"Are we prepared to promote conditions in which the living contact with God can be reestablished? For our lives today have become godless to the point of complete vacuity. God is no longer with us in the conscious sense of the word. He is denied, ignored, excluded from every claim to have a part in our daily life." - Alfred Delp, S.J.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Dressing for Mass.

Yesterday I went to confession again. Then I stayed for Mass.
Yeah, so... Saturday evening Mass was for Corpus Christi. To my astonishment, a young woman, possibly just out of high school - an extraordinary minister of the Eucharist no less - entered the sanctuary wearing a black, really low cut, plunging, boob-a-luscious strappy top. She looked kind of like Mariah Carey - that isn't a compliment BTW. The girl was with her parents and little sister. Her boobs were pumped and firm and bulging - I'm not exaggerating. She was hot. Tight jeans, flip-flops... She distributed Communion dressed this way. I don't know why that disturbed me, made me uneasy - but it did.
Out of the blue I recalled Letterman's joke about Sarah Palin and her daughter the other night - Tasteless! Nasty! Tacky! --it happens! But what pisses me off even more is that I thought of that big to-do-about-nothing at Mass - after watching a young woman enter the sanctuary to assist with distribution of Holy Communion. I was at Mass, distracted by some girl's sun-tanned boobs, with cleavage down to the base of her breast-bone; suddenly thinking of lecherous Dave Letterman and Sarah Palin's daughter. And guess what I concluded?
If you are a kid and you dress like a slut, old men like David Letterman are at least gonna joke about it. And some guys are gonna act on it. Palin's daughter doesn't even have to dress like that - but plenty of 14 year old girls do - and with their parent(s) consent. So Letterman maybe was just following popular culture with his stupid-ass remark. Whatever. Millions of little girls, teenage girls, and adult girls dress like sluts in the summer. Yeah - so what I'm really saying is: Sarah Palin, her little girls and families like them, have a bigger responsibility in making certain no one else mistakes them for sluts. Women have that responsibility. Dads, husbands and boyfriends have an even bigger responsibility: Stop pimping your wives and daughters by permitting them to dress like that; if they don't listen, and you pay the bills - stop paying for their slutty clothes.
Having said that - what the hell is going on allowing a barely clad young women to distribute Holy Communion?
I do not ever make a big deal about what people wear to Mass - modest shorts on men or women do not bother me, jeans and t-shirts don't bother me - I don't care. But at Mass last evening, girls were in really tight tees, some sleeveless and low cut, with butt-crack low-rise jeans, while a few were in really short shorts. That is totally inappropriate. The mothers were dressed as badly as the teen girls - but at least they were wearing Capri pants. My parish is very affluent - upper crust you know - many Tangle Town and Creek people - who obviously have no taste.


  1. Q. Perhaps a quick meeting with the Pastor concerning this would be appropriate ... pleading for some help from him to keep such temptations out of the sanctuary ... or another trip to the confessional reading the commentary may wake up this "Father" to his duty too.

    It's just another example that the boundaries of properness and respect have been pushed to the outer limits while understanding of things sacred have been lost.

    I pointed out recently to my teen that the allowing the "jean" wearing for the majority of events has now moved to wear'g sloppy sweats as the norm. Putting on "jeans" is now dressing up. It certainly would help many parents if the Pastors would speak up a bit.

    I recall a few years ago a Pastor who was so adamant that if anyone came up to receive communion in a certain brand of clothing that he encountered at Marshall Fields in the men's department would not receive communion because for anyone to purchase such a brand & then wear it at Mass would tell him he was not in the right frame of mind to receive Our Lord. Everyone in the pew knew he meant what he said.

    I could tell my children got the message loud and clear .. but they also knew I would never purchase such clothing for them too. But this Pastor's homily supported what they were hearing in the home and it helped!

  2. We have become a society of crass and crude people...Nuff said

  3. www.purefashion.com

    There have been "pure fashion" fashion shows presented in my Archdiocese now for a couple of years at least that I know of. Seems to be a good program.

  4. Anonymous10:36 AM

    Dear Terry,

    Here is what the Pastor at St. Agnes put it in the bulletin for last week:
    Guidelines for Church Dress
    As we approach the warmer weather, it is always helpful to remind ourselves of proper attire for attending Mass. Even in the warm weather we desire to put on our respective Sunday best. In general, we encourage comfortable clothing that respects the canons of modesty. Shorts are simply too casual for Mass. For our gentlemen, collared shirts are most appropriate, ties are always welcome, and dress pants are to be preferred. For our ladies, skirts and dresses of a modest length or dress slacks are preferred, steering clear of blouses or dresses that fail to properly cover the shoulders. In so doing, we show reverence for God and our act of Sacred Worship.

    It is difficult to dress my teenager daughters modesty yet fashionably.



  5. K - Fr. Ubel's letter is terrific. I can imagine it is difficult to dress the daughters modestly yet fashionably. The girl I was writing about would have been wise to have had some sort of jacket just for Mass at least.

    I was thinking more on the matter and I thought, "I bet some kids think that if they are wearing something designer or expensive - it must be okay - while remaining oblivious to the fact the clothing is immodest." When I was younger, sleeveless blouses were not even permitted in church - that was in the days when churches were not air-conditioned.

  6. They should have a dress code for servers.

    With regard to old men noticing, I don't think it matters what the young girls are wearing, the old men are going to look, though the trampy look gives them more incentive to think that touching is okay.

