USCCB – On Preparing to Receive Christ Worthily in the Eucharist

“Happy are Those Called to His Supper”: On Preparing to Receive Christ Worthily in the Eucharist

Read the entire statement online here. 

“• Appropriate attire
We should also come to the sacred liturgy appropriately dressed. As Christians we
should dress in a modest manner, wearing clothes that reflect our reverence for God
and that manifest our respect for the dignity of the liturgy and for one another.”

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.

Reference

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

URL source : http://www.clerus.org/bibliaclerusonline/pt/cj5.htm#cm.

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. (…)

Reference

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

Or cf. Source URL : http://www.clerus.org/bibliaclerusonline/pt/csb.htm#i4.

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.

Reference

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

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

Letter on immodesty of fashion – by mandate of Pope Pius XII

Letter on immodesty of fashion,   written by Cardinal Ciriaci, Prefect of the SC of the Council addressed 15 August 1954 to bishops around the world, in the name and by mandate of Pope Pius XII

Everyone knows that during the summer especially , we see here and there, things that can not fail to offend the eyes and souls of those who do not take second place or do not completely despise Christian virtue and human decency. Not only on the beaches or in the resorts , but almost everywhere , even in the streets of towns and villages, in private and public places , and often almost in temples consecrated to God , spreads unworthy and unseemly fashion apparel … in particular, women’s clothing are sometimes as they seem to favor rather immorality that modesty .

It has come to the point that everything that happens or is exhibited in private life or in public, actually depravity or of dishonesty , is narrated brazenly in the newspapers, publications and magazines of all kinds ; while in the countless theaters that are exposed for all to see on the screen; so that not only the weak and carefree youth, but middle age itself are deeply impressed by these immoral shows , bad for healthy minds. WHAT HURTS ARISING THEREFROM, TO WHAT THEY EXHIBIT HAZARDS, IT IS IN PERSON DOES RENDE ACCOUNT “.

Having served as nuncio to Portugal, as per was the custom, Pope Pius XII created him Cardinal-Priest of Santa Prassede in the consistory of 12 January 1953. Ciriaci was made Prefect of the Sacred Congregation of the Council on 20 March 1954, and President of the Pontifical Commission for the Interpretation of the Code of Canon Law on 31 May 1955.

It’s Not All About Skin: Modesty and Our Desire to be Seen – MADDY BERNERO

by MADDY BERNERO – see original article here

You want to be noticed…

“That backless dress is gonna look really good at a summer pool party.”

“This string, fringe top bikini is sexy. Beach week here I come!”

“These high waisted, jean cutoffs look perfect. I knew all those squats were worth it.”

“I need a black lace bandeau to go under my sheer cream tank top. Everything’s covered right?”

“As long as most of my stomach is covered, we are good.”

These are the thoughts of young women everywhere as we battle a culture that tells us skin is sexy and you can never show too much of it. Mottos like “flaunt it if you’ve got it,” allow our perceptions of our bodies to define our dignity and worth. Sex appeal reigns supreme and dictates our fashion choices. “Dress to impress,” has taken on an entirely different meaning.

I think every one of us has experienced walking into the mall, searching through the racks of shorts and finding that they have been cut two inches shorter than last year. We look through the summer dresses and see the cut-outs in the back have grown larger. The crop tops are shorter, the shirts are more sheer, and the bikinis are stringier.

Is this your normal? Are these the thoughts and experiences you deal with on a daily basis, at school? With your friends? Do you wonder why the clothes described above are not modest? And why modesty is such a big deal? What is modesty really? And what is the point?

You are in the middle of the struggle…

Now, some of you may be saying:

“Who is this woman and who gave her the authority to make these calls?”
“Why does she get to judge me, based on what I am wearing? She doesn’t know my life! Finding modest clothes can be IMPOSSIBLE!”

First, I am not here to judge you. I know the struggle is real! I feel your pain.

I am highly qualified to grumble with you ladies, because I can whine with the best of them. As a 5’ 10” woman with curvy hips and legs that seem to go on for a mile, finding a skirt or dress that hits close to my knees can be more challenging than running a marathon – and I have run two marathons.

In the middle of the search, we can be tempted to give up and give into thoughts of, “these booty shorts are fine, everyone else wears them. I will blend in,” or “this bandeau, under a sheer tank top is not scandalous, because it is summer and it’s what everyone is wearing,” or “I’m only wearing this bikini to beach week because I need to work on my tan lines.”

When we start to sacrifice modesty for trends or tan lines, we have lost sight of the bigger picture. I want to offer you a new way of looking at modesty.

