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Sunday, June 24, 2018

Modesty and Clothing

Modesty and Clothing

As Archbishop Albert G. Meyer continues his address to the Confraternity of Catholic Mothers of 1996 (see Part 1 & Part 2), he speaks specifically of the need for modesty in clothing. He stresses the need for parents to ensure that their children are modestly dressed from the time they are "tiny tots" and be corrected for immodesty. All the fashionable immodest clothing being introduced for beaches, evening wear and recreations must be eschewed, he insists. Further, he calls special attention to the high standards required in Churches, especially at weddings. 



Arch. Albert G. Meyer


With regard to clothing, modesty requires especially two things: first, care that one does not make chastity difficult for oneself or for others by one's own modes of dress; second, a prudent but firm and courageous resistance to the styles and customs that are a danger to chastity, no matter how popular or widespread, or adopted by others.

In setting down these two general principles, there is no thought on our part to attempt to define details. In general, that form of dress may be said to be immodest which serves to arouse the lust of men, or which serves as a scandal, that is, a stumbling block to the practice of virtue.

With an honest respect for the innate sense of shame with which every human being is endowed, and with ordinary knowledge of human nature tainted by the effects of original sin, one can with fair accuracy determine what is immodest and what is immodest in given circumstances...

Here, then is also a call to parents to lead the way in encouraging their growing children not to make any compromise with immodest beach and summer wear, no matter how many thousands make use of such; with immodest evening gowns, though such may be seen in the most fashionable social gatherings; with immodest styles of dress that have been a feature of so much of the television entertainment almost from the beginning; with picture magazines that exploit nudity and suggestiveness in every issue; with dangerous associations, readings, shows.

Albert G. Meyer, Pastoral Letter on Decency and Modesty, May 1, 1956,
(Milwaukee, WI: Chancery Office, 1956), pp. 12-15.