Rorate Caeli

Relevant thoughts: "Trad environments" should not exist

Saint Francis Xavier
A true Apostolate must, in order to be fruitful, share two characteristics: supernaturalism, and being adapted to the environment that is to be converted. "Spectacle-Masses" have attracted crowds but have not produced the expected results. This Naturalism does not show forth the Apostolate techniques of the Savior...

Our priories, if they try to be truly supernatural, do not attract as many as they should. Why? We are undeniably often inaccessible to the men of this age. Our nearest goal is not to attract everyone, clearly, but those souls that display a certain openness to the Faith and to God's Love. Even these souls are sometimes discouraged when coming to our chapels. The reasons? A heightened mistrust, divisions and criticisms that show only pride, disparaging comments on clothing, bitter and useless political arguments. Thanks to the subliminal instruments of the devil... Thanks to those people who know better than God the speed with which souls should move forward... Let us try to lower the obstacles for conversions rather than heightening them. But that is not enough: we must attract. Missionaries have always achieved this for 2000 years: adapting as much as possible to the target population, guided by a sense of finality and by Christian moral principles.
Fr. Guillaume Gaud

THE "TRAD ENVIRONMENT"

There should not be a "Trad environment". Catholic Tradition is not supposed to be a social milieu, because Christianity is not that. Tradition must ressemble all social environments, and welcome them with their own identities. We are not for the elimination of classes. The dressing trends that have, little by little, become dominant among us reflect modesty - which is necessary -, but modesty is not limited to Trad dressing fashions. By willing to impose clothing rules, we put people off more than we form them. The consequence is a sort of freeing oneself excessively from those rules, which then moves onto immodesty. A further consequence is a sort of sclerotic portrayal of Tradition, which seems to live in the 1950s - not very attractive!

Yet the force of bringing people together within Catholic Tradition is in the logical relationship between our Faith and our daily life. This coherence must reflect our conviction and our sincerity, and not only rules. Catholic Truth is truly brought into light by it. And this is what attracts. But let us remain always as close as possible to our contemporaries of good will. We must then be firm with regard to ourselves, but shine with mercy and understanding for our neighbor. Then he will love our firmness!
Father Guillaume Gaud, SSPX 
(Apostol, newsletter for the priories of Fabrègues and Perpignan, France
- La Porte Latine - "The dilemmas of our bastions of faith", excerpts)
______________________________

There will be those who will read Father's words and immediately say: but the 1950s were attractive to me! That is not his point: his point is, does this help attract more people who could be souls favorable to Tradition? What is more important, to keep the aesthetics of any moment in time (one moment in time for one part of mankind), or to try to find the best way to attract those sensitive souls who might otherwise reject Tradition for circumstantial external aspects?

94 comments:

MJ said...

It's refreshing to hear this, and from an SSPX priest no less. Trad communities, especially personal parishes, can be very separatist. They live in isolation on the fringes of society, and this is extremely off putting to Catholics on the outside. It's not enough for newcomers to accept Catholic dogma; in some places you're expected to accept 19th century standards of modesty and other weird social customs that probably never existed. I think some priests encourage this by focusing on socially irrelevant topics in their preaching, but it's not a healthy environment for anyone. If we really believe the traditional liturgy is good for the whole Church, then we should do whatever we can to make it accessible to mainstream Americans and not turn traditional Catholicism into a sect. Individuals also have a responsibility to evangelize by participating as full members in society and not turn themselves and their families into "Amish" Catholics.

Skeptico said...

Wait just one second here....

This and your commentary on it sound suspiciously like the wretched "aggiornamento" of the wretched Vatican II! What's going on here???

We're assured by Jesus Himself and saint after saint that most will choose the wide gate; that is, MOST PEOPLE ARE BOUND FOR HELL. Why then be at all surprised that most people reject unvarnished tradition?

Why are you now preaching conformity to the world? Why aren't you preaching conformity to Christ?

New Catholic said...

Yes, the worldwide conspiracy has finally taken over Rorate...

A. M. D. G. said...

Now that's a mouthful! If only the self-appointed "trad Catholic police" of many chapels would heed these words there would probably be fewer schisms and more conversions. Good for you, Father!

Connie said...

Oh! I love this priest! He is the second French SSPX priest that I now want to read everything he has to say!(The first is Fr. Yves le Roux). I am not an SSPX attendee. I tried to be but...well...some of the reasons were/are the ones Father states in this article, but mostly I blame me.

At any rate, his mentioning "missionary" work is fantastic! I've said it before and I'll say it again, I truly want to see the SSPX as a part of the "New Evangelization" with the SSPX bishops taking part in the October Synod. Change the name if you don't like it (other than "New Evangelization") but just get out there! You would be fantastic and so needed!

Thank you New Catholic for posting this. Wonderful!

Pedro said...

What attracts: Charity. Hope. Faith.

What does not: 50's fashions. Conspiracy theories. Sour faces.

Why does it matter: because we have the means of salvation they need. It is a strict matter of justice that we do not deprive them of the (traditional) Faith and of the (traditional) Sacraments. We do that if we put them off before they can even approach Tradition (i.e., the Gospel).

Therefore: Let us act in such a way that newcomers to Tradition may say of us "what they said of the first Christians: “See how they love one another!”" (S. Marcellin Champagnat, Spiritual Testament)

John Lamont said...

Yes this is good. One thing to remember is that in the early Church the liturgy was never thought of as a means of evangelising people; on the contrary, it was supposed to be confined to believers and catechumens. This supports the idea that the old liturgy is not something that should be treated as a means of evangelisation - it is only going to be beneficial and attractive to people who already have a degree of formation and commitment. So what has to evangelise people is the congregation of traditionalist communities, not the liturgy itself.

Oremus said...

There is a tricky balance to be found here. I completely agree with the message and intent of the article. However, there perhaps is a risk of misunderstanding the repeated criticisms about the trad communities insistence on modest and respectful dress codes. Traditionalists need to be welcoming by meeting fellow Catholics and potential Catholics halfway rather than being overly critical (older women being the most blatant offenders).

On the other hand, to paraphrase, how you dress is how you believe. The sloppy, irreverent, immodest outfits typical of NO Masses must be resisted to the fullest extent. As for veils, well, 100% usage would be a godsend and should be encouraged by example. But perhaps that is not the hill we should continue to die on.

Mike said...

This is very wise advice.

I know a fine priest who used to say, "you have to be with it, and not with it, at the same time."

What he meant, of course, is we have to mingle with others, bring the light of Christ, burning in our hearts, to them, with deeds of love, lives of faith and hope.

All things to all men...but hate sin with a holy hatred born of Love.

De Liliis said...

Clothing rules are attractive. Modesty is attractive to spiritual people and to God.

Modesty is so very important and key, and all the more needs to be known in these times.

Joseph said...

Anyone who thinks wearing a business suit to Mass is a sign of a man's holiness doesn't even begin to understand Jesus Christ. The standards that some trads apply to women are even more ridiculous and the eccentric way women dress in some trad communities ensures that many young women that visit for Mass don't return. Modesty is not dressing provocatively. Modesty has nothing to do with adopting an Amish or Southern Protestant dress code. Bravo to Father Gaud!

Ligusticus said...

[ Btw..

Venice, 1949 :

http://sacrissolemniis.blogspot.it/2012/03/veneti-episcopi-linsediamento-del.html

(a half century before, the Patriarch was ...Giuseppe Sarto.)



Note the pic -at the installation of the new patriarch Agostini- inside the Saint Mark's Basilica, the third from above: I don't notice -maybe I just cannot see well- a "100% usage" of veils by women in the congregation.. ]

Skeptico said...

By the way, it's very interesting that he uses the term "bastions of our faith." It flows of course from that hero of NeoCaths, von Balthasar. Very interesting indeed.

VoxClamans said...

Thank you Father Gaud!

I'm a young Catholic and I believe one of the many reasons I see my friends and acquaintances leaving the Faith is because they are not seeing the Love of Christ, they are confronted with merely human standards that are overemphasised, unnecessary and plain eccentric.

