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 Post subject: Church teaching on modesty
PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2021 1:19 pm 
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The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches:

https://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/ ... s2c2a9.htm

Quote:
2521 Purity requires modesty, an integral part of temperance. Modesty protects the intimate center of the person. It means refusing to unveil what should remain hidden. It is ordered to chastity to whose sensitivity it bears witness. It guides how one looks at others and behaves toward them in conformity with the dignity of persons and their solidarity.

2522 Modesty protects the mystery of persons and their love. It encourages patience and moderation in loving relationships; it requires that the conditions for the definitive giving and commitment of man and woman to one another be fulfilled. Modesty is decency. It inspires one's choice of clothing. It keeps silence or reserve where there is evident risk of unhealthy curiosity. It is discreet.

2523 There is a modesty of the feelings as well as of the body. It protests, for example, against the voyeuristic explorations of the human body in certain advertisements, or against the solicitations of certain media that go too far in the exhibition of intimate things. Modesty inspires a way of life which makes it possible to resist the allurements of fashion and the pressures of prevailing ideologies.

2524 The forms taken by modesty vary from one culture to another. Everywhere, however, modesty exists as an intuition of the spiritual dignity proper to man. It is born with the awakening consciousness of being a subject. Teaching modesty to children and adolescents means awakening in them respect for the human person.

2525 Christian purity requires a purification of the social climate. It requires of the communications media that their presentations show concern for respect and restraint. Purity of heart brings freedom from widespread eroticism and avoids entertainment inclined to voyeurism and illusion.


I chose this part of the Catechism to focus on for a couple reasons. One, the statements from 2524 and 2521 appear to be in conflict depending on what one's local culture dictate. How do we know that one's sense of modesty isn't unveiling too much of the body? Or is creating a stumbling block for voyeuristic tendencies?

Obvious examples to me regarding modesty is to not post too many scantily clad pictures of one's self on IG or FB. Don't show off intimate body parts.

What is confusing to me is when I see Catholics arguing over whether braided hair, women wearing pants, women showing their hair outside of Mass, men wearing shorts, men wearing tank tops, and anyone wearing nice colors is appropriate.

The Bible does specifically call out braided hair and wearing jewelry as outward signs of adornment, but to my knowledge St. Paul was teaching not to rely on outward appearance, but to focus on the inner.

A couple years ago, a convert online told me that she thought women showing their collar bones and elbows was the same thing as being naked, even if everyone else thought she was modest. How do we know what is modest or not modest when people's personal opinions set the standard most of the time?


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 Post subject: Re: Church teaching on modesty
PostPosted: Sun Apr 04, 2021 7:46 pm 
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Modesty falls into the affective realm (values and attitudes.) A person is immodest when their behavior or dress is seen as provocative. Now that is a cultural factor -- a dress that would shock someone in the Victorian era can be perfectly modest today if it does not provoke lewd thoughts.


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 Post subject: Re: Church teaching on modesty
PostPosted: Mon Apr 05, 2021 12:59 am 
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Doesn't that mean we could argue our way out of following modesty mores?

For example, let's say I lived in an area of the US where women wearing knee-length dresses with short sleeves in the summer was the modesty norm. No one cares what color or embellishments are on the dress, as long as it meets the length and sleeve standard. Then, I visit relatives in a hot southern state where everyone there wears short shorts, sleeveless tops, or shows cleavage. No one thinks it's provocative, but wearing a knee-length dress attracts people's attention.

Who is being the provocative one there-- me, or the people in the southern state?

How does one prevent the provoking of lewd thoughts in another person?


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 Post subject: Re: Church teaching on modesty
PostPosted: Mon Apr 05, 2021 3:42 pm 
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mia.s wrote:
Doesn't that mean we could argue our way out of following modesty mores?

For example, let's say I lived in an area of the US where women wearing knee-length dresses with short sleeves in the summer was the modesty norm. No one cares what color or embellishments are on the dress, as long as it meets the length and sleeve standard. Then, I visit relatives in a hot southern state where everyone there wears short shorts, sleeveless tops, or shows cleavage. No one thinks it's provocative, but wearing a knee-length dress attracts people's attention.

Who is being the provocative one there-- me, or the people in the southern state?

How does one prevent the provoking of lewd thoughts in another person?

How does one prevent offending another person and getting punched in the nose? But understanding and respecting human nature, of course.


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 Post subject: Re: Church teaching on modesty
PostPosted: Wed Apr 07, 2021 12:52 pm 
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Part of the point is to make it possible to resist the allurements as the Catechism notes. That could mean that some cultures are better at it than others. Even though they seek the same thing in mind. The variations can be slightly troublesome for one group of people but it should still contain within it clear elements of trying to protect the spiritual dignity of man.

It can sometimes be difficult to put your finger on it without noting very specific examples. The idea is not just to cover yourself properly but to leave as much as possible to the imagination. At which point the person doing the viewing has to do their part to not allow their mind to go there if modesty is at play.

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 Post subject: Re: Church teaching on modesty
PostPosted: Sun Apr 11, 2021 11:31 pm 
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I have a specific example: Marian standards of dress:

https://www.salvemariaregina.info/Modesty.html

According to these standards, it's immodest regardless of culture for women to wear pants-like articles of clothing. Yet, women across various cultures wear this (especially in the West). Look at the standards for sleeves and hemlines-- they should be at the wrists and at the ankles. Padre Pio refused to hear confessions from women whose hemline were less than 9 inches from the knee to the floor (basically ankle-length).

Number 6 of that standard is kind of funny when we take certain fashions into considerations, for example, from the Victorian era. Women wore corsets to emphasize the waist, and before that they wore bustles at the behind. How in the world does that respect not unduly emphasizing certain parts of the body?

