Don't blame lay people - you guys started it.
Always a big topic in the summer months.
Why? Often because of immodest dress of course: tight tank tops under a flimsy gauze over-shirt, really short cropped pants and flip-flops, and that is just the religious sister in charge of RCIA at the parish.
As usual, Monsignor Pope makes excellent points. One statement stood out for me however:
I will not even argue that ALL the old traditions should return, (even though I would like that). But at least we ought to recover SOME way of signifying that we are on holy ground and before the presence of the Holy One of Israel, the Lord of glory. - Mons. Pope
"The lack of formality, or decorum, must over time take its toll on us collectively"
I'm not convinced the lack of reverence is all about clothes however. I think it is more a lack of faith. I think it is - in part - about sloppy liturgy and sloppy catechesis. I think it's about sloppy, all too casual, all too willing to be your BFF priests and religious. Even Sr. Judy DRE/RCIA of the Servants of Social Justice, though she can pull off the decorum act in conversation with critics of the LCWR, she nevertheless walks around the sanctuary without any outward sign of reverence for anything save a slight bow to the 'Table' - yet no sense of reverence for the tabernacle. Likewise, the church as community center and concert hall engenders the sense of a more casual atmosphere.
A couple of days ago I was at my parish for adoration. Towards the end, the pastor came in to lock up the church, tended the $candles$, and left. Seconds later, a layman did his own form of benediction before reposing the Blessed Sacrament. Afterwards Father came back in to speak to him about next week's adoration day. Father never concludes adoration with benediction - despite the fact he is usually available and free to do so. Walking around towards the closing of adoration were musicians and choir members, preparing for practice, totally oblivious of the Blessed Sacrament in the monstrance, on the portable altar, surrounded by candles. I'm not sure if another concert was scheduled or it was simply choir practice.
At my parish, I rarely see anyone, except the few who come to adoration, show any external reverence for the Blessed Sacrament outside of Mass - when at Mass, I try not to look. It is worthy of note that many of the lay men and women - HCMCs - distribute Holy Communion dressed in all sorts of casual, and sometimes revealing summer clothing. Although, to be fair, in summer months many of the women are more covered up than usual because the air conditioning is so cold. Usually a shirt or sweater draped over the shoulders seems to suffice.
Yes you did. You guys started it.
For all of you who think I should mind my own business, please know I do not watch what people do in church, I do not look for missteps. I'm awake however, and I cannot avoid noticing what goes on. Personally, I don't care what people wear to church. I never have. What I care about is the lack of reverence for the Blessed Sacrament - by priests and deacons and secular nuns and catechists and music ministers and EMHCs. It strikes me there is a serious lack of faith in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist - body, blood, soul, and divinity. Despite what they say, and no matter if they promote adoration or not, it is the conduct of the 'ministers' which leads me to believe that.
So yeah. I'm throwing it back on the priests. Lead by example - be holy. There is an old saying in the Catholic Church:
If the parish priest is a Saint, his people will be holy;
If the priest is holy, but not yet a Saint, his people will be good;
If he is good, his people will be lukewarm,
and if he is lukewarm, his parishioners will be bad.
And if the priest himself is bad, his people will go to Hell.
So maybe it's not about what you wear or don't wear...