Young people go out into the world and, when confronted with worldly dress and behaviour, will compare it to the much-detested eccentricities and utter lack of Christian charity demonstrated by fellow Catholics...and then what? They begin to believe that everything they have been taught is fraught with lies and deceit and has only been put in place in order to deprive them of their freedom. They start to think that Christianity is hypocritical, and that one can be a 'good person' without being Catholic. Modesty becomes a non-issue, rebellion against almost everything else in the Faith sets in. It's a favourite trick of the devil and he uses it with much success with my fellow young Catholics, unfortunately.

Holiness is not a function of your dress code. Dress modestly, by all means - but if you are incapable of saying a nice thing to anyone, if you hold grudges, if you are filled with criticism and spite, your clothing makes you nothing more than the 'whited sepulchre' Christ used as a descriptor for the Pharasees. Some people use modesty in order to show everyone just how wonderful and holy they are..."If you don't dress like my grandmother, you are immodest and unholy. My modesty beats your modesty any day." Sound anything like pride?

I like wearing black and dark colours, and as a result I've heard plenty of rumours about my being part of a devil-worshipping cult. I'm sorry, but this is not Christian charity. There is nothing in Catholic dogma that dictates the wearing of pinks and florals. And your preferred colours do not make you any more or less 'feminine' or 'pious'.

I am certain that the first Christians were far less preoccupied with measuring how long their skirts were, or backstabbing one another, and more concerned with...you know, loving God and loving one another. Maybe because what Christ preached - the practice of Faith, Hope and Charity, and teaching non-believers by example - was far more important and dear to their hearts than zealously arguing that women who wear pointed collars instead of round ones are unfeminine and eeeeevil.

New Catholic said...

Oh, my... "Bastions de la foi" is an old expression in French, much older than von Balthasar...

In Ils l'ont découronné, Abp. Lefebvre himself says, "Il faut rebâtir les citadelles écroulées, reconstruire les bastions de la foi...". But he might have been a secret Balthasarian, for all we know.

By the way, this is just a small excerpt of Father Gaud's brilliant article (linked). He is not asking for a "dismantling" of the bastions of the Faith which Traditional communities should be, but he is trying to view how this can work better: should they be bastions of faith, and other things will follow as a consequence; or should they act in a "missionary, profound, supernatural and longlasting way", becoming bastions of the faith as a consequence. If we have the time, we will translate the entire article for the complete presentation of its premises and conclusions.

De Liliis said...

Modesty is a virtue, that is both exterior and interior.

The more we have of a virtue the better, and the happier we should be.

Since it is simple and easy to show modesty exteriorly, the resistance to it, shows all the more the real inspiration of that resistance, and the need for those who give into that passion to reject it and reorient to a love of modesty.

Where Christ is, there modesty is found.

Perpetua said...

Thank you, Father! Indeed, even the most strict adherence to perceived traditional modesty rules can end up being "worldly".

I have seen so much lack of charity within the chapels. This makes it very difficult to approach with an interested Catholic who would like to experience the Mass.

New Catholic said...

Father makes quite clear he's all for modesty in dress. Please, do not distort his words, even if by indirect criticism.

There is no doubt in my mind, regardless of this, that these judgments are to be made by the CONFESSOR or SPIRITUAL DIRECTOR, and that the lay faithful should guide newcomers only by example of shining holiness. It is beyond their position to impose or pressure, by embarrassment, comments, looks, etc, dressing rules on newcomers.

Ecclesia Militans said...

I must respectfully disagree with the Father.

Modesty is important today and it needs to be emphasized precisely because people today are generally immodest. This was not the case in the past. You did not see (half) naked men and women everywhere you turn, in fact, you did not see it at all. Women knew that they needed to cover up, and men knew not to go to Mass in jeans. In fact, most wore suits most of the time.

The loosening of customs started in the 20th century. But even so, before the 60s most women wore hats or scarfs everywhere and few wore pants (e.g. Cardinal Siri mentions how it started in Genoa in 1960).

Simply put, the fact of the matter is that the exterior reflects and influences the interior (a quote from an old book on morals). So it is not at all inconsequential if people come to Mass dressed in a way that is not acceptable even in the street.

I think John Lamont also has a good point. People seem to forget that the liturgy is not, and never was, a means of evangelization, e.g. to bring Protestants to Catholic Masses in the hopes of converting them is to insult God - only the Catholic faithful can be present at this most august and most holy time(remember the practice of cathecumens).

As for returning to the 50s, think again. Have you heard of fiftiesism? The 50s were the seeding ground for the disasters that followed, a time when Catholics put their guard down in front of the world. No, we must return to a truly Catholic time (at least the heroic time of Saint Pius X, but preferably even earlier). The Middle Ages, for example, were the greatest time for the Church and for Christendom yet.

Ora et Labora said...

Thank you Father Guillaume Gaud, SSPX.

I have enjoyed your article and I must say, I fully agree with you.

God bless you!

Sue said...

"There should not be a trad environment"

Then Father, you are going to want to leave your drapes open dueing the Three Days of Darkness.

Fortiter Pugnem said...

"The congregational principle, on the other hand, makes each church into a
kind of club, and finally, if all goes well, into a coterie or faction... But there is one good point which both these churches have in common—they are both party churches. I
think I warned you before that if your patient can't be kept out of the Church, he ought at least to be violently
attached to some party within it. I don't mean on really doctrinal issues; about those, the more lukewarm he
is the better." C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters, #16

Thanks for posting this and for taking heat!

De Liliis said...

RE: "No, we must return to a truly Catholic time (at least the heroic time of Saint Pius X, but preferably even earlier). The Middle Ages, for example, were the greatest time for the Church and for Christendom yet."

Very true! Societally we are and have been incredibly deformed for a long time. People do not know what Christian society is like. This has to be recovered.

It is incredibly different from how people commonly live in these times. Family roles. How men and women are treated and what they can do, and may not do. Entertainment. Everything has to change. Everything is different.

The traditional religious life provides a model for how it is different in many ways. The saints provide the best model. It is through the saints we can recover a sense of Christian life.

Caraffa said...

Joseph,

I find it strange that you would accuse Trads who wear suits or dignified clothing to mass as southern Baptists, when many southern Baptists have a revivalist "come as you are" and "just as I am" mentality. It show that you don't know what you are talking about.

Ecclesia Militans,

Exactly, the 1950's were too lax and worldy, yet some here what even laxer standards. Rules don't kill the spirit ladies and gentlemen, they are part of the basis for it.

JP said...

"Human intimacy with the Divine"
This is what the late Fr. Malachi Martin explained to describe what separates Catholicism from every other "faith". Catholics can go into any Catholic church and talk to our Lord and ask about a new job or a problem with a mortgage for example. We can also pray to the saints and ask for their intercession.

I have seen "Catholic Intimacy with the Divine" stripped away in both liberal Catholic churches and traditional chapels. I personally believe the people that strip it away are both a type of pharisee.

A good example from the liberal side is a new Catholic Church recently built here in Florida. It's beautiful, modern, clean, spotless. By spotless I also mean, no bloody wounds of our Lord on any statues, every statue is plain wood color, clean and tidy so no suffering is displayed because (I guess) we're "not a church of suffering or pain."

My example from a traditional chapel is when the fraternity priest held up a slip of paper on which was written a novena to St Jude. He proclaimed that such a thing was superstition and compared it to a chain letter. The last time I checked, a chain letter says something BAD will happen if you don't mail 10 copies or whatever. A 9 day novena with prayers left at the Church is just that, a novena. It's a pious act of faith. It doesn't mean on the 9th day you'll win the lottery. God will answer your prayer on the 9th day and that answer might be yes or it might be no, either way it's God's holy will. This is what the fraternity priest in particular (IMO) doesn't have a clue about.

We all know the well documented errors of modernism from the liberal side of the Church, those aren't even worth wasting our typing, I thought I'd illustrate a problem of hard heartedness (IMO) I have seen in the Trad environment.

This doesn't even go into the dirty looks I've had shot my way when we show up for mass. Hey folks, I'm working on the wife about giving up the pants for a dress and getting a chapel veil. She grew up in the modern world and the clothes are not immodest. This is a work in progress, dirty looks sent our way does nothing to help

Peterman said...

