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Woman’s Immodest Dress Is a Poison
& Causes Scandal

In view of the many scenes of immorality at the WYD 2013 in Rio, TIA continues this series of postings on womens’ dress. We do this to remind our readers of the true Catholic doctrine on this topic.

Today we reproduce a text from an allocution by Pope Benedict XV. He uses strong words to characterize how it is inappropriate for Catholic women not to dress modestly.

Pope Benedict XV

We know that certain modes of dress that women are beginning to accept are harmful to society, for they are a cause of evil. And, on the other hand, it is amazing to find that those who spread this poison seem to ignore its evil effects: Those who set the house on fire, as it were, seem not to realize the destructive power of the flames. And yet only such an ignorance can explain the deplorable popularity of fashions so contrary to that sense of modesty that should be the most beautiful adornment of the Christian woman.

If she realized what she was doing, a woman would never dare to enter a church indecently clad, to appear before those who are the natural and authorized teachers in matters of Christian morality.

It is, therefore, with great satisfaction that we learned that the members of the Union of Catholic Women [of Italy] have on their program the resolution of being irreproachable in their manner of dress. In so doing, they will first of all fulfill a duty: that of not giving scandal to others, of not hindering those who wish to advance in virtue. They will furthermore manifest their understanding of the fact that, with the broadening of their mission in the world, they must now give good example not only in the home, but also in the public domain.


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(Benedict XV , Exhortation to a group of Italian women on October 21, 1919,
 in The Woman in the Modern World, Daughters of St. Paul, 1958, pp. 29-30)
Posted August 3, 2013