(“Dressing like a jockey doesn’t mean you ride a horse.”) It appears that the issue raised by Mgr.Pope in this article was about giving respect to God in His own residence, by all that is done therein, including by the dress that one wears in the Church.
Regarding the incident you have narrated: That incident can be seen in another light. Clearly the boys felt rejected after being berated for being in the Chapel in improper attire. But when they did not enter the Chapel on the subsequent Saturday or later, was any effort made to explain to them that dressing properly when going before the Lord is important and therefore the pastor was justified in scolding them, but perhaps they could carry a change of clothes the next time? Was any effort made to explain the importance of the Blessed Sacrament and how reverence ought to be shown if they went before the Blessed Sacrament? I don’t think that common sense was lacking on the part of the pastor. He had a duty to impress upon the students that they should not come into a Chapel in basketball tops and shorts probably all sweaty after practice, and he did his duty – perhaps in a less than pleasant manner. The boys’ feelings were hurt. The greater damage was done to the boys when no one explained the issue to them and why they were shouted at, and that the pastor was correct, and even if not, they could offer the Lord the hurt they felt as a means of obtaining His grace; instead they learnt the wrong lesson – you get upset with the pastor, you stay away from the Church. Besides, the dress code that the pastor enforced wasn’t his as you have suggested. It is the proper code of conduct when you go before a great and important person, more so if it is He whom you call Lord and King. In my opinion, those who stay away because we don’t make them welcome, have got it all upside down. We are the beneficiaries of a visit to the Blessed Sacrament or of a Mass or of a Church service, the Lord is not. So, if we feel that we are indeed gaining great value, we will try to get in, without waiting for a welcome. If we value the gifts we get from the Lord, we will seek Him out and not require to be made comfortable before we approach Him. We do not do that in our daily lives so why do we expect differently in the Church? If we were to be offered a valuable freebie, I suspect that we wouldn’t wait to be welcomed to the venue of distribution but would be there before daybreak, waiting for the gates to open.
So to equate not attempting to welcome people with treating them like lepers, is far-fetched to say the least
Thanks for an interesting perpsective here. I think some temporay exceptions can be made from time to time but I also repsect your point of view here.
We teachers hated free dress days, because the students thought it was just a fun day, a day to kick back and relax, not to take much seriously
Amen to dressing up. I taught school for more than 20 years, both public and private. When I started in the early 1960’s, children dressed decently. In Catholic schools uniforms were required, but some principals decided that “free dress day” should be a reward for good behavior, selling a lot of chocolate bars in a fund-raiser, or some other achievement. When the children were in uniform they knew it was time for learning. I noticed that in some cities, even the public schools are adopting a uniform for elementary students. It saves parents a ton of money, and there is no clothing competition among the girls. Students are more willing to get down to business.