I’m not ashamed to say it: I lived in a period where proper and decent clothing was expected when attending mass. I was always in my Sunday best, and that meant wearing a frilly dress, while the men folk wore pants. I also wore a chapel veil well into my teens until I became self-conscious of it and stopped using it altogether. Wearing a V-neckline was a no-no, and if you wore it you would be scorned like a slut.
In recent years however, we’ve become so lax about it. Blame it on the humid weather and fashion trends. Catholics everywhere have lost their touch on the proper decorum during mass. We dress so casually that inner wear looks like outer wear. Ladies wear the skimpiest outfit and line up for communion leaving nothing to the imagination. No offense to people who have the body to flaunt it, but when we enter the church we expect to be in the presence of God who deserves all our hearts and attention. But what happens when we see a lady wearing a figure hugging dress sashaying the queue for communion? Does it keep your mind focused on Jesus?
Philippine Bishops Heed Need for Conservative Dressing
As early as 2007, the Philippine Bishops Conference has called for the observance of the proper dress code during mass. That means that shorts, minis, see-through or sleeveless shirts and spaghettis are no longer acceptable inside the church. Not only will the attendees be refused communion but they will also be disallowed from attending mass.
And this isn’t only happening here. Catholic churches all over the world have issued their own call to dress more appropriately when inside the church, noting the universal laxity of almost everybody these days.
Arguments about the dress code
Who do we need to do it? It all boils down to giving the utmost respect to the mass. We have to give respect to the celebrant who represents Christ and the multitude of angels who are present during every mass. As Catholics, we seem to have forgotten this or probably have not heard it explained this way. If we see the mass in any other way than a sacrifice and manifestation of Jesus’ redemptive love, we will not give it the infinite value it deserves.
In the directives given by our Blessed Mother to late seer Veronica Leuken at Bayside, New York, she requested that tradition be observed in the churches, but that the mass remains valid for all the faithful, traditional or not. Our Lady even called on the women to wear a veil as a sign of respect to the angels who are present during the sacrifice (http://www.nuestrasenoradelasrosas.org/directives/d01.htm).
A lot of people argue, this is my choice and the Lord will love me regardless of what I wear. True. But remember what Jesus said in Jude 23:
“But others save, pulling them out of the fire. And on others have mercy, in fear, hating also the spotted garment (i.e. SIN) which is carnal”.
Here is what some of the saints have to say about the mass:
St. Padre Pio
“Renew your faith by attending Holy Mass. Keep your mind focused on the mystery that is unfolding before your eyes. In your mind’s eye transport yourself to Calvary and meditate on the Victim who offers Himself to Divine Justice, paying the price of your redemption.”
“Every Holy Mass, heard with devotion, produces in our souls marvelous effects, abundant spiritual and material graces which we ourselves, do not know.”
“The heavens open and multitudes of angels come to assist in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.”
“The angels surround and help the priest when he is celebrating Mass.”
“When Mass is being celebrated, the sanctuary is filled with countless angels who adore the divine victim immolated on the altar.”
With all these said and done, why should we not give proper deportment when attending mass? Remember the words of Fatima seer Jacinta Marto when our Lord revealed His displeasure at how fashion was causing people to sin. If that was the sentiment then, imagine His possible sentiment now, when we dress so casually and at times, “barely there”.
Be Like Mary
Let us follow the example of Mother Mary who is always the example of perfect modesty. Although She may have existed during the time when dresses covered the feet, She has never appeared to have changed in Her long gown appearance.
Let us all rally behind the Church and observe modesty at all times, heart, mind and appearance.