Sue said...

"There should not be a trad environment"

Then Father, you are going to want to leave your drapes open dueing the Three Days of Darkness

HA! Perish the thought, I want my worst enemies to close the drapes because if they come through those three days they'll change their tune real fast.

Seraph said...

Father makes good points, but many will get the false impression that clothing doesn't matter. It does. Putting on our Sunday best shows that we have the upmost reverence for God, that we give him the best, and we respect our own dignity as human beings.

The problem with Trad communities is not that they dress well, but that they need to have charity and patience for those who have not learned the truths about dress. It takes time for many in our world today to figure out how badly they are a malformed and are a product of their culture. I went from your typical sneakers and t-shirts in my early 20's to dressing like an adult with trousers and dress shirts in my late 20's. It's a process of conversion in which the faith has on impact in every area of life from speech, to dress, and our conduct.

If Trads are willing to be less judgemental and more charitable, helpful, and understanding, more people will not be turned off and will slowly but surely adapt to the Catholic vision of life in which they will help tranform the culture in dress and speech.

Seraphim said...

Wow.

Is this a preview of what we can expect from the "reconsiled" SSPX after the agreement?

Thanks anyway.

Bishop WIlliamson and Bishop Tissier de Mallerais: Your thoughts?

Anonymous said...

Some of these Fanatics want to go back to the Middle Ages, forgetting that even though the Middle Ages were a glorious time for Christendom and Praise be to Our Lord Jesus Christ for that, the Church didn't begin then and it cannot stay there.

For people like Ecclesia Militans and De Liliis we should park our cars and start riding horses, and carriages, and let's not forget we need to pull our Mediaval robes.

This people are OBSESSED with Tradition to the point of taking the Life out of it.

Some of this Fanatics as VoxClamans said are "'whited sepulchre' Christ used as a descriptor for the Pharasees"


This particular kind of Traditionalists would have condemned St. John the Baptist for his dress probably even asking him to wear a suit and tie for the Holy Baptism of Our Lord, they would have stoned Saint Mary Magdalene, would have burned Joan of Arc at the stake for wearing armour and cutting her hair, and would have accused Blessed Hildegard Von Bingen as a sorceress or new ager for healing with herbs, for her musical compositions, and for writing books as well condemning her for the man buried in Rupertsburg whom the clergy of Mainz wanted to remove from sacred ground because he had died after excommunication from the Church. Something Blessed Hidegard oppossed by "replying that it was a sin and that the man had been reconciled to the church at the time of his death"

Fanaticism doesn't have a place in teaching and Tradition of Holy Mother Church, that is what I believe.

Some Traditionalist with their obssesive love of rules make it IMPOSSIBLE for anyone to be Catholic.

Brian said...

It seems to me that Fr. Gaud is frustrated and is puzzled about why it seems so few people are coming to Tradition – as many of us are as well.

I believe that the following words of Fr. Gaud ring quite true:

Our priories, if they try to be truly supernatural, do not attract as many as they should. Why? We are undeniably often inaccessible to the men of this age. Our nearest goal is not to attract everyone, clearly, but those souls that display a certain openness to the Faith and to God's Love.

As for the rest, I wonder if, in his frustration, Fr. Gaud is looking to blame his parishioners. In fact, although some posters here have been ridiculed for saying so, it also seems to me that Fr. Gaud appears to be criticizing his flock with many of the same sentiments and false dichotomies that I recall being shouted from the pulpit by my 1970s liberal pastor -- who helped to introduce the slovenly attire that I and my fellow Catholics then began happily wearing to Mass for decades because, after all, God does not care what we wear, he only cares about our hearts. The same thinking, at that time, (and still today among liberals) was used to condemn “rigid ritualism,” “authoritarianism,” and “dogmatism” (code words for Traditional Catholic liturgy, hierarchy, and doctrine, respectively) which was invariably characterized as dry, dead, judgmental, and driving modern man away.

As for me, I was a child in the fifties and now do not own a single garment that would have been fashionable at that time, nor would I want to. Over the past decade or so, however, in response to seeing the decorum of men in coats and ties at Traditional Latin Masses (without ever being or feeling criticized for initially dressing more casually) I gradually acquired a few jackets and ties and now cannot imagine wearing anything else to Mass – out of respect for the dignity, holiness, and the formality of the Our Lord's sacrifice and the Holy Liturgy.

Although I have attended many TLMs in Novus Ordo parishes, where people dress quite casually and most woman's heads are uncovered, relatively few people come to those Masses. In fact, the pervasive lack of interest has served to justify most priests and bishops simply ignoring Summorum Pontificum. On the other hand, there is one independent TLM Church where I have attended Mass a number of times, where every woman's head is covered and almost everyman wears a tie (but not all). The priest exhibits formality, spiritual maturity, and strong, challenging sermons. The people are friendly, and the three weekly Masses are all well attended, indeed, crowded.

While judgmental self-righteousness is always a grave sin, I believe it feeds in to an all-too-easy false caricature to blame the relatively low attendance at TLMs on the Traditional Catholics who dress modestly and faithfully attend those Masses.

Shane said...

It seems to me that Father's words are being directed specifically towards his (French) readership. The Church in France before the Council, along with the churches in neighbouring countries to the north-east, was brimming with some rather questionable movements. The theologians and episcopacies of these countries would champion change a decade later at the Second Vatican Council, hence the 'Rhine Flows into the Tiber' phenomenon. But it would be a hazardous endeavour to speak of '1950s Catholicism' in a generic sense. The state of the Church could vary drastically from country to country. (I certainly don't accept for a second the idea that Irish Catholicism in the 1950s was full of flaws or that lines can be drawn from it to the post-conciliar chaos.) As for something not being 'attractive', isn't that just a matter of individual taste? (De gustibus non est disputandum.)

That said he does make many interesting points, of a broader relevance, such as the means to evangelize a secularized society. The 'new movements' in the Church were supposed to work wonders but have largely been a failure. Older initiatives in France, such as the priest worker experiment, also failed. The fall of communism in the east and deindustrialisation in the west have not brought the opportunities many thought they would. It's a grim world out there!

Mar said...

Methinks some naysayers against "modesty" are protesting too much. For men, what do you wear when you have a meeting with your bank manager in the hope of getting that large loan that you need? What do you wear when you go to a job interview for a high-ranking position? What do you wear when you go to a funeral? A wedding? Is
the Mass any less important? After all, it is the wedding-feast of the Lamb in miniature.

For women, if the current fashions are to such an extent part and parcel of the ubiquitous brothel culture of our day and age then yes, of course, they have to be
resisted, even at the cost of being dubbed 'very 50s'.(Actually, last I heard, 50s retro was quite in vogue because of the influence of the TV series Mad Men). Catholicism has always been counter-cultural in the sense of fearlessly going against current trends if and when necessary. Intelligent young people understand that.

Of course, no-one can judge the heart, and the old saying never to judge a book by its cover holds good. But there is a fine line. If a woman dresses like a hooker then
either she is aware of it or she isn't. If she is aware it's not a good sign and if she isn't aware it's practically as bad.

I once had the 'pleasure' at Mass to sit directly behind a young married woman (with children) who was wearing the latest fashionable low-cut pants with bare midriff. It was most off-putting and not edifying in the least to be compelled to rest one's eyes on bare flesh with cleavage when reading one's Missal. And no, I haven't reached the spiritual level of a Catherine of Siena who became oblivious to everything when contemplating the Sacred Mysteries.

Long-Skirts said...

Saraphim said:

"Is this a preview of what we can expect from the "reconsiled" SSPX ..."

I don't know HOW many times I've heard our SSPX priests tell, especially the dear older women of our Chapel, to please, PLEASE, not attack a woman who comes to Mass without a veil or wearing pants. Most women after a few visits get the idea as I had to some 20 years ago. I was so happy to see priests in Cassocks that I had no problem wearing a dress or skirt to Mass for Our Lord. I have even heard the priests say at the pulpit, "Please, ladies, modesty in front of the Blessed Sacrament but that doesn't mean you have to dress like "Little House On The Prairie"!!

