First Published in ‘The Catholic Voice’, Ireland, June 2016
Modesty Guards Purity and Chastity
In my last article I returned once again to the subject of modesty. Perhaps there are some readers who wonder why I am spending so much time on this particular matter. The reason is simple. Modesty is the guardian of the gateway to chastity and purity. Without modesty; purity and chastity will be virtually impossible. Without purity and chastity, marriages will be defiled.
Jesus the King of Love
Yesterday, I picked up one of my beloved books, ‘Jesus the King of Love’ by Fr Mateo Crawley-Boevey. This is the book dedicated to the enthronement of the image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus as the King of family homes. I realised that I had not read all of this book and so I opened it to where I had left a bookmark and I was surprised to find that Fr Mateo also deals with the subject of modesty. He writes about immodesty under the heading ‘Scourging by Friends’ and he is quite strong in what he says. I think it is worth quoting several paragraphs from the saintly Fr Mateo as so many Catholics appear to have fallen asleep with regards to the seriousness of this issue which leads many souls to perdition. The following is from Fr Mateo.
To Ignore Immodesty is Cowardice
“Here I should like to bring to a close this talk on reparation; but it would be cowardice on my part if, when speaking of the sins of friends, I were silent about that one which has provoked sorrow and righteous anger in our Holy Father Pope Pius XI. I refer to the great sin of immodesty, of shamelessness among many Catholics and even as the Pope says, among the pious and devout.”
Immodesty Wounds the Sacred Heart of Jesus
“I think, nay, I am certain, that the indignation of the Vicar of Christ exactly reflects the deep wound inflicted on the Sacred Heart, a wound rendered crueller still by the fact that so few have obeyed the Pope by changing their behaviour in this matter. This canker is eating away the best elements of Christian society, insensibly perverting and paganizing families which are by tradition Christian and religious; immodesty and frivolity mask a true carnival of sin.”
Disregard for Immodesty will bring a Curse
“I fear the wanton disregard shown by many Christians for the Pope’s grief, and for his explicit pronouncements on decorum in dress, will bring a curse on those who are still grieving the Sovereign Pontiff. I hope I am mistaken, but I feel that I am not. Woe to those women who incur the responsibility of many a grave sin by going about insufficiently and immodestly clad! Woe to those mothers who tolerate these abuses in their daughters and let their little ones go about half dressed, thus accustoming them to a nudity which the Church condemns and who, on the pretext that their children are innocent, culpably disobey the Pope and Bishops. If such mothers only knew what they are laying up for themselves later on! But they foolishly imagine they know better than their Pastors. Today they smile, careless of the consequences; tomorrow, alas! their tears will choke them!.”
Catholics are also Guilty of Immodesty
“I am not alluding to evil-minded, worldly people, I am lamenting an inconceivable aberration on the part of persons who are actually frequent communicants. May Our Blessed Lord pardon them! How are we to explain this incredible blindness, this tenacity in following indecent fashions, in a professedly good Catholic woman? Is this depravity on her part? No, but she loves herself much more than she loves Jesus Christ. Hence the absurd anomaly of her wearing an immodestly low-necked dress and yet displaying a medal of the Immaculate Virgin or bearing within her heart the Sacred Host”
Prayer to Jesus
“Ah! Jesus, did they but truly love Thee with the passion of a bride for her newly-wedded spouse, or the rapture of a mother for her little babe, they could never thus offend Thee. A wife who truly loves her husband will never dress in a manner displeasing to him. But how few fear to offend Thee Jesus, the Love of loves.”
Prayer to Our Lady
“Oh Immaculate Queen, of thy mercy work a great miracle in Christian homes for the glory of Jesus and to close the gates of hell to so many souls. Tear away the thick veil which blinds so many women to this evil which the Roman Pontiff deplores so bitterly. But above all, O sweetest Mother, instil into their hearts a passionate love of Jesus that will lift them above the follies of the world which incites them to set even the lowest passions before thy Jesus, His Heart and His law.”
Immodesty is Worse Now than in the 1930s
Fr Mateo was writing in 1932, and the disregard for modesty in dress, particularly amongst women but also amongst men, has continued to our present day. Today’s fashions however, are much worse than in Fr Mateo’s time. One could trace a trajectory, beginning with a relaxation in the teaching on the primary end of marriage and the exaltation of the secondary ends above the primary end. Through a false ‘liberation’ of women from their domestic chores and childbearing, through contraception, through immodesty in dress, through widespread sexual activity amongst the unmarried, through infidelity, abortion and right on towards homosexual unions and the false theory that there exists a multiplicity of genders.
To Depart from God’s Teaching on Marriage is to bring Chaos on Society
Once God’s teaching on marriage, which was from the beginning, is altered in any way or denied in even the least detail, the very fabric of our society begins to unravel and we head towards chaos. We can never come up with a better ideal for marriage than God’s original plan which He initiated in the beginning. The evidence for this is all around us and causes so much unnecessary pain and human suffering. And yet, we must never lose hope, but at the same time, we must move on from just complaining about how bad it all is. We must strive to come to a full understanding of what the Catholic Church has always taught about marriage and family life, and then we must strive even harder to implement these teachings in our own lives and in the lives of our families. We must help others to recognise these truths and we must begin to re-build our society father by father, mother by mother, and family by family. It is a long and arduous task, but it will not get any shorter or easier by prolonging the start date.
It Begins with Me, in My Home
This change begins today with me, and it begins today with you who are reading this article. Tomorrow we must begin again, and the next day, and the next, until we have once again transformed our society into one where Jesus Christ is recognised as the King of Kings. There will be times when we will fall, when we will fail to live up to what Christ expects of us, but at these times we must gather ourselves and humble ourselves before God joining with the psalmist when he proclaimed
“Because I was silent, my bones grew frail
Amid my groanings all the day long
For day and night Thy hand lay heavy upon me;
I tossed in my grief, yet the thorn remained
Then I confessed to Thee my sin,
And no longer concealed my guilt.
I said ‘I will confess to the Lord my injustice’
And Thou forgavest the guilt of my sin” (Psalm 31)
© John Lacken 2016
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Author: John Lacken
Founder: Legio Sanctae Familiae – The Legion of the Holy Family