First Published in ‘The Catholic Voice’, Ireland, May 2016
Rome Life Forum
Since I wrote my last article I have been over to Rome for the third annual ‘Rome Life Forum’ and I walked on the ‘March for Life’ in Rome. It was a very interesting and informative weekend and some of the talks have been reported in this paper. I recommend people to check out ‘The Voice of the Family’ website on www.voiceofthefamily.com for more of the talks.
On my return I had to catch a train from Dublin to Ballyhaunis and during my visit to the train station I came across a situation which I think is related to what I have been saying about the importance of modesty in recent articles. I had occasion to visit the gents bathroom at the train station and I was surprised to find that there was a cleaning lady, who happened to be a foreign national, trying to clean the bathroom whilst men were still using the facility. I came across this very situation three years ago in same train station and I made a formal complaint but I see that nothing has changed.
Certain Work Practices Are Offensive to Women
To put a cleaning woman into a situation where she is expected to do her work whilst men relieve themselves at the clearly visible urinals, is an offence against the modesty and the dignity of the woman. It offends against the modesty of the woman, and it offends against the modesty of the men. That this situation arises at all, is a clear indicator that in our so called modern society, respect for women is in decline. Again this lack of respect is directly connected to the lack of modesty within our society.
Men Have Lost Respect for Women
No man who has respect for women, would go to the toilet in public in plain view of a woman. That men continued to use the toilet facility whilst the female cleaner was present shows that lack of respect for women is now quite common. No employer who respects women, would accept a situation whereby female employees are put into this situation.
I spoke with the woman cleaner and I apologised to her for the degrading way in which she was being treated and I told her that I would make a formal complaint. The poor woman was worried that she might lose her job if I complained about this situation. This woman probably does whatever she is told because she does not have job security. Once again we see what happens when Catholic moral principles are abandoned in the workplace.
Please God my complaints will be listened to this time and please God this practice will be corrected.
Pope Pius XII Continues the Crusade Against Immodesty
In the last article we looked at what Pope Benedict XV had to say about modesty and we saw that his successor, Pope Pius XI, launched a crusade against immodesty. Pope Pius XII was the next Pope, and he continued on with the crusade against immodesty. He addressed the matter specifically on a number of occasions.
In his beautiful encyclical on Sacred Virginity, ‘Sacra Virginitas’, Pope Pius XII speaks about the dangers of the passions. “Hence we must watch particularly over the movements of our passions and of our senses, and so control them by voluntary discipline in our lives and by bodily mortification that we render them obedient to right reason and God’s law”. He then quotes Christ’s teaching that whoever looks at a woman to lust after her has already committed adultery with her in his heart and he instructs us to be vigilant and to flee the temptations of the passions.
He notes that there are those who teach falsely that, in order to build up resistance to these temptations, one should be exposed to them and he describes such teaching as wrong and harmful. He then speaks of the need to keep those who live the religious vocation separate from the tumult of the world during their years of formation before he directly speaks on the subject of modesty.
Educators should inculcate Christian Modesty in the minds of the Young
“The educators of the young clergy would render a more valuable and useful service, if they would inculcate in youthful minds the precepts of Christian modesty, which is so important for the preservation of perfect chastity and which is truly called the prudence of chastity. For modesty foresees threatening danger, forbids us to expose ourselves to risks, demands the avoidance of those occasions which the imprudent do not shun. It does not like impure or loose talk, it shrinks from the slightest immodesty, it carefully avoids suspect familiarity with persons of the other sex, since it brings the soul to show due reverence to the body, as being a member of Christ and the temple of the Holy Spirit. He who possesses the treasure of Christian modesty abominates every sin of impurity and instantly flees whenever he is tempted by its seductions.”
Parents should teach their Children about Modesty
This teaching is not just for young clergy as we are all called to perfect chastity within our state of life. Pope Pius XII next speaks to parents, warning them that there are some teachers who seek to initiate innocent boys and girls into the secrets of human generation.
“Modesty will moreover suggest and provide suitable words for parents and educators by which the youthful conscience will be formed in matters of chastity. “Wherefore,” as We said in a recent address, “this modesty is not to be so understood as to be equivalent to a perpetual silence on this subject, nor as allowing no place for sober and cautious discussion about these matters in imparting moral instruction.” In modern times however there are some teachers and educators who too frequently think it their duty to initiate innocent boys and girls into the secrets of human generation in such a way as to offend their sense of shame. But in this matter just temperance and moderation must be used, as Christian modesty demands.”
Who today is unaware of the false and pernicious sex education that is being promoted in all of our schools? Sadly this corruption of our children, even in Catholic schools, goes largely unopposed. The Pope then speaks of humility and of having an abhorrence for sin.
Modesty is Nourished by the Fear of God
“This modesty is nourished by the fear of God, that filial fear which is founded on the virtue of profound Christian humility, and which creates in us utter abhorrence for the slightest sin, as Our predecessor, St. Clement I, stated in these words, “he who is chaste in flesh should not be proud, for he should know that he owes the gift of continence to another.” How important Christian humility is for the protection of virginity, no one perhaps has taught more clearly than Augustine. “Because perpetual continence, and virginity above all, is a great good in the saints of God, extreme vigilance must be exercised lest it be corrupted by pride. . . The more clearly I see the greatness of this gift, the more truly do I fear lest it be plundered by thieving pride. No one therefore protects virginity, but God Himself Who bestowed it: and ‘God is charity.’ The guardian therefore of virginity is charity; the habitat of this guardian is humility.”
Pope Pius XII then speaks of the other helps needed to maintain chastity.
Sacraments, Penance, Holy Eucharist
“Moreover there is another argument worthy of attentive consideration: to preserve chastity unstained neither vigilance nor modesty suffice. Those helps must also be used which entirely surpass the powers of nature, namely prayer to God, the Sacraments of Penance and Holy Eucharist, a fervent devotion to the most holy Mother of God.”
© John Lacken 2015
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Author: John Lacken
Founder: Legio Sanctae Familiae – The Legion of the Holy Family