they perceived themselves to be naked, they sewed together fig leaves, and made themselves aprons. And when they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in paradise at the afternoon air, Adam and his wife hid themselves from the face of the Lord God, amidst the trees of paradise. And the Lord God called Adam, and said to him: Where art thou? And he said: I heard thy voice in paradise; and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself. “

The Douay-Rheims Bible has a footnote that explains something very important, ” [7] “And the eyes”: Not that they were blind before, (for the woman saw that the tree was fair to the eyes, ver. 6.) nor yet that their eyes were opened to any more perfect knowledge of good; but only to the unhappy experience of having lost the good of original grace and innocence, and incurred the dreadful evil of sin. From whence followed a shame of their being naked; which they minded not before; because being now stript of original grace, they quickly began to be subject to the shameful rebellions of the flesh.”


A question one might ask oneself is, “How exactly could something of such great importance, as called by the Church, suddenly no longer be so? Have we lost our concupiscence which we have been born with, thanks to Adam and Eve’s sin? Have we gained a miraculous ability to no longer be tempted? Is Original Sin merely situational?


Alice von Hildebrand speaks volumes concerning this in her article, saying this of downplaying of temptation and the like, “King David’s sins underscore how sexual desire can degenerate into what Dietrich calls “diabolical” temptations.  Some of the most atrocious perversions occur when the Devil takes over completely.  And one should never downplay, or minimize, the gravity of these evils. It is plainly false to claim that such abuses are “tragic,” rather than “filthy.””

Never, absolutely never would a saint say, “I am beyond and above temptations of the flesh”.  Never would a saint declare that, were he to see a naked woman,  his acquaintance with the Theology of the Body would  guarantee that he wouldn’t be subject to temptation. As Monsignor Knox points out, to believe a Christian, however faithful, can place himself in spiritual danger and never fall prey to it, is a common error among religious enthusiasts. The Beghards come to mind: Thus these enthusiasts “looked upon decency and modesty as marks of inward corruption, as the characters of a soul that was still under the dominion of the sensual, animal, and lascivious spirit, and that was not really united to the divine nature. This was the account they themselves gave of their promiscuous lodging, and the nudism practiced in their assemblies.” (Enthusiasm, 1950, p. 125) Such people, writes Msgr. Knox, believed that once “they yield their bodies to the Holy Ghost,” they ”would never sin again.”  (p. 567) In the presence of a living woman, he continues, the enthusiast, is “ trained to feel as though he were standing by a wall of stone. His eye must be rendered cold, his pulse must be kept calm.” (p. 573). But this is to commit the sin of presumption.

It must be remarked, however, that there are situations in which a priest can find himself in dangerous situation “without being endangered”: for example when a slightly clad prostitute  is struck by a car, and calls for help. It is the duty of a priest to respond to this call: God will give him the grace to concentrate exclusively on his mission,  bringing the dying person to God. Professional grace is also given to doctors: otherwise, no doctor should accept  operating on a very beautiful female body because, instead of operating on a sick patient, he would be preoccupied with sexual fantasies.”


And again, back to Genesis, Alice von Hildebrand notes ” we have been profoundly affected by original sin.

‘In paradise there was perfect harmony between Adam and Eve. There was no concupiscence.’

‘After original sin, not only were we separated from God and condemned to losing eternity. On top of it, every single human faculty was affected. Our intelligence was darkened. Our will was weakened. And all of a sudden, we had the dreadful experience of something called concupiscence.

Before the Fall, there was no inner temptation to impurity between Adam and Eve even though they were naked, After they sinned, the two started to look at one another with concupiscence.

The Fall had consequences that are ‘so serious’ that it was only the Redemption and the grace of God could remedy.

The fight against concupiscence is not an easy process. It is something that calls for holiness, which very few of us achieve. It is a sheer illusion to believe that by some sort of new technique we can find the solution to the problem.”


Sister Lucia of Fatima wrote a last book that she finished on the 25th of March 1997 , in this book, Lucia speaks about the customs of her country at the time of the apparitions and, naturally, she speaks about the clothing:

God did not give us clothing as an adornment in order to feed our human vanity and frivolity. No! He gave it to us as a protection against sin, as a sign of penance for sin committed, and a punishment for it, as well as to remind us of the laws of God which we are all obliged to obey.

Let us begin by examining how it is a sign of punishment and penance for sin committed, and a protection against temptation. The sacred text tells us that, after they had sinned, Adam and Eve tried to cover themselves with fig leaves; but God did not think this was enough because, Sacred Scripture tells us, He “made clothes out of skins for the man and his wife, and they put them on.” (Gen. 3, 21).

Besides being a protection against sin, the modest clothing with which we must cover ourselves is a distinguishing mark setting us apart in the stream of immorality and enabling us to be, for the world, true witnesses of Christ.

Our clothes, then, are to be a protection for the eyes and the heart, so that we will not allow ourselves to be caught in the temptations of the flesh, the devil and the world.


Unveiling what should remain hidden – Princeton research & the dignity of women.


The Catechism of the Catholic Church says, ” 2521 Purity requires modesty, an integral part of temperance. Modesty protects the intimate center of the person. It means refusing to unveil what should remain hidden. It is ordered to chastity to whose sensitivity it bears witness. It guides how one looks at others and behaves toward them in conformity with the dignity of persons and their solidarity.”

“Refusing to unveil what should remain hidden” – does that bring the Bikini to mind? Does the bikini hide anything?

“Guiding how one looks at others” – aside from the Theological problems of immodest dress, the secular has brought some interesting data concerning Bikinis. Lead researcher Susan Fiske, a psychologist at Princeton University recently published date in 2009, from brain scans revealing that when men are shown pictures of scantily clad women. Fiske noted, “some of the men studied showed no activity in the part of the brain that usually responds when a person ponders another’s intentions” and, in fact, ” the region of the brain associated with tool use lights up.” This means that these men see women “as sexually inviting, but they are not thinking about their minds,” Fiske said. “The lack of activation in this social cognition area is really odd, because it hardly ever happens.” – source –

Considering this automatic brain response, is it the Christian thing to do, whether we want make ourselves sexy or not, to dress this way? What would a Saint do?