FARRAH - Si!

Oh look at me
I'm Farrah - "Si"!
I am the talk
Of modesty.

Many children
I've born down
Many jewels
For my gold crown.

The world it stinks
Of fleshy sin
My nose is up
Above my grin.

For I thank God
I'm not like them
My long full skirt
With 12 inch hem.

Oh look at me
I'm Farrah - "Si"!
I am the talk
Of modesty.

Sometimes they stop
And at me stare
But I just shoot a look
And glare.

And if at Mass
Without a veil
I'll talk at them
Till they are pale

And send them running
All tucked tail
Then shout my humble
Prayer and wail...

Oh look at me
I'm Farrah - "Si"!
I am the talk
Of modesty.

And now I stand
Before the Lord
Waiting for
My crowned reward.

But all He says is
"Look at Me...
And see your
Lack of Charity."

Now I am sitting
Not so pretty
In Purgatory's
Love-lost city.

Don't look at me
I'm Farrah - "Si"!
Please pray for me
Love's poverty

Matt said...

New Catholic said, "There is no doubt in my mind, regardless of this, that these judgments are to be made by the CONFESSOR or SPIRITUAL DIRECTOR, and that the lay faithful should guide newcomers only by example of shining holiness. It is beyond their position to impose or pressure, by embarrassment, comments, looks, etc, dressing rules on newcomers."

When someone comes to Mass looking like something out of some gossip rag, you would prefer nothing be said? How charitable is it to let them continue to be a laughing joke of the chapel week after week?




Seraphim said. "Wow. Is this a preview of what we can expect from the "reconsiled" SSPX after the agreement?"

I was wondering the same thing. I have not ever heard of an SSPX priest speak like this. It just may be some PR moves for the (pray God) coming reunion so the moddies don't do the same thing to them (us) which they always have been doing. "See, we're just like one of you." Yeah, right.

Matt

GE said...

Re: modesty.

Rather than yell at people when they enter church in miniskirts, perhaps one could position a couple of young women with a pile of hand missals and a basket of nice sarongs or shawls or some such, and just hand both over with a broad smile as if it were the most natural thing in the world.

Jonvilas said...

I am sorry, but was it not the first idea and aim of the so called aggiornamento? :)
Another thing is that it went astray. Especially when governed by the demon called "The Spirit of Vatican II".
However, it would appear that the new generation of FSSPX has come quite close to the original aims of the good pope John XXIII. :)

B. said...

Many of today's SSPX parish police would be horrified at the things Archbishop Lefebvre did in the missions in order to attract people.
For example he allowed polygamous families to be integrated into parish life (though not to baptism and communion), in order to be able to baptize their children and raise them as Catholics.

Zaitskofener said...

I am not surprised that an SSPX priest would have the good sense to write this; it is exactly in line with the thinking of Marcel Lefebvre who, let no one ever forget, was first and foremost a missionary.
The externals did not matter to him: he laughed at the Roman vestment fanatics, always wore the clerical suit when travelling in Anglo Saxon countries, and pared the episcopal liturgy down to its essentials.
What mattered to him was not liturgical fashion, certainly not "tat" (he did not allow seminarians at Econe to wear the biretta), but the Faith. His society has remained largely true to his example; if only the "Ecclesia Dei" communities could even see the point of doing the same.

Maricruz said...

I am a latinamerican regular catholic attracted for the latin mass but it has being hard for me to get closer because the rejection of this groups to persons like me.

As I said, I´m just a regular latinamerican catholic who loves liturgy.

Francis said...

When I used to assist at my local novus ordo parish I used to see people dressed in all kinds of bizarre fashions, especially in the Summer time. Some young (and middle aged) women dressed like they were either going to the beach or to walk the boulevard after Mass. Which, honestly for me and many other red blooded American males inside the Church was quite distracting. Many men came to Church dressed like they just came from working in their garage or in their back yards (Ie shorts, tee shirts etc.) I can see Father's point, but as other people have said these people wouldn't show up dressed like this if they were going out to eat, or going for a high ranking job interview etc. I see nothing wrong with telling people in a charitable way that they are stepping into the house of the Lord, and should dress and act accordingly.

Barona said...

Good common sense from this priest. Extremes need to always be avoided: a woman who dresses immodestly vulgarizes/degrades her femininity; a woman who dresses puritanically denies her femininity.

It is also interesting to see the phenomena of attire for a certain number of little girls, who are, in essence dressed like 'puritanical women" for Mass. These parents would do well to glance through innumerable photos of Corpus Christi processions etc. from the 20s and see that many a little girl wore "mini" skirts, and no one had "evil" thoughts. I think that this priest probably is warning his flock to avoid certain external protestant tendencies that are evident in protestant countries such as the United States. It is very easy to become absorbed into a "groupthink" mentality.

Barbara said...

Very good article and I thank the good Father for expressing so well what I have often thought.

The "Trad Environment" mentality is something I consciously resist - although I understand how it evolved, as those who were attached to Catholic Tradition after it was truly massacred following the Second Vatican Council were unquestionably marginalized in the Church. It would appear that the "ghetto mentality" in some Chapels has become a measure in itself, and, maybe out of fear, it created a lot of unnecessary rigidity. Of course modesty in dress and in all things for that matter, is of the utmost importance for any Catholic but the most important thing, in my opinion, is that people are exposed to the Traditional Latin Mass and good catechesis - the rest will follow.

I have had a few unpleasant episodes with the "rigid trad" - and now that I have embraced the Old Rite I have to be careful that I don't put people off by an intolerant approach to the natural ignorance of newcomers. For example, I refuse to be conditioned by people who are obsessed with veils and women wearing trousers.

I have no nostalgia for the Church of the fifties - but certainly way back then, as many have said, the Church still had a strong identity, and the issues we are discussing now subject to Catholic common sense...which is greatly lacking in the present modern Church because the sacred in the Mass has been greatly undermined. That “unbecoming familiarity with the sacred” has ruined so much in the Church – even common-sense..

Barbara

Seraphim said...

Judging from the comments, I would say this website is filled with people dissatisfied with traditional Catholicism.

Neal said...

It is possible to dress fashionably without dressing immodestly. I think the good Father is merely suggesting that Catholics dress and comport themselves in such a way that makes them attractive to non-Catholics. (Note that I'm not talking about being sexually attractive; contrary to both the moderns and the puritans, it's not all about sex.) Seriously, people, it's not that hard to understand. If you make yourselves like a bunch of outcasts, reasonable people will cast you out. Make sure that when you are persecuted, it is for some critical point of faith or morals and not for looking like you just walked out of a time machine.

Sunshine State said...

In general, society seems to have shunned proper attire across the board. There are few events nowadays where you see men in a shirt and tie and women in a dress. This is not an excuse for immodesty or improper attire, just an observation.

I live in Florida, and some of the retirees here dress worse than the younger people who attend mass (tee shirts and shorts). It used to be that the older generation set a good example for the younger one. Not anymore it seems.

John McFarland said...

The comments here demonstrate both the problem and the solution.

The problem is that we (that is, all of us) tend to focus on part of the issue (for example, as regards modest dress) to the detriment of the rest of the issue.
This is famously true of Protestants -- and Americans, although by no means limited to them.

In the application of principle to practice, as has been said by the wise since Aristotle, we must achieve a mean between extremes.

This is not easy work. In order to be successful, we must watch and pray.

For a little help, I'd suggest Bishop Tissier's biography of Abp. Lefebvre. There you can see a master of human and divine prudence at work.

P.S. Those of us who think that we've achieved the mean, more or less, also need to be charitable to those more inclined to the extremes. Christ died for censorious old ladies, too.

New Catholic said...

Certainly not, Seraphim.

But there is Tradition, traditions, and the trappings of a pseudo-reconstructed culture. They need not be sold as one inseparable package.

Peterman said...

If a woman is dressed in a sleeveless, backless, plunging neckline or tight skirt she can potentially scandalize anyone who sees her. It's nice to visit northern climates for mass because finally some modesty due to heavy winter clothes! Ideally a nun at the Church could loan these women a nice sweater. If a guy shows up with shorts of flip flops, he just needs to be told it's not appropriate.

