Dress: A sign of faith

Rev. Robert Brucciani

Polarisation of fashion

When walking down the high street of any town in this country, one cannot fail to notice a polarisation in the styles of dress. Fashions are accelerating either towards sophisticated nakedness or towards a fearful observance of radical Islam.

Western fashions are ultimately driven by a will to destroy the virtues. This is part of a wide-ranging, masonic, cultural revolution that has been raging since the 1960s. Muslim fashion is a reaction to western fashion, but also appears to be driven by a will for religious and political confrontation.

Catholic fashion

So what about the Catholics? Where do we stand in this polarising spectrum of fashion? To answer this question, one thing needs to be made clear. Where we should stand is determined by principles of the natural law which are then applied and taught to us by the Church.

The Church teaches that modesty is a virtue. It is a habit that must be acquired if we are to be pleasing to God. Modesty in men and women may be defined as the decorous inhibition of any act that would induce in oneself or others an incitement to lust. Modesty should be not only in our dress, but in words and actions too.

What we wear should therefore be determined by the virtue of modesty; but not only modesty; also by charity, prudence, piety and obedience. What we wear should be considerate of others, practical (wearing a suit while digging the garden is not practical), according to custom, one's state in life and with respect for place and following the rules (school uniform at school).

Church fashion

On Sunday especially, it is modest, considerate, practical, customary and the rule of the Church that we take pains to be especially decorous in our dress when we go to church. We should all be wearing our "Sunday best".

When we adore God in church, we should show by the outward sign of our dress our inward disposition of respect. Our dress is a sign of our faith. Just as a priest who is sloppy in the way he celebrates Mass is distressing to the faithful, the faithful who are inappropriately dressed in church are distressing to the priest. Jeans and t-shirts at Sunday Mass, for example, are not signs of faith; they are inappropriate.

Everywhere fashion

Faith is not just for Sundays. All Catholics should show their faith by the practice of the virtues of modesty, charity, prudence, piety and obedience in the way they dress wherever they are. Modesty, however, is especially important, because that is where Satan's war for our souls rages most fiercely.

If you have ever been swimming in the sea, you may have been alarmed to discover, that after only a few minutes of inattention, the current has taken you 30 yards down the beach. It is the same for those living in the world: without noticing, they are all too easily swept along by the current of fashion, not towards wearing a fearsome niqab or burqa, but towards immodesty.

If Catholics are to be anywhere on the spectrum of fashion, we should be where we are most prominent as a sign of the one, true Faith.

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