Gradually Accepting Naturalism's Informality
Thomas A. Droleskey
We live in a world of naturalism, a world that runs counter to what should be the overriding instincts of a well-defined sensus Catholicus that each of us is supposed to have as a result of our Baptism and Confirmation. We permit ourselves to be influenced, if ever so gradually, by this worldly trend or that worldly fashion and trends to such an extent that we are not even aware that we are betraying the Faith as we surrender to the "dictates" of a world that is in the grip of the devil himself.
There are so many examples of how we have been influenced in a gradualistic manner into accepting the false premises of the naturalism of Judeo-Masonry, starting, of course, with the exaltation of the utter false and diabolical premises of religious indifferentism and semi-Pelagianism that are at the very foundation of the modern civil state, including the United States of America.
Most believing Catholics across the vast expanse of the ecclesiastical divide have permitted themselves to be catechized by the culture of naturalism into which we are steeped--and by which we are most frequently bombarded--and recoil in utter fright when told that their blithe acceptance of one falsehood after another is contrary to the good of their immortal souls. The "world," therefore, becomes the eternal repository of infallible "truths" from which it would be almost unpatriotic to dissent in the slightest. And it is certainly the case that those who attempt to view everything in the world through the eyes of the true Faith and who are not at all willing to "bend" to the "trends of the time" must be just a little crazy, right?
One of the worst ways in which we have been permitted ourselves to be influenced by the false premises of naturalism is the ethos of casualness and informality that has replaced good, old-fashioned Catholic manners and formality. Although it is true that there has been a gradual descent into this madness in the past century, it is also true that some of us have been eyewitnesses to a degeneration into casualness and informality that is but the logical consequence of the social egalitarianism propagated so poisonously by the effects of the Protestant Revolution and the rise of Judeo-Masonry, especially by means of the aftermath of the American and French Revolutions.
To be sure, there were formality and manners in the normal conversation and commerce in our naturalistic world of the 1950s. This was but the residue, however, of Catholicism in the world, supported by the Actual Graces made present by the true offerings of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass all throughout the world. The disappearance of true offerings of Holy Mass after the introduction of the Protestant and Masonic Novus Ordo service on November 30, 1969, the first Sunday of Advent (and six days after my eighteenth birthday), meant that there was less of an outpouring of Actual Graces into the world. The entire ethos of the Novus Ordo, representing a perfect liturgical expression of the new conciliar religion, bred informality and casualness in behavior and attire, accustoming several generations of Catholics to accept the "relaxation" of traditional ways of speaking and dressing and acting in public just as they came to accept the "relaxation" of how to speak and act and behave while assisting at what purported to be unbloody re-presentations of Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ's Sacrifice to His Co-Eternal and Co-Equal Father on the wood of the Holy Cross in atonement for our sins.
It is only logical (if one thinks about it, that is, and thinking is a whole different than emoting) that this should be the case as the new religion of conciliarism sought to "relax" the Catholic Church's centuries-old traditional practices of prayer and penance, especially during the holy season of Lent.
The same awareness of the present state of the world also influenced the use of texts from very ancient tradition. It seemed that this cherished treasure would not be harmed if some phrases were changed so that the style of language would be more in accord with the language of modern theology and would faithfully reflect the actual state of the Church's discipline. Thus there have been changes of some expressions bearing on the evaluation and use of the good things of the earth and of allusions to a particular form of outward penance belonging to another age in the history of the Church. (Paragraph Fifteen, General Instruction to the Roman Missal, 1997.)
Behold the rotten fruit of a "style of language" that is "more in accord with the language of modern theology" and a spiritual outlook that looks with disdain on "allusions to a particular form of outward penance" that is said by the Modernists to belong "to another age in the history of the Church." The Modernists who wrote the General Instruction to the Roman Missal would have been entirely accurate if they had written that those forms of outward penance that they have cast aside belonged to an entirely different Church, the Catholic Church.
As a result of the social revolutions of Modernity and the doctrinal and liturgical revolutions unleashed by the forces present at the "Second" Vatican Council and thereafter, many Catholics, having learned to how to engage in "full, active and conscious participation" in the worship service of the new religion, forgot all sense of distinctions between the sacerdotal, hierarchical priesthood of the one ordained to bring down Christ the King on altars of Sacrifice as sanctuaries were redesigned and Communion rails removed to permit a flood of the laity to read and serve and distribute what they believed to be Holy communion. This was all quite deliberate, quite planned, which is why the de facto elimination of kneeling for the reception of what purports to be Holy Communion in favor of standing in most, although not all, Roman Rite conciliar venues played a critical role in reinforcing the egalitarian symbolism of the removal of altars in favor of tables and the redesigning of sanctuaries, sometimes placing the "banquet" table right in the middle of the nave of the church, and the removal of the altar rails. We are all "equal" in authority and priestly power. The presbyter is merely the "presider" (the president) of the assembly, something that is, of course, truer than the faithful yet attached to the conciliar structures realize.
