(Note, many sections here are from my upcoming book, "Modesty: What It Is, What It Isn't and Why It's Still Important" second edition. Available as an e-book and paperback on Amazon, May 13th 2022)
While reading the 1977 book, "Mother Cabrini" written by "A Daughter of St. Paul" I came across an interesting section concerning modesty. The Reverend Mother Camilla, of the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart (the congregation that St. Frances Cabrini founded in 1880) praised this book, saying, "May we have the pleasure in congratulating you for your wonderful work on 'Mother Cabrini.'" Stating that "(t)he life is very familiar" to them.
The author relates, "Mother Cabrini had noticed the instability of the inhabitants of Granada. Moreover, she knew that because of the various races, the tropical heat and several other factors, certain liberties of dress and manners had developed. What particularly displeased her, however, was the immodesty of the women's dress."(1) Interesting... I'm sure I've heard some modern-day lay Catholics claim that it's not immodest to dress with the culture, especially in the heat. It doesn't seem to coincide with the mindset of Mother Cabrini. Let's continue.
The author continues relating the story of how Mother Cabrini and her sisters went to a restaurant and were so appalled by the "scanty dress"(2) that Mother refused to eat any of the food until the waitresses had properly covered themselves. "After vainly trying to persuade her that such was the custom and that it would take some time to change it, the Indians were made to wear some towels, much to their displeasure. Slowly, but firmly, the missionaries made those poor native women realize that they must dress with modesty. They understood and soon after the missionaries arrival in Granada, the Indian women vied with one another in their modesty of dress, especially when they went to church. When it came to the practice of virtue, Mother Cabrini was adamant. Hence, the alterations in the women's dress was only the beginning of her work in reforming the low moral standards of her new spiritual children. She was told that the hot climate was the cause for the indecent dress of the native women. However, she could not excuse this immodesty, because it led to serious consequences."(3) Wow! This sounds so controversial today. But here's the thing... in the eyes of Holy Mother Church, was Mother Cabrini wrong for acting as she did or was she right? Important Note: "Holy Mother Church" meaning, the Magisterium, not what Vatican II means by "We Baptized are all The Church."(Lumen Gentium) Remember, the Catholic Church has its hierarchy, especially when it comes to who decides what is sinful and what isn't. Now, when it comes to something that has been taught by the Pope and the Bishops in union with him in the past, especially when it's in union with Fathers and Doctors of the Church, as well as being a constant teaching in the Church throughout time, you can bet your bottom dollar that it has serious weight. So let's take a look at just how much weight the issue of modesty in dress holds in the Catholic Church, in light of Mother Cabrini's strong stance.
The Church's Tradition
Concerning modesty, the Catholic Church has always spoken of its importance and has continued to do so. There is still evidence in the Church today of the importance of dignity in dress and certain decorum to be kept. Especially since those who spoke so highly regarding modesty, decency, and decorum in the past (Fathers & Doctors of the Church, saints, and Popes) are still referred to today in other matters of faith and morals. The idea that all of a sudden, these things are of no importance or no longer are applicable is contrary to Catholic tradition and is a modernist(4) concept. Modernism, I must add, is condemned by the Catholic Church as a heresy.
On the topic of modesty, Pope Pius XII wrote that there always must be an absolute norm, and that "the so-called relativity of fashions with respect to times, places, persons, and education is not a valid reason to renounce a priori a moral judgment on this or that fashion which, for the time being, violates the limits of normal decency." Virtue cannot change. Christian decency cannot change. Customs may vary from situation to situation and from century to century as fads come and go. But our goal as Christians is a Christocentric society, and we are called to live now as we desire the community to become.
A tradition or societal custom of bowing to one another when meeting, or tipping the hat as gentlemen used to, can be changed. But it is not a morally problematic custom. Customs may come and go through time and the different cultures in a country, city, or state. Still, Christians are called by the Church to look beyond this and discern whether it pushes the boundaries of Christian morality or is just a harmless custom.