As a disclaimer, I am not attempting to debate but to tease apart what appears to be competing directives (IMO).


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 Post subject: Re: Church teaching on modesty
PostPosted: Mon Apr 12, 2021 6:32 am 
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mia.s wrote:
According to these standards, it's immodest regardless of culture for women to wear pants-like articles of clothing.

This is false - Pope St. Nicholas I specifically addressed this issue in a letter to Bulgarians, who asked him if their women had to stop wearing pants (femoralia).

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 Post subject: Re: Church teaching on modesty
PostPosted: Mon Apr 12, 2021 11:01 am 
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Peregrinator wrote:
mia.s wrote:
According to these standards, it's immodest regardless of culture for women to wear pants-like articles of clothing.

This is false - Pope St. Nicholas I specifically addressed this issue in a letter to Bulgarians, who asked him if their women had to stop wearing pants (femoralia).


Yes, I've heard of that but based on the explanation I read, that letter was intended for a specific culture and people. It was not meant to be authoritative and generalized to a broader audience.


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 Post subject: Re: Church teaching on modesty
PostPosted: Mon Apr 12, 2021 11:49 am 
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Of course it was intended for a specific culture - one in which women wore pants. So yes, it would be immodest for a woman to wear pants in a culture in which they wore only skirts and dresses, but Western culture isn't like that any more.

The point is that it's not intrinsically immodest ("regardless of culture" - this is what you quoted) for a woman to wear pants.

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 Post subject: Re: Church teaching on modesty
PostPosted: Mon Apr 12, 2021 12:33 pm 
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Then why are there "Marian standards" of modesty and dress?


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 Post subject: Re: Church teaching on modesty
PostPosted: Mon Apr 12, 2021 1:50 pm 
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mia.s wrote:
Then why are there "Marian standards" of modesty and dress?


Two reasons:

1) To maintain the humility of heart for women
2) To prevent lust in the heart of men

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 Post subject: Re: Church teaching on modesty
PostPosted: Mon Apr 12, 2021 1:58 pm 
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I don't see how a woman can be blamed for the lust in the heart of a man.


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 Post subject: Re: Church teaching on modesty
PostPosted: Mon Apr 12, 2021 3:51 pm 
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mia.s wrote:
Then why are there "Marian standards" of modesty and dress?

I can't vouch for a site claiming that its standards of modesty and dress are "Marian"

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 Post subject: Re: Church teaching on modesty
PostPosted: Mon Apr 12, 2021 4:38 pm 
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Peregrinator wrote:
mia.s wrote:
Then why are there "Marian standards" of modesty and dress?

I can't vouch for a site claiming that its standards of modesty and dress are "Marian"


That site had the Marian standard that are from a Papal decree:

http://www.olvrc.com/reference/document ... ius.XI.pdf


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 Post subject: Re: Church teaching on modesty
PostPosted: Mon Apr 12, 2021 4:48 pm 
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Vern Humphrey wrote:
I don't see how a woman can be blamed for the lust in the heart of a man.


It's the idea that if a woman is wearing clothes that reveal a lot of skin, or display the shape of her body, she's dressing in a way to entice. Granted, there are plenty of women's outfits that do exactly that.

However, it can be said that plenty of women wear dresses down to their knees or lower and don't wear skintight clothes still get salacious attention from men.


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 Post subject: Re: Church teaching on modesty
PostPosted: Mon Apr 12, 2021 7:42 pm 
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mia.s wrote:
Vern Humphrey wrote:
I don't see how a woman can be blamed for the lust in the heart of a man.


It's the idea that if a woman is wearing clothes that reveal a lot of skin, or display the shape of her body, she's dressing in a way to entice. Granted, there are plenty of women's outfits that do exactly that.

However, it can be said that plenty of women wear dresses down to their knees or lower and don't wear skintight clothes still get salacious attention from men.

And plenty of men wear clothing that shows off their physique. It it immodest for a man to be a body builder?

If there is sin, it is in the eye of the beholder.


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 Post subject: Re: Church teaching on modesty
PostPosted: Mon Apr 12, 2021 9:54 pm 
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Vern Humphrey wrote:
I don't see how a woman can be blamed for the lust in the heart of a man.


I didn’t say that. Nobody was blamed.

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 Post subject: Re: Church teaching on modesty
PostPosted: Tue Apr 13, 2021 9:28 am 
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mia.s wrote:
Peregrinator wrote:
mia.s wrote:
Then why are there "Marian standards" of modesty and dress?

I can't vouch for a site claiming that its standards of modesty and dress are "Marian"


That site had the Marian standard that are from a Papal decree:

http://www.olvrc.com/reference/document ... ius.XI.pdf


While I've not done an exhaustive search, I've been able to find this "decree" on your linked site and one that seems too sketchy for me to click through. Is there any official source like the Vatican website?

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 Post subject: Re: Church teaching on modesty
PostPosted: Tue Apr 13, 2021 10:20 am 
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Peetem wrote:
Vern Humphrey wrote:
I don't see how a woman can be blamed for the lust in the heart of a man.


I didn’t say that. Nobody was blamed.


Well, I dunno: "...but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened round his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea." (Matthew 18:6)

Kind of sounds like our Lord believes we have responsibilities to each other. If someone knowingly dresses in a way calculated to provoke lust, that would appear to fall into the category of "better to have a millstone..." It's not about the person's physique, it's about the presentation of it. And of course men could in principle be guilty of this sin, too, especially in a hyper-sexualized society.

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 Post subject: Re: Church teaching on modesty
PostPosted: Tue Apr 13, 2021 11:19 am 
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Vern Humphrey wrote:
And plenty of men wear clothing that shows off their physique. It it immodest for a man to be a body builder?

It can be, yes. Why would it not be?

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