The gradual descent into casualness and informality in the Novus Ordo has resulted, as well I know from my own experience of two decades of enduring this nightmare on a daily basis and yet another decade of enduring it whenever I could not get to an "approved" offering of the modernized version of the Immemorial Mass of Tradition that was itself as step in the direction of the Novus Ordo (lasting for just three years in the conciliar structures before being replaced by the Ordo Missae of 1965, which eliminated the Prayers at the foot of the Altar and the Last Gospel (as well as the Prayers after Low Mass that were made "optional" in the Angelo Roncalli/John XXIII Missal of 1961/1962), in a celebration of the world in what should be a refuge from the world: Catholic churches. A culture directed largely by the anti-Catholic, anti-Incarnation forces of Judeo-Masonry propagated fashions of dress for men and women that were immodest and indecent, fashions that were and remain simultaneously sinful to wear and serve as incitements to others who did not have custody of their eyes to have sinful thoughts and desires.
A religion that has made its "reconciliation" with the principles of the "new era inaugurated in 1789" has indeed celebrated the false, transitory "values" of world that is premised upon one lie of naturalism after another. Much of the music composed for the Novus Ordo has been of the spirit of this world. Many of those who "performed" this "music" dressed casually. They spoke in the manner of Protestants to the faithful during the purported offering of Holy Mass. Some have gone up and down the aisles with mariachis and guitars during purported offerings of Holy Mass. People have been encouraged to applaud during the Novus Ordo, to make noise, to shake hands or embrace each other at the "sign of peace," even to whistle and hoot and holler.
Just consider this story about a "memorial service" (not to be confused with the Novus Ordo service as this service was simply the remembrance of one man's life) held at Saint Patrick's Cathedral in the Borough of Manhattan in the City of New York, New York, for the late Bob "Back in a moment for the happy recap" Murphy, one of three original broadcasters for the New York Mets who was with the club from 1962 to 2003, on August 11, 2004:
NEW YORK -- They filed into the midtown Cathedral of Saint Patrick to the organ strains of "America the Beautiful" and "Take Me Out to the Ballgame," a playlist that captured the 80 years of Robert Allen Murphy.
Hundreds of people from all generations and all walks of life, they came to the breathtakingly majestic 125-year-old church to hear voices raised in praise of the Voice of Summer.
At the end of an emotional memorial service, more than voices were raised for Bob Murphy, who passed away a week ago, a few months after the end of a broadcasting career that had spanned the New York Mets' history.
"Broadcasters can't hear the acclaim, the appreciation of their listeners," Monsignor John Ferry said from the pulpit. "Let Bob hear it now."
The assembled rose and broke into applause, which wouldn't fade for the longest time. If any eyes were still dry after the hour-long service, none remained so at the sound of that ovation echoing off the cavernous cathedral's walls.
Facing the assembled to deliver one of the service's two eulogies, Mets chairman Fred Wilpon had noted, "A full house ... It should be. He deserved it."
They came to honor Murphy's memory and Joye Murphy's presence. The former Marine's widow was presented with a flag by the Marines' 6th Battalion in the poignant conclusion of a touching memorial.
Described by Monsignor Ferry simply as "a good man who did his job well," Murphy's magnetic connection with the people his broadcasts entertained for decades remained evident.
They had begun lining up long before the 2 o'clock service, mixing into a sidewalk-gobbling swirl with those exiting the regular 1 o'clock mass.
Suits and painter's pants. Ties and T-shirts. Young and old. New York natives and tourists. Those who knew him intimately, and those who only knew his voice. Those who doubtless could tell the difference between the hit-and-run and the run-and-hit, and those who probably couldn't tell a baseball from a coconut.
The anonymous, and the baseball renowned. Yogi Berra, Ralph Kiner, Bud Harrelson, Keith Hernandez, Art Howe, Mike Piazza were among those present, and others wish they could have been.
Lee Mazzilli, who spent his first six seasons with the Mets, now manages the Baltimore Orioles and regretted that the American League schedule had him on the West Coast, in Anaheim. "You want to pay your respects to his family," Mazzilli said, "so it's something you think about, but he'll always be in my memories."
It was an appropriately somber service, weighed by loss, until Gary Thorne rose to eulogize the legend who had become his broadcast partner in 1985.
"Folks," Thorne said, spreading his arms, "this is a celebration. A celebration of a great life. All of us should leave here smiling."
Cardinal Edward Egan hailed Murphy for being "in so many ways, as much a part of the New York Mets as the players."
"He spent his life talking to his mostly unseen fans," Cardinal Egan said. "He brought joy to the very demanding New York fans.
"Same as all of New York, I was saddened to hear of Bob's passing. I hope his family is comforted by the outpouring of affection for Bob we have seen this past week. We promise to keep this wonderful New Yorker in our prayers. May he rest in peace."
Wilpon acknowledged growing up, as any other New Yorker, with Bob Murphy in his ear and recalled him as "one of the most beloved members of the New York Mets family."
