By the former Director of the Purity Crusade of Mary Immaculate
Father Bernard Kunkel
(Our Lady of Fatima & Modesty)
Is it a sin to wear shorts, strapless dresses, short skirts, pants, modern swimwear, etc.?
These questions continue to disturb even so-called conservative Catholics almost a century after the disrobing trend began in feminine attire at the close of the First World War. True traditional Catholics, mindful of the virtues of Christian modesty and purity, refuse to be stampeded by “the crowd” into accepting the hedonistic fashions.
They know that the Blessed Virgin Mary will never approve of these pagan styles which are so contrary to Christian tradition on modesty.
Our Blessed Mother knew in advance the moral havoc that would follow the introduction of these unholy fashions. This is why she came personally at Fatima in 1917 to forewarn us.
At the same time she gave the answer in advance to the question, “Is it a sin to follow these fashions?”
To little Jacinta, aged seven, Our Lady entrusted this prophecy, which embodies her theology on the modern fashions:
“Certain fashions will be introduced that will offend Our Lord very much.”
Let the Modernist pseudo-Theologians realize that they are in serious conflict with this heavenly message when they condone the aping of these “certain fashions” by so many Catholic women and girls. They cannot sanctify these sinful fashions by sprinkling them with holy water.
Our Lady’s verdict is that they are mortally sinful.
For, in theological language, to “offend Our Lord very much” means mortal sin.
How sad Our Blessed Mother must be when so many ignore Her maternal warning!
“Men must cease offending God, Who is already too much offended,” She pleads.
Instead of heeding Mary’s pleas, “the crowd” rejects Her as their model of modesty and looks for its models in the camp of Her archenemy, Satan.
How can Catholics be so blind?
They Follow Like Sheep
How sad, too, must have been the Vicar of Christ Himself, Pope Pius XII, as he lamented this blindness in his allocution to the Sodality convention in Rome on July 17, 1954!
These are the Holy Father’s own words:
“You live in a world which is constantly forgetful of God and the supernatural, where the only interest of the crowd seems to be the satisfaction of temporal needs, well-being, pleasure, vanity. . .”
“How many young girls there are who do not see any wrongdoing in following certain shameless styles like so many sheep. They certainly would blush if they could guess the impression they make and the feeling they evoke in those who see them. Do they not see the harm resulting from excess in certain gymnastic exercises and sports not suitable for virtuous girls? What sins are committed or provoked by conversations which are too free, by immodest shows, by dangerous reading. How lax have consciences become, how pagan morals!”
The Prophecy of Fatima Is Fulfilled
The stern condemnation of modern fashions by Christ’s Vicar shows that the prophecy of Our Lady of Fatima, “Certain fashions will be introduced”, had already been fulfilled in the Marian Year of 1954. Especially since, a little over one month later, on August 21, the Pope startled the world by his reference to the modern fashions as “a most serious plague”; and directed the Bishops throughout the world to “take action against this most serious plague of immodest fashions”.
To emphasize still more the seriousness of “certain fashions”, Pope Pius XII asked the Sacred Congregation of the Council to make a forceful appeal to all Catholics, but especially those in authority, to “leave no stone unturned which can help remedy the situation.” Thus, he repeated the action of his predecessor, Pius XI, who had asked this same Sacred Congregation to send out the “Special Instructions” in 1930 directing that the Roman Standards of modesty in dress (Marylike Standards) be followed.
The Pope Confirms Fatima Warning
What could be more condemnatory of these “certain fashions” than this second stern letter of the Sacred Council, which was sent on August 21 through its Prefect, Pietro Cardinal Ciriaci! Read carefully the excerpts from this letter which here follow, then resolve to redouble your “prayers and sacrifices” so that Mary Immaculate may extirpate that accursed heresy of Modernism which refuses to heed the appeal of both the Mother of God and the Vicar of Christ:
“Everyone knows that during the summer months particularly, things are seen here and there, which are certain to prove offensive to anyone who has retained some respect and regard for Christian modesty. On the beaches, in country resorts, almost everywhere, on the streets of cities and towns, in public and private places, and, indeed, often even in buildings dedicated to God, an unworthy and indecent mode of dress has prevailed.
“Because of this, the young particularly, whose minds are easily bent towards vice, are exposed to the extreme danger of losing their innocence, which is, by far, the most beautiful adornment of mind and body. Feminine adornment, if it can be called adornment, feminine clothing, if that can be called clothing which contains nothing to protect either the body or modesty, are at times of such a nature, that they seem to serve lewdness rather than modesty . . . Well did the ancient poet say of this matter, ‘Vice necessarily follows upon public nudity.'”
The Bishops are Asked To Take Action
“But you especially, whom ‘the Holy Ghost has set up as Bishops to rule the Church of God’, must by all means consider that matter carefully and take under your care, and promote with all your power, everything which has to do with the protection of modesty and the furtherance of Christian morals.
“Therefore, it is altogether imperative to admonish and exhort, in whatever way seems most apt, people of all stations, but particularly youth, to avoid the danger of this kind of vice (immodest dress), which is so directly opposed, and potentially so hazardous to Christian and civic virtue. . .
“It is the earnest desire of the August Pontiff that this cause be taken up enthusiastically, especially during the present Marian Year. He desires that Bishops in particular leave no stone unturned, which can help remedy the situation; and that, with their counsel and leadership, the rest of the clergy work prudently, assiduously, and earnestly, within their own jurisdiction, toward the happy attainment of this goal. . .”
