THE IMPORTANCE OF MODESTY IN DRESS
by Bill Wyler, 1997
"Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will be
on Earth as It is in Heaven"
We as Catholics are to strive for... Mary-Like Modesty
Our Motto is to...
"Conceal not Reveal"
woman shall not be clothed with mans apparel, neither shall a man use woman's
apparel: for he is abominable before God that doeth these things."
(Deuteronomy xxii, 5)
[abominable means "detestable"]
This is the Most Perfect Model for Modesty
As we can see above, the modesty of Catholic
women of the first 13 centuries pretty much imitated Our Lady's dress
completely, from head to toe. The code during this time was "fashion cater to
modesty," not "modesty cater to fashion." We see a change in this trend in the
14th century with the introduction of the Renaissance. Now although the women
then did not dress wantonly (see glossary below), their modesty was not the
Perfect Model's. Some of them flaunted their hair, while others wore a bit of
pompous clothing. Still, none of it outlined or uncovered the sensual areas of
the body. Later during the heretical Reformation of the 16th Century, the women
of Protestant nations began to expose more than decency allowed of the the upper
regions of the body. During the 19th century, contrary to the wide-spread notion
that women were modest, women were practically intimidated by the fashion
industry, going through extravagant measures into twisting and outlining their
figure, to keep up with the latest trend. As a reaction to this being
"bottled-up" and confined by clothing, women in the 20th century catered to the
flapper craze. This new rebellious fashion freed them from the restrictive
hour-glass shape of the "gay 90's" to the opposite extreme by the clothing being
straight, and narrow, making them look boyish. This idea of "breaking free" from
the slavery of 19th century pseudo-modesty made women reveal rather than conceal
a little more each decade, to the point in which we end up with the scandalous
fashions of the modern catholic woman today. Although Catholic women since the
Reformation were not as modest as those from the first 1300 years of the Church,
they still none the less kept the same standard of decency according to the
During the Renaissance, men became immodest and indecent as well. In the 14th century some men wore skin-tight pants, and in opposition the clergy of that time branded this clothing not only indecent but effeminate. For a man to fall into the "vice of women" (to entice sensually), by outlining his body with clothing is very effeminate. During the revolutionary 18th century the royal men displayed so much pomp and effeminacy in attire, that they could not properly act the fatherly role as head of state. This effeminacy was probably a factor in their weakness against their usurpation. After the revolutions men regained their modesty for the most part, but by then it was too late. The devil knew from history that behind every man is a woman. If he could get the woman to fall first, he could then use her to break the man next. For every Adam there was an Eve, for every David there is a Bathsheba, and for every Henry VIII there is an Anne Boleyn.
The standard of decency for women throughout the centuries, was always to cover the legs and not outline nor display them at all. This changed with the 20th century's "new tradition" of decency for Catholic women. Although this new decency was proposed by neither the Church (anyway, she cannot do such a thing as to redefine the natural law) nor by Catholic custom, many Catholics none the less decided that since the heretics were showing a new decency, they could do the same. If enough people do it, then it's right, was these Catholic's motto, as if the norm dictated right and wrong, and not the natural law anymore. Saint Augustine once said, "wrong is wrong whether everyone is doing it and right is right whether no one is doing it." We as Catholics should know we do not base our morality on the status quo, but on God and the natural law (neither of which change.)
The wealthy tend to cater to a new trend before the poor do; rich and famous women (including the activists) made the "new decency" fashionable in the first place. The middle and poor class Catholic women wanting to be fashionable (envy and avarice play a part here) ended up following suit.
Who did start the "Fad" of Catholic Women wearing Pants instead of Modest Skirts? Was it a Traditional Catholic Woman who was striving to be a Saint? Let's see what history tells us...