And finally, the most important question: DOES THIS DO MORE HARM THAN GOOD TO THE DIGNITY TO WOMEN!? Uhm, yes. Yes it does.


The Church decries immodesty in dress, not only in thought, word & speech.


Pope Benedict XV (1914-1922) spoke of the deplorable immodesty in society, in his Encyclical to the Third Order St. Francis, “SACRA PROPEDIEM“, and encouraged especially the Tertiary Sisters, “by their dress and manner of wearing it, to be models of holy modesty for other ladies and young girls; that they be thoroughly convinced that the best way for them to be of use to the Church and to Society is to labor for the improvement of morals.”

He goes on to say, about society:

“ cannot sufficiently deplore the blindness of so many women of every age and condition; made foolish by desire to please, they do not see to what a degree the in decency of their clothing shocks every honest man, and offends God. Most of them would formerly have blushed for those fashions as for a grave fault against Christian modesty; now it does not suffice for them to exhibit them on the public thoroughfares…..

In what concerns specially the Tertiary Sisters, We ask of them by their dress and manner of wearing it, to be models of holy modesty for other ladies and young girls; that they be thoroughly convinced that the best way for them to be of use to the Church and to Society is to labor for the improvement of morals.”


In the Encyclical, “Ad Salutem“, April 30, 1930, Pope Pius XI stated that, ” Christian women can never be at too great pains to abolish immodest fashions of dress.”


Cardinal Sbarretti Sabine wrote in the Instruction to Diocesan Ordinaries on Indecent Women’s Fashion by the Sacred Congregation of the Council, January 12, 1930,

“Often when the occasion arose, the Pope disapproved and condemned severely indecent modes introduced everywhere today in the clothing habits of women and girls even Catholic; not only these modes gravely offend the dignity and feminine grace, but unfortunately cause temporal damage for the woman and, what is worse, his eternal loss and others.” 


Pope Pius XII condemned the idea that a sin such as wearing an immodest fashion is acceptable (i.e. not sinful) if it is customary at a given time and/or place. The principle of majority is no rule of conduct. (There are many evil practices that are widely accepted.)

“Yet, no matter how broad and changeable the relative morals of styles may be, there is always an absolute norm to be kept after having heard the admonition of conscience warning against approaching danger: style must never be a proximate occasion of sin.”

This was before the Bikini came out in 1946; Designer Louis Reard was unable to find a ‘respectable’ model for his costume and the job of displaying it went to 19-year-old Micheline Bernardini, a nude dancer from the Casino de Paris. According to research, it was banned in Catholic Countries such as Spain, Brazil & Portugal and deemed sinful by the Vatican.


Father of the Church St. Clement of Alexandria wrote,

“But by no manner of means are women to be allotted to uncover and exhibit any part of their person, lest both fall — the men by being excited to look, the women by drawing on themselves the eyes of the men. But always must we conduct ourselves as in the Lord’s presence.”

We know that the Catholic Church is not Sharia Law, and does not mean to cover women’s bodies from head to toe. Prudence and common sense is called for, and for Mass there are Modesty Guidelines.


St. Ambrose, a Doctor of the Church also spoke of Modesty, “All outside appearances reveal the condition of our mind; although our passions are hidden, they manifest themselves exteriorly… Modesty is suitable for all ages and for all classes of persons; for all times and places.” (De Officiis 1:18-19)


St. Alphonsus Liguori, Doctor of the Church writes in his book, “True Spouse of Jesus Christ“,

” Almost all our rebellious passions spring from unguarded looks; for, generally speaking, it is by the sight that all inordinate affections and desires are excited.

The devil first tempts us to look, then to desire, and afterwards to consent. St. Jerome says that Satan requires ‘only a beginning on our part.’ If we begin, he will complete our destruction.”

He also speaks of immodesty in his “Full Ascetical Works:

“A mortal sin of scandal committed by women that go with them shamelessly exposed breast, or that expose their members incorrectly.  Also by the actors in lewd comedies , and more par people who make up these comedies ; also by painters who paint obscene images or like, and by the heads of families who keep these photos in their homes . The father who speaks obscene or blasphemous saints in the presence of her children, and the mother who brings in her home to live among his girls young men who are in love with them Or fiancées or other suspects, are guilty of a more serious sin of scandal. Some mothers say, “I do not think any harm.” I reply that it is their duty to suspect; otherwise they shall give account to God for all the sins that can follow.”

Full ascetical works of St. Alphonsus  , vol 15, p. 399-400)


In Ven. Pope Pius XII , Allocution to the International Congress of High Fashion, (November 8, 1957, Petrópolis: Vozes, 1958, pp. 12-13.) He speaks thoroughly on fashions and the issues of immorality but also of prudence,

” The Church does not reprove or condemn a fashion when it is intended to be a fair decorum and adornment of the body. However, she never fails to warn the faithful against its easy deviations. This positive attitude of the Church derives from higher motives than the merely aesthetic and hedonist ends defended by a new paganism.

She knows and teaches that the human body, a masterpiece of God in the visible world at the service of the soul, was elevated by the Divine Redeemer to be a temple and instrument of the Holy Ghost, and must be respected as such.

Its beauty, therefore, should not be exalted as an end per se and still less as in a way that degrades that acquired dignity.

In point of fact, it is indisputable that, besides an honest fashion, there is another immoral one, which is a cause of disturbance – if not a stimulus to evil – to tranquil spirits.

It is always difficult to set out universal rules for the boundaries between honesty and immorality, since the moral evaluation of clothing relies on many factors. However, the alleged relativity of fashion regarding different times, places, persons and formations is not a valid reasont a priori not to issue a moral judgment about this or that fashion that transgresses the boundaries of a normal modesty.

Modesty, almost of itself, immediately sounds an alert to the presence of indecency and seduction, materialism and luxury – or even just frivolity. If the architects of the immoral fashions are skilfull in disguising perversion by mixing it with an ensemble of honest aesthetic elements, still more skilfull and quick is human sensuality to discover it and feel its fascination.

