The Catholic Culturalist: Dressing like a Catholic – Catholic World Report

Archbishop Jerome Lloyd OSJVPosted by

Is there a Catholic way to dress? Well, there’s no Catholic uniform (at least apart from school plaid). An early Christian of the second century said as much when writing a letter to Diognetus: “With regard to dress, food and manner of life in general, [Christians] follow the customs of whatever city they happen to be living in, whether it is Greek or foreign.” I have heard people take this sentiment too far, however, by saying, “God doesn’t care about what I wear.” To dress like a Catholic is not about dressing one particular way; it entails allowing faith to guide our choice in clothing. Catholic culture is a way of life shaped by faith at the center, that allows it to permeate and transform everything that we do. Charity should form our choices to make them an offering to God and an opportunity to love our neighbors. Nothing, therefore, should be left out of how we live as Christians, including seemingly little details like how we dress. Even if there is no Christian uniform, we still communicate who we are by what we wear. Our clothing can and should honor God, reflect our dignity, and convey respect and charity to others. Following the customs of the surrounding culture, however, as the letter to Diognetus described, has become more and more difficult. Rather than dressing in one particular way, Christians have to discern carefully whether or not the clothing presented by our culture as fashionable or normal truly represents our human dignity and is appropriate to respect others. Although it is often uncomfortable to talk about modesty, it is a necessary conversation, because we need to dress with dignity to guard our own purity and that of others. Certain fashions should be rejected as too provocative, casual, or attention-getting. We also have to think about setting — what is worthy of wearing to church or to create the right disposition for learning, work, or recreation?

The Catholic Culturalist: Dressing like a Catholic – Catholic World Report

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