You live in a broken world…

We live in a pornified culture. An over-sexualized culture reliant on images and immediate gratification. Our society gives us a distorted view of our bodies and their purpose. We tend to look at our body with an extreme lens, either hating it for it’s flaws and imperfections or worshiping and idolizing it, neither of which are healthy or holy. This distorted view of the body is the result of original sin.

The creation story in Genesis helps us understand the true beauty and inherent dignity of our bodies. Adam and Eve were created with, what John Paul II refers to as, Original Innocence. In his Theology of the Body he said, “they see and know each other with all the peace of the interior gaze, which creates the fullness of the intimacy of persons” (TOB 13:1).

This means that they could look at each other and see the other as God the Father saw them. How would you like to look at a person and see them in all the glory and splendor that God the Father does? Pretty cool right?

You want to be seen…

Before the fall Adam and Eve, “were both naked, and not ashamed” (Genesis 2:25 RSV).

Because of our brokenness due to sin, it is necessary that we veil our bodies, in order that we may reveal our person with dignity. Because of the nature of sin, when we walk around dressed scandalously, people pay attention to the skin that is showing and not the person who is standing in front of them.

This speaks to one of our greatest desires – to be seen. Not to be superficially seen, but to be deeply seen, known and valued.

You are a mystery to be revealed…

The body should not be covered up because it is ugly, or because our nakedness is something to be ashamed of, no. We cover our bodies, we veil ourselves with clothing, to preserve the mystery of our human person that is only meant to be revealed in the context of a relationship that reflects the original relationship between God the Father and humanity.

We, especially as women, are a great treasure and mystery. Great mysteries are meant to be revealed, given the appropriate context. There is nothing mysterious about wearing immodest clothes, we have left nothing to the imagination. In fact when a man looks at a woman wearing very few or skin tight clothes, they see more of our body and less of us.

Dressing modestly protects our dignity and allows us to be truly “seen,” which honors and respects us as a daughter of the Most High King. I am not saying wear a full length burlap sack. Not at all! That would also not reflect the precious mystery that is to be revealed. There is a happy medium. Start with this website or this blog.

So go conquer that sale rack! Buy a new dress! But make it a reflection of the way God the Father carefully designed you.

There is so much power in the gift we have been given – our beauty – to glorify God the Almighty who created us.

“We Must Not Settle for the Vice of Immodesty as the Norm” – Bishop R. Walker Nickless

Read original here.

Bishop R. Walker Nickless, Sioux City – What is within our hearts is also shown by our exterior actions and behavior. Reverence also must have an exterior effect, and modesty is the virtue that encompasses this. At the practical level, how we dress and how well we observe the Eucharistic fast – and chewing gum just before or during Mass is certainly against the intention of this fast – matter very much. Such things not only express the quality of our reverence and devotion, but also form interior life, both for us and for those who see our example.

Three Ways We Can be Immodest

In many ways, we live in an immodest society, and the virtue of modesty today is held in very low regard. We are immodest in our speech, and often we look for undue praise when we boast of our achievements and flatter our desires. We are immodest in our eating, most of us eat too much and much of what we eat is unhealthy. We can be immodest in our dress, trying to be fashionable and trendy. We sometimes wear clothes that are dirty or too revealing and immodest even to Mass. Our casual daily summer attire is not appropriate for this great celebration of our faith. Coming to Mass should always be special and we need to dress appropriately for this special time of worship.

In our reverence for Christ our Lord, and in our respect for one another, we must not settle for the vice of immodesty as the norm. The virtues of humility and modesty are gifts of the Holy Spirit, part of what we celebrate this Sunday on the Solemnity of Pentecost. Let us be grateful for these gifts and all the gifts of the Holy Spirit. The gifts of the Holy Spirit are rich blessings; let us use them always for the greater honor and glory of God.

May every good gift of the Holy Spirit be treasured in your hearts! Please continue to pray for me and for all our priests, just as I keep all of you, and the needs of our whole Diocese, in my prayers.

Your brother in Christ,

Most Reverend R. Walker Nickless
Bishop of Sioux City

NOTE:

Bishop Nickless is one of the faithful Shepherds in the Catholic Church today.

  • In a 2009 letter, Bishop Nickless stated his opposition to the Obama health care legislation on the grounds that it could provide free abortion coverage. In August, 2009, Bishop Nickless went further, stating that “the Catholic Church does not teach that government should directly provide health care.” Rather, he wrote, “[t]he proper role of the government is to regulate the private sector, in order to foster healthy competition and to curtail abuses. Therefore any legislation that undermines the viability of the private sector is suspect.”
  • In April, 2009, Bishop Nickless publicly proclaimed his opposition to the University of Notre Dame’s decision to invite President Barack Obama to be its commencement speaker.
  • In February, 2012, Bishop Nickless spoke during a webcast sponsored by the conservative group, Family Research Council, where he characterized an Obama Administration initiative to require health insurers to provide birth control coverage as having been sponsored by “the power of evil,” and called for “followers of the light” to “stand up and vehemently oppose this.