One who has sensitivity to discern the insidious character of evil should not be censured, as if this were an effect of an inner depravatity: on the contrary, such sensitivity is a sign of purity of spirit and vigilance over the passions.

No matter how broad and changeable the relative morals of fashion may be, when a danger is noticed,there is always an absolute norm to be maintained after having heard the admonition of conscience: fashion must never be a near occasion of sin.”


The Bikini and Nudity – a pagan practice?


Ven. Fulton Sheen spoke of the three Characteristics of the Diabolical, with “Love of nudity” being among them.

In a secular article titled, “Paganism: A Naked Rebellion: A look at paganism, its affinity for nudity, and how it differs from mainstream religions”, Brian Dunning, a science writer and author writes about the popularity of nudity in paganism:

“One popular allure of paganism is its embracing of free sex and public nudity. I’ve always believed that more people secretly appreciate free sex and public nudity than are willing to admit it. Wiccans have even institutionalized nudity, calling it ‘skyclad.’ “


The Jesuits in Brazil, 1549, had found the nudity of the Brazilian Indian women to be of the most trying native custom. But later, they found the newly-converted Christian women then wore clothing. (source)



Forms of the Bikini has been around for thousands of years: Archaeologist James Mellaart described the earliest bikini-like costume in Çatalhöyük, Anatolia in the Chalcolithic era (around 5600 BC), where a mother goddess is depicted astride two leopards wearing a costume somewhat like a bikini.

” In Rome, the first regular exercise was almost exclusively done for military preparedness. Agrippa wanted to extend athletic training to promote the practicality for both men and women. Thus, the two-piece garment became more of a daily item than a fashion statement.

In ‘Coronation of the Winner’, a mosaic on the floor of a Roman villa in Sicily that dates from the Diocletian period (286–305 AD), young women participate in weightlifting, discus throwing, and running ball games dressed in bikini-like garments. “ source


It was around the year 203 A.D. that Early Christian Martyr St. Perpetua was known to cover her legs as she was thrown to and fro in the lion dens – to cover her modesty! “When she was thrown into the air by a savage bull in the amphitheatre at Carthage, her first thought and action when she fell to the ground was to rearrange her dress to cover her thigh, because she was more concerned for modesty than pain.”

Pope Pius XII, Allocution to the Girls of Catholic Action, speaking of St. Perpetua

This speaks volumes of the difference between the Pagans and Christians idea of modesty in dress.


To finish, Michael D. O’Brien of LifeSiteNews wrote, ” The naked human body will always be for us something about which we cannot remain absolutely neutral—precisely because this ‘something’ is not a thing, and never will be, no matter how determined we are to make it so.” and he adds, ” In former generations there was a good deal of unhealthy fear of the body, a kind of wound caused by the errors of puritanical sects or the heresy of Jansenism.”


Therefore, we can conclude with confidence, that nudity, partial or total is not Christian, nor is it promoted by Karol Wojtyła , and even if it was, it is not of Church Teaching and can be deemed invalid and not characteristic of Catholic Teaching.




Modesty Starts with Purifcation of the Heart – Bishop John W. Yanta

Original Article

Cover photo

Diocese of Amarillo, June 18, 2006

June 18, 2006
Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

As the hot weather has descended on us and we are in summertime or vacation time, it is appropriate to speak of modesty of dress especially in participation in the Holy Eucharist, the receiving of Our Lord in Holy Communion, the privilege of being a lector of the Sunday Bible Readings, and serving as an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion.

This time of the year, I (and am sure many of you also) hear complaints about a lack of respect and reverence for the house of God, the sacredness of the Lord’s presence in the liturgy, and lack of respect for others and the lack of consciousness of the battle for purity in which the opposite sex finds itself even while attending Sunday Mass.

Immodesty in dress is governed by two citations from God’s Law:

1) The Ninth Commandment: “You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife” (Exodus 20:17);
2) Jesus said: “Everyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28).

To live our daily Faith as children of God (baptism), disciples of Jesus, and temples of the Holy Spirit, we are faced with moral choices constantly, many times a day. Conscience can either make a right judgment in accordance with reason and the divine law, or on the contrary, an erroneous judgment that departs from them (CCC: Catechism of the Catholic Church#1799).

Dressing or putting on one’s clothes is a moral act and wearing them is a moral act. There are different appropriate modes of dress for different occasions, e.g. in the privacy of our home, with our spouse only or with our children in our home, at work or school, in mixed company, at the lake or swimming pool, grocery shopping, at church, etc.

The four cardinal virtues are in play here (Wisdom 8:5-7). The wise person is guided by wisdom, the highest of riches that guides us to be prudent (doing and saying the right thing), justice (respects the dignity of other persons), fortitude (courage to go against popular, suggestive, provocative styles), and temperance (insures mastery over sensual temptations as occasions of sin). You can read more about these four cardinal virtues that play a pivotal role in our lives (CCC 1803-1809).

Our condition – all of us are beset with concupiscence. Concupiscence or covetousness: “Human appetites or desires that are disordered due to the temporal consequences of original sin, which remain even after Baptism and which produce inclination to sin” (CCC, Glossary).

St. John identifies and distinguishes the three kinds of inclinations of all human beings: “For all that is in the world, sensual lust, enticement for the eyes, and a pretentious life, is not from the Father but is from the world” (1 John 2:16).

The road to modesty starts with the purification of the heart: “Out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, fornication…” (Matthew 15:19). Bible beginners should be encouraged to get the basic overview of Jesus’ teaching by starting with the beatitudes in Matt. 5 in Jesus’ first sermon: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matt. 5:8). Part of the essence of that teaching is a wholesome, orthodox, first hand appreciation of God’s plan for our sexuality – its sacredness, its fulfillment in marriage, its place in family, Church, and world.

The Catechism speaks next, after the purification of the heart, about “the battle for purity”. We, the baptized and the forgiven in the Sacrament of Penance/Reconciliation struggle against concupiscence of the flesh and disordered desires (CCC 2520).

