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My Life In Prayer

MARYLIKE MODESTY HANDBOOK
CHAPTER IV
QUESTIONS ON MARYLIKE STANDARDS




CHAPTER IV
QUESTIONS ON MARYLIKE STANDARDS


IN TRYING TO IMITATE MARY AS OUR MODEL, MUST WE NOT BECOME OLD-FASHIONED?

Mary does not ask any woman to wear the STYLES of dresses in vogue in Her day, but "Whatever Mary Approves" for our day. Modesty is not directly concerned with the type, style, or cut of the dress, but with proper covering for the body.

"Old fashioned" is a very effective bogie-man set up by the Demon of Impurity to scare the wits out of many women. He even succeeds in enlisting Catholics in responsible positions to flash this scarecrow of ridicule before the eyes of feminine slaves of the pagan fashions. Here is an illustration:

A writer in the Homiletic and Pastoral Review of December, 1955, made the following sneering remark about a Catholic school trying to popularize the "Marylike" look: "Indignant correspondents wrote to TIME - to protest the sinister popish plot to clothe American womanhood in Mother Hubbards..."

DO NOT THE MARYLIKE STANDARDS LEAD WOMEN TO BE PRUDISH?

It will be a revelation to many persons to learn the correct meaning of "prudish." In Webster's Unabridged Dictionary it is defined as "discreet, modest." and "from F.prudefemme. an excellent woman." As a synonym for "modest." prudish" is being used also by some Church Authorities.

The devil hates "discreet, modest and excellent" women. So, he resorts to another bogie-man for modest women, seeking to drive them into accepting immodest garments by ridicule. He clothes the respectable word "prudish" with a "Mother Hubbard Dress" and tries to make them believe that the Marylike Crusade advocates skirts reaching down to the ankles - not one half inch less - and collars up to the chin.

Many Catholics have a morbid fear of ridicule, and will let the devil lead them by the nose to escape it. Yet, ridicule is no argument at all. It is often the only resort of persons who are not conversant with the matter they are treating, or do not wish to see the truth. Mary's Crusaders, defying this deadly weapon of ridicule, "dare to be different."

BUT DO NOT THE MARYLIKE STANDARDS MAKE WOMEN SCRUPULOUS?

It is not accurate rules that usually make persons scrupulous. Rather, it is the confusion caused by those who would abolish all standards, that leads to scrupulosity and confused consciences.

The Marylike Crusade does not ask women to carry a yardstick with them when shopping for a dress, as some writers have foolishly insinuated by referring to the Marylike Standards as "yard-stick modesty." All that women need is common sense combined with a serious conscience in applying the Marylike Standards when buying a dress.

The Marylike Standards are intended to serve as a guide. Because of the many kinds of cuts, and the various degrees of angles and curves found in the assortment of styles appearing on the market, mathematical accuracy in applying the Marylike Standards is not always possible. In such cases, the "letter of the law" must be interpreted by the "spirit of the law." Thus, a V-neck cutout may extend lower than the two-inch limit; but if it is very narrow, it may be more modest than a broader two-inch cutout A woman with a normal Christian conscience will hardly suffer scruples in this case. If she is sincerely trying to comply with the Marylike Standards as closely as possible, she will have no qualms of conscience about a slight deviation. On the other hand, she will not allow herself any intentional deviations from the Marylike Standards.

CAN MARYLIKE DRESSES BE ATTRACTIVE TO A WOMAN OR GIRL?

Let it first be noted that to the slaves of fashion "attractive" and "latest style" are synonymous. To such, the most outlandish dress is considered "attractive" provided it is the "latest style."

Before the mid-sixties the Marylike quarter-length sleeve was sneeringly greeted with, "Who wants to be seen in such a 'Mother Hubbard' dress?" Only sleeveless dresses were considered "attractive" by many. Then, overnight full-length sleeves appeared on the market as the latest style, and this "Mother Hubbard" was once again declared "attractive" and was accepted as such.

A decade or two previously -- and this would be incredible had it not actually happened - the ankle length "hoop-skirt," the most exaggerated "Mother Hubbard" of the last century, was dug up and declared "attractive" and "the latest style" in our own day. Thereupon, for many years, the fashion-worshipping bride believed she could not be attractively attired except in this "Mother Hubbard."

Thus, the word "attractive," as used by fashion-worshippers, is a cover-up for sinful vanity. Of course, a well-designed MODEST dress is always attractive to the eyes of modest persons. Of course, an immodest dress is always "attractive" to immodest eyes—provided it is the "latest style." For, as St. Paul writes, "The sensual man perceiveth not these things that are of the spirit of God" (1 Cor. 2:14)

DOES THE MARYLIKE STANDARDS APPLY ONLY TO DRESSES? WHAT ABOUT MEN'S ATTIRE?