"For him, it was a labor of love, and it showed in every word he spoke," Wilpon said. "His impact on Mets fans will live on for generations to come.
"Thank you, Bob, may you rest in peace. I know you will. You earned it."
There were no laymen or clergy on this occasion in the Cathedral of Saint Patrick. Only baseball fans, and fans of people who add to baseball's vibrancy.
"We all knew and loved Bob Murphy," Monsignor Ferry said. "We face the reality of losing someone who has been a part of our lives.
"His voice has been stilled. But even death cannot bring that love we have for him to death. His passing does not erase those moments you and I share."
Thorne, whose continuing work obviously will reflect everything taught him by Murphy, remembered a beloved friend and mentor.
"Obviously, he was one of the great voices of the game," Thorne said. "What impressed me most about him was, for him, the game was always enough.
"Every day, all he wanted to do was add to your enjoyment of the game. And that's exactly what he did. Simplicity is often described as genius and, in that way, he was a broadcasting genius.
"Nobody did more painting of words. We'll miss that Irish glint. We'll miss that naturally-broad smile. We'll miss his walk, from the press room to the booth. And we will surely miss the Voice of Summer.
"But," Thorne added, his voice finally breaking, "we will always have with us the word-pictures he painted."
The four Marines representing the 6th Battalion silently marched down an aisle, taking their places in front of the congregation. Two of them performed the ceremonious folding of the flag, then the ranking officer walked it over into Joye Murphy's lap.
He saluted, rose, and the Marines quartet silently marched out, to the plaintive notes of "Taps."
Shortly, the cathedral emptied, people making their way through the pews and into the street exchanging favorite recollections of Bob Murphy.
They were smiling. Gary Thorne got his wish. (Murphy honored at service.)
Not a word about praying for Bob Murphy's immortal soul?
A putative "cardinal" of what most people think is the Roman Catholic Church approved of this travesty and sat through it all personally. This is the same "cardinal" who never met with any of the victims of perverted clergy in the two places where he service as a conciliar "ordinary, the Diocese of Bridgeport, Connecticut and the Archdiocese of New York. Mind you, I had great affection for Bob Murphy, who was a superb broadcaster, and I pray for his immortal every day. He was always so very nice to me when our paths crossed at Shea Stadium, and he was kind enough to refer me on the air during a game between the visiting San Francisco Giants and the New York Mets as a "fan favorite" when I started to reprise my alter ego at the ball park on May 4, 1994. What happened at Saint Patrick's Cathedral on August 11, 2004, the Feast of Saint Philomena, however, was symbolic of just how much the sensus Catholicus has been destroyed by the entire ethos of conciliarism and the chosen vessel by which its errors have burned themselves deep into the souls of ordinary, unsuspecting Catholics, the Protestant and Masonic Novus Ordo service.
Although there have been some truly hard-working, zealous pastors of souls in the conciliar structures who have maintained the Faith as best they knew how and who have had solid Catholic standards of dress and comportment while at what they thought was Holy Mass, many of those who have tried to enforce standards of basic modesty and comportment in their parishes have been disciplined severely by their conciliar "bishops," sometimes being threatened with psychological "counseling" for alleged "personality disorders." The Novus Ordo has thus bred a near sense of "almost any goes" with respect to dress and behavior while attending a conciliar liturgical service. Too numerous to mention are the instances of women dressed in tight-fitting pants or thoroughly indecent, low-cut blouses serving as lectors or altar servers and even as "extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist." And men? Shirts with all manner of demonic slogans and even shorts are not only tolerated but actually encouraged in many conciliar venues. After all, a "loving" God understands, right? He wants us to be "comfortable," right?
There was even a case of a presbyter in an indult/Motu community who was called into a conciliar "archbishop's" office and read the riot act because he preached about modesty from the pulpit, something that angered parishioners, many of whom were refugees from the Novus Ordo and were not used to something called Catholicism being preached openly (meaning that what was foreign to them was what should have been part of their very "super-nature," basic truths of the Catholic Faith) as a man who believed himself to be a pastor of souls discharged his responsibility to instruct his people in how to please God in one's manner of dress and thus to grow in holiness. The "archbishop" told the presbyter that he had to "meet the people where they were," that he couldn't anything to "scare the people off," that we were living in a "different" age now.
Ah, yes, the conciliar lie that men are "different" now. We can "relax." People will be "scared off" by solid Catholic preaching done in a spirit of true pastoral love for the sanctification and salvation of souls. Go tell that to Saint Jean-Marie Vianney. Go tell that to Padre Pio. Go tell that to Our Lady. Go tell that to God Himself.