St. John-Baptiste de la Salle writes, "It was sin that created the need for us to dress and to cover our body with clothing. This is why, because we carry with us at all times the condition of sinners, we must never appear not only without clothing but also without being fully dressed. This is required both by decency and by the law of God."(5)
Beginning in the garden with Adam & Eve, (Genesis 3: 6-7) the Douay Rheims Bible notes, "'And the eyes': Not that they were blind before, (for the woman saw that the tree was fair to the eyes, ver. 6.) nor yet that their eyes were opened to any more perfect knowledge of good; but only to the unhappy experience of having lost the good of original grace and innocence, and incurred the dreadful evil of sin. From whence followed a shame of their being naked; which they minded not before; because being now stript of original grace, they quickly began to be subject to the shameful rebellions of the flesh," We continue reading Genesis 3, “And the Lord God made for Adam and his wife, garments of skins, and clothed them.” Noting here that now, with original sin came concupiscence, and even though Baptism erases original sin, we are still left with concupiscence to fight, as The Council of Trent notes, "(I)n the baptized there remains concupiscence, or an incentive (to sin); which, whereas it is left for our exercise, cannot injure those who consent not, but resist manfully by the grace of Jesus Christ; yea, he who shall have striven lawfully shall be crowned."(6)
Notice Christs’ words in St. Matthew’s Gospel, “But I say to you, that whosoever shall look on a woman to lust after her, hath already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Followed by, “And if thy right eye scandalize thee, pluck it out and cast it from thee.” St. John Chrysostom adds commentary to this,
"The Lord having explained how much is contained in the first commandment, namely, 'Thou shalt not kill,' proceeds in regular order to the second. If you permit yourself to gaze often on fair countenances you will assuredly betaken, even though you may be able to command your mind twice or thrice. For you are not exalted above nature and the strength of humanity. She too who dresses and adorns herself for the purpose of attracting men’s eyes to her, though her endeavor should fail, yet shall she be punished hereafter; seeing she mixed the poison and offered the cup, though none was found who would drink thereof. For what the Lord seems to speak only to the man, is of equal application to the woman; inasmuch as when He speaks to the head, the warning is meant for the whole body."
Around the year 150 - 215 AD, St. Clement, Father of the Church, preached, "Neither is it seemly for the clothes to be above the knee (…) (tight) clothing, which cannot conceal the shape of the body, is no more a covering (…) For those that glory in their looks, not in heart, dress to please others."(7)
Around this same time, in 202 or 203 AD, the martyrdom of St. Perpetua is related by a young woman martyred in Carthage in her prison diary: "They were then led up to the gates and the men were forced to put on the robes of priests of Saturn, the women the dress of the priestesses of Ceres. But the noble Perpetua strenuously resisted this to the end. (…) First the heifer tossed Perpetua and she fell on her back. Then sitting up she pulled down the tunic that was ripped along the side so that it covered her thighs, thinking more of her modesty than of her pain."(8) Pope Pius XII also repeats this account of St. Perpetua in his Allocution to the Girls of Catholic Action, October 6, 1940.
In 250 AD St. Cyprian, Father of the Church writes: "But continence and modesty consist not alone in purity of the flesh, but also in seemliness, as well as in modesty of dress and adornment."(9)
A mosaic dating back to 286 - 305 AD was uncovered (no pun intended) in Italy, depicting pagan women wearing “bikinis” as athletic wear. Around this same time (304 AD), tradition tells of martyr St. Agnes’ hair growing to such a length as to preserve her modesty when her executioners tried to shame her by stripping her clothes off.(10) This shows the stark difference between the pagans view of the body versus the Christian view.
Not 30 years later, Church Father Arnobius writes against the pagans shameful displays of indecency. He died in 330 AD.
