Friday, August 9, 2019

Another Modesty Article

 As the season for picnics, watermelon, and modesty articles winds down, there is one article that I do not want you to miss.
In  Slut Shaming in the Adoration Chapel, Larry Denninger shared an incident in his parish’s adoration chapel. 

A mother and teen daughter wearing short shorts entered, sitting one in front of the other. In less than 30 seconds, a regular adorer in her 50s draped a jacket across the girl’s lap saying, “Cover up – this is Jesus we’re talking about here,” then returned to her seat. 
Courageous culture warrior or out of line? Hold off deciding until the rest of the story. A few minutes later, the mother whispered something to the daughter who had tears streaming down her face. She probably asked her if she wanted to leave and the daughter nodded vigorously. As they exited, the girl began crying out loud and by the time she was heading out of the church, sobs could be heard.  
The girl was not a regular adorer and was there with her mother which  suggests it was a very consequential visit. Denninger offered some possibilities: “Maybe they had come directly after visiting a hospitalized family member. Or perhaps a family member had died, and they sought consolation. Maybe the girl had an abortion, and she sought forgiveness. Maybe they were on their way home from a barbecue or party and popped in to say hi to Jesus. Perhaps M had forced D to come, who was already feeling hostile to the Church. Or maybe this was her first time in the chapel.”
He did not invite harsh criticism on the woman with the jacket since we all are in need of prayers,  but said,  “Slut shaming in the adoration chapel – or anywhere else – is a terrible way to encourage people to stay Catholic.”

Modest Dress
Our Lady of Fatima is often quoted from one of her messages to the three shepherd children: “The sins which bring most souls to hell are the sins of the flesh.  Certain fashions are going to be introduced which will offend Our Lord very much... the Church has no fashions; Our Lord is always the same..."
If you wish to visit the Vatican, shoulders and knees must be covered for both men and women. It’s the same at the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament built by Mother Angelica in Hanceville, Alabama and is also sometimes the case at other Catholic shrines and events.
But does that dress codes mean women (and men) should always dress like that?  Is it wrong to show knees or shoulders? A young girl once walked up to a friend of mine at a Catholic event and told her she should not be wearing a sleeveless blouse. It was not tight fitting and just her arms showed. Was the girl a little saint or impudent to tell an adult how to dress?
When raising two teen daughters, I was always a strong proponent of modesty. One is now a happily married Catholic mother of two young children and the other is getting married in the Church next month. I’m thrilled. However, we do not always see eye-to-eye about modesty but there is never a time I do not want them to go before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. 

Bad Attitudes on Both Sides
Indecency can be a cry for attention revealing more than just skin.  A couple summers ago I jumped into the modesty debate in, Must You Love Mom Shorts to be Virtuous? On one side were women showing off their legs because they had worked hard to have nice ones.  I was unsympathetic. 
On  the other side, I had come across a Facebook post about a formal event where a woman complained that all the young ladies (and some not so young) except her daughter had ignored the announcement requesting modesty.  She posted a link to the event’s website. A debate ensued with many saying there were plenty of modest dresses and posting examples. The original woman then posted examples of  women she felt were dressed immodestly. Imagine doing that to fellow parishioners. Sometimes public shaming does more harm than good. 
Getting back to the article, the girl likely dressed the same way as her peers and did not feel she was immodest.  She was embarrassed and her prayers interrupted by someone covering her with a jacket in a setting where you would not even notice anyone’s legs except coming and going.
I do not think we should ever go up to someone praying and shame them over their dress. And when we see someone dressed immodestly, how about praying for them, especially to Our Lady of Fatima instead of talking about them to our friends?
For more inspiration check out Patti's latest bookHoly Hacks: Everyday Ways to Live Your Faith & Get to HeavenOther books include:  Big Hearted: Inspiring Stories from Everyday Families and the best-selling Amazing Grace Series.
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