“Purity requires modesty, an integral part of temperance. Modesty protects the intimate center of the person. It means refusing to unveil what should remain hidden (CCC 2521).

“Modesty is decency. It inspires one’s choice of clothing. It is discreet (CCC 2522).

“There is a modesty of the feelings as well as of the body. It protests, for example, against the voyeuristic explorations of the human body in certain advertisements, or against the solicitations of certain media that go too far in the exhibition of intimate things. Modesty inspires a way of life which makes it possible to resist the allurements of fashion and the pressures of prevailing ideologies (CCC2523).

“Teaching modesty to children and adolescents means awakening in them respect for the human person (CCC 2524).

“Christian purity requires a purification of the social climate. It requires of the communications media that their presentations show concern for respect and restraint (CCC 2525).

“So-called moral permissiveness rests on an erroneous conception of human freedom; the necessary precondition for the development of true freedom is to let oneself be educated in the moral law. Those in charge of education can reasonably be expected to give young people instruction respectful of the truth, the qualities of the heart, and the moral and spiritual dignity of man” (CCC 2526).

Yes, we can help the devil in many ways including the way we dress. In the Act of Contrition we promise “to avoid the near occasion of sin”. St. Paul writes about “provoking another” (Gal. 5:26).

The key to all modesty is rooted in our mother and daddy who model modesty for their children, i.e. a strong, but tender St. Joseph-like husband and father who is blessed with a wonderful wife and mother for their children. “Happy the husband of a good wife…choicest of his blessings is a modest wife, priceless her chaste person” (Sirach 26: 1, 15).

When the community of believers comes together for the Eucharist (Mass) let no one be a distraction from Jesus or provide temptation (an occasion of sin) to another because of our manner of dress.

Lectors, Extraordinary Eucharistic Ministers, and Hospitality Ministers should model modesty of dress for the parish as parents do in the family, the domestic church.

May we cherish and bear witness to the virtues of prudence, temperance, chastity, and modesty for the sake of our own salvation and of others. St. Mary and St. Joseph, St. Ann and St. Joachim, parents and grandparents of their son and grandson, Jesus, intercede for us!

Sincerely in Christ,

Most Rev. John W. Yanta
Bishop of Amarillo


by Bishop John W. Yanta

Basics of modesty in dress

From the Catechism

“There are differences between male and female: physical, emotional, and spiritual differences. These differences result, by God’s plan, in a beautiful complementarity oriented toward the goods of marriage and the flourishing of family life” (CCC 2333).

“Men and women are equal but not the same obiously. There is equal personal dignity. Each of the two sexes is an image of the power and tenderness of God” (CCC 2334-5).

“The virtue of chastity comes under the cardinal virtue of temperance, which seeks to permeate the passions and appetites of the senses with reason” (CCC 2341).

“Christ is the model of chastity. Every baptized person is called to lead a chaste life, each according to his particular state of life” (CCC 2394).

“Temperance: The cardinal moral virtue that moderates the attraction of pleasure and provides balance in the use of created goods. It ensures the mastery of the will over instinct, and keeps natural desires within proper limits” (CCC Glossary).

From the Dictionary

Modesty: “Propriety in dress, speech or conduct” (Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate p.798).

Dress, Apparel, Clothing: “Covering, adornment, or appearance appropriate or peculiar to a particular time” (Webster’s p.380).

Propriety: “Fear of offending against conventional rules of behavior esp. between the sexes; the customs and manners of polite society” (Webster’s p.997).

Compendium of the Catechism

“Purity requires modesty which, while protecting the intimate center of the person, expresses the sensitivity of chastity. It guides how one looks at others and behaves toward them in conformity with the dignity of persons and their communion. Purity frees one from wide-spread eroticism and avoids those things which foster morbid curiosity. Purity also requires a purification of the social climate by means of a constant struggle against moral permissiveness which is founded on an erroneous concept of human freedom” (Compendium of the Catechism 530).

On Reverence

“The Church, the house of God, is… the privileged place of the real presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament” (CCC 2691).

Excerpts from a Homily Given by Fr. Dominic Mary, MFVA on EWTN Televised Mass (6-14-05)

“Included in the virtue of modesty is not only humility, but also in how one externally dresses (cf. John Hardon, Modern Catholic Dictionary, p. 356). But many today have rejected to practice this virtue so desperately needed in our current culture. Even to the most casual observer, immodesty in dress is seen as common place in our Churches.

We have got to do all we can to help people to wake up and realize they are dressing way too immodestly, especially when it comes to entering a Church to worship God. We must be like the Vatican — just one example (cf., www. – When there are heat waves in Rome the Vatican dress police, neatly dressed in pants, shirts and ties, turn back all tourists in shorts and bare shoulders trying to get into St. Peter’s Basilica. I’ve seen them do this with my own eyes. These immodestly dressed people have to go and buy paper pants and shirts from vendors eagerly waiting outside.

“Many people come to Church dressed like they are ready to go to the beach. You should not come to Church dressed in shorts, miniskirts, swimsuits, bikinis, tank-tops, bare shoulders, low cut dresses, very tight fitting clothing, etc. “We must return to having a holy fear for God and for His true Presence in the Eucharist and for being in His house. How can we expect to grow in the spiritual life if we are dressed like we don’t care? How dare we approach the Holy Eucharist dressed like we are going to the beach.

“When a person dresses immodestly he or she can become an occasion of sin for other people. And this is the fashion for today. Each year it seems that the latest fashion is to see how little clothing one can wear and how much of one’s body can be shown. And what flesh is not shown is revealed by extremely tight clothing.

“To knowingly and intentionally dress like this is sinful, and can be even seriously sinful, because one can become a temptation to sin for other people. We are all weak and can easily fall into many sins of impurity by someone else’s immodesty.

“Before we go out or buy new clothes we should do a modesty check”.

Fr. Hathaway, FSSP on Modesty of Dress at Holy Mass

“We will speak on dress for women and men at the Holy Mass… especially on Sunday.

