There was a very good article in last Sunday’s Houston Chronicle written by a clinical psychologist named Patricia Dalton. It is entitled “When Girls Dress to Sleaze.” I wish that I could put it into the hands of every teenage and older girl, and their parents. I don’t have time here to share much of it with you, but here are a few excerpts: “While parents register disapproval (for inappropriate dress on the part of their daughters), they often fail to take action. In that failure, they unwittingly place their daughters at risk by allowing them to bypass girlhood. When a daughter moves straight from little girl to woman, she’s playing a role rather than gradually learning to live her own life. These girls may seem whole, but they aren’t. There is often a lost girl inside. . . Sometime over the past couple of decades, while we adults weren’t looking, class went out, and trash came in.” She goes on to say that the invention of the contraceptive pill was the beginning of the sexual revolution that is engulfing our society now. “Gone was the fear of unwanted pregnancy. Along came the assumption that sexual problems were the result of hang-ups, and that relaxing the strictures would free everyone to live in a kind of sexual utopia. Well, the so-called utopia is here, and we want to warn our daughters: ‘Turn back before it’s too late.’ Because what awaits them is not Prince Charming. It is more likely to be loneliness and regret.” And from my point of view as a priest, what awaits them is also very serious sin, an alienation from God, unmarried pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, abortion, and sometimes even the killing of small children by the mother’s current live-in boyfriend who resents the presence in his home of a child or children fathered by his girlfriend’s previous lovers. Not long ago, I was preparing to celebrate Mass for a youth group. The teenage girl who was to do the first reading showed up in the sacristy with about six inches of her belly showing between the t-shirt and the hip-hugger jeans. I told her she’d have to cover her midriff before going out into the sanctuary. She looked at me as if I were from another planet. In recent years, I have refused to perform weddings in which the bride or bridesmaids wear dresses with bare backs, bare shoulders, and visible cleavage. I remind them that the wedding dress should be appropriate for a sacramental wedding, usually involving Mass and the reception of Holy Communion, and not for the honeymoon. What she wears in her bedroom is no concern of mine; what she wears at her wedding Mass is very much my concern. I have been told by some brides-to-be that all wedding dresses are made like that and they couldn’t find a modest one in good taste. That’s nonsense, of course. They can always have a dressmaker make a decent wedding dress, or add to the ready-made ones a matching jacket or some sort of tasteful cape that would make them look like Christian brides and not like porn queens. When will Christian modesty and purity begin to fight back? When will be begin to dress, think, and act like followers of Christ and not followers of the sluttish mores on TV, or in Hollywood movies, or in the pornography abundantly available in our electronic devices? Thank you for allowing God to Love you. God Bless you. Victor Brown, O.P.
Note: This message was composed some years ago.