Truth attracts, not repels. While it is true that there are different methods by which a priest is to preach and how he deals with people personally, especially in the confessional, it is also true that our natures are made to know, to love, and to serve God as He has revealed Himself to us through His true Church that He founded upon the Rock of Peter, the Pope. Some people, at the very least, will respond if the truth is preached to them in love. People need to be exhorted to scale the heights of sanctity, and that so many people, both men and women, have been reaffirmed by conciliar priests and presbyters in the wearing of inappropriate attire to what purports to be Holy Mass and in the wearing of the most indecent, impure clothing outside of a church building is one the greatest crimes against souls that has been perpetrated by the conciliar robber barons. This crime is even more repugnant when one considers the fact that Catholics are supposed to provide role models to others in the world, not to be happy "idiots" who participate actively in the devil's deceits in popular culture.
Father Martin Stepanich, O.F.M., S.T.D., wrote the following in The Remnant in 1972:
The avowed enemies of God are rejoicing--temporarily--at having brought about an almost total collapse of the virtue of modesty among once virtuous Christian womanhood, while those commissioned by God to teach and uphold this angelic virtue insist on cowardly silence and indifference about it and on gutless permissiveness in manner of dress everywhere.
Meanwhile, vast numbers of supposedly "good" people remain as if without a conscience, being morally blind and insensitive as to what has really happened to a God-given virtue that was once a distinctive trademark of theirs. This type of blindness seems to go hand in hand with a brazen contempt and a sassy resentfulness towards any attempt to revive and restore the missing sense of modesty.
The fact stands out clearly that the immodest fashions of this unchaste generation still offend Our Lord "very much," as Our Lady foretold it through the angelic little Jacinta.
Anyone who still cares about God's virtue of modesty, which He has made shine with such heavenly beauty in the Immaculate Virgin Mary, cannot forget how Our Lord suffered in the Garden of Gethsemane when He foresaw so many sinners, including the immodest and the impure, remaining unrepentant. And the sight of so many immodest creatures displaying crude flesh, like animals, brings vividly before our mind's eye the frightful vision of Our Divine Savior being mercilessly scourged at the pillar. We need not strain ourselves in trying to picture this scene, for we can plainly see the immodest, with their unchaste displays of flesh and figure, continually scourging Our Lord. And we can see them crowning Him with thorns and nailing Him to the Cross all over again.
And look what sorrow the immodest and the impure are causing their Sorrowful and Immaculate Mother, whom God has presented to them as the Perfect Model of Modesty and Purity!
But it has not all happened by accident. Satan planned it this way. As he has done with such evil movements as Communism and Socialism and Freemasonry, so also has he planned out a program of gradual, not sudden, destruction of the sense of modesty and purity. A mere look at the past 50 years or more shows us very plainly how gradually it was all done, first by apparently innocent abbreviations of garments and by slight revelations of bare flesh and by subtle little displays of the figure, and then, as protests died down, by more and more abbreviations and displays--until the crude immodesty of our day became a shocking reality.
Many living today have seen it all happen before their very eyes. They have lived through it and, if they have managed to retain their God-given moral sense, they find the barbarian immodesty of the this day intolerable and they look upon it as a sin crying to Heaven for the vengeance that must inevitably come if sinners continue to refuse to amend their ways.
Perhaps some 50 years ago or more, a publication known as The Frenchwoman presented the following satanic program for the destruction of the virtue of modesty: "Our children must realize the ideal of nakedness... Thus, the mentality of the child is rapidly transformed. To escape opposition, progress must be methodically graduated: first, feet and legs naked, then upturned sleeves; afterwards, the upper part of the chest; then, the back... n summer, they will go around almost naked."
Even if such a daring statement of the powers of darkness had never come to light--though "enlightened" liberals have tried to keep it in the dark--we would still know that it had to be planned that way and could not have happened by accident. And we would also know that such a program for immodesty could not have originated anywhere but in the dungeons of hell and in the mind of Satan.
The program of gradualism intended to lead eventually to the crude immodesty that we know so painfully well today was evidently drawn up, or at least made known, some time during the Fatima years, possibly a little before or after the 1917 Apparitions of Our Lady. (Maybe some well-informed person can provide a precise date.) Bearing this in mind, we can easily conclude that it was no accident that Our Lady insisted so strongly on modesty in her Fatima Message. She knew well of the evil program that would endanger so many immortal souls, and she came to Fatima to warn souls and to save them from the evil awaiting them.
As Sister Lucy has said, one of the things that Our Lady especially asked for was modesty in dress. And still better known, though disregarded, is Jacinta's prophecy: "Certain fashions will be introduced that will offend Our Lord very much"--that little liked prophecy that leaves immodestly dressed "pious" women and girls callous and insensitive and cold.
Just as Our Lady was commissioned by God to oppose the rise of Russian Communism and all the other evils named in the Fatima Message, with God's own program of sanctification and salvation, so was part of her mission to warn souls of the dangers of immodesty and impurity that were to increase the unbelievable proportions in the years to come, and to turn them to modesty and and purity and amendment of life.
In connection with the timeliness of Our Lady's message of modesty in 1917, just when Satan's program of gradual nakedness was being put into effect, we must also mention the timeliness of the message of modesty of Pope Benedict XV (1914-1922). It is fairly well known how dynamic were his two successors, Popes Pius XI and Pius XII, in promoting modesty of dress, but it is not as well known that Pope Benedict XV was before them a strenuous defender and promoter of modesty at a time when we might imagine it was not so much of a problem.