“But let me preface that I did not wake up this morning thinking, “I wonder how I can ruin their day?” I do not want to make you mad, but only advance your salvation. Our dress can be a touchy topic… but all of us should want to correct errors should they exist.

“First, we should give a definition. Modesty in dress is the virtue which regulates the type of clothing and the manner of its wearing so that it conforms to the purposes by which clothing is worn. Now the purpose of clothing is to protect against the weather, to reveal status or position or formality in society, and to preserve decency.

“Now how should women dress at Holy Mass?

“Indecency of women’s dress at the Holy Sacrifice is not a new thing. In 1921, Pope Benedict XV (Sacra propediem) lamented the indecent dress of women at Holy Mass this way: ‘…one cannot sufficiently deplore the blindness of so many women of every age and condition; made foolish by a desire to please, they do not see to what degree the indecency of the clothing shocks every honest man, and offends God.

“Most of them would formerly have blushed for those toiletries as for a grave fault against Christian modesty; now it does not suffice for them to exhibit them on public thoroughfares; they do not fear to cross the threshold of the churches, to assist at the holy sacrifice of the Mass, and even to bear the seductive food of shameful passions to the Eucharistic Table where one receives the heavenly author of purity.

“Now how should a man dress at the Holy Sacrifice?

“If women exceed the virtue, it is common for men to come up short in practicing the virtue of modesty in dress. Men, we are inclined to be careless or slovenly about what we wear… (even at Holy Mass); and young men are prone to deliberately neglect their dress so as to attract attention.

“At Holy Mass, men should wear a coat and tie; or, at least, a collared shirt and nice slacks.

“Young men must be taught that baggy pants are not appropriate; that their hair be nicely cut and combed; that shirts be clean and without slogans or cross bones or a dragon,… or anything which may give Satan the appearance of being honored”.

On Galveston-Houston Archdiocese Website

“The Norms for the Distribution and Reception of Communion Under Both Kinds refers to reverent attire (cf. #29) but does not describe what is considered reverent. Does the Diocese of Galveston-Houston have guidelines describing what is considered appropriate attire for liturgical ministers?”

“Extraordinary Ministers should be appropriately dressed when distributing Communion during the liturgy. On several occasions I have directed that men, including young men, must wear a coat, and women modest dresses or pant suits. This directive is to be observed even for Youth Masses.”

The Liturgical Commission of the Archdiocese of Brisbane, Australia

“I am often asked about the dress requirements for people who perform the roles of readers and special ministers of communion in a parish.

“This usually comes about because complaints have been made about the way these liturgical ministers present themselves at Mass.

“A good place to begin tackling this question is to revisit the meaning of the word ‘ministry’. Readers and special ministers serve the liturgy and the gathered assembly by proclaiming the Word of God and helping in the distribution of the sacred elements. Their manner of dress should reflect the importance and dignity of the ministry in which they serve. “The term ‘Sunday best’ is sometimes used to describe what is acceptable. This does not mean expensive or fancy, but it does mean clothing that is neat, clean and reasonably modest. Outlandish or clattering jewelry, tee shirts with slogans or insignia, jogging outfits or see-through clothing are probably universally considered inappropriate.

“Liturgical ministers become channels of God’s presence when they carry out their ministry. Anything that blocks that channel – whether gesture, demeanor or clothing – is out of place. If a reader’s dress attracts the attention of the assembly rather than what he or she is proclaiming, or if a communion minister’s outfit prevents communicants focusing on receiving the Body and Blood of Christ, then something is clearly amiss”.

Ministers of Hospitality (Archdioces of Brisbane, Australia).

“Because all liturgical ministers, by their demeanor and attitude, send a message about the importance of what is taking place, it is helpful if they are attired in their ‘Sunday best’. “

In some parishes, ministers wear a uniform blazer for visibility so that they can be identified immediately in case of an emergency. In either case, a nametag identifying a person as a minister of hospitality would be helpful.

Diocese of Trenton, NJ

“Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion should dress in secular clothing that is modest, clean, and appropriate for worship.

“If the local parish decides to use special dress for its Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, it must be distinctive and not confused with the dress of a priest or deacon.”

Diocese of Amarillo | Post Office Box 5644 | Amarillo, TX

This item 7056 digitally provided courtesy of

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USCCB – On Preparing to Receive Christ Worthily in the Eucharist

original french article

Cover photo

In July, 1925, Mgr Besson bishop of Lausanne, ordered to read the following letter at all Masses in churches and chapels of the diocese on 19 or 26 July [1925]

Indecency modes, especially in the city, took scandalous proportions. The faithful, and especially mothers, should not forget that there has yet, in this area as in others, the rules of Christian modesty which no one can under any circumstances, be exempt. We need the moral level has fallen well down so that the woman is resigned to the toilet outrageous that the whims of a perverted world make him wear. We need the sense of propriety was greatly weakened so that we no longer know it is incorrect to leave home before he finished dressing. We are disgusted to see that such aberrations occur not only in the people of bad life that inspired them, but among Christian, even among those who should be more, because of their social position, set a good example. We are sorry to think that the light of so many mothers never compromises the soul of the poor children, especially girls poor, by accustoming them to certain ways of dressing that are losing their sense of modesty. Against such a revival of paganism, we have the grave duty to react, and it is the Christian spirit of the faithful that we use. Whatever vain pretexts that you can invoke, Ladies and Ladies, we do not assert that current methods are often a source of fear for unconscious sin that accept and an occasion of sin for those they scandalize. In the day when God will ask account and evil you have done and the evil you have done to make it not judge you or from your fashion magazine, or from the false principles of all materialized hygiene nor after the alleged worldly propriety, but according to the holy Gospel. Now the Divine Master said, “Woe to him who is a cause of sandal! “Heaven and earth will pass away; this word will not pass.


The Catholic Tunisia , August 30, 1925, p. 681 -682.