"A pair of baggy trousers gathered at the ankles and worn with a short belted tunic was sported by Amelia Jenks Bloomer of Homer, New York, in 1851. She had copied the pants costume from a friend, Elizabeth Smith Miller. But it was Mrs. Bloomer, an early FEMINIST and staunch supporter of reformer Susan B. Anthony, who became so strongly associated with the MASCULINE-TYPE outfit that it acquired her name. Pants, then MEN'S wear, appealed to Amelia Bloomer...Amelia Bloomer REFUSED to wear the popular fashion. Starting in 1851, she began to appear in public in baggy pants and a short tunic. And as more women joined the campaign for the right to vote, Mrs. Bloomer turned the trousers into a UNIFORM OF REBELLION...CHALLENGING the long TRADITION of who in the family wore the PANTS." --article on the origin of bloomers/women wearing pants, taken from "Panati's Extraordinary Origins of Everyday Things" by Charles Panati
So what can we gather from all this? That a feminist miscreant desired to wear the other sex's clothes to express a demand for "women's rights" and to spark a rebellion against the traditional mores in decency. Feminists challenged the tradition of the man being the head of the family by wearing his clothes. Later on in the 1930's, the Communists would finalize this revolution in women's clothing. Using gnostic "theology", the communists deemed women nothing more than imperfect men, who in order to be as perfect as men, had to express masculinity and repress their feminine attributes. They made it the ideal fashion, in their propaganda, that women, in order to express true equality with men in all things, would also have to wear the masculine clothing for men only, called Pants. So we can see that this custom of women wearing pants is nothing more than a feminist tradition. It certainly does not come from the long held decency code passed down from Catholic woman to Catholic woman throughout the 19 centuries of the Church's influence on society.
There is a reason that the the custom of women wearing pants DIDN'T start with Catholic women in a Catholic Society. It was deemed unnatural and indecent since the time of Christ until this decadent century. The custom would be deemed unnatural because Catholic women in history thought (and were right) that pants are for men, and dresses are for women. There was no question about it. It is indecent because women's bodies are more sensual, so women wore dresses to cover up more. According to physiology, women are centrifugal (fleeing away from the center) in their perspective, seeing things from within themselves, outwardly. Men on the other hand are centripetal (seeking from the center) in their perspective, seeing things from without themselves, inwardly. In other words women tend to be the show'er and men tend to be the looker. This is the reason that women's bodies are more sensual than a man's. Their bodies are made to be appealing, so that they can attract a mate (who is designed to look from afar). That is why there is more of an area on women that is semi-private than there is on men. Women are by nature designed to be more sensual due to the centripetal-
centrifugal relationship. Knowing this, it is understandable that exhibitionists tend to be women and voyeurs are usually men.
That's just the way things are. We can't change what is sensual on a person and what isn't. If it was deemed indecent for women to expose or outline above the knee in the first 19 centuries of the Church, it is still indecent for women to expose or outline above the knee in the 20th. A man's sensual area is in the hip region, so the legs would not have to be completely covered up and pants would be suitable. The sensual area of a women's body, being from above the knee, to the elbow, and up to the neck, requires clothing that could effectively cover this large region. Its always been this way and you cant change what is sensual unless you dare change human nature, which as Catholics we know we can't change the natural law. That is the reason why dresses were for women and pants were for men in the first place.
Another reason that women never wore pants and only modest skirts is in respect to their femininity. According to physiology, the female form exhibits rounder and less extreme contours and more obtuse angles. A male body form is more sharp edged, angular, rugged and broken. This can be seen not only in the skeleton, and musculature, but also in each sex's face and movements. A man's face has sharp features, a woman's more soft and round in appearance. A man's motion is more thought out and jagged with "countless endings", while a woman's movements are "endlessly continuous". Clothing is supposed to reflect these masculine and feminine traits. A man is to wear masculine clothing, and a woman is to only wear feminine clothing. So that a man's garb should express his masculinity by tending to be straight and narrow, while a woman's attire should be round, soft, graceful and flowing. So it comes as no surprise that Catholic women throughout history only wore full length dresses, not only to be modest, but also because that clothing (being soft, wide, and flowing) is in accordance to their feminine nature. Men dressed accordingly to their nature as well. Pants being sharp and narrow, are harmonious with masculinity. Pants are anything but graceful. Unisex clothing is for unisex people. It would be abhorrent if a man were to wear the clothing of a woman, so why is it not abhorrent if women wear masculine clothing such as pants? The Church has defined what is indecent or not on women, when it said this, about covering up, at the very least, the sensual areas...
"A dress cannot be called decent which is cut deeper than two fingers breadth below the base of the throat, which does not cover the arms at least to the elbow, and which scarcely reaches a bit below the knees. Dresses of transparent materials are also indecent."
