Why must Catholic boys and men be Modest?
By Rita Davidson
When I was growing up, modesty was never discussed, I mean I wore the same clothing as everyone else and no one said a word.
I was your standard clumsy teen, never comfortable in a skirt or dress. Hated sports, felt out of place no matter what I wore or where I was. (Unless I had my head buried in a book!) I wore so few skirts, that I can actually remember each one!
So, after my conversion, when I met a friend that wore skirts it was surprising, but I was so open to this idea. Long story short, I was so inspired -I wrote THE book! and the rest is, as they say, history!
Modesty for men is literally unheard of, but we can’t leave men out of this argument.
While there is nothing wrong with men wearing suits, it should be noted that not all men work in professions that suits would be appropriate. Plenty of men are farmers (and because my father was a farmer I am biased towards them!) and a suit working on a farm would surely be out of place.
So, what is it that men and boys should be wearing?
BOYS and MEN
Well, boys will grow to be men, and so we can’t have one rule for boys and one rule for men. But with boys we do need to be a bit more “flexible”.
We have four boys and while our modesty rules haven’t changed, I have learned to be flexible.
Everything from toilet training a toddler to heat in the summer, keeps you on your toes when your boys are little. They don’t understand the purpose of covering up, and making sure your not risking overheating in summer, it is good to keep them covered.
Believe it or not, wearing a layer of clothing like shirt and pants will keep them cooler than being bare skinned, since sweat is wicked away better with a layer of clothing. Preferably cotton.
In general for Men and Boys there should be NO:
- No sleeveless shirts
- No skin tight shirts
- No skin tight pants
- No shirts left unbuttoned
- No extra baggy pants
- No billboard advertisements on t-shirts
(and there is more to add to this list, but for now, make sure you reserve a copy of the next edition of “Immodesty, Satan’s Virtue” to get the whole story!)
For men, well, that is tough, since most men are set in their ways, (yes, like my husband!) and so fighting with them to cover up might be a loosing battle. If you were fortunate to have married a traditional Catholic man you may not even have this fight. But many of us found our faith after our marriage, and so it is an uphill battle. (So with traditional Catholic men, with non-Catholic wives).
You can educate, encourage them, but in the end if they will resist and forget, and what can you do? In any marriage you have to pick your fights wisely they say. And did I say, pray, pray, PRAY!? At the very least men should realize they too have been made in the image and likeness of God. And while they don’t risk immodesty like women do, they show respect for themselves as temples of the Holy Ghost, to be covered up.
Shorts for Boys and Men.
Many families are against shorts for men and boys. For the most part I am. My own father never wore shorts when I was growing up and it never mattered how hot it was. He was from a different era, one I wish we could go back to, when things all seemed more black and white. Now we live a life that is a constant state of gray.
Shorts have a way of feminizing boys, softening them. In 1999 in my book, Immodesty, Satan’s Virtue, I wrote and still hold to today,
“Boys, to become men in the true sense, should be trained from a young age to be able to withstand the rigors of weather and discomfort. Even the discomforts of wearing pants; when it is very warm. We want our boys to grow up to become men who are strong, courageous and impervious to discomforts. “
In recent years, with our special circumstances and our boys special needs we found it necessary. Remember I said, flexible? After all there are ‘some’ circumstances like swimming where they have always been appropriate. I have to fight with my boys to get them to wear shorts most days because of their sensory issues. They do not recognize when they are hot, until they are overheated!
Boys shorts should NOT ever come above the knee. Anything above the knee runs the risk of becoming immodest when boys are tumbling around. We opt for things like clam diggers and long safari shorts.
Mens shorts, if they MUST wear them, should NEVER come above the knee. Our 16 year old son August, refuses to wear anything above his knee. Often refuses to wear shorts at all. For some men this might seem extreme, but frankly, if shorts feminize men why would you want to wear them? And shorts shorter than the knee are frankly immodest.
Swimming for Boys and Men:
When swimming our boys wear swim shirts too. Perfect as protection from the sun, as well as for modesty. Recently on my Facebook page, I posted a picture of our first visit to the lake this year. You guessed it, some of my boys had no swim shirts on!
I did say flexible up there didn’t I?
Well, being our first venture out to the lake after a long winter and I couldn’t find all our swim shirts! So, yes, I didn’t skip the lake, as it is private, and found them for next time. Let’s be reasonable. God didn’t intend for our modesty to rule our life with an iron rod did He?
Men wear swim shirts. Respect your wives who married you and want to keep you for them. Why do you want to tempt women other than your wives to look at you without a shirt ? Do you respect your wife and want to keep her for yourself? Then do the same and build a strong marriage between the two.
Be flexible, but be firm. Boys will respect themselves and act more like gentlemen if they too will be taught to dress modestly when young.
Men, if your going around without shirts and your wife is giving you a hard time, I highly recommend you take the time to educate yourself with some of the powerful statements made from past Popes and Saints about modesty. Your wife is not making this stuff up.
Why ? Our Lady of Fatima requested modesty. She said, “Fashions would be introduced that will much offend Our Lord.” While these statements very much point to women, they were left vague we need only look at society today and realize they apply to men as well. In a day and age where men’s place in the home and society is being shaken to the core, we must return back to some form of sanity. Boys and men today are more caught up with vanity than they know. It’s not about how good they look, it is how much they can fulfill the vocation that God has given them as sons, students, husbands and if God wills, priests!
Here are some resources for finding swim shirts for your boys and men:
A source of swim shirt for men and boys.
Some men and boys swim shirts here.
We need good strong Catholic men to make a strong faith in our future. All is not lost, but it starts with each family, yours and mine to make a difference in the world today.
It starts with you.
God bless you!
©Copyright 2013 Rita Davidson All Rights Reserved.
Rita is a Catholic wife and mother of seven children. Mark is her ever patient husband. She reverted back to the faith when her oldest was making her First Communion. By then, she had completed degrees in Hairdressing and Make up artistry. She went on to receive a degree in Natural Health and another degree in Art. At age 26, Rita suffered a minor stroke. With no lasting effects, this dramatically changed her outlook on life. In 1996, Rita began ‘Little Flowers Family Apostolates’ to reach out to other families with her new found faith, by creating unique Catholic books and resources.. In 1999, she wrote the bestselling, ‘Immodesty; Satan’s Virtue’. She was editor of ‘The Catholic Health Letter’ for 7 years. She has been a homeschooling mom for 20+ years, and has written for various magazines. She is honored that families have trusted her with their questions, needs and concerns over the years. She continues to write and reach out to Catholic families with her husband, Mark and their 4 boys through http://www.LittleFlowersFamilyPress.com