In 391 AD one of the four original doctors of the Church, St. Ambrose, affirms the importance of modesty in all its forms in great detail. He primarily speaks of modesty as in the prudent covering of the body,
"Is not nature herself then a teacher of modesty? Following her example, the modesty of men, which I suppose is so called from the mode of knowing what is seemly, has covered and veiled what it has found hid in the frame of our body; Thus the Maker of our nature so thought of our modesty, and so guarded what was seemly and virtuous in our body, as to place what is unseemly behind, and to put it out of the sight of our eyes. Of this the Apostle says well: Those members of the body which seem to be more feeble are necessary, and those members of the body which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour, and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness. (1 Corinthians 12:22-23)"
Even Venerable Fulton Sheen noted in a talk(11) that “love of nudity” is one of three characteristics he observed in the diabolic, recalling the possessed man in the Gospel of Luke who “wore no clothes.” (Luke 8: 27, Douay-Rheims)
The Church Then VS Now
The Church has always taught the importance of Christians dressing properly, inside the Church in front of God Himself truly Present in the Eucharist as well as outside the Church. There are numerous saints, Doctors, and Fathers of the Church, Popes, and holy priests that have spoken on this very topic. Because of the volume of information on this subject, I will only be focusing on the 19th to 21st centuries here and will concentrate primarily on Popes, Bishops and Cardinals.
VICAR GENERAL OF ROME 1878: His Eminence Cardinal Monaco La Valletta published instructions concerning Catholic ladies and the Mass saying, “That they have great care of modesty and decency in their dress,” adding that this is in conformity to “the paternal intentions of the Holy Fathers Pius IX and Leo XIII.”
BELGIUM BISHOPS 1914: A collective letter from the Belgian Bishops on the “Immodesty of Women’s Fashions” “The great Pope Saint Leo bequeathed to us this beautiful thought: ‘One is not good when one is good only for oneself… It is not being wise to love wisdom only for oneself.’ It cannot therefore be enough for you, Our very dear Brethren, not to subject yourselves to pagan customs; you must use your vigor to react against them, to check their march, to drive back their audacity. You have the honor of belonging to Christ. You are enriched with the grace of redemption, you have in your family unit the code of the Gospel. You must make yourselves apostles and oppose the pagan fashion to the Christian fashion; to voluptuousness, reserve; to the license of passion, docility to the Gospel and to the Church. Do not take the world as a model!”
BISHOP DENIS HALLINAN 1919: The Bishop of Limerick, Msgr. Denis Hallinan writes in a letter to the press: “I have seen it stated on what I conceive to be reliable authority that the principle designers of these modern fashions in women’s dress are men, not women; and, furthermore, that they are generally Parisian Jews or Freemasons, who are bitterly opposed to Christianity and seek, among other means, to uproot it by the introduction into Christian society of these dangerous and indecent dresses.”(12)
CARDINAL LÉON-ADOLPHE AMETTE OF PARIS 1919: The Cardinal issues a letter condemning immodesty and warning his faithful, quoting Pope Benedict XV, “We have repeatedly reminded Christian women and girls of their duty to refrain from indecent fashions and improper dancing. We regret to be obliged to renew Our warnings and Our defenses on this double object. The Sovereign Pontiff set the example. Speaking recently to Catholic women in Italy, His Holiness Benedict XV energetically insisted on the obligation of the Christian woman ‘to prove her honesty by the way she dresses’. Born from the corruption of those who cast them, they said, ‘Improper fashions are a fatal provocation to evil.’ And he condemned ‘this excess which consisted in wearing an indecent dress even in the holy place.’ We make these words of the Holy Father Ours and We conjure Our diocesan sisters to react against the fashions opposed to Christian decency. These fashions extend even to children: mothers must see that their daughters are dressed in such a way as to respect all the delicacies of modesty.”