The issue is not the dress, people SHOULD be told to dress correctly and if they can't live up to it they don't need to attend the TLM. The real issue is a lack of charity which exists in so many traditional communities.

Joseph said...

The argument that you wear a suit to other 'important' occasions is a strawman. While a banker or businessman concerned with base materialism may care about whether you wear a suit, I am pretty certain God doesn't care if the material covering your legs on Sunday is made of denim or cloth and he doesn't judge you based upon whether you wear a piece of silk around your neck when you approach the altar.
The 'Mad Men' reference in this thread is ironic, considering it is show illustrating the lives of sinful men in expensive suits.

What is certain is that many traditionalists posting here would condemn the beggar coming into the House of God. What of the many millions in the world who come from a culture without suits? Are they not truly Catholic in your minds until they have a Western tie around their neck on Sundays.

Judge Not said...

It is prudent to let the Priest of the parish speak personally to those dressed inappropriately or immodestly at Church, since immodest clothing can be a distraction to others. In the meantime however, other parishioners should mind their own business, not to mention their eyes if necessary. Live in the world, not of it.

On another note regarding "proper" attire: A gentleman from our Church used to come dressed in his newest jeans. That was his best for Sunday, since jeans were the only thing in his wardrobe. The parish never looked down on him for his choice of clothing. His demeanor in Church was respectful and he showed kindness and charity to all. It is best not to judge a book by it's cover.

My2Cents said...

Although many seem to want to suggest Father is indicating modesty is of no importance, that is not what he seems to be speaking of at all. Attending an SSPX trad chapel, I beleive he is talking of the self-appointed modesty police that lurk in many of the SSPX chapels and elsewhere. These people form their own standards of what is and is not modest. For instance - I know some who say to wear make-up and paint your nails is not modest. They gossip about and chastise those who do. Some practically measure the length of the sleeve that the women and girls wear with a ruler. Some may say a sleeve at all is good, but some gossip and chastise those whose sleeves do not come fully to the elbow (covering the elbow). Some say a skirt must cover the knee, others to the calf, and others to the ankles. This could all be within one chapel and they practically have wars over it. Then there is the type of skirt - some say not straight skirts, some say no slits, some say not to certain fabrics - opinions vary greatly but they are not treated as opinions but dogmas. Some say you have to dress like you are out of Little House on the Prairie, or maybe the 50's, and some see that you can buy up to date fashions that are modest. Each individual person is deciding what is modest and is then condemning others based on there own opinions. I think that is what Father is speaking of. Oh, and lets not forget those who pass judgement on hats vs. mantillas, vs. round chapel veils. In addition, there are the visitors, new to tradition, exploring it. I have seen many a time when the self-appointed modesty police chase them off because they might have on pants. They should mind their own business and allow the people to come around on their own but the modesty police can't seem to do that. I wonder if it ever occurs to the modesty police that their own offenses int his area might be something they need to confess? By the way, I wear skirts, a long veil, no make-up, and no polish, etc. but I don't set my own standards for others. One can be modest and still select a number of fashions, and some just need patience as they work their way there.

Melchior Cano said...

"Seraphim said...
Judging from the comments, I would say this website is filled with people dissatisfied with traditional Catholicism."

"Skeptico said...
Wait just one second here....

This and your commentary on it sound suspiciously like the wretched "aggiornamento" of the wretched Vatican II! What's going on here??? "

"Skeptico said...
By the way, it's very interesting that he uses the term "bastions of our faith." It flows of course from that hero of NeoCaths, von Balthasar. Very interesting indeed."

Well, let us thank these great luminaries, and the other of their ilk who fill this combox today, that we can see through Father's comments to his true intentions. That we know what he really means. Gosh, I'm so simple, I read it and thought it was merely a beautiful sermon/newsletter by a truly Catholic priest. Thank you to those of you, like Skeptico, and Seraphim, who, with your Orthodox-o-meters, and Vatican-Two-X-Ray-Vision machines, we know the truth.

Thanks to you we know it's all part of the sell-out. Of course, because why else would a priest tell people that they need to be prudent and apostolic. It must be a conspiracy. Yes, it's all clear now.

On an unrelated note, do my drapes need to be a certain thickness for the 3 days of darkness? Just want to make sure.

All of which is to say, please crawl back to whatever hole you came from and stop trolling good Catholic websites.

Cesar Augustus said...

Good article. I think that Tradition is something natural and not forced. The guetto mentality is bad. Tradition is supossed to be normal, not an excentricity for a group of people.

About dress codes:

I haven't seen people in suits and ties in the FSSPX chapel in my city. But yes, people dress modestly. People in diocesan Parishes don't dress bad either. Maybe a few young people, but they aren't too many, and some Churches have indications about dress code.

On another note regarding "proper" attire: A gentleman from our Church used to come dressed in his newest jeans. That was his best for Sunday, since jeans were the only thing in his wardrobe. The parish never looked down on him for his choice of clothing. His demeanor in Church was respectful and he showed kindness and charity to all. It is best not to judge a book by it's cover.

Well said!

Blessings!

P.S. Maybe is a thing with USA or Europe chapels, but where I live, I haven't seen some of the behaviors described here.

Athelstane said...

Hello Joseph,

Anyone who thinks wearing a business suit to Mass is a sign of a man's holiness doesn't even begin to understand Jesus Christ.

I don't think many traditionalists would make the mistake of thinking that.

Wearing formal attire is not a sign of holiness, but a sign of respect - respect for the mystery being celebrated, and for fellow Catholics attempting to celebrate it without distraction.

Unfortunately, I do think that some traditionalists tend to fall into the trap of assuming that deficiencies in attire (as they perceive them) are definitive signposts of grave faults and vices.

In my experience, there's a definite spectrum of mentalities in traditionalist communities, ranging from quite severe "bastions of faith" to much more welcoming atmospheres. The former tendency is (let us be fair) understandable given the relentless assault that secular culture today makes on the faith. But the result is a community that may well be long on faith and hope but is too often short on charity.

For these reasons, I find Fr.Gaud's comments quite refreshing, and I hope they prove a source of reflection on the part of many traditionalists. By all means let us keep our bastions; but let us make sure that the drawbridge is not always up, and exercise some charity and patience for the new arrivals inside the keep.

Ecclesia Militans said...

In my diocese the general rule before the Council was:
for men, shirts no shorter than the elbow, pants to the ankle,
for women, blouses no shorter than the wrist, skirts to the ankle
(the only exceptions were little children, who could have a slightly shorter skirt)

Oh yes, and either some kind of veil or hat.

MJ said...

VoxClamans,
You make a lot of good points, but it's worth noting that the early Christians did in fact put a lot of emphasis on modesty and dress. The diary of 3rd century martyr St. Perpetua (edited in parts) tells this about her in the arena:

"First the heifer tossed Perpetua and she fell on her back. Then sitting up she pulled down the tunic that was ripped along the side so that it covered her thighs, thinking more of her modesty than of her pain. Next she asked for a pin to fasten her untidy hair: for it was not right that a martyr should die with her hair in disorder, lest she might seem to be mourning in her hour of triumph."

I think it's important to keep in mind. Many traditionalist communities put a ridiculous amount of emphasis on women's dress, even going so far as to make their own clothes. But we still need to be conscious of what our dress and appearance communicate to other people, just like St. Perpetua. I'm not speaking to your particular case, but when someone shows up at Mass with a lip piercing or a mohawk, people will have good reasons to assume they belong to an uncatholic subculture and be scandalized. Dress and appearance broadcast certain values and beliefs whether we want them to or not, just like St. Perpetua's untidy hair.

Just another mad Catholic said...

Fr hits the nail on the head!!!

I would add that (in my experience) Traditional Vocation directors will not take anyone who does not fulfill there idea of the 'perfect candidate'.Whilst I acknowlede that we shouldn't accept those who are obviously unsuitable, it seems that the vast majority of VD's are determaned to punnish the child of divorcess for the sins of his/her parents/

Gratias said...

In our wonderful Diocesan TLM there are none of these problems. If someone drifts in, sometimes by mistake they are always welcomed. If they return, gradually their dress improves. Half of our women do not wear mantillas, and they never will. This is not a problem at all. We love the TLM and to worship together.