  7. I told my son's fiancee that in church she needs to have her shoulders covered (although sleeveless is OK, strappy is not unless covered by a jacket or cardigan) and then she needs to make sure she is covered from armpits to knees. Just-above-the-knee skirts are OK but not preferred. Oh and NO midriff showing EVER! It can be done - it's like anything else - a little effort and forethought and voila!

  8. Terry, I really don't blame young teen-age girls for dressing like that--they are still children who don't know better--they just want to look "hot." Because that's what society has told them to look like. But I have no sympathy for parents who allow their "children" to look like they are ready, willing and able for sex! They are the adults, and need to protect their children. And you have the best ideas: "Stop pimping your wives and daughters by permitting them to dress like that; if they don't listen, and you pay the bills - stop paying for their slutty clothes."

    Being a Communion minister with your boobs hanging out--what exactly is this saying--very disrespectful of our Lord. Perhaps priests should have paper clothes--like they sell in Rome when people are not dressed properly--they can buy the paper clothes to cover their nakedness!

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  10. You have a very good point, but I am the first one to say: "Guilty". I had no idea, not that I looked like a slut ever, but I do believe what I wore many times was not appropriate.
    Now I tell my 23 y.o. daughter to wear a skirt at Mass. I don't know if she does it on purpose, but some of her skirts are not nice at all (I know it could be worse but I am not pleased). One day I saw her wearing a blouse, I thought it was okay until I saw her next to a (young) priest, and then I realized the blouse was not appropriate.
    We have lost (we?) but yes, in general in the culture, we have lost a sense of purity, modesty, and the like. It is so very sad.
    Shorts should not be worn either, it's too informal. And if we talk about the way to sit at church, we should not be crossing our legs (as if we were sitting at a bar or chatting with friends). We forget too often that there is a sacrifice going on, and that's what we are there for.

  11. Today at Mass I saw shorts, short skirts, etc. but I think it's more acceptable when the tabernacle isn't front and center and the only depiction of Christ is on a stick and there are no kneelers.

    I migrated to the priest's section for Communion as I wasn't sure the EHMC's would know how to give Communion on the tongue. I don't normally kneel for Communion but was sorely tempted.

    I did kneel when one kneels at a normal church, despite the statement that it's their custom to stand. I also declined to hold hands for Our Father.

    I'm a bad, bad Catholic and went to a Mass that was convenient.

  12. Nan, when Christ amidst His great head-to-toe agonies (with His taunts coming from hungry mouths below) then also entered into utter suffocating for love of us, He didn't actually give a merry fig what hairs we would later split over form. He cares that we go to Mass and truly receive Him. Trads like you really need to see it from HIS point of view.

  13. Terry, I'm in agreement with you- anyone at the Mass should dress in a dignified, appropriate way, especially those entrusted by the community with such a solemn duty.

    Nan, "Christ on a stick" is still a venerable image our Lord, and properly trained EMHCs are adept at ministering communion either in one's hand or on one's protruding tongue, as both forms of reception are lawful.

    Speaking of tongues, I'm biting mine.

  14. Sunday before last, I was at my nephew's Confirmation, and I was surprised to see that all of the confirmandes were wearing the same red robe. My sister explained that they do it that way nowadays because there were so many problems in the past with the teen girls dressing immodestly that they started this throughout the diocese. Good idea! She then turned to me and said she wished someone would throw a robe on the grown women in their parish who "dress in super-low-cut cocktail dresses, handing out Holy Communion like hors d'oeuvres at a party". I nodded, then she said, "Scratch that, if you start doing that, they'll start demanding vestments like the priest's." True, dat.

  15. Gette - sounds like a good idea.

    I think Michelle Obama may be ordering all women to go sleeveless - I meant to addd that - LOL!

  16. Carol, I'm Catholic and just want the priest to say the black, do the red and skip the other crap.

    Thom, who am I to venerate upon arrival when there is no tabernacle nor even an image of Christ? I can't be sure that EHMC's there are properly trained, not when the congregation is trained to stand when they should kneel.

    Terry, I haven't gotten Michelle's memo. Maybe she lost my address.

  17. Nan - Chelle told me you wouldn't care anyway. ;)

  18. At the parish that I used to belong to, I was more offended by young couples who couldn't keep their hands off each other at Mass, as if they were attending a movie.

    It helped a great deal when I began to sit up close to the front, right behind the Pharisee section. But even they have problems at time.

    Where I attend now, where the liturgy is very reverent, one of the male Extraordinary Ministers wears a collared shirt, shorts, and goes barefoot.

    I have enough problems of my own that I haven't raised the issue.

  19. You've obviously seen me on my way into the church on a hot! hot! hot! day, pulling on a cardigan over a sleeveless sweater.

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  21. Hi Nan, obviously there's an image, for you described it as "Christ on a stick." Also, charity says that we should assume ministers know what they're doing until proven otherwise.

    These are important things; I'm not picking.

  22. Thom, Christ on a stick processes in with the Priest so absent a Tabernacle, there was no indication of Christ before Mass. Prudence says not to take unnecessary chances.

  23. I know we're both wasting words, but "Christ on a stick" is an image of Our Lord, crucified. Can't you see the problem with what you're saying?

  24. Thom, please go back and read my comments for comprehension. You clearly don't understand what I'm saying.

  25. Hi Nan,

    So that we're clear, you said this:

    "but I think it's more acceptable when the tabernacle isn't front and center and the only depiction of Christ is on a stick and there are no kneelers."


    I think the proper name for "stick" should be Cross, or processional Cross.


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