This article is mostly comprised of a section from the second edition of my book "Catholic Modesty: What It Is, What It Isn't, and Why It's Still Important", which will be available May 13th. (Psst! It has 449 footnotes!!)
One need not have to look far to see the vulgar displays of indecency in all spheres, in the feminist movement, nor how far an (unChristian) society has fallen. “(N)owadays, the way in which a woman can be rebellious or edgy involves wearing no pants or skirts at all, or even participating in #freethenipple.”(1) Today, “naked dresses,” toplessness, nude beaches, men, women, and children running around in thin tights showing everything is the norm. Can we really say that dressing just a bit more modestly than society can be considered “modest”? Can we honestly say we live with Christian decency if we are simply “one-upping” our corrupt society by a a few steps? Especially in our dress and decorum during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass? Remember Pope Pius XII’s quote on society and clothing, it is well worth repeating, "(S)ociety speaks through the clothing it wears. Through its clothing it reveals its secret aspirations and uses it, at least in part, to build or destroy its future. But the Christian, whether he be creator or client, should be careful not to underestimate the dangers and spiritual ruin spread by immodest fashions, especially those worn in public, because of that continuity that must exist between what one preaches and what one practices, even in the sense of externals. He will remember the high purity which the Redeemer demands of His disciples even in glances and thoughts. And he will remember the severity which God shows to those who give scandal. We might call to mind on this subject the strong words of the prophet Isaias, in which was foretold the infamy that was to befall the holy city of Sion because of the immodesty of its daughters (cf. Isaias 3, 16-21). And one could recall those other words with which the greatest of all Italian poets expressed in vehement terms his feeling of indignation for the immodesty creeping into his city (cf. Dante, Purgatorio, 23, 94-108)."(2)
It is also interesting to note that the Freemasons had a plan to corrupt morals by immodest fashions! As mentioned in the timeline in the previous chapter (of my book), prominent Freemasons from the Italian Carbonari wrote, “In order to destroy Catholicism(3), it is necessary to commence by suppressing women… But since we cannot suppress women, let us corrupt her with the Church…”(4) Later in 1928, they wrote, "Religion does not fear the dagger’s point; but it can vanish under corruption. Let us not grow tired of corruption: we may use a pretext, such as sport, hygiene, health resorts. It is necessary to corrupt, that our boys and girls practice nudism in dress. To avoid too much reaction, one would have to progress in a methodical manner: first, undress up to the elbow; then up to the knees; then arms and legs completely uncovered; later, the upper part of the chest, the shoulders, etc. etc. then everything else. Eventually, people will walk around naked, or almost naked, without batting an eye. And, when modesty is removed, the sense of the sacred will be extinguished, morality will weaken and faith will die of suffocation."(5)
Speaking of evil, anti-Catholic groups trying to corrupt society; Communists have also used immorality and perversion to gain power. In “The Naked Communist” by Cleon Skousen, the 45 Communist Goals bear striking similarities to our own society. Two, in particular, have to do with using immorality, "25. Break down cultural standards of morality by promoting pornography and obscenity in books, magazines, motion pictures, radio and TV. 26. Present homosexuality, degeneracy and promiscuity as 'normal, natural, and healthy.'"(6) Lenin himself wrote, “Nothing could be falser than to preach monastic self-denial and the sanctity of the filthy bourgeois morals to young people.” (7) “The current morality of our youth is summarized as follows,” the well-known communist, Madame Smidovich wrote in the Communist Party newspaper Pravda in March 1925. "Every member, even a minor, of the Communist Youth League and every student of the Rabfak [Communist Party training school] has the right to satisfy his sexual desire. This concept has become an axiom, and abstinence is considered a bourgeois notion. If a man lusts after a young girl, whether she is a student, a worker, or even a school-age girl, then the girl must obey his lust; otherwise, she will be considered a bourgeois daughter, unworthy to be called a true communist."(8) Here is a diktat extracted from the Florida Communist Handbook, "Corrupt the youth, alienate them from religion, fix their attention on sex, let them become superficial, destroy their idealism, cause by any means the collapse of moral virtues, of honesty, of purity."(9)
Venerable Fulton Sheen noted in a talk that “love of nudity” is one of three characteristics he observed in the diabolic,(10)recalling the possessed man in the Gospel of Luke who “wore no clothes.” (11) On this same topic, in 1919 several Irish Bishops, following the Church, issued warnings against the fashions in women’s attire. The Bishop of Limerick, Msgr. Hallinan writes in a letter to the press, calling Freemasonry out by name: “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)
The Catholic Church has always promoted modesty and purity in all spheres since the beginning. The fact that so few Catholics today care about, or are even aware of, the importance of this topic shows how far down we've fallen in society. Let us take a moment to reflect on this importance that Holy Mother Church has placed on these rare and hated virtues in the world today, and ask Our Lady to teach us to become more like her. May we open ourselves to the Holy Spirit's work in us, that we may grow in Christ and His teachings, not allow ourselves to be pickled in the rot of relativistic immoral society.
(1) Rachel Lubitz, “Power Clothes: The Unabashedly Feminist History of the Miniskirt” Mic.com, published April 7, 2016
(2) Venerable Pope Pius XII to a Congress of the ‘Latin Union of High Fashion’ November 8, 1957. Petrópolis: Vozes, 1958. http://www.vatican.va/content/pius-xii/it/speeches/1957/documents/hf_p-xii_spe_19571108_alta-moda.html
(3) “‘Satan Must Reign in the Vatican. The Pope Will Be His Slave.’ The bold proclamation in the headline of this article was personally witnessed by St. Maximilian Kolbe, who watched Freemasons celebrate their bicentennial in St. Peter’s Square in 1917.” Michael Hitchborn, Lepanto Institute, published October 6 2015
(4) Rev. G. E. Dillon, “War of Anti-Christ with the Church”, “Letter of Piccolo Tigre”, “CASTELLAMARE, 9th August, 1838.”
(5) Msgr. Ernest Jouin, “Revue internationaledessociétéssecrètes (International Review of Secret Societies)” Year 1928, Volume II, Paper 41, “Le Nudism (Nudism)” , p 1060-1063
(6) W. Cleon Skousen, “The Naked Communist”, 1963
(7) Clara Zetkin, “Lenin on the Women’s Question (An Interview with Lenin on the Woman Question)” https://www.marxists.org/archive/zetkin/1925/lenin/zetkin2.htm
(8) Paul Kengor, “Takedown: From Communists to Progressives, How the Left Has Sabotaged Family and Marriage” Washington, DC: WND Books, 2015, page 54.
(9) Don EnzoBoninsegna, “Why Modesty? Think! (Perchéilpudore? Rifletti!)”
(10) Venerable Fulton J. Sheen, D.D., DVD: FULTON SHEEN - FAMILY RETREAT, “The Devil”, Angelus Press
(11) “And when he was come forth to the land, there met him a certain man who had a devil now a very long time, and he wore no clothes, neither did he abide in a house, but in the sepulchres.” Luke 8: 27, Douay-Rheims
(12) Catholic newspaper “Our Young People” Volumes 29-30, Page 16. Copyrighted by St. John’s Institute, April 1919. Published with the approbation of Most Rev. S. G. Messmer, D. D., Archbishop of Milwaukee.