We cannot believe that the statements of Our Lady of Fatima and those of Pope Benedict XV on modesty were disconnected or were merely a matter of coincidence. We can only believe that both Our Lady of Fatima and the Holy Father of that time were inspired and guided by God Himself to speak out on modesty in dress, so as to counteract the wicked program of gradual nudism that was being inspired and guided by hell's father of iniquity.
Let us quote an important statement of Pope Benedict XV--by no means his only one--so that we may see how immodesty in dress had already begun to cause moral ruin among women and girls of his day. In an Encyclical Letter (Sacra Propediem, 1921) commemorating the 7th centenary of the founding of the Franciscan Third Order, Pope Benedict wrote as follows:
"From this point of view one cannot sufficiently deplore the blindness of so many women of every age and condition; made foolish by desire to please, they do not see to what a degree the in decency of their clothing shocks every honest man, and offends God. Most of them would formerly have blushed for those toilettes as for a grave fault against Christian modesty; now it does not suffice for them to exhibit them on the public thoroughfares; they do not fear to cross the threshold of the churches, to assist at the Holy sacrifice of the Mass, and even to bear the seducing food of shameful passions to the Eucharistic Table where one receives the heavenly Author of purity. And We speak not of those exotic and barbarous dances recently imported into fashionable circles, one more shocking than the other; one cannot imagine anything more suitable for banishing all the remains of modesty."
If we did not know that a Pope wrote this in 1921, we would surely think it was written, or should have been written by someone, in 1972!
After thus deploring the immodesty of his day, the Holy Father exhorted women with these words:
"In what concerns specially the Tertiary Sisters, We ask of them by their dress and manner of wearing it, to be models of holy modesty for other ladies and young girls; that they be thoroughly convinced that the best way for them to be of use to the Church and to Society is to labor for the improvement of morals."
Whose message, do you suppose, have women and girls accepted: the message of modesty of Our Lady of Fatima and of the Holy Father or, the message of immodesty of Lucifer?
Who has recommend to them short skirts, sleeveless dresses, pants, shorts, and clownish pants suits, and so on?
Not only did women and girls buy and buy and buy the clothing that through the years became gradually shorter and skimpier and tighter and ever more unladylike, thus making the whole program of gradual nakedness a huge success, but something else happened at the same time; the sense of modesty and propriety, which God has instilled into their souls, became gradually more blurred and dim and fuzzy, until in so many it became totally blacked out and dead. They did not, and do not, know what happened to them. By blindly and stupidly following the satanic program of gradual abbreviation of attire, they destroyed in themselves a precious God-given gift--the sense of modesty--so that they have now made themselves incapable of distinguishing between modesty and immodesty, nor do so many of them care to know.
And not only have women destroyed in themselves God's gift of modesty, but they have destroyed it in their children from their earliest years, so that a whole generation has been brought up without any real understanding of modesty without any desire to possess its beauty.
And, mind you, these have been "good" and "pious" women who have done this to their children! They have been the "Lord, Lord" type who have duly said their prayers, which all are obliged to do, but who have not done "the Will of My Father Who is in Heaven" (Mt. 7. 21) by obeying His law of modesty. (Emphases added.)
Thus it is that the faithful must be exhorted to rise above the muck and mire of the culture. Those who truly love God will not run away. They will not quit the practice of the Faith. They will not walk out of a church in a huff as the truth is preached to them. They will accept the challenge and change their behavior. It happens. It's called the working of the graces that Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ won for us by shedding every of every single drop of His Most Precious Blood on the wood of the Holy Cross and that flow into our hearts and souls through the loving hands of Our Lady, she who is the Mediatrix of All Graces.
As I have discussed the matter of women's attire in general and while attending Holy Mass in other articles, I would like to note in this commentary that it is very sad that many men in our traditional chapels do not understand that there is no place for casualness or informality or showiness at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. There was no place for casualness or informality or showiness at Calvary on Good Friday. There is no place for casualness or informality or showiness in the unbloody re-presentation or perpetuation of the Sacrifice of the Cross that is the Holy Mass today. None whatsoever.
Sure, granted. Holy Mother Church, she who is a loving and wise mother, has long understood that there are men who must go to work in some kind of uniform or who must wear coveralls or jeans in their employment during the week, welcoming them with open arms at the offering of Holy Mass during week and to visit Our Lord in His Real Presence in the Most Blessed Sacrament when they are on a break from work or are on their way home at night. Those men, including those who are retired, who do not have to wear clothing for their occupations do have an obligation to dress appropriately for Holy Mass, especially on Sundays, where men in our culture have long been expected to break out what the ancients called a jacket and a tie as their wear their "Sunday best" as an exterior sign of their interior disposition to give Our Lord their very best at every moment of their lives and to receive Him in Holy Communion with due preparation of both soul and body.
