Everywhere in the northern hemisphere diligent and charitable priests have, I hope, reminded their flocks how they ought to dress when they come to church. Rather, they will have at least reminded them how not to dress. Right now there is a heat wave here in Italy and you can take off only so much. Or can you?
I picked up this story from the wire. What do you think?
‘I had to protect her from community’s judgment’ says priest (ANSA) – Treviso, June 27 – A young Italian mother was turned away from her son’s christening because her dress was too short .
As the ceremony was starting, in front of another couple, the priest told Chiara Limido to go and put a more suitable dress on if she wanted to see her son baptised .
Mrs Limido left the ceremony in tears and returned some time afterwards with a longer dress on, having missed most of the baptism .
Her husband Randolfo said he was thinking of suing the priest, 42-year-old Father Loris Fregona .
"I tried to keep cool, out of respect for the other family present", Mr Limido told a paper in this northeastern city .
"The priest is entitled to apply a dress code in his church. But he subjected my wife to public humiliation – blackmail even" .
A friend of Mrs Limido said: "Chiara’s dress was completely normal, a nice black outfit that covered her shoulders. It was a few inches above the knee but there is a heat wave, after all" .
On Tuesday, Father Fregona said he was forced to take action to protect Mrs Limido "from the judgement of the community" .
He said he felt no need to apologise to the family .
The local bishop’s spokesman said: "A parish priest has a duty to point out if there is something wrong with somebody’s clothing" .
This, folks, is a problem. Of course no one want to be "mean". Priests in general are not meanies… well… some are, but you know what I mean. At the same time, here in Italy, this summer even more than last summer, women are dressing in a way that is… well… even more slatternly than ever. The story says "few inches" above the knee. I don’t know how many a "few" is, but if the skirt was anything like you see around Rome these days…
It is alarming in the extreme to see how the dominant (read: domineering) MTV culture has convinced girls and young women that they must dress like prostitutes. When the ANSA story describes the skirt as "short", I believe it. In no way can I be considered a prude, but frankly what kids are wearing in Rome is truly indecent. And this is not limited only to the young Italians. In a way the tourists from northern Europe and North America are worse.
Just how do they get that "clothing" out of those spray cans, anyway?
For some reason I cannot quite fathom, the dress for young men these days is far less problematic. On the other hand, I hear from various sources that young men are getting more and more unconfortable with the way young women are comporting themselves. But that is the stuff of other entries.
And where are the parents of the teenagers who go out out dressed like sluts? Alas, sometimes they are walking along side them, apparently oblivious to the damage their permissiveness is doing to their children and to others.
And the things written on their apparel! God save us!
I was not there at that parish and have no idea what the exchange between this parish priest and that family was like. I don’t know if he was kind or nasty about sending this young woman out. It was a small community, apparently. In these parts that still makes a difference.
I can also sympathize with the priest, of course. I have had weddings and funerals in the USA to which some young women come dressed like hookers. It’s is so crass and tasteless as to leave me speechless… and that doesn’t happen very often.
There is a story, one of many, about the great and supremely witty Pope Benedict XIV (Lambertini). This is back in the days of powerded wigs and dramatic dÃƒÂ©colltage. According to the tale, during a well-attended to do of the papal court the Pope took an apple from a fruit bowl and gave it to a woman who was displaying herself in a manner somewhat more "dramatic" than was usual. When she querried the Pope as to why he had given her the apple, His Holiness responded "When Eve ate the apple, she realized she was naked."
It is sad that this baptism drama happened at all. I am puzzled whey the priest didn’t wait to start the baptism until after she returned, but maybe there were reasons for that too.
"But Father! But Father!", you’ll object. "At least they are coming to church. Jesus doesn’t care how they are dressed!" Oh yah?? Don’t hand me that line of BS, ’cause I am not convinced.
Perhaps we need to entertain for a moment that the priest did her and other people there a kindness by drawing a line. Forever after she will know that at least one person indicated to her that some ways of dressing are simply wrong. It might have been the first time in her life that concept became real for her.
Again, I am sad that there were hard feelings, but not every lesson is life is without its scraped knees and red faces.