BISHOP SHAW OF NEW ORLEANS 1920: In a ringing pastoral letter, the Most Rev. J. W. Shaw, Archbishop of New, Orleans, issued a solemn protest against the immodesty of female attire. The article also cites, “the Holy Father’s late appeal ‘for modesty of dress.’”(13)
CARDINAL LOUIS ERNEST DUBOIS 1920: An article in Le Figaro, published on December 20, 1920, by His Eminence Cardinal Louis-Ernest Dubois spoke of a letter that “was read from the pulpit, in all the churches of the diocese, the following warning from the new Archbishop of Paris, ‘against indecent fashions and improper dances’” quoting, “We urge our diocesan react against fashions opposed to Christian decency.”
BISHOPS OF BELGIUM 1925: In 1925 the Bishops of Belgium issued a serious call concerning indecent fashions, “Out of respect for the house of God, ladies and young girls are asked to come to church only in high (not low cut) and closed dresses and with sleeves falling below the elbow. People who are not dressed in this way are asked not to approach the communion bench.” Repeating the same issues in a letter read from all pulpits by Mgr. Marius Besson in August of the same year in which he states, “The indecency of fashions, especially in the city, has taken on scandalous proportions. The faithful, and especially mothers, must not forget that there are, in this area as in others, rules of Christian modesty from which no one can, under any pretext, exempt himself.”
CARDINAL LUÇON OF RHEIMS 1925: A pastoral letter to the clergy and the faithful of his Diocese on the serious matter of immodesty in dress. “We cannot delay any longer coming to talk to you about an abuse that all sensible people are unanimous in deploring: we want to talk about unseemly fashions in women’s dress.” “Everything is connected, moreover: the concessions made to fashion by too much freedom and frivolity in clothing are a breach of the law of modesty; through this breach will enter the facility to allow oneself all sorts of reading, shows, entertainment, socializing, to the great detriment of domestic virtues and family life.” “(A)ccording to the teachings of our faith, God has done us the honor of creating us in his image. Do we not understand the obligation to respect in us this divine resemblance and not to dishonor it by an indecent way of dressing ourselves?”
CARDINAL-VICAR OF PIUS XI, CARDINAL BASILIO POMPILI 1928: 24 September 1928 he issued guidelines, “A dress cannot be called decent which is cut deeper than two fingers’ breadth under the pit of the throat, which does not cover the arms at least to the elbows, and scarcely reaches beyond the knees. Furthermore, dresses of transparent materials are improper.” There has been a concession with regard to sleeve length, because of market conditions. (Cited by Cardinal Rouleau in the following letter, on page 20 of the "Orders, pastoral letters and circulars from the bishops of Quebec" 1925-1931)
CARDINAL FELIX-RAYMOND-MARIE ROULEAU 1930: Archbishop of Quebec, wrote in 1930: “In order to determine precisely what is to be considered appropriate, (or) improper attire to be worn by the person assisting at Mass.…we borrow the following rule to the letter of His Eminence Cardinal Vicar addressed on 24 September 1928 to all higher schools of sponsorships and girls in the city of Rome. (…) We ask that all the women and young girls of our diocese make it their duty to conform to these provisions and to give the example of Christian modesty with that of submission to the will of the Vicar of Jesus Christ. It goes without saying that the sanctions imposed by the Sacred Congregation must be applied with as much prudence as firmness, in order to curb immediately and as effectively as possible the scourge of immodest fashions.”
POPE PIUS XI 1929 - 1930: 1929 - Encyclical “Divini Illius Magistri” 1930 - Encyclical “Ad Salutem Humani,” “Christian women can never be at too great pains to abolish immodest fashions of dress.”
