Q. 1. Hi. I attend Holy Mass on Sundays at St. Paul Cathedral in Saskatoon, SK, Canada. I find it very offensive when going to receive Holy Communion because of a Eucharistic Minister who is dressed in a white t-shirt and shorts. I find this sickening to the stomach, not being able to understand how a person serve the Lord in such a disgusting way. Does he not have any respect for the Real Presence of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist? And why is the Pastor not speaking up, insisting that those who serve in the Church in any capacity, that they should dress in such a manner that the person is found worthy to be in the presence of the Lord?
A. 1. Your question addresses a number of issues.
First of all, the Catholic Church does not have a written "Dress Code" concerning how the faithful should dress when attending Church functions, be it the celebration of the Holy Mass, the Sacraments of Baptism, Confrimation, Marriage or a Funeral.
While there is no written "Dress Code," there is an unwritten "Dress Code that demands proper dressing when being in the Real Presence of the Lord Jesus. Those who recognize the Real Presence of the Lord Jesus in the Church, they pride themselves on self-respect and choose the best for the Lord.
Those who do not recognize the Real Presence of the Lord Jesus, including those who view attending Holy Mass as just a social gathering, they lack pride and self-respect because they do not recognize the Real Presence of Jesus in the Sacred Tabernacle. This also applies to the many priests who remain silent on this matter.
In the Holy Bible, we read the Parable of Jesus regarding the man who was improperly dressed when attending the wedding. He was thrown outside into the darkness where there is weeping and the ghashing of teeth. This expression is used when meaning "thrown into Hell."
“But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. ‘Friend,’ he asked, ‘how did you get in here without wedding clothes?’ The man was speechless. Then the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ "For many are invited, but few are chosen." [Mt. 22:11-14]
Indeed, those who attend Holy Mass in such a way as they scandalize the faithful, they shall be thrown into Hell. The faithful are encouraged to wear any modest fashion that is befitting for the House of God. They are expected to dress for the solemn and Sacred celebration of the Holy Mass. They are expected to at least dress casually whereas their garments are clean, neat and modest (decent).
Some clothing clearly reflects improper and unacceptable behaviour. What follows are examples of what should not be worn when attending any services in the Catholic Church. Such garments are inappropriate in the presence of the Lord Jesus.
Not acceptable for men:
- Short pants,
- Jogging pants,
- Sports jerseys,
- Sports logo,
- Beach wear,
- Working outfits,
- Tight clothing, and
- Extreme piercings that are distracting.
Not acceptable for women:
- Any dress or skirt that does not completely cover the knee when sitting or standing,
- (Slacks are not acceptable in Traditional Churches),
- Skimpy shorts,
- Tank tops,
- Spaghetti-strap tops
- Tops with sleeves that do not reach the elbow,
- Tops that are more than two fingers width from the pit of the throat,
- Plunging necklines,
- Beach wear,
- Flashy clothing and hot colors that are distracting and that may be perceived as enticing,
- Extreme piercings that are distracting,
- Sleeveless, tight or low-cut clothing or dresses with long cuts or slits,
- Tight clothing, and
- Any and all see-through clothing.
Those who dress improperly, they risk losing their soul. How? They will have to answer to God for each incident where they scandalized one of the faithful. They will also have to answer to God for every incident where they seduced one of the members of the Church because of the way they were dressed. Knowing that "The spirit is willing, but the body is weak," [Mt. 26:41] appropriate clothing should be worn.