Friday, September 23, 2011

St. Pio - he was kinda strict, huh.

Padre Pio and Modesty

“Padre Pio wouldn't tolerate low-necked dresses or short, tight skirts, and he forbade his spiritual daughters to wear transparent stockings. Each year his severity increased. He stubbornly dismissed them from his confession, even before they set foot inside, if he judged them to be improperly dressed. On some mornings he drove away one after another, until he ended up hearing very few confessions. His brothers observed these drastic purges with a certain uneasiness and decided to fasten a sign on the church door”

"By Padre Pio's explicit wish, women must enter the confessional wearing skirts at least 8 INCHES BELOW THE KNEE. It is forbidden to borrow longer dresses in church and to wear them to confession."
"The Church is the House of God. It is forbidden for men to enter with bare arms or in shorts. It is forbidden for women to enter in trousers, without a veil on their head, in short clothing, low necklines, sleeveless or immodest dresses."

(Taken from Prophet of the People by Dorothy Gaudiose, published by Alba House)


  1. One billion comments! Holy!

  2. Heard also that he could kind of read minds. He helped a lot of souls, for sure, but it would be pretty intimidating to go to confession to somebody like that. Makes me thankful for our parish priest, who is an ordinary guy trying to walk the walk, like us; but who always seems to know which things need working on in the confessional.

  3. Um, I'm sort of stuck on this concept of "borrowing a dress" at church. Just the particulars of this little social transaction are interesting to think about.

  4. You have no idea how much this makes my scruples go crazy.

    So the folks at TIA are right? Women who wear swimsuits and who wear shorts and even pants are sinning seriously against God?

    How is someone even supposed to understand this, if even the relatively modest fashions of the 50s were Satanic in his eyes.

    Transparent stockings? What about no stockings?

  5. It's also bothersome that he got MORE rigorous as he got older and holier.

    St. Pio was one of the great saints of the 20th Century, a man who achieved a high degree of union with Christ. He wasn't a conspiracy theorist with a hateful website like the TIA people.

    Yet, in his view, every woman I have ever known is pissing off the Lord greatly at all times. I don not think he's agree with Bl. John Paul II that modesty also depends on culture and function.

    So am I supposed to start worrying about the salvation of my sister, who likes to wear t-shirts and shorts often? Or of my mom, whom I have never seen wearing stocking at all? And there is no woman I have ever met who is averse to wearing pants. And what did he consider to be a "low neckline"? Showing the clavicle?

  6. A Random Friar8:45 AM

    We really should be in the forefront of the culture wars in engaging a return to modesty as well. The cheapening and lack of respect for the human body can only harm us spiritually and morally.

    Yeah, I'm an old fuddy-duddy.

  7. St. Pio Pray for us9:00 AM

    ... children love discipline of the holy kind, and road maps ...

  8. Julie - St. Peters used to hand out rain coats for the immodestly dressed - I don't know what they do now.

    Merc - I wasn't taunting you with this - but I thought of you when I posted.

  9. Terry, I know you weren't taunting me with this. I think you probably just found it interesting.

    What bothers is that while I believe that Catholics must also be at the forefront of restoring modesty (in dress as well as speech and action), does this mean we have to take extreme views like this? It seems St. Pio really thought God was seriously offended by short sleeves, or by women in pants or skirts to the knee. God only knows what he thought of swimsuits.

    It's so hard to try to convince myself that modesty is common sense in many ways - you know it when you see it, and it kind of automatically comes with self-respect. Obviously, having one's boobs hanging out, or wearing pants so tight they leave nothing to the imagination (men and women), etc. are not modest. But should we be ready to rail on jeans per se? On see-through stockings? On shorts, even when they are appropriate (in hot weather or exercising?). This is whatthe folks at every crypto-sedevacantist website on the internet do. One woman I read said it was a mortal sin for a woman to wear a tank-top. And yet, they always seem to have the Saints on their side. What does my opinion matter, what does the opinion of my spiritual director matter, what does the opinion of orthodox moralists matter in the face of St. Pio, who knew Christ more intimately than all of them?

    And of course the same applies for St. Jean Vianney and his harsh opinions regarding naked babies and dancing. Both of which were highly sinful per se in his opinion.

    And like I said many times before, I would have never thought there was anything sexual about see-through stockings, or about knee-length skirts, or shorts when appropriate, or even a decent bathing suit. After all, it's how my mom and grandmothers dressed - I've grown up with it. But when you see that a great saint thought the kind of dresses women wear on the Andy Griffith Show were Satanically offensive to God, you tend yo learn to see sex and immodesty everywhere.

    Now, I see sexuality unless a woman is wearing a burka. And sometimes I really think Catholic men wish women would dress like Muslimas, going as far as to hide faces and hair. It can be kind of creepy.

    And so I must also be greatly offending God because I wear polo shirts to Mass, huh?

  10. I'm sorry, but I'm always told that Catholics are not supposed to be Puritans, that were not supposed to hate everything in out culture, that it's okay to enjoy books and movies and stuff, even if they are not perfect.

    But the Saints seem to indicate that the only way to salvation is to be as rigorous and as puritanical as possible, to flee from anything that might be in even the tiniest way offensive to God (so, every single book and movie and all non-religious music), and to assume that 99.9 percent of all people will roast in hell for eternity (like in that sermon by St Leonard of Port Maurice). We should freak out every time there is something askew in a movie or novel, never go to the beach, and only listen to Gregorian chant, because web classical music can contain themes and emotions that are not good. The TIA folks seem to be right. Rigor and more rigor is the only way to be on the "safe side", because when we die were gonna get sent to Hell for wearing shorts, having a beer or two at a bar, and watching movies that are not perfect.