The Marylike Standards were issued by the Cardinal Vicar of Rome to be applied to dresses. Certainly, men are as much bound to modesty, as are the women. However, there is a difference of standards based on the natural difference of sex. Thus, a basketball suit which is somewhat too scanty for women, may be modest for men.

The so-called "equality of women with men in all things" is a myth. Equality of the sexes in conformity with the natures of the respective sexes, by all means let it be respected. But not the false "feminism" which is promoted by Naturalism and which ignores the natural differences of the sexes.

The reason for the variation in standards bears repetition: woman's attraction to man is more psychological: man's attraction to woman is more physical. Hence, man is much more easily tempted by scanty feminine attire than vice versa.

By no means, however, is a man exempted from the virtue of modesty. Masculine modesty is needed as much today as feminine. But the fact remains that the Marylike Standards were prescribed specifically for women and girls. The Holy See has not yet found it necessary to prescribe standards for men and boys. Although, again private revelation, which given for our direction in a time when it is most needed, has been very explicit about man's clothing. Our Blessed Mother has stated that tight fitting clothing that reveals the body is not to be worn. Our Lady has also stated that men should wear darker clothing and loose fitting. Bright or loud colors in shirts and pants are not to be worn by men. She also warned against such attire as checkered and flowery pants and shirts. Men should wear the darker colors and plain material. The bright and patterned material belongs to the attire of women.

DO THE MARYLIKE STANDARDS APPLY ALSO TO ATHLETIC AND GYM SUITS?

Yes. The Holy Father has insisted that girls be "fully dressed" for games and contests, in the special instructions of January 12,1930: Let parents keep their daughters away from public gymnastic games and contests; but if their daughters are compelled to attend such exhibitions, let them see that they are fully and modestly dressed. Let them never permit their daughters to don immodest garb."

All orders from Rome notwithstanding, the gym suits in most Catholic schools are scandalous in their scantiness; and anything but a credit to our Catholic school system, in which the Pope commands that "the Superioresses and teachers do their utmost to instill love of modesty in the hearts of maidens confided to their care and urge them to dress modestly." (Ibid).

To such an extent had even our Catholic schools begun to ape pagan fashions, that by 1956 Marylike gym suits were no longer available on the market, having been labeled as impractical or an impediment to effective sports play. The extent to which pagan nudity has grown in sports is easily seen in the body-conscious attire at international sports meets, in the name of aesthetics (figure skating), more accurate judging (gymnastics), lowered wind or water resistance (track and field, cycling, swimming). One should also consider the scandalous attire of other popular recreations, such as aerobics, yoga, ballet, etc.

WHAT RULES REGULATE SWEATERS, PLAY SUITS, SUN SUITS, SPORT SUITS, AND BATHING SUITS?

The same two basic rules as apply to dresses: sufficient coverage and proper fit. Two-piece bathing suits are eliminated as a matter of course. As to coverage, the Marylike ideal requires the same amount of coverage, no matter what type of garment is concerned. It is not primarily the type of feminine garment that makes it modest or immodest, nor the style. Rather, modesty is concerned with the proper concealment of the body. In this regard then, EVERY modern style of swimsuit violates the Marylike standards of modesty in dress!! (Especially offensive is spandex). Further to this, public bathing is a violation of modesty as it becomes a diabolical feast for the eyes, fueling concupiscence brazenly, as any attire, no matter how modest becomes immodestly clingy and physically exposing when wet. In the Catholic ideal however, private family swimming is acceptable, if undertaken in a loose fitting shirt and bermudas or similar garb. There is nothing objectionable about private family recreation, as opposed to the worldly public exhibitionism so widespread today.

WHAT IS TO BE SAID OF THE THEORY, "WHAT IS IMMODEST ON THE STREET MAY BE PERFECTLY MODEST ON THE BEACH?"

This is one of the principles advanced by the disciples of the so-called "relative modesty." It makes modesty depend less on its real basis—concealing the body--than on the circumstances of time, place and occasion. It provides a sliding scale for measuring modesty, which gives it a strong flavor of sophism. It is often used as a handy mechanism of escape from the natural requirements of modesty.

Some liberals interpret St. Thomas Aquinas' prescription to dress according to the circumstances of time, place and occasion as an approval of modern semi-nude fashions. They should know better. St. Thomas was referring to the modest feminine garments in vogue in the thirteenth century. It is stupid to claim that he was referring to our strapless gowns, shorts, bikinis, etc. How could he, since these are products of the twentieth century?

