While I whole heartedly agree with the basic premise of respectful attire, a modicum of restraint in imposing strict rules which impede a person’s attendance at Church. Indeed clothes aren’t much of an indicator of one’s worth, truth, or closeness to God, look for instance, at politicians. As a teacher coaching basketball in the 70’s, we had a Saturday morning time at the gym. When we finished, I said I was going to stop at church to visit the Blessed Sacrament if anyone wanted to come. It was just across the parking lot. All but two came, dressed as high school boys would be expected to be dressed on Saturday in Sept. We went in the back door and silently knelt in the Chapel. We had no sooner arrived and settled than the pastor swept in the back door and started loudly berating the boys for being there with improper dress. I approached him and told him that I had invited them in after gym and that it was my responsibility. He looked disapprovingly at my attire, but didn’t voice what his facial expression made obvious. On subsequent Saturdays, I made my visit, but unfortunately, I was alone. Even those who were riding home in my car, waited outside until I came. How very sad. What was missing was common sense, instead, the boys were given a sense of being rejected because of another’s code of proper dress. How many stay away for that reason? How many stay away because we don’t make them feel welcome whether children or adults. The lepers? It would be better if we stressed more the welcome to the House of God. A growth of understanding of Who is in the house will bring about the desire to present one’s self with the best they have both inside and out.
Sad story but exceptional situtations such as you describe need not fall under the general norms. WHat I am proposing are general norms for general situations. Exceptional cases such as visits are suject to different norms I’d say but cannot be included in general norms .
After a few moments he left
I thought the photo was just pre Vatican II. In 1st grade we learned songs in Latin. We weren’t singing in Latin anymore by 2nd grade. I was in 6th grade by 1970. Now I am a middle aged woman who probably usually wears pants to church, not jeans and never shorts… occasionally a skirt if I can.
Yes, I suppose we pastors need to graciously help our faithful refelct on proper attire
I live in a very casual part of the world. A friend who goes to a United Church of Christ church says Catholics in our area dress up less than Protestants. I am not sure if I can judge that. Our former pastor was very tough with the eucharistic ministers, no jeans, no shorts even if you were not scheduled but just trying to help out he’d banish them from the altar. I notice clothing he would not have tolerated creeping onto the altar with a new pastor.
Msgr, Thanks so much for posting this. I was raised in the 50’s and we always dressed up when going outside the home (shopping, restaurant, etc.) For Mass, it was your “Sunday best.” In my teens, my dad dressed up for Mass even tho he was dying of cancer. However, in recent years I’d stopped wearing pantyhose almost completely (my last 2 jobs were business casual – WOW, you should see what some folks consider business casual). But as I’m a lector and EMHC, I’ve gone back to the sticky hose. Yes they’re more trouble, but it makes me feel so much better because it’s like a sacrifice I’m making for my Lord Savior. When and why did we lose sight of the value of sacrifice? I often wonder just how much time people take getting ready to worship almighty God, and if they take more time getting ready for a party or job function …Kudos to the young gentlemen who dress up!! God bless, Father.