Whatever happened to wearing our Sunday best? Well, the one excuse that can no longer be used is “the church is too hot.” The way we dress is an outward sign of reverence for each other and for God. Our Cathedral and any Mass we attend is not the time or place for informality or frivolity. If we put more preparation and concern into our dress for a cocktail party or an evening at a nice restaurant than we do when we get ready for Mass, what are we really saying? We know what we ought to do, and the way we dress can and should be part of our preparation for Mass and the way we present ourselves to God and fellow parishioners.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that purity requires modesty, an integral part of the virtue of temperance. Modesty is one of the Twelve Fruits of the Holy Spirit, which are perfections that the Holy Spirit forms in us as “the first fruits of eternal glory”: charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control, and chastity. Modesty is decency and protects the intimate center of the person. Modesty inspires ones choice of clothing. Modesty keeps silence or reserve where there is evident risk of unhealthy curiosity. Modesty is discreet.
God has made the human body beautiful. Immodest attire neither contributes to the promotion of the human person nor to the establishing of the Kingdom. The modesty practiced by Jesus, Mary, Joseph and the Saints is obtainable and necessary for us. "The good of our soul is more important than that of our body; and we have to prefer the spiritual welfare of our neighbor to our bodily comforts. If a certain kind of dress constitutes a grave and proximate occasion of sin, and endangers the salvation of your soul and others, it is your duty to give it up.”