D. CARDINAL SBARRETTI SABINE 1930: The instruction from the Sacred Congregation of the Council, January 12, 1930, speaks volumes of the importance that Pope Pius XII held in modesty in dress: “By virtue of the supreme apostolate which God entrusted to him to exercise over the whole Church, His Holiness Pope Pius XI never ceased to inculcate by word and writing the precept of Saint Paul: ‘Let women wear decent clothes, adorning themselves with modesty and simplicity (…) and as befits women who profess to serve God by good works.’ Often, when the occasion presented itself, the Sovereign Pontiff very severely condemned the indecent fashions introduced everywhere today into the habits of dress of women and young girls, even Catholics; not only do these fashions gravely offend feminine dignity and grace, but they unfortunately result in temporal damage to woman and, what is worse, her eternal loss and that of others.”(14)
CARDINAL JEAN MARIE-RODRIGUE VILLENEUVE 1938: A letter written by Cardinal Jean of Canada on the importance of modesty in dress, especially at Mass. “As guardians of the temple and ministers of the altars, they have a mission to remove from the holy place the sacrilegious desecrations of indecent, provocative fashions. They will therefore be able, by posting even appointed supervisors, to prohibit access to the church to people whose dress makes them unworthy. With the inherent prudence and moderation in their ministry, they will also have to sanction their opinions even by the exclusion and refusal of the Sacraments, in accordance with this rule laid down by the Sacred Congregation of the Council, in the Instruction Vi supremi apostolatus, of the January 12, 1930 (AAS, XXII, 1930, 27)”
POPE PIUS XII 1940 - 1941 - 1943: Pope Pius XII spoke on three separate occasions on the importance of modesty in dress. “Fashion and modesty should go well and work together like two sisters” “St Perpetua thrown into the air by a very fierce bull fell back into the arena, her first care and first gesture were to adjust her tunic, which had torn, on the side to cover it, more attentive to modesty than to pain.”
POPE PIUS XII 1952 - 1957: The Pope continued to speak, on two more occasions on modesty in dress. “A certain nudity in sport, neither necessary nor proper” in 1952 and in 1957 spoke lengthily on the topic of modesty in fashion in the “Address to the Congress of the Latin Union of Haute Couture.” concluding with, “Of course, there are different degrees of public morality according to the times, characters and conditions of civilization of each people; but this state of affairs does not invalidate the obligation to strive for the ideal of perfection, nor is it a sufficient reason for renouncing the moral heights attained, which are manifested precisely in the greatest sensitivity that the consciences have with regard to evil and its traps.” “Yet, no matter how broad and changeable the relative morals of styles may be, there is always an absolute norm to be kept after having heard the admonition of conscience warning against approaching danger: style must never be a proximate occasion of sin.”
QUEBEC BISHOPS 1946: In May 1946 the Bishops of Quebec issued a joint pastoral titled, “Purity Crusade”, “How many people are slaves to these fashions that ignore the elementary rules of modesty and which constitute sometimes a direct provocation to evil."
GIUSEPPE CARDINAL SIRI 1960: In his “Notification Concerning Men’s Dress Worn by Women” Cardinal Siri writes, “To be modest, clothes need not simply cover the body but must also not cling too closely to the body.” “The clothing a person wears conditions, determines and modifies that person’s gestures, attitudes, and behavior, such that from merely being worn outside, clothing comes to impose a particular frame of mind inside.” “Moved by charity we are fighting against a leveling debasement of mankind, against the attack upon those differences on which rests the complementarity of man and woman.”
ARCHBISHOP ALBERT MEYER 1956: The Archbishop of Milwaukee issued a pastoral letter titled, “Decency and Modesty” in 1956. “We are impelled to do this as we recall some of the recent forceful statements of our Holy Father, the Chief Shepherd and Teacher of the Church, particularly a special letter which he commanded to be written on the subject through the Sacred Congregation of the Council, under date of August 15, 1954, In this letter, the Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation, writing in the name of the Sovereign Pontiff, solemnly charged the Bishops of the world ‘by all means to consider the matter carefully, and to take under your care and promote with all your power everything which has to do with the protection of modesty and the furtherance of Christian morals.’”
THE PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR THE FAMILY 1995: The Pontifical Council for the Family issued “The Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality”, one area was dedicated entirely to decency and modesty, “The practice of decency and modesty in speech, action, and dress is very important for creating an atmosphere suitable to the growth of chastity, but this must be well motivated by respect for one’s own body and the dignity of others. Parents, as we have said, should be watchful so that certain immoral fashions and attitudes do not violate the integrity of the home, especially through misuse of the mass media.”