-The Sacred Congregation of Religious, under Pius XI, January 12, 1930
"One cannot sufficiently deplore the blindness of so many women of every age and station. Made foolish by a desire to please, they do not see to what degree the indecency of their clothing shocks every honest man and offends God. Most of them would formerly have blushed for such apparel as for a grave fault against Christian modesty. Now it does not suffice to exhibit themselves on public thoroughfares; they do not fear to cross the threshold of churches, to assist at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and even to bear the seducing food of shameful passions to the Holy Altar, where one receives the Heavenly Author of Purity."
- Pope Benedict XV
"As long as certain audacious modes of dress remain the sad privilege of women of dubious reputation and almost a sign by which they may be known, no-one else would dare to wear that same dress upon herself: but the moment that it appears upon persons beyond all reproach, she will hesitate no longer to follow the current, a current which will drag her perhaps to the worst fall." -Pope Pius XII, May 22, 1941
"O Christian mothers, if you knew what a future of anxieties and perils, of ill-guarded shame you prepare for your sons and daughters, imprudently getting them accustomed to live scantily dressed and making them lose the sense of modesty, you would be ashamed of yourselves and you would dread the harm you are making for yourselves, the harm which you are causing these children, whom Heaven has entrusted to you to be brought up as Christians." - Pope Pius XII
"Certain fashions will be introduced which will offend Our Divine Lord very much. Those who serve God ought not to follow these fashions. Our Lord is always the same." -Our Lady of Fatima, warning the people of the 1920s of the fashions that were to come for Catholic women. It wasn't a warning of the fashions that were to come for protestants and pagans since they were already indulging in indecent fashions. It was a warning to the Children of God, who are going to imitate them.
So Catholic women have to ask themselves who are they using as their Perfect Model for modesty, the Blessed Virgin Mary or the feminist infidel Amelia Bloomer?
The reason for covering the body in the first place is to "unshape" it. If people think wearing skin-tight clothing serves the purpose of covering, they are dead wrong. Skin-tight does nothing but uncover the shape of the body. It is as if one were to wear nothing at all.
The first step of the feminist influence in the Church was Catholic women wearing pants. It would follow next that there would soon be female lectors, nun's wearing pants, altar girls, female "Doctors" of the Church, and maybe Priestesses with a Popess!
Rebellion has to start somewhere, and if you don't nip it in the bud, it will continue to grow.
Before Adam fell, Eve sinned first, and it was through her that the father of mankind gave us original sin. Vatican II's evil, done by men, would never have happened so soon or at all, if the backbone (women) of the Church had not first fallen. Imitating Eve in falling first, Catholic women of the years preceding this Council already were becoming lax in their modesty. Without the strength of modest women, men would fall into lechery and begin to become blind to what the Faith is, and isn't.
Here is a quote that I came across while reading G. K. Chesterton's famous book, "What's Wrong with the World"...
"...And since we are talking here chiefly in types and symbols, perhaps as good an embodiment as any of the idea may be found in the mere fact of a woman wearing a skirt. It is highly typical of the rabid plagiarism which now passes everywhere for emancipation, that a little while ago it was common for an "advanced" woman to claim the right to wear trousers; a right about as GROTESQUE as the right to wear a false nose...It is quite certain that the skirt means female dignity..." -pgs. 110-111
I would like to conclude with a quote of a Catholic prophecy sent in by one of our concerned readers...
PROPHECY OF ST. NILUS
Realizing that St. Nilus is scarcely known to a large part of the Church, a
brief sketch of his life, taken from the Catholic Encyclopedia (1911 copyright
edition), is related below:
"St. Nilus was one of the many disciples and fervent defenders of St. John Chrysostom. He was an officer at the Court of Constantinople, married, with two sons. While St. John Chrysostom was patriarch, before his exile (398-403), he directed Nilus in the study of Scripture and in works of piety. St. Nilus left his wife and one son and took the other, Theodulos, with him to Mt. Sinai to be a monk. The Bishop of Eleusa ordained both St. Nilus and his son to the priesthood. The mother and other son also embraced the religious life in Egypt. From his monastery at Sinai, St. Nilus was a well-known person throughout the Eastern Church; by his writings and correspondence he played an important part in the history of his time. He was known as a theologian, Biblical scholar and ascetic writer, so people of all kinds, from the emperor down wrote to consult him. His numerous works, including a multitude of letters, consist of denunciations of heresy, paganism, abuses of discipline and crimes, of rules and principles of asceticism, especially maxims about the religious life. He warns and threatens people in high places, abbots and bishops, governors and princes, even the emperor himself, without fear. He kept up a correspondence with Gaina, a leader of the Goths, endeavoring to convert him from Arianism. He denounced vigorously the persecution of St. John Chrysostom both to the Emperor Arcadius and to his courtiers. St. Nilus must be counted as one of the leading ascetic writers of the fifth century. His feast is kept on November 12th in the Byzantine Calendar; he is commemorated also in the Roman Martyrology on the same date. St. Nilus probably died around the year 430 as there is no evidence of his life after that."