It is true that the Latin Mass is growing too slowly, but it is growing. Rorate Caeli, Pewsitter, The Latin Mass magazine, iMass and others are doing excellent work. So are the many priests that are offering the Mass. I am looking forward to our Easter Triduum.

Peterman said...

"The argument that you wear a suit to other 'important' occasions is a strawman. While a banker or businessman concerned with base materialism may care about whether you wear a suit, I am pretty certain God doesn't care if the material covering your legs on Sunday is made of denim or cloth "

Good point. The Cure of Ars told the local people of his Church to show up with clean clothes to mass. Many in Ars didn't have great means for fine clothes but just clean and press the best clothes you do have. If they didn't have something good enough he'd probably help them get some good clothes.

The Cure of Ars, Father Solonus Casey, Father Seelos, all are relatively recent saint/priests who never knew anything but the TLM and were the ultimate examples of humility, charity, and love for the material poor and poor of spirit.

Celestia said...

Many readers here need to go to audiosancto.org and listen to the sermons on modesty.

Our Lady of Fatima told Jacinta, “Certain fashions will be introduced which will offend my Son very much. More people go to hell because of sins of the flesh than for any other reason.”

This warning of Our Lady of Fatima has come to pass, so much so that even many Catholic parishes have lost the sense of Christian modesty and decency.

Under mandate of Pope Pius XI, the Vatican issued guidelines to all bishops on this subject:

“A dress cannot be called decent which is cut deeper than two fingers’ breadth under the pit of the throat, which does not cover the arms at least to the elbows and scarcely reaches a bit beyond the knees. Furthermore, dresses of transparent material are improper.”

On June 12, 1960, Cardinal Siri of Genoa issued a notification warning all the clergy, the teaching sisters, those involved in Catholic Action, and educators in his diocese, of the grave dangers in the wearing of trousers by women. He stated:

“The wearing of men’s dress by women affects firstly the woman herself, by changing the feminine psychology proper to women; secondly it affects the woman as wife of her husband, by tending to vitiate relationships between the sexes; thirdly it affects the woman as mother of her children by harming her dignity in her children’s eyes.”

St. Padre Pio dismissed from his confessional, before they could step inside, all women he judged to be incorrectly dressed. By 1967, on some mornings, he turned them away one after another, until he ended up confessing very few. His brethren noticed this with a certain unease, then decided to post on the door of the church a warning: “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 beginning of the struggle with no concessions whatsoever coincided more or less with the advent of the mini-skirt, launched by the English girl Mary Quant. It had not yet reached Italy as Padre Pio was thundering against short skirts.

The feminine loss of the sense of modesty was indicated by Pope Pius XII, who said:

“Now many girls do not see anything wrong with following certain shameless styles (fashions) like so many sheep. They would surely blush if they could only guess the impressions they make and the feelings they evoke (arouse) in those who see them.” (July 17, 1954)

“O Christian mothers, if only you knew the future distress, peril and ill-restrained shame that you prepare for your sons and daughters by imprudently accustoming them to live barely clothed, and permitting them to lose the sense of modesty, you would be ashamed of yourselves, and of the harm done to the little ones entrusted to you by Heaven to be reared in a Christian dignity and culture.”

The false notion that mere custom should dictate the question of modesty was refuted by Pope Pius XII in one short sentence: “There always exists an absolute norm to be preserved.”

For those who teach or say, “what is customary does not affect us,” Pope Pius XII calls this application of an ancient principle to the virtue of modesty “the most insidious of sophisms.” He calls attention to the fact that some people use this sophism “... in order to brand as ‘old fashioned’ the rebellion of honest people against fashions they consider too bold.”

Pope Pius XII also stated, “Vice necessarily follows upon public nudity.” Who can deny that the rise in fornication, adultery, rape, incest, contraception, abortion, pornography, and many other sins have not been fueled in large part by the rejection of Christian modesty? Not only is Christian modesty not old-fashioned, it is a necessary protection for the dignity of both men and women, as well as a protection of the sanctity of marriage and the sanctity of life.

isabelle said...

New Catholic said, "There is no doubt in my mind, regardless of this, that these judgments are to be made by the CONFESSOR or SPIRITUAL DIRECTOR, and that the lay faithful should guide newcomers only by example of shining holiness. It is beyond their position to impose or pressure, by embarrassment, comments, looks, etc, dressing rules on newcomers."
I agree. It is the responsibility of the pastor of a chapel to not only lay down the rules of that chapel as far as dress codes, but to also instruct the faithful in the proper behavior towards newcomers. That said, the problem with being a "shining example of holiness" by dressing modestly is that you will be mocked for said "holiness." This seems evident by some of the comments here, and it is my own experience as well.

Seraph said: If Trads are willing to be less judgemental and more charitable, helpful, and understanding, more people will not be turned off and will slowly but surely adapt to the Catholic vision of life in which they will help tranform the culture in dress and speech.
But of course it is not only Trads who can be judgmental and uncharitable. These are human failings, not "trad" failings. There is just as much pettiness among the NO communities.

Gravitas said...

Folks, Father isn't making this a choice between modest and immodest. It's simply being modest without looking like we are some bizarre Mormon sect, where all the woman walk around in jumpers and lace shirts. If we want to attract Faithful Novus Ordo Catholics, we can't look like we are nuts, but we can and should be modest. Why we are even debating if men should be in suits at Mass is bizarre to me,. Of course we should. Or at least a coat and tie.

Jeremiah Methuselah said...

Gratias, very well put, I thank you.

Seraph, you are so correct and understanding. Thank you.

Traditionalists need to be welcoming fellow Catholics and potential Catholics halfway rather than being overly critical (older women being the most blatant offenders in my experience (well over 35 years). That’s true, I truly know, believe me, in some cases, rather close to home, they have driven off good people. One must put all this stuff out of the mind and focus on the Mass, not judging or appearing to judge. Keep your eyes on the altar man !

Modesty is a rare virtue these days, even inside a Catholic church, so sad to say. We must remember the twelve Fruits of the Holy Spirit :

Charity, Joy, Peace, Patience, Benignity, Goodness, Longanimity, Mildness, Faith, Modesty, Continency and Chastity.

Certain ways of dressing are defo distracting, I’m not referring to obvious necklines “too low and behold”, but a general manifestation of “à la mode”, which is dressing to show off, not to comply with tradition.

Father is spot on. Think about it - why do we go to Mass ? Is it to meet (and to assess) how the congregation dresses ? Or to worship Our Creator ? Seek ye first the Kingdom of God.

Having said that, I am very much aware of hyper-criticalness of some old aunties who are very quick to put the dress-code boot in, that is so wrong. Indeed, I have too much personal experience of judgmental “Trads” who are so quick to condemn visitors and, in fact, have driven them out of the Church. Fact.

I would say that if a new face is seen, a gentle “Hello, nice to see you here” is sufficient, just waiting for a favourable reaction and leave it at that. Time reveals all, no need for dress-code police (self-appointed)

Those who condemn a lady for not wearing a head-covering need to look more closely at themselves. They have no idea at all of what courage may have been called for to go to the OLD Mass.

Leave them alone and look to yourselves, good people.

dcs said...

New Catholic writes:
[T]he lay faithful should guide newcomers only by example of shining holiness. It is beyond their position to impose or pressure, by embarrassment, comments, looks, etc, dressing rules on newcomers.

I wholeheartedly agree. The only people who should be enforcing the rules about dress in church are the priests or perhaps those to whom the pastor has delegated some authority (such as ushers). The ordinary person in the pew should set an example, nothing more.

Gravitas said...

Jeremiah, many good points. However, this is a bit off: Those who condemn a lady for not wearing a head-covering need to look more closely at themselves.

Of course we shouldn't condemn them. And only the pastor should even say anything if their heads aren't covered. But it's not too much to expect women to cover their heads. And it's not men's fault for being distracted. That's why they're supposed to over their heads, so men aren't distracted during Mass!

Roger Peterson said...

