Sunday, October 03, 2010

Symptom of the Virus: Immodesty in Dress

"On  Saturday afternoon, I visited Our Lady of Grace Parish in Pepperell to mark their one-year anniversary.  Our Lady of Grace was formed in 2009 from the merger of St. Joseph Parish in Pepperell and St. James-Sacred Heart Parish in Groton." - Cardinal Sean O'Malley, at his Blog.

At Fatima (1917), Our Lady said that, "Certain fashions will be introduced that will offend Our Lord very much."  Sadly, such fashions may be found even in Catholic parishes.  This is the direct result of a lack of reverence before sacred mysteries.  Dietrich von Hildebrand explains that, "..lack of reverence may have two roots...the first is to be found in pride.  The man who lacks reverence because of pride and arrogance approaches everything with conceit and presumption, imagines that he knows everything, that he sees through everything....The world holds no mystery for him.  He treats everything tactlessly, with easy familiarity...There is..another form of irreverence, one which is born of concupiscence.  The concupiscent man is interested in the world only as a means of procuring pleasure for himself...

The lack of reverence is a specific defect of our age.  On the one hand, the feeling of reverence is undermined by the increasing technicalization and instrumentalization of the world wherein everything is considered only as a means for the attainment of practical aims, and being is not allowed to be taken seriously.  On the other hand, the attitude of self-glorification is increased in man by progress in the knowledge of secondary causes and by the conquest of the physical world.  This makes us forget that 'He has made us and we have not made ourselves.'  It makes the shortsighted intoxicated with superficial knowledge so that they overlook the causa prima because of the causae secundae" (Liturgy and Personality, pp. 49, 51-52).

How important is modesty?  Saint John Chrysostom warned the immodest that:

"You carry your snare everywhere and spread your nets in all places. You allege that you never invited others to sin. You did not, indeed, by your words, but you have done so by your dress and your deportment, and much more effectively than you could by your voice. When you have made another sin in his heart, how can you be innocent? Tell me, whom does this world condemn? Whom do judges in court punish? Those who drink poison or those who prepare it and administer the fatal potion? You have prepared the abominable cup, you have given the death-dealing drink, and you are more criminal than are those who poison the body; you murder not the body, but the soul. And it is not to enemies that you do this, nor are you urged on by any imaginary necessity, nor provoked by injury, but out of foolish vanity and pride."

The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches us that, "Purity requires modesty, an integral part of temperance.  Modesty protects the intimate center of the person.  It means refusing to unveil what should remain hidden.  It is ordered to chastity to whose sensitivity it bears witness." (2521).  And, "..modesty exists as an intuition of the spiritual dignity proper to man.  It is born with the awakening consciousness of being a subject.  Teaching modesty to children and adolescents means awakening in them respect for the human person." (2524).

Bearing this in mind, let's examine the photograph taken during Cardinal O'Malley's trip to Our Lady of Grace Parish in Pepperell, Massachusetts.  This photograph may also be found at the Cardinal's Blog.  Are these adolescent girls being taught modesty?  Respect for the human person?  How about respect for the Lord Jesus Who is truly present in the Holy Eucharist?

What's wrong with this picture?  It is yet another symptom of what Bishop Rene Gracida has so aptly titled "The Boston Virus."

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.  St. Padre Pio, pray for us.


Ellen Wironken said...

A teenage girl in her daisy dukes presenting the gifts during the Holy Liturgy? And Cardinal O'Malley doesn't see anything wrong with this?

Oh boy!

Samantha said...

What gets me is that not only are these girls dressed inappropriately for Holy Mass, they were chosen to present the gifts. And not one priest present saw anything wrong with this?

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