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Unchanging Modesty, Pius XII &
Survival Info

Is Modesty Relative to Time & Place?

Dear TIA,

I have been arguing with some people about modesty. They claim that modesty is relative to culture. Therefore if one goes to a place where women are topless, one can be topless and not sin.

They also claim that immodesty is not scandalous because to be a scandal, it must be an evil in itself. Therefore women do not sin as long as they are not trying to tempt men.

Could you, please, refer me to some doctrine on this?

     Thank you.


TIA responds:

Dear P. S.,

Catholic Morals is the application of the principles of the Gospel to human behavior. It is therefore, an objective ensemble of norms that basically does not change. Catholic Morals has been refined by the Church throughout its 2,000 year history to cover all possible situations.

The pastoral of the Church may make certain adjustments with regard to time and place, but Catholic Morals is unvarying. For example, a missionary may tolerate nudism for a limited period of time when he is working for the conversion of a tribe. However, if the tribe does not change its habits in a short period of time, the mission has to end.

Analogously, a missionary order that works with prostitutes with the aim of converting them admits no change in Catholic Morals. A provisory effort is made that tries to bring those souls to the Church. If they do not correspond, after a short while the attempt ends.

These efforts do not represent moral complacency either with nudism or with prostitution. They are transitory situations allowed for the sake of charity as attempts to save those souls.

Applying this to the case you reported, a woman who goes topless in public - not in one of those primitive tribes of Africa, Oceania or Amazonia - always commits mortal sin, because she is the cause of scandal. That is, she is inducing men to have bad gazes and thoughts and inviting men to approach her to sin. Further, she is also sinning by inviting other women to follow her example.

Therefore, this is wrong, even if one of the conciliar Popes says that nudism is not sinful in itself .

We have written several articles on the topic which you can find here, here, here and here.

We believe you will find  many arguments in these articles to support your position, including the teaching of Pope Pius XII on the topic of fashion.


     TIA correspondence desk


Handling Divorced People

Dear TIA,

Thank you for your inspiration – your work has helped me so much to learn to live a Catholic life.

Your etiquette information has been so valuable. I was not raised in a Catholic family, but an anti-Catholic family. Please keep writing about how to handle divorced parents and siblings (here & here) – especially for those of us who have anti-Catholic family members.

     Sincerely yours,


Pius XII & the British Troops

Dear Sir/Madam,

I read your valuable website daily and am always edified.

I must tell you that when I followed the link you gave to Pope Pius X11 speaking to British troops in Rome in 1944, I was moved to tears. What serene words from a great pontiff!

The singing of the hymn Faith of Our Fathers by the British troops seems spontaneous. In the days before Vatican 11, when the Church was strong in England, that hymn was known as “the Catholic national anthem”.

Keep up your good work and do feel free to publish this email.

     Yours faithfully in Jesus, Mary and Joseph,

     Eric Hester

Labors for the Faith


Thank you for your labors for the Faith.

A donation is enclosed.

R. & R.C.

Fr. Charles Arminjon


I have just started reading End of the Present World and Mysteries of the Future Life by Fr. Charles Arminjon, written in 1881, with a remarkable review by St Therese of Lisieux. I find it magnificent.

I have it on my Kindle and it is available in print by Sophia Press. St. Therese read this book at age 14 and her testimony about its importance in her life compelled me to get it. I couldn't wait until I finished it to tell you all about it.

     Steve Sanborn, Sr.

Georg’s Double Role


Looks like what TIA suggested in its article is happening - with regard to the papal secretary Cardinal Georg reporting the Vatican goings-on to Benedict XVI.

This paragraph was in a news report on Benedict returning to the Vatican yesterday (May 2):

The retired pope will live in the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery with Archbishop Georg Ganswein, his secretary, who also serves Pope Francis as prefect of the papal household; and with four consecrated laywomen from Memores Domini, Father Lombardi said.

So, it looks like Benedict’s dear secretary is playing a double role, always faithful of course to his first master (not God, but Pope Ratzinger)…

What a mess things have become.

     Keep up your good work.


‘Saint Wojtyla’

Dear TIA,

Regarding the coming canonization of John Paul II

Here is the post-conciliar road to Heaven: Get elected Pope, help to destroy the Church, get canonized. It couldn't be simpler.

     Patrick O'Brien

“Archbishop Celebrates Serpent Year” - Correction


I would like to make one quick correction to the letter submitted to TIA entitled “Archbishop Celebrates Serpent Year”. Archbishop Vlazny is the (now) former Archbishop of Portland, Oregon (not Oakland).

These photos were taken in February as our very large Vietnamese Catholic Community celebrated their Lunar New Year’s celebration (and yes it is the “year of the snake”). Since that time he has “retired” and Archbishop Alexander Sample has taken over the Portland diocese. A small correction but I thought I should put it out there for you.

Thanks for all of the work you do. Your site has been a goldmine of information for this Catholic convert.

     Pax Christi,


Useful Survival Information

Dear TIA,

Since the times are very bad in many ways, it cannot hurt to be prepared for the worse… Here is the survival experience of a man from Bosnia, who had lived for months in the mayhem his country went through.

A friend sent this to me.

I hope this may be useful for you and TIA readers. The link is here.

     In Maria,



Blason de Charlemagne
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Posted May 16, 2013

The opinions expressed in this section - What People Are Commenting - do not necessarily express those of TIA