Father Ripperger FSSP preached a very interesting sermon on the subject of 'trad problems' recently:

http://www.sensustraditionis.org/webaudio/Sermons/Tradition/Sermon10.mp3

In the sermon, Father raised several interesting points, including: how the trad movement is becoming gnostic and isolationist, the high frequency of heinous sins of impurity among trads, the tendency towards curiosity, despair, anger, and depression and the disordered personal spiritual life of so many trads.

Ignatius said...

WHY ARE WE ALL TALKING ABOUT CLOTHING?
THIS JUST SHOWS WHAT EVERYONE IS SO FOCUSED ON IN TRADITION!

I think the post talked about more than clothing.

And relax people, this Priest is probably not a JPII follower based on his comments you all think are so liberal and clothing based. Just take it for what it is, know that only a handful of people will read it (you and those in the SSPX Churches) and let's move on, to the next post where we can criticize a Priest, state all that we know, and say it is in the name of truth and salvation

VoxClamans said...

MJ:

Thank you, your point on St Perpetua was a good one. =)

Although, do remember that a mohawk or a lip piercing does not indicate un-Catholic beliefs. I identify as part of a subculture myself, although without the mohawk! It's simply a fashion preference - they are silly ones, I think, but not against the Holy Faith.

dcs said...

Gravitas writes:
That's why they're supposed to over their heads, so men aren't distracted during Mass!

Really? Here I was thinking it was a symbol of submission to authority. Is a hat OK? It seems like that could be distracting.

A sinner said...

One simple question occurs to a non-trad outsider: Why are you paying attention to what others are wearing during the Mass?

"How charitable is it to let them continue to be a laughing joke of the chapel week after week?"

I'd forgotten that malicious mockery was a virtue. How silly of me.

As for dressing smartly, is there not a danger that obsessing about this can tip over into vanity and pride? We must take care, for the Devil is prowling about like a lion, looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8).

As for those who say outward appearances reflect inward realities, by associating clothing worn to Mass with the state of another's soul: are you the Just Judge? Do you have windows into men's souls? Do you see what is done in secret?

I suggest to those persons re-reading the First Book of the Prophet Samuel (specifically, 1 Samuel 16), and, indeed, the First Letter to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 4).

Modesty is indeed an excellent virtue. But so is humility, a virtue which often (sadly) seems entirely absent from the traditionalist microcosm. The first duty of every Christian is to our own soul.

"quid existis in desertum videre, harundinem vento agitatam? sed quid existis videre, hominem mollibus vestitum? ecce qui mollibus vestiuntur in domibus regum sunt." (Matthew 11:7-8)

dcs said...

Gravitas writes:
Popes have taught that tattooing ones self is a mortal sin

Which Popes?

Gravitas said...

Dcs, last one I read was Leo XIII, I believe.

Why?


It is a violation of the "temple of Holy Ghost" (1 Corinthians 6:19/DRV), your God-given body. It is a practice condemned in Scripture because of its paganism. Your body will bear the mark of paganism and will shame you before every Christian for your entire lifetime. Thus, tattooing is a Mortal Sin against the Virtue of Faith. Rather than going along with the pagan crowd, your faith calls upon you to be a moral example for others.


You are killing your own body because the process of tattooing does serious physical harm to yourself for no serious reason. The inks used contain carcinogens like lead and mercury and can produce metal blood poisoning, which may move very quickly into the internal organs and, in the most serious cases, cause death. Thus, tattooing is a Mortal Sin against the Fifth Commandment of God.


You are killing other people. Tattooing transmits HIV and Hepatitis B and C that lead to liver cancer. These viruses can erupt virulently, or they can lie dormant in the body for twenty or more years after the tattooing incident. Hepatitis can destroy the liver and thus weaken the body until it dies in agony. So dangerous is this practice that tattooed individuals cannot give blood so as not to transmit the viruses to others, yet many do. Thus, tattooing is thus a Mortal Sin against the Virtue of Charity as well.

Brian said...

Comments cautioning against those judgmental "Trads environments" have included the following:

the eccentric way women dress in some trad communities ensures that many young women that visit for Mass don't return. Modesty is not dressing provocatively. Modesty has nothing to do with adopting an Amish or Southern Protestant dress code.

Many traditionalist communities put a ridiculous amount of emphasis on women's dress, even going so far as to make their own clothes.

It's simply being modest without looking like we are some bizarre Mormon sect, where all the woman walk around in jumpers and lace shirts. If we want to attract Faithful Novus Ordo Catholics, we can't look like we are nuts.

It is also interesting to see the phenomena of attire for a certain number of little girls, who are, in essence dressed like "puritanical women" for Mass.


Yep, no doubt about it, those home-schooling, “trads” who sew their children’s clothes sure are judgmental about what other people wear to Mass.

Barbara said...

Celestia wrote quoting Cardinal Siri:

“The wearing of men’s dress by women affects firstly the woman herself, by changing the feminine psychology proper to women; secondly it affects the woman as wife of her husband, by tending to vitiate relationships between the sexes; thirdly it affects the woman as mother of her children by harming her dignity in her children’s eyes.”

Cardinal Siri was a great churchman I'm sure - but this is just nonsense! I agree that most modern fashions are immodest and downright unfeminine though.

Barbara

Gravitas said...

Barbara, he is spot on, and I see it time and again. Sorry, but you can't dress like a man and behave as a woman.

Barbara said...

Gravitas,
I think that the Cardinal has projected his own ideas about the matter here. I agree that some women can wear trousers in an indecorous fashion. And probably some women wear pants in order to behave like men - but few I would say.
I wear trousers sometimes and I most certainly do not dress like a man. Wearing trousers tastefully with flowing tops can be just as modest as a longer skirt. Trousers are comfortable for most women - and that's the reason we wear them. It is simply not true what the Cardinal says - most normal women who wear trousers DO NOT WANT to be like men – and as for how it affects our motherhood – come-on this is too much! I know a 44 year old wonderful wife and mother who is expecting her eighth child! And horror of horrors – she sometimes wears trousers!

Have blessed Holy Week!
Barbara

Gravitas said...

He doesn't say she wants to change, just that she does change.

Tradmeister said...

Wow, RC has a hum-dinger of a thread going on here!

Tony W. said...

when discussing modesty, it is inevitable that at least one person will introduce one or all of the following non-sequiturs and falsehoods:

1) God does not care about what I wear; He only cares about how I am on the inside.

2) Modesty is the occasion of the vice of pride; therefore one shouldn't bother about modesty too much.

3) The practice of the virtue of modesty, or wearing a veil etc., doesn't necessarily mean that one also has virtues x, y, and z; therefore modesty isn't important, necessary, etc.

4)Our Lord criticized the Pharisees for worrying about externals: but trads worry about externals, and therefore trads are Pharisees.

5) It's all right for a beggar to worship in rags, or my great grandaddy use to go to Mass in his bib and braces, which is all he had; therefore it's all right for me to dress in jeans at Mass.

Briefly, in response:

1) Anyone who is truly interested in what God does and does not care about ought to consult the natural law of which He is the author, and its exposition by the doctors and approved theologians. They will find therein that the natural law dictates a) dress ought to be appropriate to the circumstances in which it's worn, and b) that external acts ought to be conformed to interior dispositions. Hence, a) one does not normally wear clothes that are designated by convention for work or informal wear, or for wear amongst equals when one is supposed to be offering due honour to God. Since God is not our equal, and Mass is a sacred act, it is right and just that we set the sacred apart from the profane by such things as wearing special clothes, and the good Catholic will understand this principle and b), at least, try to conform his exterior deportment to this fact.

2) Since the practice of any virtue could, conceivably, be the occasion of pride, it would follow that we ought to avoid the practice of virtue; but this is an absurd conclusion, as both the natural and theological virtues are necessary for a good and holy life. The problem is that the occasion of sin here is only a remote occasion of sin, and we are only required to avoid the proximate occasions of sin.

3) Here, similar to 2); just because the (near) practice of modesty isn't a fast ticket to perfection, it doesn't follow that modesty is unimportant or even some sort of unnecessary add-on virtue suitable only for neurotics.