Now the prophecy:
"After the year 1900, toward the middle of the 20th century, the people of that time will become unrecognizable. When the time for the Advent of the Antichrist approaches, people's minds will grow cloudy from carnal passions, and dishonor and lawlessness will grow stronger. Then the world will become unrecognizable. People's appearances will change, and it will be impossible to distinguish men from women due to their shamelessness in dress and style of hair. These people will be cruel and will be like wild animals because of the temptations of the Antichrist. There will be no respect for parents and elders, love will disappear, and Christian pastors, bishops, and priests will become vain men, completely failing to distinguish the right-hand way from the left. At that time the morals and traditions of Christians and of the Church will change. People will abandon modesty, and dissipation will reign. Falsehood and greed will attain great proportions, and woe to those who pile up treasures. Lust, adultery, homosexuality, secret deeds and murder will rule in society. At that future time, due to the power of such great crimes and licentiousness, people will be deprived of the grace of the Holy Spirit, which they received in Holy Baptism and equally of remorse. The Churches of God will be deprived of God-fearing and pious pastors, and woe to the Christians remaining in the world at that time; they will completely lose their faith because they will lack the opportunity of seeing the light of knowledge from anyone at all. Then they will separate themselves out of the world in holy refuges in search of lightening their spiritual sufferings, but everywhere they will meet obstacles and constraints. And all this will result from the fact that the Antichrist wants to be Lord over everything and become the ruler of the whole universe, and he will produce miracles and fantastic signs. He will also give depraved wisdom to an unhappy man so that he will discover a way by which one man can carry on a conversation with another from one end of the earth to the other. At that time men will also fly through the air like birds and descend to the bottom of the sea like fish. And when they have achieved all this, these unhappy people will spend their lives in comfort without knowing, poor souls, that it is deceit of the Antichrist. And, the impious one! -- he will so complete science with vanity that it will go off the right path and lead people to lose faith in the existence of God in three hypostases. Then the All-good God will see the downfall of the human race and will shorten the days for the sake of those few who are being saved, because the enemy wants to lead even the chosen into temptation, if that is possible... then the sword of chastisement will suddenly appear and kill the perverter and his servants."
In essence the prophecy has basically said that Catholics (those who are orthodox in the faith) would change the traditions and morals of the Church and specifically points out that one of these is *modesty*. It even remarkably states that with these new fashions you could not see the difference between the masculine and feminine clothing as to blur what sex the person was. Also that if you tried to correct these people that they would feel no shame in what they were doing, and classify it as the norm or at least trivial. If you tried to ask advice from the Catholic Pastor, although good with knowing dogma, they would fail to distinguish the "right-hand way from the left" in morality. These are wicked times and we need to, "Therefore, brethren, stand fast; and hold the traditions which you have learned, whether by word, or by our epistle," (2 Thess. ii, 14), if we are ever going to be saved, despite the reluctance our Pastors have to condemn these modern fashions right up from the beginning of this century. In their giving us the "greenlight" in these matters, "easing" our conscience, they are doing more harm than the apparent good. People forget that although the Saints might have differed on different points of dogmatic doctrine (prior to the Church explicitly ending the differences with a magisterial decree), they all agreed as to what was modest in attire. There was not a single Canonized Saint or Church Father who deviated from the decency code in over 1800 years. We as Catholics are not allowed to differ from their perspectives. We are to condemn and to condone what they condemned and condoned. It is when we deviate from THEIR NORM, that we can say we are no longer of their One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic Faith. For in order to be Catholic we must be of the same religious body, and in order to be of the same body, we must profess the same religion of Christ in Faith *and* morals. We must use the traditions and habits of the Saints, that they all had in common, throughout the centuries of the Church. If we fail in achieving this common denominator, we can expect to fail in achieving our Supernatural End as well.
- CATHOLIC APOLOGETICS -
- CATHOLIC APOLOGETICS -