Sadly, many pro-life, Catholics and Christians alike, forget that modesty is a virtue.
Immodestly can be, and often is, practiced in all areas of our culture. But I want to discuss today the apparent disconnect pro-lifers seem to hold.
From where I sit, promotion and exercise of the virtue of modesty within the pro-life movement is almost nonexistent.
Yes, there are a few notable exceptions. But by and large, the fact that modesty is a virtue is lost on too many pro-lifers.
THE INCONSISTENT MESSAGE
Whether you realize it or not, you have probably witnessed for yourself the inconsistent message. Perhaps you too have given poor notice to your belief that modesty is a virtue.
Very often pro-life conferences and gatherings are littered with immodestly-dressed participants. Women showing off their cleavage for the world to see is never good. It defies the message they stand for.
Standing outside an abortion center to pray is a wonderful act of love and mercy. Doing so while wearing spaghetti straps and short-shorts is totally unnecessary.
Your pro-life activity says you value the life of every human being—born or unborn. Good for you. But you letting your daughter wear skin-tight pants at the pro-life event—or anywhere else, for that matter, defies logic.
Very often, faithful Catholics let their daughters leave their homes wearing short-shorts. What are they thinking?
The parents wouldn’t let her walk around the block in her panties. But if she adds a layer of clothing that is about six inches longer, well apparently now she is fit to go? What message does this send to the youth?
Practicing immodesty is unbecoming of the pro-life witness.
WHY DOES IMMODESTY WITHIN THE PRO-LIFE MOVEMENT SERVE AS A BLACK EYE?
If you yourself dress inappropriately in public, you are serving the Culture of Death—not the Culture of Life.
If the clothes you wear elicit a lustful response, you’re causing scandal. You are also causing others to sin.
As well, immodest dress treats your body like a commodity. You’re giving away yourself for free for everyone in sight. You are allowing others to treat you like an object.
This devalues you as a person.
And all along, aren’t you claiming to value all human persons? See the inconsistency yet?
Let’s look at it another way. What does the Culture of Death try to tell you?
The Culture of Death tries to tell you that even if the unborn baby is human, his life has no value unless another assigns it to him. Supposedly, each baby is dependent upon his mother whether he lives or dies.
In other words, the baby’s humanity gets ignored for the sake of others.
Similarly, when you dress flamboyantly, you sacrifice your humanity to a small degree. You let others goggle over you, like you are piece of meat for their consumption.
I hope the point is clear.
Moreover, sacred Scripture implores us several times to conduct ourselves in a manner “worthy of the Gospel” (Philippians 1:27, cf. Ephesians 4:1, 2 Peter 3:14, etc.). And it says that goes even when surrounded by pagans (1 Peter 2:12; 4:3).
CAN IMMODESTY BE A SERIOUS SIN?
Saint Thomas Aquinas writes beautifully on the topic of modesty. Let’s look at Article Two, of Question 169, of the Second Part of the Second Part. The Universal Doctor of the Church seeks to answer the question if women’s clothing can cause a man to sin mortally.
Saint Thomas quotes Proverbs 7:10, which states a woman’s attire can deceive souls.
He then quotes 1 Corinthians 7:34. It states that wives are to think in ways of how to please their husbands. Thomas takes this as permission for wives to dress attractively so as to please their husbands, lest they fall in concupiscence.
Saint Thomas Aquinas then states the following:
“But those women who have no husband nor wish to have one, or who are in a state of life inconsistent with marriage, cannot without sin desire to give lustful pleasure to those men who see them, because this is to incite them to sin. And if indeed they adorn themselves with this intention of provoking others to lust, they sin mortally” (emphasis added).
He goes on to quote Saint Augustine who backs him. Saint Thomas also qualifies his answer to say that such immodest dress is not always mortal, but can be venial. But either way, it is sinful.
So, there you have it. Yes, to dress provocatively so as to provoke a lustful response can be a mortal sin!
“MODEST IS HOTTEST”
Dressing modestly in this time period remains completely counter-cultural. Yet, doesn’t our Christian faith require us to swim against the cultural current? (Ever read the Sermon on the Mount? [Matthew 5-7])
If there is nothing that sets you apart from the rest of society, you’re probably living the Christian faith incorrectly.
Dressing modestly would be an obvious, yet subtle symbol to the world that you do not belong to it. Rather, you belong to the Lord, the Giver of Life.
Besides, whose eyes do you want beholding you? The man who promised his lifelong fidelity to you upon your wedding day? Or every random stranger you meet?
What type of man are you attracting anyway? One who supports you reserving yourself? Or one who cares about you only for your looks?
You can dress attractively, still. You need not wear a potato sack!
But you should do it in a way that does not draw attention to yourself, so as to cause another man to stumble in sin. You can dress in a manner befitting of a child of the One, True King.
Modesty is the best policy. Modesty is a virtue we need to reclaim as Catholics, as Christians, especially within the pro-life movement.
Are you with me on this one? Or am I way off base?
Am I the only one who thinks the virtue of modesty is a lacking component in the pro-life movement?
Please let me know your take below.