Pope Pius XII – The Christian concept of fashion

The female youth of Italian Catholic Action has undertaken in 1940, in Italy, a “crusade of purity” against the immorality of fashion, the Holy Father congratulated the delegation of 3,000 members and reminded them that Christian principles should govern the feminine attire and attitude that must have Christian girls in front of immorality.

Our joy is intense, dear daughters, bless you again in the holy “crusade of purity” that you have so opportunely business and you courageously continue under the powerful protection of the Virgin most pure, Mary Immaculate.

The “crusade of purity” …

The worthy and happy crusade name you have chosen and taxed at your beautiful big campaign features a brilliant cross, salvation beacon for the world, and evokes the glorious historical memories of the Crusades of the Christian peoples, the holy expeditions and battles under the sacred flags for the conquest of the holy places and to defend Catholic countries against invasions and threats of unbelievers. You also hear defend a Catholic area, the land of purity, there conquer and keep those that read like a cloud charged with the aroma of Christ forth fragrance in families, gatherings of friends, streets, assemblies, performances, public and private entertainment.

This is a crusade against the enemies of Catholic morality, against the perils create calmly current morality of peoples powerful waves of immorality that lead through the streets of the world and invade all social classes.

… made necessary by the current immorality

Today such a danger exists everywhere, the Church is not only to tell.

Even among foreign men to the Christian faith, the most far-sighted and more concerned with the public good in denouncing the high spirits terrible threats to the social order and the future of nations.

These excitations to uncleanness that multiply currently poisoning the roots of life, while the brake of evil is further weakened by the indulgence, we would call a better negation of part of more wider public consciousness that shows blind in front of the most reprehensible moral disorders.

This immorality is it more today than other previous eras? It might be unwise to assert, in any case, this is an idle question. Already the author of Ecclesiastes wrote this warning: “Do not say, how is it that the former days were better than these? For such a question is silly. All things are difficult. What has been is what will be, and what is done is what will be done; and there is nothing new under the sun “(Qoheleth 7.10; Qoheleth 1: 8-9).

The life of man on earth – even in Christian centuries – is always a battle. We need to save our souls and those of our brethren in our time, and now the danger is certainly bigger because the devices that excite passions have extraordinarily increased, while at other times they were confined in circles restricted.

The progress of the press, cheap books like luxury books, photographs, illustrations, art prints of all kinds and of all colors and all costs, cinemas, variety shows and a hundred other ways misleading secrets and spread the attractions of evil, and put them in the hands of all, great and small, women and girls.

Is there not a way that spreads to everyone, bold and unbecoming to a young girl raised in a Christian? The movie does not he do attend performances that once took refuge in enclosures where they would never have dared set foot?

In the face of these dangers, the government has taken several countries of legislative or administrative measures to stem the flood of immorality. But in the area of customs, the external action of the authorities, even the most powerful, praiseworthy, useful and necessary as it is, will never succeed in getting these alone sincere and wholesome fruits that heal the souls on which must operate a more powerful force.

… in many areas.

The Church needs to work on souls, and service of Catholic Action, your action, in unity and under the direction of the ecclesiastical hierarchy, fighting the perils of misconduct in all areas that are open to you: in the fashion, apparel and clothing, hygiene and sport, in the field of social relations and entertainment.

Your weapons are your word and your example, your kindness and your support, weapons as evidenced from others and make possible and commendable behavior that honors you and honors your business.

We do not we propose to retrace here the sad picture too known disorders that present themselves to you: clothes so tight or as they seem made for rather put more into relief what they should veil; sports parts that unfold under conditions of clothes, exhibition and camaraderie, irreconcilable with the modesty even less demanding; dances, shows, interviews, readings, artwork, ornaments, where the desire of entertainment and fun accumulates the most serious dangers.

Instead, we wish to remember and put before you the principles of the Catholic faith in these matters, should inform your judgment, guide your conduct and your not, inspire and support your spiritual struggle.

Purity does caution that the fight against temptations

For it is a struggle it is.

The purity of the living souls of supernatural grace is preserved or never retain without a fight.

Blessed are you have received in your families, at the dawn of your life, from the cradle, with baptism, a higher life, the divine life. unconscious children a great gift and a great happiness, then you have not had to fight – as more mature souls less fortunate than you – to conquer such a high good; but you yourselves do not retain it without struggle.

If the purifying and sanctifying grace that has reconciled with God as daughters of adoption and heirs of heaven in your soul has erased the original sin, it has nonetheless left you sad legacy of Adam, who is this internal imbalance, the fight felt that even the great apostle Paul who, while taking delight in the law of God after the inward man, saw its members another law of sin (Romans 7.22 to 23), law passions and disorderly inclinations, which never allow themselves to fully tame, and with which, allied to the flesh and the world conspires an angel of Satan, the temptations molest souls.

This is the war that book between spirit and flesh so openly attested by Divine Revelation that with the exception of the Blessed Virgin, it is futile to imagine a life that can be both pure and lived without vigilance and without a fight.

Give not believe in the illusion of your soul insensible to excitations, invincible to the attractions and dangers. It is true that the habit often succeeds in making mind less susceptible to such impressions, especially when it is hijacked, absorbed in its forces by exercising a higher professional or intellectual activity. But imagine that all souls, so prone to passions can get unresponsive to stimuli caused by the images, colorful attractions of pleasure, stir and hold on the attention they would assume and believe that the malignant complicity these perilous instigations found in the instincts of the fallen human nature and disorderly can never stop or decrease.

… that the action of the “crusade” aims to support.

This inevitable fight, you will accept courageously and Christian.

The purpose of your joint action can not be to remove it completely, but it should aim to get that necessary spiritual battle is not made for more difficult and perilous souls by external circumstances, the atmosphere in which hearts who suffer the assaults must support and continue.

On the battlefields of the Church, or compete virtue and vice, you will always meet some characters whom God gave a fearless temper heroic. Supported by grace, they will leave no shake or hit by no pulse; they know openly maintained without corruption and pure amidst the filth around them, like a leaven of good fermentation and regeneration for the many souls – redeemed, too, by the blood of Christ – which mass around them.