Here is some good material from an Australian-based anti-sedevacantist website concerning the virtue of modesty as it relates to men, including while at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass:
Modesty is a moral virtue, and a part of the virtue of temperance, by which a person brings moderation to his outward and inward actions (inasmuch as they can be reflected by certain exterior signs), in order to keep them under the control of right reason (Summa Theologica, IIa IIae Q.160, a.2). Saint Thomas Aquinas lists four kinds of modesty in ordinary matters, that are obligatory for everybody:
· One is the movement of the mind towards some excellence, and this is moderated by humility.
· The second is the desire of things pertaining to knowledge, and this is moderated by studiousness which is opposed to curiosity.
· The third regards bodily movements and actions (including words), which require to be done becomingly and honestly, whether we act seriously or in play.
· The fourth regards outward show, for instance in dress and the like. (Ibid.)
If all four aspects of modesty are equally important, there remains no doubt that the last two, which have no special name, are most commonly understood by the term modesty. Moreover, it is most especially the last that is referred to by modesty, on account of the disorder of fallen human nature, which is most easily overcome by a disordered attraction to the last kind of immodesty.
Clearly men have an equal duty as women to avoid provocative words or actions and to avoid any kind of dress that might show off their person or their body, leading to vanity. Like women, they are hence forbidden to display their bodies in public in an unseemly manner, or in a way that might produce a disordered attraction in the opposite sex. Men should always wear a shirt for gymnastics, and shorts should not be worn in public, but only be used for athletics, and should not be too brief or too tight. Likewise, men should dress modestly for Sunday Mass, with shirt, tie, jacket, trousers, all of which symbolize a man's sense of responsibility, leading his family by the orderly self-discipline of modest dress, and doing his duty in the true worship of God. (The Catholic Standard of Dress for Men.)
We have grown so accustomed to the casual ways of the world and of the Novus Ordo that even Catholics who assist at offerings of Holy Mass in chapels served by bishops and priest who make no concessions to conciliarism whatsoever feel resentful when the issue of modesty is raised, acting as though they are moral automatons who do not need any guidance from their clergy on this most important matter of one's display of one's exterior appearance as a sign of one's interior disposition to love the Most Holy Trinity with his own mind, heart, body, soul and strength.
It's not difficult for men to dress well for Holy Mass. However, some men make it difficult to do so by complaining that it is too hot or that going to the trouble of "dressing up" for Holy Mass would require them to change clothes before going to attend a ball game or a family outing. Others just do not see the importance of dressing up in a jacket and tie for Holy Mass at least on Sundays if not each and every time he assists at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
These complaints are without any merit.
All one has to do is to look at photographs of men attending Holy Mass in Catholic churches in some of the hotter climates in the southwest and the far west anytime before the 1960s to realize that the whole business of being "casual" or "comfortable" at the unbloody re-presentation of the Sacrifice of Calvary was as foreign to a Catholic man's mind then as dressing properly is as foreign to the mind of so many Catholics, both in and out of the conciliar structures, who have permitted themselves to be catechized by the naturalistic ethos of the world and the ethos of conciliarism today. And here is a news flash to anyone who is reading this article: Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ was not very "comfortable" as He hung on the gibbet of the Holy Cross to redeem us from our sins, now was He? Why should we be concerned about dressing "comfortably" at Holy Mass?
If a man considers wearing a jacket and a tie once a week to be "uncomfortable," I would advise him to consider the fact that a bit of penance undertaken for love of God and in reparation for his own sins might make him a whole lot less "uncomfortable" after death as he, if he dies in a state of Sanctifying Grace, has to pay back the offense that He has given God and the bad example he has given to other men and young boys in the flames of Purgatory.
For those men who dress "casually" for Holy Mass make themselves obstacles for fathers who do dress correctly in a jacket-and-tie, serving as incentives for a son's rebellion against his father by saying, "Dad, why do I have to wear this horrible jacket-and-tie.? Mister Jones wears his nice, fluffy Hawaiian luau shirt and no one says a word to him. Why can't I wear the same thing, huh? Come on, Dad?" We will not know until the Last Day at the General Judgment of the Living and the Dead how many father-son arguments have been incited by the bad example of the casual attire worn by men to Sunday Mass.
This is not an invitation, however, for people to start haranguing their pastors in the catacombs who might have a more casual attitude about attire for men than was the accepted Catholic pastoral practice in the not-so-distant past. We have no true pope. (And I am not "laypope," thank you very much.) We have a void of legitimate ecclesiastical authority at this time. This commentary is not an invitation for readers to start hectoring their pastors about the matter, although referring one or two to this article and other such commentaries in a spirit of respect and friendship might be useful depending upon the circumstances and the personalities of those involved.
This article is, however, an invitation for men to be men, to stop being influenced by the casualness and informality of the world. It is the case today that many younger people, men and women alike, who have never been trained in the ways of Catholic formality and manners and courtesy feel utterly free to address someone old enough to be their grandfather (and I am, at fifty-eight and one-half, certainly old enough to be a grandfather) by the diminutive of their first names without ever having met them before. I get e-mails all the time from much younger people who are clueless about the fact that one is to address an elder, no less a a person they have never met, by their first names without having received any permission from that person to do so.