4) The error of the Pharisees was not in thinking that externals were important or even necessary for virtue and holiness, but in thinking that mere formal exterior works, separated wholly from the proper interior dispositions, were sufficient for salvation. To read the passage as saying that something as simple as the practice of modesty is unnecessary and even contrary to holiness is to read the passage contrary to Tradition and even just its plain meaning.

5) The beggar acts well, because, in his material circumstance, he can do no more. Holy beggars, however, have the correct interior dispositions and always fervently wish to offer whatever due honour to God they possibly can. There is a world of difference between the holy beggar, however, and the casual suburbanite who says to himself, 'I can dress in whatever makes me feel comfortable even though I could do otherwise, because a good god wouldn't get uptight about all that toffee-nosed nonsense that I so hate'. Similar for your great grandaddy's case; he's either wearing his best work clothes because he has nothing else, or he's just dragged himself, tired and all, off the farm to morning Mass to offer up to God even more due honour.

Pioquinto said...

Is this the first salvo to demolish the FSSPX? Or there are too many anti-conspiracy nuts?

Jordanes551 said...

"Anti-conspiracy nuts"? When did it become nuts to be skeptical of or hesitant to embrace nutty conspiracy theories?

Francisco Romero Carrasquillo said...

I disagree with the basic point of the article (if I understand it correctly). In order to raise my children as saints and as Catholic minds, I could use a "Trad environment." That is why we homeschool, and that is why they don't go to Novus Ordo Masses or Novus Ordo schools. It should be self-evident, methinks.

New Catholic said...

Yes, you misunderstood it.

Tom S. said...

Most of the comments on here would be entertaining if they were not so pathetic. The objective reality is that there is a difference between modesty and obsession with antiquity - a difference who h most of the commenters on here apparently fail to understand. It' is entirely possible to dress modestly without looking like its 1950! It's this bizarre obsession with anachronistic fashion of dress that Father was addressing in his writing. And the comments hereon serve to give credence to his points.

Adam P. said...

Thanks for posting this excellent article. I read the original French (vive le Québec!) and a translation of the entire piece would probably lead to less misunderstandings. His reference to St Cyril of Alexandria is especially poignant in relation to the phenomenon of armchair Bishops on the net, which is that we as Traditional Catholics need to be interacting *directly* with heretics to explain the truth rather than be "like Don Quixote, who fought against no one but sheets of paper, or faces on the internet". Many of my real life acquaintances are Catholics who apostasized to Protestantism in their youth and I endeavour to demonstrate the beauty of the Catholic faith to them.

Thom said...

This post and the numerous comments have led me to examine my own conscience, which I suspect is what the good Fr. Maud intended for his listeners to do. Humility and patience seem to be the virtues he is trying to encourage. I can certainly use more of those!

Thank you to the gentleman who posted the edifying Fr. Rippinger audio. I found many more here:

http://www.sensustraditionis.org/multimedia.html

Mar said...

Tom S. said: "Most of the comments on here would be entertaining if they were not so pathetic."

Would the publican have spoken like that? :)

Picard said...

I am certain that the first Christians were far less preoccupied with measuring how long their skirts were, or backstabbing one another, and more concerned with...you know, loving God and loving one another

I do not buy this.
If you read the Gospel and the letters in Holy Scripture there you see a) there were always "fights" in the parishes/communities.
b) St. Paul, St. Peter,... themselfe had some strong exhortations about modesty, trappings, etc.

c) Do not forget: such immodest clothing/fashion was unthinkable for the Jews or even for the pagan Romans.
There was no need to have so many exhortations in the old times -because the fashion was much better.

Now we live in such terrible times that our fashion is much worse than the way of clothing that in old times was used by whorse!

So there is much more need for exhortations and criticism re this in our times!!

Its seriouse: The souls are going to HELL!!

Btw., thanks and bravo De Liliis!

Tony W. said...

F. R. Carrasquillo said:-

'I disagree with the basic point of the article (if I understand it correctly).'

N.C. responded:-

'Yes, you misunderstood it.'

N.C., since Fr. Gaud's presentation of his views is hardly the most systematic of expositions, it isn't to be wondered at if Dr. C. misunderstands it. However, I'm really not convinced that he does misunderstand it. The gist of this newsletter article is obviously that traditionalists ought to be less concerned with certain ideas about modesty, politics, etc. that cause in-fighting and drive away converts and more concerned with appealing to at least some members of modern society. Such ideas, I suppose, are meant to be unconnected with the true Tradition of the Church. And that you agree with this point of view is obvious from your remarks about not sticking to the aesthetics of a previous age and so on. But whether you or Fr. G. are right on this point will depend upon what these supposed non-essentials, or 'trappings of a reconstructed pseudo-culture' are taken to be. And judging by the comments above, most people here seem to think that something so simple as having to wear a shirt and tie to Mass is some sort bizzare demand that has no grounding in the Church's ethics. But this is surely false, as such a general rule or custom seems to be no more than a practical conclusion about a concrete circumstance drawn from some very basic principles regarding dressing according to one's circumstance and according to established custom. So back to Dr. C's point, it would seem obvious that if I don't wish my children, say, to adopt the many disordered customs of late modernity, that I should go somewhere people bother about such things, even if they are sometimes prone to rash judgements and a lack of charity.

Pioquinto said...

April´s fools day jokes apart, I agree wholeheartedly with Tony W. My movement to Tradition was a life-changing experience, when my teenage daughter was being sucked up by peer- pressure and the media and I was escaping the spiritual limbo in the novus ordo.
Now , she got great friends there, she is Home-colleged trough Western Governors University online at an affordable tuition and my own spiritual life is great. And she loved "Little house in the prairie" since before converting to Traditional.
We went to ordinations 3 years ago to Winona, MINN and we had a keen time.
Never knew there were so many Traditional cowboys, and they dressed as such. I don`t have any problem there. Peace and goodness. +++

Picard said...

NC,

I must concur with Tony W. (and others) [Very good analysis and arguments, Tony W.!]

- Dr. C does not seem to have misunderstood the text - or put it better that way (as also Tony W. put it): the text is not that easy or clear. Or perhaps even better: It is good and dangerouse together, it is ambiguouse or: has some good points but also some very troubeling ones or troubeling formulations, that can easily lead to wrong conclusions (as also Tony W. remarked).

As you can see yourselfe the terrible output of the text: many of the commenters here think that the length f.e. of a skirt is not that important -- what is very arlarming.

The Chruch teaches the opposite. And all the Saints (see also the link of De Liliis) are very clear re that - Catharina of Rome, Padre Pio, little Jacinta of Fatima, ...

I myselfe spoke to an niece of Sr. Lucia some years ago in Fatima - and she assured me that Sr. Lucis was always very strict re the fashion/modesty-question, thought it to be a very serious one!

O Resistente said...

There is Tradition and traditions. Tradition, with bigger-T, is obviously far superior to any tradition.

But both are needed.

If you believe you can be Traditional without being also traditional then you are really stuck in the 50s optimistic mentality. Beware the 60s!

(Of course, one doesn't have to wear a fedora hat to be traditional. It has more to do with respecting our forefathers. But does include some distrust for novelties.)

De Liliis said...

Thank you Picard it was good to hear about the niece of Lucia!

One would hope and pray that over one hundred quotes from Popes and saints would be enough to help folks gain a true appreciation of modesty! Especially as Skeptico noted due to the fewness of the saved, and so the need to take the opposite approach of the world -- modesty is beautiful after all, spiritual beauty is the true beauty.

VoxClamans said...

Picard:

Did you not read the rest of my comment? Where did I say that modesty was not important? My entire point was that modesty is extremely important, but if your modesty comes at the expense of charity, virtue is severely lacking. It is only the truth.

I repeat: dressing modestly does not of a necessity equate to modesty of the heart. Have you been to a Christian girls' school? If you dress modestly but backstab and criticise - and moreover, use modesty to backstab and criticise - where does Christ have room in your soul?

It was said of the early Christians, "Look how they love one another!" The modesty of their clothing would have only emphasised the Love of God they had within them. Modesty and charity hand in hand is a beautiful thing. =)

Please don't misread my remarks, if you can possibly help it.