Therefore, the purpose of your struggle is that Christian purity, salvation condition for souls becomes less difficult for all people of goodwill, so that the temptations born of external contingencies, do not exceed the limits of this resistance that ‘with the grace of God, poor force of many souls is able to oppose.

To achieve resolutions as holy and righteous as it is necessary to act on the environment and the flow of ideas that can influence effectively enough common action, so that individual and isolated action has limited or no effectiveness. If Unity makes strength, only a compact group and as many as possible of spirits resolved Christians and without fear, know where their conscience speaks and demands, shake off the yoke of some social, freedom from tyranny stronger today than ever, modes of all kinds, clothing patterns, patterns in the customs and social relationships.

Christian fashion design.

The method has, in itself, nothing bad.

It arises spontaneously from human sociability, following the impulse which inclines to be in harmony with others and with the habits of people among which were live.

God does not ask you to live out your time to stay indifferent to the demands of fashion as to make yourself ridiculous by dressing against taste and common uses of your contemporary, and never worry about it they like.

Thus the angelic St. Thomas Aquinas, he says that in external things of which man uses, there is no vice but the vice comes from the man who uses them immoderately compared to the uses of those with whom he lives, distinguishing itself in a strange way with the other, or by using things in a manner consistent or inconsistent with the established custom, but with a disordered sense, superabundance superbly decorated clothes, or worn with complacency or searched with exaggerated solicitude, while modesty and simplicity suffice to meet the decorum required ( Summa theologica , II has II ae , q. 169, art. 1, 2).

The same holy doctor finally adds that there meritorious act of virtue in feminine adornment when it conforms to the use, according to the state of the person and a good intention. When women wear decent ornaments in keeping with their status and dignity when they follow in this measure with the customs of their country, then adorn themselves is also an act of the virtue of moderation that prints a measured approach , attitude, clothing and all the outer movements (St. Thomas Aquinas, Expositio in Isaiam prophetam , ch. III, in fine ).

Attitude control that girls

In the attitude to adopt towards fashion, under the stars balance.

What God asks you is to remember always that fashion is not and can not be the supreme rule of your conduct, that above fashion and its requirements, there are higher and imperious laws , upper and immutable principles which in any case can not be sacrificed at the discretion of pleasure or caprice, and before whom the idol of fashion should know lowering his omnipotence fugitive.

These principles were proclaimed by God through the Church, by the saints and holy, by reason and Christian morality. These are signals that mark the limits beyond which do not flower lilies and roses, where purity, modesty, dignity and honor women not exhale their perfume, but where and reign breath unhealthy air lightness, ambiguous language, daring vanity, conceit in the heart as well as in clothing.

These are the principles that St. Thomas Aquinas states and recalls affecting the toilet of women ( Summa Theologica , II has II ae , q. 169, Art. 2), indicating what should be the order of our charity and our conditions: the good of our soul outweighs that of our body, and we must prefer to the advantage of our own bodies the good of the soul of our neighbor ( Ibid. , Q 26, s. 4-5. ).

So do not you see that there is a limit that no form of fashion can help overcome a limit beyond which fashion is a source of ruin for the soul of the woman and the ‘soul of another?

… who need to know the temptations they may cause.

Some girls may say that so determined to dress is more convenient and also more hygienic; but if it becomes for the salvation of the soul and a serious threat next, she certainly is not hygienic for your mind and it is your duty to give it up.

The desire to save their souls made heroic martyrs, such as Agnes and Cecilia, amid torments and lacerations their virginal body. You, sisters in faith in Christ’s love and esteem of virtue, you would not find in your heart the courage and strength to sacrifice a bit of well-being, a physical advantage, if we want to keep healthy and pure life of your souls?

If, for simple personal enjoyment, no one has the right to endanger the personal lives of others, is not it even less possible to compromise the salvation, so the very life of their souls?

If, as some claim, a bold fashion produces no bad impression on them, that they know the impression that others are feeling? Which insures that the others do not pull the wrong incentives?

You do not know the background of human frailty nor what corrupted blood runs off the wounds left in human nature by Adam’s sin with ignorance in intelligence, malice in the will, greed and fun weakness in respect of the property difficult in the passions of the senses to the point that man, soft as wax for evil, “sees what is best and approval, and attaches the worst” ( see Ovid, Metamorphoses 7: 20-21), because of the weight that always, like lead, leads to the bottom.

Oh ! how precisely it was observed that if some Christian suspected temptations and falls in others they cause by their dress and familiarities which, in their light, they give so little importance, they épouvanteraient their responsibility !

Advice for Christian mothers …

What we do not hesitate to add: O Christian mothers, if you knew what a future of anxieties and internal dangers, harm repressed doubts, bad contained shames you prepare your son and your daughters, by accustoming them imprudently living barely covered, making them lose the delicate sense of modesty, you blush of yourselves and you redouteriez shame you made to yourselves and the damage you cause to the children that heaven you entrusted to raise a Christian.

And what we say to mothers, we repeat many of believing women and even pious who, by agreeing to attend such bold fashion, are falling by their example the last hesitations that hold a lot of sisters away from this fashion which will become for them a source of spiritual ruin.

As long as certain provocative toilets remain the dubious notoriety and women of privilege as a sign that makes them recognize, we do not dare to adopt for himself. But when these toilets appear worn by people above all suspicion, we do not hesitate to go with the flow, a current that may cause the worst falls.

… and members of the “crusade.”

If he agrees that all Christian women have the courage to get in front of such serious moral responsibilities, you, dear girls, because of this strong feeling that you tapped into your faith and candor of virtue, you have glory of you being united paladines purity, in your holy crusade.

Isolated, your boldness would be of little value in opposing the invasion of the evil that surrounds you; closely united and framed, you will be strong enough and powerful legion to impose respect for the rights of Christian modesty.

Your sense of young Catholics, meaning refined and supported by the wisdom of faith and conscious practice of a solidly pious life, you will see and discern, in the light of the Spirit of God, with the help of his grace obtained through prayer and also with the help of advice requested those that Jesus Christ has placed as guides and teachers at your side, which, in the modes in the uses and the social conventions that come to you, fully acceptable, which is only tolerable, which is totally unacceptable.