Some of these younger people are aghast when I provide a gentle reminder of Catholic formality in terms of addressing someone. "You're a snob!" one person wrote to me thereafter. Another young man wrote, "We're all equal before God. I don't see why I have to address you as "Dr. Droleski or Mr. Droleski" (spelling my last name the way my paternal great-grandfather, John Jacob Droleski, did until someone in the family line changed it around the beginning of the Twentieth Century as there are a few people with both spellings listed in phone directories who I have never met nor know but who are descendants of the same patriarch).
Well, titles don't mean anything in Heaven. True enough. However, there is no equality in Heaven. While everyone in the Church Triumphant is as happy as they can be, it is also true that not everyone is equally happy. Those souls who have loved God more on earth will have a greater degree of happiness in the glory of the Beatific Vision of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost for all eternity. A sixteen ounce plastic cup filled to its capacity with ice water (my favorite drink these days, having replaced iced tea filled with endless packets of the the poison known as Sweet and Low) and an eight ounce plastic cup filled to its capacity with ice water are each qualitatively filled to their capacities. Quantitatively, however, there is more liquid in the sixteen ounce cup than in the eight ounce cup. And thus it is in Heaven: those who knew, loved and served God better on earth as members of His true Church will have a greater enjoyment of Him in Heaven. No, one can't really use the "egalitarian" card when trying justifying informalities and casualness that is the antithesis of Catholicism.
For a book on courtesy and its relationship to the Faith, please see Courtesy Calls Again, which was written by Dr. Marian Therese Horvat and Mrs. Judith Fife Mead:
Another book on etiquette? No, Courtesy Calls Again is much more than that.
It presents the virtues essential to the practice of an authentic courtesy.
It examines and debunks myths that have shaped our American culture – the cowboy, the pioneer woman, the big boy, the ‘spontaneous man’ and the ‘natural man.’
It offers practical advice on how to establish courteous relationships in the home. How should a husband and wife treat each other and give correct example for their children? Why should a father treat his sons and daughters differently? What does a mother do to train her children well? How do parents avoid a child-centered home?
The essential elements of sound Catholic relationships in the family unit are presented here. A new American home becomes possible – serious, hierarchical, harmonic and joyful.
J.F. Mead and M.T. Horvat present models and customs from the rich treasury of Catholic tradition – and challenge us to respond to the urgent call to courtesy. (Courtesy Calls Again.)
Catholic men need to start to take the lead on matters of formality and modesty of dress. They need to lead by their manly example, by their refusal to surrender to the false, naturalistic"values" of the anti-Incarnational, anti-Catholic world of a concept of Modernity that even the "working document" for the upcoming Middle Eastern synod of conciliar bishops asserts represents "progress" for "humanity:"
On the one hand, the phenomenon has a certain attraction, because of
the prospects of material well-being and the end to oppressing cultural or
spiritual traditions. At the same time, “modernity” is the struggle for justice
and equality, the defence of the rights of weakest, equal status among men
and women as well as believers and non-believers and the recognition of
human rights, all of which are values demonstrating the immense progress
made by humanity. (Instrumentum Laboris "The Catholic Church in the Middle East: Communion and Witness, p. 44.)
What a mother lode of propaganda. Equal status among men and women? Obliterate the differences that God created between the sexes and to diminish the role of the mother by stressing her "need" to go to have a career to "enrich" and "empower" herself while the children are sent to daycare centers when infants and after-school programs as they grow older? The equality of believers and unbelievers? All of these are "values demonstrating the immense progress made by humanity"? Yet it is these "values" that are celebrated almost universally in the Novus Ordo structures, which is why so many Catholic men today are so lax in their observance of the Faith and so ready to conform to those "values" that have robbed men of all true sense of a masculinity founded in serving God above all things as He has revealed Himself to us exclusively through His true Church.
Men, don't own a suit? Get one. Can't afford to buy one. Go to a consignment store. While I only have one good suit (possessing several jackets that are in various states of raggedness, awaiting the loss of another fifty pounds--after having lost fifty in the past four months--to be able to fit into suits that last fit me in the summer of 2001), I do try to keep that good in good shape so that it is very presentable for Sunday Mass and that the rags worn on other days of the week are in the best, most presentable shape that they can be given their condition and our lack of funds. It is important to make the effort to wear our best for God as a means of demonstrating to Him and to others our seriousness of purpose in preparing our immortal souls to be in the best shape possible to receive Him worthy in Holy Communion and to be ready to at all times to die in a state of Sanctifying Grace as a member of His true Church.
