How To Talk About Modesty Without Being A Prude

 

When it comes to – wait for it – THE MARYLIKE STANDARDS and all the hullabaloo that some Catholic women like to promote concerning it. The sides to the “Modesty War” is more than just two.

As I always like to point out; one side (one of the loudest I might add) is the side of the “Toxic Trad’s“. These are the ones waving around documents from the 5th century claiming that women must forget prudence, Christian Charity, and cover elbows, ankles & anything that they presume is “a temptation”.

 These are the ones ADDING extra rules (or rather, inches. LOL.) to the “Marylike Standards” and promoting it as “The Modesty Rules as Set Down By The Vatican”, which they are not. The Marylike Movement was a movement for modesty that anyone could join; it wasn’t and isn’t the Catholic Church’s (excessive) list of “how to dress modestly“.

This dangerous truth-stretching (thanks internet) take “admonishing the sinner” “instructing the ignorant” to a whole ‘nother level. Followers of this belief are the ones who are THE best at making you really feel like your elbow is going to send you and any man who lusts after you to Hell. Poor Devils. Excuse the expression.

For the larger, louder and (I must say this annoying Toxic-Trad’s, here is something to ponder:

— If we were to try and cover everything on a woman that was a temptation we’d look like this poor woman. (See photo below) —

shalim But then again; just the mere sight of a woman can be a temptation for a man! What then?

But then again! Just the THOUGHT of a woman can be a temp– okay this is stupid.

Where is the common sense here? Is this how Catholics should act when it comes to any other temptation that can be either aided or helped by another person? Like, say, drinking too much alcohol? Or magic spells? Or dirty language?  All these sins are also talked about in the Bible, and they also can include a person who is using it to tempt. Yet; it seems that when it comes to Toxic Trad’s, none prevails so greatly and so out of context as; what they believe is “Modesty in dress” !!

 

If this wasn’t a good enough reason in itself to prove that a reasonable Modesty Guideline/Standard set out by the Vatican to aid those who have no idea what they are talking about when it comes to “temptation“…  I don’t know what is.

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 There IS a valid, charitable, Christian way to go about Modesty that all sides in the “Battle of Inches” just don’t seem to get. 

Let’s take this step by step. (It makes it easier to understand.) 🙂

 

 

 

  •  Step 1. Composure.

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Regaining of Prudence through prayer and seeking God’s peace in the matter.

Attending Mass often. Praying the Rosary. Adoration. Practicing of Christian Virtue. Etc.

Realizing that God love’s everyone no matter how they dress – He loves the sinner not the sin. And realize that this “battle” is NOT; “I AM RIGHT AND YOU ARE WRONG !” but the battle of souls taking place between God’s army and Satan’s. So most probably there will be division, confusion, and no one listening to you. But it isn’t YOU they need to listen to. Its God. So calm down. Take a chill pill.

 God isn’t asking you to go nuts. I promise. Besides, the only time yelling and forcing ideas ever worked in convincing people was…. well… never. 

 

 

  • Step 2. Battle Strategy Part 1: Tone.

 

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Aside from prayer and focusing on your own salvation more than poking your nose into others? Calm tones.They say those who scream the loudest are the ones trying to prove to themselves that they are right, because they are actually wrong.  There is no need for back-biting, detraction, rash judgement, or name-calling. How is it possible to “spread God’s word” on modesty in dress whilst breaking every commandment under the actual Virtue of Modesty & Chastity? Not gonna happen. And plus – its a nasty example! Calm down, watch the language, and breathe.

 

  • Step 3. Battle Strategy Part Two: Example.

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We are called first and foremost to be good examples when it comes to trying to prove Christianity right to “un-believers”. When it comes to Modesty in Dress, it is no different. In fact, this should be RULE NUMBER ONE.

  Dressing modestly is what you believe to be right, because you prayed about it, read about it/researched it, seen the approved sources/the proof, firmly believe that God is calling you to do this, and plus, it is a whopper of an awesome Penance!

(High five to saving souls! #OLOFatimaGoals)

Good for you! Don’t stop. But don’t force others into it. BAD idea. Example first. 

 

  • Step 4. Battle Strategy Part Three: Authentic Sources.

Pope Vatican City Tower

It is pretty sad that this needs to be said… IF IT AIN’T AUTHENTIC DON’T SPREAD IT. You may really love the idea that women need to be covered from their nose to their wrists; go ahead and do it yourself if you want. But if you think spreading this idea is the best way to “evangelize” think again. IF IT AIN’T “APPROVED”; IT AIN’T WORTH CITING.

I CANNOT tell you the number of times I have to keep myself from smacking my forehead when I see THIS story cited;

“Padre Pio wouldn’t tolerate low-necked dresses or short, tight skirts, and he forbade his spiritual daughters to wear transparent stockings. Each year his severity increased. He stubbornly dismissed them from his confessional, even before they set foot inside, if he judged them to be improperly dressed. On some mornings he drove away one after another, until he ended up hearing very few confessions. His brothers observed these drastic purges with a certain uneasiness and decided to fasten a sign on the church door;

‘By Padre Pio’s explicit wish, women must enter the confessional wearing skirts
AT LEAST 8 INCHES BELOW THE KNEE. IT IS FORBIDDEN TO BORROW LONGER DRESSES IN CHURCH AND TO WEAR THEM TO CONFESSION.’”