BISHOP ROBERT VASA 2000: Bishop Vasa writes an article titled, “Dress, Demeanor, Discipline – Show how We Value Holy Mass.” “Several years ago, the Holy Father reinstituted a dress code for the churches of Rome, his diocese. No one in shorts or sleeveless shirts was to be admitted into the church building. The Holy Father saw a need to institute a policy aimed at restoring, in a very concrete way, a proper sense of reverence for the house of God. Seeing the dress and demeanor of Catholics in Church ought to be a source of pride. They ought to manifest a genuine respect for Jesus present, as well as for the values of the Catholic Church.”
THE UNITED STATES CONFERENCE OF CATHOLIC BISHOPS 2006: In 2006 the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a statement titled, “Happy Are Those Who Are Called To His Supper: On Preparing to Receive Christ Worthily in the Eucharist”, in the statement is this portion on dressing well for Holy Mass; “Appropriate attire — We should also come to the sacred liturgy appropriately dressed. As Christians we should dress in a modest manner, wearing clothes that reflect our reverence for God and that manifest our respect for the dignity of the liturgy and for one another.”
BISHOP JOHN YANTA 2006: Bishop Yanta wrote in his pastoral letter, “Modesty Starts with Purification of the Heart,” “Immodesty in dress is governed by two citations from God’s Law: 1) The Ninth Commandment: ‘You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife’ (Exodus 20:17); 2) Jesus said: ‘Everyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart’ (Matthew 5:28). Dressing or putting on one’s clothes is a moral act and wearing them is a moral act. There are different appropriate modes of dress for different occasions, e.g. in the privacy of our home, with our spouse only or with our children in our home, at work or school, in mixed company, at the lake or swimming pool, grocery shopping, at church, etc.”
ARCHDIOCESE OF MANILA 2007: The Archdiocese of Manila issued a dress code for churchgoers. “In the guidelines, male Catholics are encouraged to wear long-sleeved polo shirts, collared shirts, or t-shirts paired with either slacks or jeans. Women are asked to wear dresses, long gowns, or collared blouses.”(15
ARCHBISHOP FERNANDO CAPALLA 2008: MANILA, Philippines - A Catholic bishop said that “freedom of expression” should not be used as an excuse for some churchgoers who continue to ignore a “dress code” inside the church.
BISHOP PAPROCKI 2012: Bishop Paprocki of Tyler, TX put out a video explaining how we must dress decently for Mass. “Showing proper dignity when attending supper of the Lamb” “I’m sure some people will immediately object to my making these observations, rationalizing that it is better that these people come to church even if they’re not properly dressed rather than not have them there at all. They argue that we should just be happy that they’re in church, regardless of what they wear. I disagree.”
BISHOP R. WALKER NICKLESS 2010 Bishop Nickless writes an article titled, “We Must Not Settle for the Vice of Immodesty as the Norm,” “We are immodest in our eating, most of us eat too much and much of what we eat is unhealthy. We can be immodest in our dress, trying to be fashionable and trendy. We sometimes wear clothes that are dirty or too revealing and immodest even to Mass.”
ARCHBISHOP JOSE GUADALUPE MARTIN RABAGO 2011 “If you have any respect for [a church], dress appropriately. This is not a misogynist attitude of any sort. I am simply asking for the dignity and decorum that this place calls for, that is all.” He added that men, too, need to be respectful in their choice of dress before entering a house of worship.
CATHOLIC BISHOPS’ CONFERENCE OF THE PHILIPPINES 2014: At a forum in Manila, Father Marvin Mejia, Secretary-General of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), reminded churchgoers to dress properly. “It’s important to realize that this is a church. We have all the time to go to the beach but this is a sacred place so people should dress decently. (…) I think that’s common sense already. People should know the proper attire that they should wear.”
