I think that Msgr. Pope’s suggestions are to far reaching to be widely accepted. I think that at least at first we should concentrate on the most extreme offenses. I am thinking about the provocative way young ladies dress these days. One recent Sunday, the young lady behind whom I was sitting, got up to lector. I could see the outline of her underwear through her dress. Others were wearing clingy knits. I have frequently seen very short shorts. I really believe that these nice young ladies do not mean to be provocative. This is just the style these days. I really hope that someone in positions of authority, priests, parents,ect., will offer a word to the wise.
As you say, yes there are more egregious issues. But that doesn’t mean this shouldn’t be addressed. There are more egregious sins than showing impatience with someone but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t take it to confession. If we don’t correct our venial sins they can eventually lead to mortal sins. If we don’t adjust our attitude about showing respect for our Lord in the Holy Sacrament of the Altar by dressing more appropriately we’ll be unlikely to adjust our attitude in other things.
Certainly there are regional differences as to what constitutes “proper” dress at times. I live and attend church in a seaside community. Our parish is three blocks from the ocean. It is not unusual to see congregants wearing shorts and other summer wear including sandals in the summer months. There is always a variety of dress among our congregants…but I also think it’s the least of the concerns and least important consideration when one sees our church full (or nealy that) at all our weekend masses. I tend to not expect some people to wear a thee piece suit to church, nor do I expect some to show up wearing a Hawaiian shirt and shorts (at least not the eucharistic ministers). Certainly we have limits of bad taste. The teenaged girl who showed up for midnight mass wearing a tank top emblazoned with the word “BITCH” in sparlky letters got her share of dirty looks (she has since made more reasonable choices in attire). The parish I grew up in was very much like that…which might explain why fewer and fewer people (myself included) would show up on a sunday. The plummeting attendance and tithe led to the decision to consolidate the congregation with another parish and close the church, convent, and school.
However, I think we, as a community, are fairly content without turning church services into a fashion competition akin to Project Runway meets the Third Reich
I’m not familiar with the former reference (being a fud along with Msgr P), but what I get from the latter is the implication that those who expect appropriate attire are Nazis. I believe that’s harsh and unfair.
Our parish encompasses a wide swath of socio-economic classes from the very wealthy to the recent immigrants, and often the clothing habits reflect that as well
When my family travels – including when we’ve been at the beach – we pack church-appropriate clothing. Mass should be taken seriously regardless of its location. Even on vacation one should be able to manage at least “business casual.”
Project Runway is a fashion TV show, with Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn. To my understanding (though I’ve never actually watched it, just heard about it) it’s about producing the best designer. Designer Christian Siriano was a winner of this show. I think what wjb67 meant by the reference is that some people come dressed to church like say, a supermodel (Heidi Klum), versus the people who strictly adhere to a type of dress code for church. Teenage girls and young adult women are strongly influenced by the TV shows out there (Sex and the City, Project Runway, America’s Next Top Model) and may think it’s ok to wear what is worn in those shows anywhere. It’s not, and those kinds of clothes can garner the wrong attention. Anyways, just giving my explanation of the reference.