Vain Excuses For Shameless Fashions
In spite of the many discourses of various Popes condemning the modern “certain fashions,” many women and girls stubbornly persist in “following certain shameless styles like so many sheep.” (Pius XII) And how do they justify their immodesty? In many cases, by parroting this sophistry, which can only be Hell-inspired:
“What’s wrong with what I’m wearing? It doesn’t bother me. Evil to him who thinks evil. He must have a dirty mind. To the pure, all things are pure.”
It is obvious that many of the female sex do not understand the workings of the mind of man, and how it fits in the plan of God for the procreation of new human life. Otherwise, to re-quote Pius XII, “They would certainly blush if they could guess the impression they make and the feeling they evoke in those who see them.”
All Sense of Modesty Is Lost
Why do they not blush? God gives to each girl a special innate sense of modesty which causes her to blush when appearing in public in immodest attire. This instinct is intended by God for the protection of her own chastity, but especially to help the male, whose helpmate she is called to be, to keep in check his fiery passion. If she no longer blushes she has lost this precious “sense of modesty”. At this point, she is literally “asking for trouble”.
“My Conscience Is Clear”
Some women and girls justify their immodest attire by the sophism, “My conscience is clear. It tells me that there is nothing wrong in wearing shorts, strapless dresses, swimsuits, etc.”
“Follow your conscience” is a safe rule, provided you add, “Under the guidance of the Church.” Otherwise you are following the modern sophism, “Everybody his own Theologian.” This is nothing but the principle of “private interpretation,” essentially the same as the error held by the Lutherans of the 16th century, which led to the Protestant revolt against the true Church.
“Sister Says They’re Modest”
Still other women and girls appeal to the authority of a Priest or even a Sister. They shop around until they find one imbued with Modernism, or one who is either not too well acquainted with the recent pronouncements of the Popes, or not inclined to take them seriously.
How often does one hear, “Sister So-and-so says there is nothing wrong with shorts, strapless dresses, swimsuits”! Unfortunately, some Sisters do usurp the role of Theologian, without ever having had a course in Theology. Even with such a course, the Church does not authorize Sisters, Religious, or teachers to make decisions on such vital and intricate questions as modesty in dress.
Even if you can give the same quotation as coming from a Priest, you may not follow such a decision. If you do, you are still guilty of wrongdoing. For, not even a Priest is authorized to make such decisions which contradict the official statements of the Vicar of Christ, since he is only a “delegated authority” in the Church. You are still guilty of sin by following “certain shameless styles like so many sheep”, unless, through no fault of your own, you are ignorant of the recent Papal statements.
“Blind Leaders of the Blind”
Pastors, teachers, parents, and all who exercise authority over others, have a grave responsibility to promote modesty in dress according to the “mind of the Church.” Otherwise they may fall under this same condemnation spoken by Christ against the Pharisees: “Let them alone: they are blind and leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both fall into the pit.” (Matt. 15:14)
Pre-Requisite For the Triumph of Mary’s Immaculate Heart
How can we expect Mary’s triumph and world peace in an unchastened human society? And how can the reign of purity be established as long as these “certain fashions” continue to fan furiously the flame of passion in the hearts of men? Is it not evident from Our Lady’s messages at Fatima that modesty in feminine attire is a prerequisite for Her triumph and for world peace?
Let’s use our God-given faculty of reasoning. Our Lady tells us “Men must cease offending God. . .” In the next breath, as it were, she reminds us that one way in which God is offended “very much” is by those “certain fashions.” The conclusion should be plain. These semi-nude fashions retard Mary’s triumph, and are one of the chief causes bringing the world to the brink of annihilation.
Our Lady further revealed that “More souls go to Hell because of sins of the flesh, than for any other reason.” Who can count the millions of mortal sins of the flesh that are daily occasioned by immodest attire — evil thoughts and desires, touches, impure embracing, kissing, raping, etc. How can the Immaculate Heart of Mary triumph as long as “more souls go to Hell” through shameless fashions?
Again, a Christian society would never tolerate the current flood of indecent literature, movies, and television if it had not first tolerated the public appearance of semi-nude women and girls in the flesh. As Pius XII points out, “vice necessarily follows upon public nudity.” Which implies: when public nudity is tolerated, innumerable sins against purity necessarily follow, and the corruption of mankind.
Yet, who will convince our Catholic women and girls that their shameful attire is responsible that so many “souls go to Hell. . .”?
It will take a miracle to save a world which has forgotten God to such an extent that even many Catholics have turned to the worship of human idols in the form of body cult and sex worship. Our Lady of Fatima has promised this miracle that will save us from the “greatest catastrophe since the deluge,” (Pius XII) if we do our part.
Listen to the Virgin Mary’s pleas for “prayers and sacrifices.”
There can be no doubt that one of the sacrifices that is very acceptable to Our Lady is the sacrifice required to become ever more Marylike ourselves*; and to promote energetically in others the “Marylike Way of Life” which will restore Marylike chastity and modesty to the world.
This will hasten true world peace, which is promised only through the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
*Slight commentary: This is directed towards the virtue in light of women, but should be taken into consideration by men as well in light of how they themselves affect others – How do you portray yourself to the world?