The clear knowledge and deeply felt your job make you brave and loyal in mutual support, to accomplish it without hesitation, but with a resolution worthy of your youthful ardor.

Belle is the virtue of purity and smooth grace that shines not only in fact but also in speech that never oversteps the bounds of propriety and politeness and seasoning love the advice and warning . The chaste generation is also bursting with grace before God and before men.

In the days of trial, suffering, sacrifice and austere duties which we are, it is not afraid to go up all his power at the height of the serious obligations under Providence.

Today, dear daughters, the crusade for you is not in the sword, blood or martyrdom, but in the example, speech and exhortation. Against your energies and your designs stands, as a key enemy, the demon of impurity and licentiousness.

Raise your head high to heaven, where Christ and the Immaculate Virgin, his Mother, watching you. Be strong and unyielding in fulfilling your duty as Christians. Take the defense of the purity walking against corruption which softens youth. Give to your beloved country the service of inestimable value by working and cooperating effectively to spread in souls more purity and innocence; there, you will make them more cautious, more vigilant, straighter, stronger, more generous.

Grace, the Queen of Angels, winner of the insidious snake, all pure, all of high purity, supports and directs your efforts in this crusade that you inspired!

It bless your banner and crown candid trophies of your wins!

We plead in this direction, for the name of her divine Son We grant you with all my heart the Apostolic Blessing to you and to all those who have joined and will join you in your courageous campaign.


Pius XII, Address to young girls of Catholic Action of Rome, members of the crusade of purity , May 22, 1941.

URL source :

Pope Pius XII – Fashion Must Never Be an Occasion of Sin

The Church does not reprove or condemn a fashion when it is intended to be a fair decorum and adornment of the body. However, she never fails to warn the faithful against its easy deviations. This positive attitude of the Church derives from higher motives than the merely aesthetic and hedonist ends defended by a new paganism.

She knows and teaches that the human body, a masterpiece of God in the visible world at the service of the soul, was elevated by the Divine Redeemer to be a temple and instrument of the Holy Ghost, and must be respected as such.

Its beauty, therefore, should not be exalted as an end per se and still less as in a way that degrades that acquired dignity.

In point of fact, it is indisputable that, besides an honest fashion, there is another immoral one, which is a cause of disturbance – if not a stimulus to evil – to tranquil spirits.

It is always difficult to set out universal rules for the boundaries between honesty and immorality, since the moral evaluation of clothing relies on many factors. However, the alleged relativity of fashion regarding different times, places, persons and formations is not a valid reasont a priori not to issue a moral judgment about this or that fashion that transgresses the boundaries of a normal modesty.

Modesty, almost of itself, immediately sounds an alert to the presence of indecency and seduction, materialism and luxury – or even just frivolity. If the architects of the immoral fashions are skilfull in disguising perversion by mixing it with an ensemble of honest aesthetic elements, still more skilfull and quick is human sensuality to discover it and feel its fascination.

One who has sensitivity to discern the insidious character of evil should not be censured, as if this were an effect of an inner depravatity: on the contrary, such sensitivity is a sign of purity of spirit and vigilance over the passions.

No matter how broad and changeable the relative morals of fashion may be, when a danger is noticed,there is always an absolute norm to be maintained after having heard the admonition of conscience: fashion must never be a near occasion of sin.

REFERENCE: Pius XII, Allocution to the International Congress of High Fashion,
November 8, 1957, Petrópolis: Vozes, 1958, pp. 12-13.

Pope Pius XII – Nudity in sport, neither necessary nor appropriate

A Scientific Congress of Sport and Physical Education was held in Rome, 800 participants. 

Receiving them in his palace in Castel Gandolfo, the Holy Father spoke as follows:

(…) The Revelation thus teaches us about the body of the man of sublime truths, that the natural sciences and art are unable to discover for themselves, truths that give the body a new value and a higher dignity and therefore a higher motive to earn respect.

Sport and Gymnastics certainly have nothing to fear from these religious and moral principles properly applied; must not excluding some forms that are in opposition with respect told now.

Sound doctrine teaches to respect the body, but not in the estimate more than is fair. The principle is this: body care, effect of increase of the body, yes; body worship, deification of the body, not any more than the deification of race and blood with their somatic presuppositions or their components.

The body does not occupy humans first place; nor the earthly and mortal body, as it exists now, not the glorified body and spiritualized, as it will be one day. This is not the body, taken from the slime of the earth, belongs the primacy in the human compound, but in the spirit, the spirit soul.

No less important is also another fundamental rule contained in a passage of Scripture. Indeed, we read in the letter of St. Paul to the Romans: “I see in my members another law which opposes the law of my mind and makes me a slave to the law of sin which is in my members” ( Roman 7, 23).

One could describe more vividly the daily drama that is woven human life. The instincts and forces of the body are felt, and, stifling the voice of reason, outweigh the energy of goodwill since the day their full subordination to the spirit was lost by original sin.

In the use and intensive exercise the body must reflect this fact. Also there is a gym and a sport which, by their austerity, contribute to curb the instincts, and there are other forms of sport that awaken them, either by violent force, either by the seductions of sensuality .

From the aesthetic point of view also, for the pleasure of beauty, the admiration of rhythm in dance and gymnastics, instinct can insinuate its venom in souls.

He further there in sports and gymnastics, in rhythmic exercises and dance, some nudism is neither necessary nor appropriate. It is not without reason that a few decades an observer completely impartial had to admit: “What in this area interested in the mass, it is not the beauty of nudity, but the nakedness of beauty “. In such a way to practice gymnastics and sports, religious and moral sense vetoes.

In a word, sport and gymnastics should not control and dominate, but to serve and help. It is their function, and that’s where they find their justification. (…)


Pius XII, Address to physical education teachers , November 8, 1952, in documents of Pope Pius XII, 1952, p. 516-517.

Or cf. Source URL :

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.

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