Do you think there should be a dress code for attending Mass? I am talking about girls and women wearing shorts and revealing tops and dresses?
It would be a bad idea to have a dress code at Holy Mass, especially one where girls and women would be required to wear shorts and revealing tops and dresses. If it were required for females to wear shorts and revealing tops and dresses, it would be very difficult to distinguish church from the supermarket, the mall, ball park, or almost any other venue.
As a priest, I might end up forgetting that I’m at church and, instead of reciting the prayers at the foot of the altar, I might start looking around for the concession stand. In colder climates, requiring shorts would be very difficult for those women who have become accustomed to wearing jeans, quilted jackets, and baseball caps, just like their brothers.
But seriously, fashions change over time, which is why enforcing a dress code would be nigh on impossible. We would have to pick a particular moment in the evolution of fashion and determine that it is optimal and beyond improvement, as our Amish friends and certain Old Calendar Russian Orthodox have done, not to mention some homeschool groups.
What has been the practice for centuries is the concept of wearing your “Sunday best” for Holy Mass, on Sundays and Holy Days. Wear what you would wear if you were going out to a nice restaurant (with tablecloths, silverware, and without plastic cups and a serve-yourself soda station). Rather, wear what you ought to wear to such a restaurant.
If you were to have a private meeting with the President, or – better – someone respectable such as Pope Emeritus Benedict, what would you wear?
Why not wear that for an audience with the King of Heaven?
Outside of schools and certain work environments, dress codes are probably not the best way of enforcing any sort of dress code.
Perhaps public embarrassment would do the trick? From lay person to lay person. “Oh my dear. I hate to be the one to tell you this, but I do believe that you forgot to put a dress on over your slip this morning. Oh. That IS the dress you intended to wear? Oh. Well, pardon me then. You might want to talk to Sr. Euphrasia, she has some very nice second hand things folks have donated if you can’t afford a complete outfit.”
You get the idea. Once again, it’s about decorum.