The Marylike Crusade challenges the soundness of this principle. Its proponents should either come forward with a sound argument for it, or relinquish it as another sophism.

ARE THERE POSITIVE ARGUMENTS TO REFUTE THIS PRINCIPLE?

Yes. This mechanism sets up a double standard for public modesty: one for bathing shorts, another for street shorts; one permitting only halters, another requiring more coverage. Double standards are bound to lead to confusion of standards, or a pulling down of the higher standard to the level of the lower. Even now the tendency is growing to establish as a "custom" the appearance on the street in beach attire. Here you see the "mechanism of escape from the natural requirements of modesty" in action.

The pronouncements of the Popes seem to make no distinctions for various types of garments. Thus, Pope Pius XII states that "An unworthy and indecent mode of dress has prevailed," without indicating any distinction of place, 'on the beaches, in country resorts, almost everywhere, on the streets, etc"' (Aug. 20,1954)

Further, His quotation of the "ancient poet" as saying that "vice necessarily follows upon public nudity" (Ibid.) applies to all places, beach or elsewhere. American modernists will be shocked to learn that His Eminence Enrique Cardinal Pla y Daniel, Archbishop of Toledo, Spain, issued the following directives in 1959: " A special danger to morals is represented by public bathing at beaches, in pools and river banks... Mixed bathing between men and women which nearly always is an approximate occasion of sin and a scandal, must be avoided."

The argument, "Bathing suits based on the Marylike Standards are not practical," does not hold. They were practical enough years ago. before the style dictators dared to make them more scanty. Why should they be considered impractical today1! Experience shows that, if the fashion designers would dictate sweaters as "the style" for July and August, skimpy shorts for January and February, many women would slavishly accept their unreasonable decisions. But when the Church demands only the sensible rules of Christian modesty based on nature, they immediately object and have recourse to all kinds of excuses.

Finally, this theory of double standards pushes concupiscence far into the background. Sound Theology always emphasizes it as the important factor in making decisions on the modesty of garments.

HOW DOES THIS THEORY PUSH CONCUPISCENCE INTO THE BACKGROUND?

By the pretense that in men, who are seriously tempted by the sight of a woman in shorts parading the streets, this temptation suddenly diminishes, sleeps, or perhaps dies, as soon as that same scantily dressed woman sets foot on the beach. And this, in spite of the added license of rolling around on the beach, and assuming other suggestive postures which would be condemned in any other place as downright seduction.

King David was a Saint, a man "according to the Heart of God." Yet, it took only a "bathing beauty," Bathsheba washing herself, whom he spied from the roof of his palace, to smite him down. It was this "bathing beauty" who so kindled in his heart the fire of concupiscence, as to lead him to the double crime of adultery and murder (2 Samuel, Chapter 11).

Today "bathing beauties" continue to smite their victims, regardless of all loud professions of good intentions. So alluring is the bait of these "bathing beauties" which is dangled before the eyes of concupiscence, that Church Authorities find it necessary, at times, to threaten Catholics, who are brazen enough to enter "bathing beauty contests." with denial of Sacraments.

Add to these considerations the testimony of letters written by men to the Marylike Crusade headquarters, lamenting these conditions as preventing them from enjoying the innocent pleasures which a beach could afford—and there should be ample reason for abolishing all double, or multiple, standards of garments.

WHAT IS THE PROPER FEMININE ATTIRE FOR CHURCH AND OTHER SACRED PLACES?

Canon Law requires a proper head covering for women and girls in church. A Piece of Kleenex, a handkerchief, or any skimpy substitute for hat or full veil, do not carry out the spirit of the law.

Only dresses with the Marylike Standards should be tolerated in church and other sacred places such as shrines, convents, rectories, etc. It should not be necessary to add that the wearing of slacks, tight pants, shorts, and similar garments in sacred places is a horrible insult to God, a sacrilege.

Pope Pius XII on IMMORAL READING:

Pope Pius XII condemns the following opinion as vain and presumptuous: "I am no longer a baby girl; I am not a child anymore; At my age, sensuous descriptions and voluptuous sights no longer mean anything."

His reply is: "Are you sure this is true? If it were, it would be the indication of an unconscious perversion. But do not believe, young men and women, that you may sometimes allow yourselves, perhaps in secret, to read condemned books; do not believe that their poison can be without effect, by not being immediate, should be all the more malignant.

"There are times when the dangers of bad reading are even more tragic than the dangers from bad company." (To the newly married August 7,1940)











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