Saturday, May 05, 2007

Dressing for Mass

What is it about the Novus Ordo Mass that inspires people to come dressed as they are? Sometimes I wonder if they are coming to Mass in the clothes they slept in, and now that warmer weather is approaching, I cringe at the thought of having to look at EMHC standing in the sanctuary in their summer shorts and casual blouses and flip flops for shoes. Respectful dress should be a given for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and it shouldn't be that hard for the liberal Catholics to wrap their minds around, especially since they mostly think of the Mass as the Lord's Supper, rather than a sacrifice. If they were going to the banquet of an earthly king, what would they wear? Surely not their Sunday worst. Why then is it so common to see people dressed disrespectfully at Holy Mass?

My guess is that it has to do with the whole downplaying of all things sacred and holy in the modern Church. There is very little in the way of sacred architecture to elevate the heart and mind to prayer, and this is reflected in the party atmosphere before and after Mass, where people are talking, even shouting, at each other in animated conversation. Sometimes it seems like a backyard barbecue rather than a Mass.

I know there are those who will say, "At least they have come to Mass. Jesus will overlook their dress." Ah, yes! At least they have come to Mass. We should never let circumstances that are beyond our control and prevent us from changing our clothing, keep us from Holy Mass. But it has to start from somewhere. Maybe if everyone begins to dress respectfully for Mass, then they will start to act respectfully as well. If we create a worshipful environment, starting with ourselves, the rest is sure to follow.


marilena said...

i can only tell you that no matter how hot it is, i will dress modestly and respect for our Lord and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass!

marilena said...

you know how it is in our church? i'll gladly let others here know who may not know. in our church, if a man or woman comes in not knowing the dress code, which by the wayis clearly posted as soon as you walk in the door, the priest will be notified of the irregular dress, and he will take the person kindly aside after mass and inform them of the dress code. at no point is he ever forceful with the parishioner. women must cover their head, and wear long dresses below the knee, or a long skirt below the knee, and also a long sleeved shirt over the elbow and no deep necklines in their shirts or dresses. men must wear suitable pants, preferrably, not jeans. and not shirts. the shirt should come over the elbow. muscle shirts are not acceptable. shorts are not accpetable. women who have small chidlren and are breast feeding take their children to the crying room and feed them there. boys are not allowed in the womens washroom. the fathers take their sons to the mens bathroom, likewise the women with their little girls. when babies/toddlers start crying in the church, the mother takes her children to the crying room, or the father takes the choldren outside or into the basement of the church so as not to disrupt the Mass. i like the rules we have set at the church. one time, we had a woman show up in ultra tight pasted on pants, and all the men were looking at her after the Mass, and this does not set a good example because it could be an occasion for sin. this is totally unacceptable behavior.
if the person does not know the dress code, the priest informs them after the Mass. this woman had left before the priest coudl speak with her. i had an opprtunity to have a word with her through her intepreter. i have not seen her wearing those clothes since. the Lord MUST be respected at ALL times! trashy clothing sets a very bad example, and can be an occasion for sin, and it is also very diresepctful to our Lord to wear such clothing to Mass. it is in my opinion, unacceptable for men and women and kids to wea rinappropriate clothing to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

marilena said...

sorry, i did not mean to say and not shirts, i meant and not t-shirts for men.

318@NICE said...

I think it was Jesus who said, "Where your treasure is there will your heart be also."
And it is a sacrifice of Christ, something that cannot be taken lightly.
That's what I love about the Church I go to. This morning at Mass (as it is every Sunday). When the Host is consecrated the Priest raises the Host up to heaven, the acolyte rings these little bells up there in the sanctuary 3 times, and then the bells of the Church are rang at the same time, and the priest says "THIS IS MY BODY" and then we make the sign of the cross as we are kneeling down and say, "My Lord and my God!"
In such an atomsphere of the sacrifice of the Mass, there is a respect and honor to God, especially the divine Son of God. And so I always dress up because I am actually going into the "real presence" of Christ.
But you are right, dumb down the Mass and the people will dress accordingly.
Just my 2 cents.

Simon-Peter Vickers-Buckley said...

Are things so far gone, that, in the west, in anyplace, people need to be told that halter tops, short skirts, wife-beaters, shorts, fli-flops are not acceptable?

paramedicgirl said...

Yup, Simon they are far gone, but it goes deeper than just wearing inappropriate clothing to Holy Mass. If the Mass itself was holy and awe-inspiring, the people would pay heed and dress for the occasion, don't you agree?

Anonymous said...

Very good post..i did a post on might like to scroll down on..on my blog

God bless

paramedicgirl said...

Thanks for dropping by, Jackie! You have a very nice blog. Great photos!