Wednesday, June 26, 2024

Summertime, Summertime . . .


Dear Parishioners,

I find it quite disturbing for me to address some of the matters concerning the lack of modesty found in society today. Let me begin by saying that I was not raised in an atmosphere where I lived a sheltered life. I may have been exposed, sadly, to just about everything humanly imaginable as a youth.

I grew up in Wildwood, NJ. My parents owned a hotel, motel, apartments and a restaurant. I frequented the beach and boardwalk. People rented rooms in our establishment with their families, spouses, significant others, mistresses, complete strangers, etc. We lived across the street from a bar notoriously known to have served alcohol to those underage. Drugs were available and used all around the neighborhood. Regrettably, I was far from naive when it came to things of the world. It is a miracle itself that I became a priest.

With all of this past history in mind, I was shocked on my recent Caribbean cruise to see many bathing suits that could have passed for band-aids. Dare I say there was a lack of modesty? I have come to the conclusion that most people look much better with their clothes on. The magic mirror some may have been looking at was not the same as what my eyes were seeing.

Unfortunately, traces of this lack of modesty permeates even our churches (and schools). Short-shorts (we used to call them hotpants in my day), excessive skin exposure (legs or cleavage) are certainly not appropriate for Mass attendance. We should not dress like we are going to the beach or boardwalk. Manner of dress should be befitting the dignity of being in the presence of Almighty God because we are doing just that!

The sexualization of youth worldwide is appalling and our young people should be taught that their bodies are not for display, let alone for perverts to gawk at. Parents need to be parents. No is an option.

Let me conclude by quoting two sections from the Catechism of the Catholic Church for your reflection: purity and modesty.

Purity requires modesty, an integral part of temperance. Modesty protects the intimate center of the person. It means refusing to unveil what should remain hidden. It is ordered to chastity to whose sensitivity it bears witness. It guides how one looks at others and behaves toward them in conformity with the dignity of persons and their solidarity. (#2521)

Modesty protects the mystery of persons and their love. It encourages patience and moderation in loving relationships; it requires that the conditions for the definitive giving and commitment of man and woman to one another be fulfilled. Modesty is decency. It inspires one's choice of clothing. It keeps silence or reserve where there is evident risk of unhealthy curiosity. It is discreet. (#2522)

I wish that I did not need to bring this topic to anyone's attention. However, I would be negligent as a spiritual father to pretend that certain situations do not exist all around us.

Fr. Ed Namiotka


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