MANILA ARCHDIOCESE COMMISSION ON LITURGY 2016: Fr. Carmelo Arada of Manila Archdiocese Commission on Liturgy said certain decorum must always be observed for liturgical functions.“Going to Mass in the parish and going to Mass in the malls must be celebrated with the same disposition, including the attire. Dress properly,” said the priest. “The Mass is the highest form of prayer, and it is very different from the other commodities that are material in nature.”
PAPAL AUDIENCE DRESS CODE: “For the Papal Audience casual but modest dress is accepted, again ladies should still have shoulders covered particularly if the meeting is held indoors. Men - Long pants- At least short sleeves, Women- The knees covered- At least short sleeves.”
VATICAN CITY DRESS CODE: “The dress code for visiting the Vatican is the same that applies when you visit any church in Italy. What to wear at the Vatican? The Vatican Museums that include the Sistine Chapel have the classification in regards to dress codes as any other church or place of worship in Italy. When visiting the Vatican Museums in Rome all visitors males and females should wear as a minimum clothing that covers both their shoulders and knees.”
Christianity has always upheld the dignity of the human body, and will continue to do so. She calls her children to “Clothe the naked” in one of the corporal works of Mercy. She taught the pagans of the new world through her Catholic missionaries how to respect themselves and clothe themselves in dignity as they taught them the beautiful Faith. And Her Doctors, Fathers, and Popes have all spoken on the importance of modesty, purity, and Christian morality. So,we must ask the question: was St. Frances Cabrini acting "scrupulous" when she herself also called the women in Nicaragua to wear modest clothes? I think the answer is clear.
(1) "Mother Cabrini", published 1977 by St. Paul Editions, page 73.
(3) Ibid. Page 74.
(4) “(M)odernism alters the source, the manner of promulgation, the object, the stability, and the truth of dogma. For the modernist, the only and the necessary source is the private consciousness.” Vermeersch, A. (1911). Modernism. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. New Advent: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/10415a.htm
Modernism, called the “synthesis of all heresies” was condemned by Pope St. Pius X in his Syllabus of Errors of Modernism, “Lamentabili Sane”, (1907) and his encyclical “PascendiDominiciGregis” (1907)
I recommend reading these two documents to get a better grip on just what modernism entails, as it is extremely prevalent today. Another good resource is the Catechism of Modernism, which took “Paschendi Dominici Gregis” and turned it into a Catechetical format.
(5) St. John Baptiste de la Salle, “The Rules of Christian Decorum and Civility”, LaSallian Publications, reprinted 2007, pp 46-48
(6) Canons and Decrees of the Council of Trent, Session V. Decree concerning Original Sin. (1851)
(7) St. Clement of Alexandria, Father of the Church “The Instructor or The Paedagogus” Book II, Chapter XI “On Clothes”.
(8) “The Acts of the Christian Martyrs” texts and translation by Herbert Musurillo, Oxford University Press, 1972
(9) Treatise II.  On the Dress of Virgins. 5
(10) “The delicate and noble handmaid of God was publicly disrobed, but simultaneously her hair, by the power of God, descended and became a veil for her holy modesty, and the innocent maiden was spared a torture more bitter than death. Pope St. Damasus says her long flowing hair clothed her even as her own garments.“ Dom A. Smith, C.R.I, “Life of St. Agnes” CHAPTER VII: The Virgins Crown. 1906.
(11) Venerable Fulton J. Sheen, D.D., DVD: FULTON SHEEN - FAMILY RETREAT, “The Devil”, Angelus Press
(12) Published in a Catholic Magazine: Page 16, Our Young People, Volumes 29-30, Copyrighted by St. John’s Institute, April 1919. Published with the approbation of Most Rev. S. G. Messmer, D. D., Archbishop of Milwaukee.
(13) Published in the FRANCISCAN HERALD May, 1920
(14) Acts of Pope Pius XI , Volume 6, House of the Good Press, Paris, 1934, p. 351-356.