Some might object at this point that none of this is "written down" anywhere, that cultural norms do change from time to time and are different from place to place, that the Church can't "mandate" anything that has not been codified in Canon Law or contained explicitly in some papal encyclical letter or allocution. To those who might raise such an objection, my friends, I reply as follows:
First, we are Catholics, not Protestants. Not everything about the Catholic Faith and Catholic Tradition is written down. Various traditions have been handed down to us over the centuries, including the comportment of the faithful at Holy Mass. We are supposed to possess a sensus Catholicus to help us to understand, accept and abide by the Church's traditions as they have been practiced from time immemorial and have been adapted in various places according to the contingencies of time, circumstance and place. (One can't expect soldiers to wear jackets-and-ties for Holy Mass in the middle of a battle, for example, or at any time they are on duty as they are discharging their duties.)
To wit, here are some of the standard questions I would be asked by people back in the 1990s after lectures I gave around the nation on the importance of restoring the Immemorial Mass of Tradition as normative in what I thought at the time was the Catholic Church concerned identifying some written source that could help people convince their local conciliar priest or presbyter not to engage in some practice that they sensus Catholicus taught them was opposed to the Catholic tradition. "Where I can I find it written down that children can't congregate around the altar at the consecration?" "Where can I find it written down that we're not supposed to holler and applaud at Mass?" "Where can I find it written down that men and women can't wear shorts or revealing clothing to Mass?" "Where is it written down that women shouldn't wear men's clothing or that they can't wear skirts or dresses that are shorter than they used to be years ago?"
One of the consequences of living in a world shaped by Protestantism's singular reliance upon the "written word" to know God's teaching and Modernity's singular reliance on the "written words" contained in constitutions and laws and judicial decisions without any regard for the Deposit of Faith that Our Lord has entrusted to His true Church is that Catholics approach matters of Faith and Worship sometimes according to this mania of the "written word." As noted just above, not everything about Catholic Faith and Worship has been written down, codified, if you will.
There was, for example, no specific prohibition against altar girls "written down" in the history of the Catholic Church as there was no need to do so; people knew that this was forbidden. Similarly, there was no need to "write down" a specific prohibition against the laity entering the sanctuary during Mass to assemble around the altar as this was simply part of the sensus Catholicus, something that holds true for being silent in church and refraining from applause or cheering or other sorts of demonstrative actions. Calvary was a matter of solemnity and sobriety, not gaiety and celebration.
We have to use our Catholic reason, which is how, after all, some Catholics came to the conclusion in the 1970s--without anything being declared or written down--that those who defect from the Faith are incapable of holding ecclesiastical office within the Catholic Church legitimately. These Catholics used their reason to study and to apply principles to our concrete circumstances. It's not all written down in just one place as even though who rely upon Pope Paul IV's Cum Ex Apostolatus Officio have to show proof that the conciliar "pontiffs" had defected from the Faith by virtue of violating the precepts of the Divine Positive Law, something that most Catholics in the world do not accept or believe is the case. We have to use good our Catholic senses to know what is Catholic from what is not.
Second, while it is true that there are different cultural standards from time to time and from place to place, a Catholic's sense of decorum concerning what it appropriate to wear at Holy Mass should be such as to know impropriety when he sees it. Conciliarists, for example, have used the fallacious argument of the "inculturation of the Gospel" to justify half-naked women serving as lectors and "gift bearers" at "papal" Masses in Africa. Some aboriginal tribesman from New Zealand "performed" half-naked during a putative Mass at the Basilica of Saint Peter for Karol Wojtyla/John Paul II around 1998 or so, which prompted me to ask the question at the time,"Did these aboriginal people board the flight from New Zealand in their half-naked costumes or did they dress down for the occasion of the "papal Mass"?
Modesty is modesty. It has been the standard in Western nations for most of the past two centuries for men to wear their jackets-and-ties to Holy Mass. And, truth be told, my friends, I have seen some families assisting at indult offerings of the modernized Mass of Tradition back in the 1990s whose attention to dressing even their young boys in suits or jackets-and-ties was truly inspiration, putting to shame the inattention to this in many sedevacantist chapels. The faithful must be exhorted to give God their best, and how are they going to learn to give God their best if we do not teach our children are not taught that there is a direct connection between the formality with which we treat God exteriorly and the love and the reverence that we have for Him interiorly
How about it? Isn't God worth the effort an worth and the "discomfort"? The rewards might just be heavenly if we, by means of Our Lady's graces and as we pray as many Rosaries each day as our states-in-life permit, persevere until the very end as her devoted children, consecrated to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus through her own Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart, keeping close at all times to our Good Saint Joseph.
Immaculate Heart of Mary, triumph soon!
Viva Cristo Rey!
Isn't it time to pray a Rosary now?
Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us now and at the after of our death.
Saint Joseph, Patron of Departing Souls, pray for us.
Saints Peter and Paul, pray for us.
Saint John the Baptist, pray for us.
Saint John the Evangelist, pray for us.
Saint Michael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Gabriel the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Raphael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saints Joachim and Anne, pray for us.
Saints Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar, pray for us.
Saints Primus and Felician, pray for us.
See also: A Litany of Saints