In fact, if you Google “Padre Pio & Modesty” you get 62,000 results, and this same story is cited over and over again as if it is the sole reason why we must hammer our modesty beliefs into other people’s faces!

Today it is SO easy to re-post a story or a bit of news that sounds credible, but may NOT even be true! PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE ladies – CHECK. YOUR. SOURCES! Padre Pio WAS a lover and promoter of Modesty but he certainly did not bar people from Confessing their sins! Nor did he ask of them to wear 8 inches over the knee! A priest is actually called to hear any Catholic’s confession, the only time he may have turned a soul away was because, having the gift of reading-souls, he could see that they were not sorry and would not repent. And so, he would turn them away. Perhaps one woman’s sin was of vanity concerning her dress, and this she was not going to truly repent of, and so he told her to repent first and then come back later. This is the logical answer to the “St Padre Pio wouldn’t even listen to the confession of every single woman who wore skirts shorter than 8 inches past the knee” story !!

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Source  : Padre Pio hearing confessions.

This “Padre Pio Story” is, in fact, NOT true.

Catholic Writer, and Modesty Promoter, Rita Davidson went to great pains to find this out for herself. Before she had cited it as information regarding Catholic Modesty in the first edition of her book, “Immodesty Satan’s Virtue“, but later decided to make sure it was credible. You can read a bit more about this here. AND in her book. 

Other “sources such as a sermon from the 18th century by a priest who promoted the idea that “Women were only truly modest when wearing a cape and hat at all times.” Puh-leese.  You want to talk about “medieval Modesty methods” ? Exhibit A.

PRUDENCE PLEASE!

 

  • Step 5. STOP. THE. NAME. CALLING.

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…. I feel like a referee at a Kindergarten class with nasty kids! Honestly ladies! Be Christian! If no one will listen to you than, accept that you have done your best and pray to God that you did what He wanted… and GIVE IT TO HIM! Only HE can change hearts, melt nastiness and turn opinions! So stop acting like little bratty children and end the name calling!

So many bloggers, and even some “famous” / “well-known” Catholic writers have been known to blast other women because of their modesty beliefs. To the point of making the reader even question how that writer even still has a job; their constant fallacies when talking about the opposite viewpoint, their name calling, judging, and just plain mean & nastiness is enough to make anyone think:

 “….and…..how did they get that job writing for a Catholic website? They aren’t even acting their age, never mind their “degree” in writing!”

Ladies (and men too!), stick to the sources, and be Christian. You are honestly a bad example for Catholics, and pretty embarrassing to say the least.

 

  • Step 6. Ask Yourself These Questions.

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 Is this MY opinion? Is this how I feel about it? Is this what I want? Is this the opinion/feeling/want of someone else? Or is this what God is calling you to do? 

Is reading an article by a woman who declares her personal view on “Modesty” as “infallible” what you are basing YOUR idea of Catholic Modesty on?

 

  • Step 7. Be Goal Oriented.

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If your goal is to “prove Toxic Trad’s wrong about their scrupulous modesty ideas

If your goal is to “prove to ANYONE, that Modesty in dress is of no consequence.”

If your goal is to “prove that women can wear what they want, because its Post Vatican II, and the Pope never really issued Modesty standards and yadda yadda yadda.”

If your goal is to “some how prove that Popes, Church Fathers,  Doctors of the Church, Saints, and / or Our Lady are wrong about the importance of Modesty in Dress…

 Yikes. Time to re-vamp your goals.

If your goal is to “try your very best to do God’s will; even if that means finding out something you disagreed with is something true, even if that means doing something that looks difficult; for Him, the salvation of your soul and the souls of countless people… EVEN if ‘God-forbid’ that means actually wearing more clothing than ‘you think‘ is ‘modest’…

 You are on the right track. 


 

Now to wrap up;

People who decide to take on the idea that there is a “Modesty Battle” between Catholics, need to make sure that they are representing the issue (and the opposite side) fairly and accurately.

When it comes to the whole Catholic Modesty thing… why base your view on anything less than the Church? The Popes, Church Fathers, Doctors,The Bible, Our Lady, Saints, Catechisms (The Post AND pre Vatican II).

What do any one Catholic person have in comparison to over 2,000 years of Holy-Spirit-Inspired, Bride-of-Jesus-Christ, view on Modesty in Dress? And I don’t just mean that one line in the newest Catechism on Modesty. I mean THAT, AND the rest of the sources on Modesty in Dress (and word, and thought, and mind, and action and….etc) that are contained in the Catholic Church. 

Let’s not be prickly about this. The Catholic Church’s stance on Modesty in Dress isn’t just confined to a few quotes in a ONE Catechism. There are over 2,000 years of history that go before that Catechism.


 

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