Just thought I'd let you guys know that the Inquisition of sorts has found me wanting. From a combox at Fumare:
To gsk [c'est moi] s/he writes: The Church, both from Rome and in particular dioceses, has legislated on appropriate dress in the past and I know of no reason that it cannot do so in the future.
"To say that 'modesty is a matter of custom' is just as wrong as to say that 'honesty is a matter of custom.'" - Pope Pius XII
... In fact, it strikes me as exactly the sort of arrogance Leo XIII talks about in describing the Americanist heresy in "On Americanism". Who are we to assume that we are so much more enlightened about modesty than our forefathers?
My crime? To suggest that modesty and femininity do not hinge on wearing skirts and dresses. My response to the post above:
There are modest pants and immodest dresses...While I am shocked that support of modest pants for women is an indication of Americanism, I would point to the protestant world, who sent missionaries hither and yon to win over the pagans to Christ. The image that comes to mind is a white-washed chapel, with piano clunking out hymns and all the natives sitting neatly in pews dressed in victorian fashions. The country could be in africa, asia, or south america -- but the impression is "turn of the century calvinist chapel" remade with new converts. Depressing. The Catholic Church has always been remarkable for its inculturation -- baptising anything that doesn't conflict with the essentials of the faith.
Dresses for women is the shallow construct.
"Joe" comes to the defense of sanity with this comment:
I thought that the issue being raised with dresses v. pants was one based upon the principle that women should not attempt to be men, not that pants are inherently immodest. Padre Pio would certainly condemn pants on the grounds that at that time it facially manifested a rejection of the feminine genius. To say that a woman wearing pants today still warrants the assumption that she is intentionally rejecting her femininity is as ridiculous as attempting to define the morality of a behavior without making reference to intention.
I am a New Englander who has to think about ice, snow, slush, and safety -- while not scandalising my neighbours, nor ending up in the emergency room. Do not begin to suggest to me that panty hose are my path to salvation. That is as ridiculous as forcing a Laplander into a tie and suitcoat to prove he honours God properly on the sabbath. Nonsense.
More importantly, though, I see by the comments that women at the Ave Maria School of Law have received some negative feedback about their pursuit of that career. Shame.