    The trouble is, people who believe this seem to be the most dead-inside, judgmental, paranoid, and hateful people I have ever cone across. So how can this be the way to holiness?

  11. Mercury, I don't know any Catholic guys who want women to wear burkas. A lot of people don't like to hear that "Catholicism is like a big tent". But I think it is true anyway, and thank God for it. We don't all have to be the same. I think sometimes even very holy people make poor decisions and get off on tangents. All it does is show the goodness of God, because He works with them anyway.
    I always found it difficult to understand that there are mothers among the saints; who basically abandoned their children to whatever relatives would take them, in order to become nuns. Do I think that is the model of the sort of mother I should be? Absolutely not.
    The majority of people in the Gospels who encountered Jesus (such as the woman at the well), we don't hear any more about. They went back to their lives and took His message home to their families and neighbors. They didn't go out to the desert or become missionaries or mystics. Of course some people were called to do that. But the rest of us can become saints too by just blooming where we are planted.

  12. Mercury,

    Pope Benedict doesn't have a problem with classical music:

    I don't see why any right-minded Catholic should either.

    Of course you know this, but not everything a saint has uttered should be taken as "gospel."

  13. A Random Friar4:26 PM

    I've been more than immodestly dressed -- at a hospital. But everyone there was a professional, so there was probably a totally blase' attitude by the staff.

    However, today's clothing leaves little to the imagination. That's not to say we need to be puritanical. Remember, the Puritans came about because they thought we Catholics were a little too free-wheeling... and that was when all women wore headscarves. But they tended to be a lot more mature about things. You had to be -- adolescence is really a modern phenomenon. Think of a Bar Mitzvah, 13? Really? Or how about the age for minor seminaries before?

    I think part of it is that people knew you had to be a grown up about things, and relatively fast. We have a lot of luxury and choice now, and that seems to have kept us somewhat infantile.

  14. Mercury,

    Throw a glass of water on your mind! Pay attention to your spiritual director, not random saints or random blogs.

    Someone gave me a Padre Pio prayer card on Sunday.

  15. Thanks, Nan.

    Random Friar - I don't think it's immodesty when you're talking about a situation where exposure is appropriate, such as in a hospital. Certainly, married people are not being immodest when they are naked to one another, and there are other situations, like with a doctor, where exposure is appropriate. And while it would be scandalous to wear a swimsuit to Church, is it a sin to wear one at the beach? (I know some people do think so, even if it's decent.) Isn't much of modesty in intention and in context? Most people who wear shorts are not doing so to be shameless, and most men do not necessarily go crazy for jogging shorts - of course they can, but I do not think the lower leg is any more "sexual" in our culture than the neck, arms, collarbone or a pretty face. I mean, we COULD just ask women to cover EVERYTHING in public, and anything that might catch a man's attention, like Muslims do.

    And yes, I know modern fashions leave very little to the imagination. But by the standards given in the post, even "modest" fashions today would be shamelessly immodest and hateful to God. A knee-length skirt would be a grave scandal, and a simple t-shirt and jeans on a woman would be an outrage. Like I mentioned, even the modest, pretty fashions of the late '50s and early '60s would be woefully condemned. And God help any woman who plays tennis or goes jogging. (I once read a rad-trad guy who said he makes his daughters wear ankle-length skirts if they go jogging because "hell is hotter than it is outside").

    I understand we should do restitution to the Sacred Heart for many sins, and sins against chastity and modesty are among those. But should I pray for restitution because my grandma wore a swimsuit, or because my sister wears shorts? Isn't immodesty in those fashions which are DESIGNED to entice, designed to invoke lust, or worn with that intention?

  16. Also, what I HATE, HATE, HATE about this whole issue is that I would have never thought I needed to be concerned about the kids of things Padre Pio is mentioning if I had never read it. Cleavage leaving nothing to the imagination, sure. Mini-skirts, sure. Tight, tight pants, sure. But skirts to the knee, shorts per se, pants, decent swimsuits, ballet costumes? I would have never thought these were lustful things until I learned that I was SUPPOSED to think of them that way.

    And now I see sex everywhere, now I find myself judging all women for what they are wearing, because no one meets the standards listed here. I am constantly wondering if my sister is incurring God's wrath, or if the good and chaste girls I DO know are just wasting their time praying the Rosary and going to adoration, since Jesus obviously hates what they wear.

    Looking at that picture of the kids at WYD being derided while praying the Rosary and looking to heaven, you know what the first thought I had was? "Oooh, they're wearing shorts, I wonder if that's okay?"

    It's sick to think that way, but I do. And I hate it, and I do not think it's from God. And if I had never read any of this kind of stuff it'd have never crossed my mind.

    And BTW, I just watched a movie that took place in the 1850s - for social events the women wore ballgowns that exposed the arms and the collarbone - so even that would have been considered hateful to God. I can't live thinking like that.

  17. And by the way, Terry, how do you know the story is true, even? The only thing I have ever seen on the subject is on websites that usually also slander the pope.

    There's also that story where St. Pio supposedly sent a woman back to Vancouver, Canada, where she had a shop that sold pants to women, among other things. Supposedly he wouldn't give her absolution until she went back and shut down the store.

    Does this even seem remotely true? And if so, we are all in deep ****, and I can assume everyone I know who's dead is in hell.


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