Cover photo: LifeSiteNews

Revealing dress exposes women to objectifications – Father Thomas G. Morrow

Revealing dress exposes women to objectifications The concept of modesty seems lost even on those who advocate for chastity.

Father Thomas G. Morrow

From OSV Newsweekly

5/20/2007

Msgr. Angelo Roncalli once found himself seated at a banquet next to a woman who was dressed with little regard for the virtue of modesty. Others observed him, wondering how he would deal with his predicament, given his moral convictions and his reputation for diplomacy.

After the dinner, Msgr. Roncalli took an apple and offered it to the woman in question. She declined his offer. Nonetheless, he persisted in his offer, to the point that the woman asked why he was so interested in having her eat the fruit. He responded with a twinkle in his eye, “Because when Eve ate an apple, she realized she was naked.”

Msgr. Roncalli went on to become Pope John XXIII — now Blessed John XXIII. It’s not known what happened to the woman.

Offensive to God

Our Lady of Fatima spoke to Jacinta Marto, age 11 at the time and told her, “Fashions will arise which will greatly offend God.” It seems that she was speaking of today.

It appears that the sexual revolution in the 1960s brought about some rather shabby treatment of women by their men. This is because women bond with men after having sex with men, while men do not necessarily bond with women. Thus, it seems that women put up with more bad treatment because they didn’t want to go find someone else, once they had given themselves to a man.

The feminists correctly identified this bad treatment, but alas, their solution was worse than the problem: They tried to be like men with regard to sex, to ask men out themselves. Abortion would ensure their new “freedom.” The treatment got worse, the divorce rate continued upward (it is now double that of 1960) and many, alas, just ended up opting for lesbianism.

The point of all this is that women got a raw deal in the sexual revolution and came to be seen as “objects of enjoyment,” as Pope John Paul II described it in the 1960 book he wrote as Bishop Karol Wojtyla, “Love and Responsibility.”

In this age when both men and women are tuning in to “Love and Responsibility” and Pope John Paul’s theology of the body (see excerpt on Page 12); when young people are getting a good dose of solid Catholicism at universities like Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ave Maria and Christendom; and when young families are finding strong support for their faith in Opus Dei, Regnum Christi and the Neocatechumenal Way, the concept of modesty seems lost on just about everyone, including some of these very same people.

It seems that although many are digesting good words about chastity, the pictures portrayed by women’s dress speak a different message. And, as the cliché goes, one picture is worth a thousand words.

Objectification of women

If we promote chastity out of one side of our mouths and, by our silence, give tacit approval to the immodesty in our midst, we are kidding ourselves. By saying nothing about the immodest dress among women (not to mention among men) we are perpetuating the image of women as objects of enjoyment. We are prolonging the denigration of women.

In “Love and Responsibility,” Pope John Paul II writes, “The evolution of modesty in woman requires some initial insight into the male psychology.” This insight has been sadly lacking, since we have not explained to women just how the male psyche responds to women’s dress. And, when we explain it, we must be specific, since generalities on modesty are not working.

We all play a role

It’s rather strange to see women who are enthusiastic about chastity and the theology of the body show up at a wedding with spaghetti strap dresses or strapless dresses. Have they been watching too much television to think that they have to show their shoulders to be formal?

Women are not even allowed in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome with bare shoulders. And then there’s the girl attending a solidly Catholic high school or college who arrives at the beach wearing a bikini. What gives? I don’t expect much modesty from nonbelievers, but from well-formed Catholics, I do.

I guess they just don’t get it. And, whose fault is that? It is partly mine, if I don’t speak up and spell out for women just what is going on in men’s minds. It is the responsibility of priests, bishops, educators,parents and men in general to pass on to women the facts on how they are being seen by men and their responsibility for the plight of all women, not just themselves. There is much work to be done.

Modesty is an integral part of chastity, and until we are ready to speak of both in rather specific terms, the moral renewal of Pope John Paul II will be stymied.

Until the chic chastity group gets very serious about modest dress and begins to live it, the dignity of women will not be restored, and they will continue to be seen, consciously or subconsciously, even by men who seek out chaste women, as objects of enjoyment.

Photo by Tess on Unsplash