Aliens in This World

An ordinary Catholic and a science fiction and fantasy fan.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Zeal for Thy House Consumes Me



Postings like the one below seem perfectly appropriate the day I post them. The next morning make me feel like I'm kicking a puppy. I mean, here's poor Quoque, just trying to do his best, all excited about the vision of Christian life presented by Dressing with Dignity... and here I am, raining on his parade. How mean and nasty I am.

(Well, this is no news to the good Lord, actually. More time in the Cell of Self-Knowledge for me.)

But when I point out that there are plenty of people out there who would tell the traditional ladies that their mantillas are immodest head coverings, I'm not joking. It's something that people I know well might indeed be forced to say, at least for themselves. They have chosen to practice Orthodox Judaism in all seriousness, and thus are busy hiding their hair from everyone but their husbands. I wouldn't do it myself, and certainly I would prefer them to practice the fullness of the Covenant over here across the Tiber. But I honor their dedication.

But then, I can honor them because they're not sitting around telling me that I must cover my hair, my wrists and my ankles. They're not even saying that to other Jews or Orthodox Jews. They're practicing it for God and their own good. They aren't condemning me for not taking on the same burden. Similarly, you can be a nun without insisting that everyone wear a habit, or a Florida-people pantsuit, just like you. In fact, that's kinda the point of being a nun.

Telling all women that all pants are all immodest is putting an unjust burden on other people. I have no objection if someone chooses not to wear skirts, or not ever cut her hair, because she feels it's a better or deeper way to live her Christian faith. I do have an objection to being told, even by implication, that I'm a hussy if I don't do likewise.

I am living well within divine, human, and canon law where clothing modesty is concerned, and I know my rights and duties as well as any Christian alive. If you try to tell me otherwise, I will laugh in your face. If you call me to live my faith more deeply through the clothes I wear, I will be more likely to listen. But frankly, modesty is not an issue that concerns me, because clothes and dating don't concern me much. Dressing plainly is already second nature to me. If I bought myself a whole new wardrobe of determinedly modest clothes, that's when I'd be flaunting myself.

I'm a lot more worried about my intellectual lack of modesty. I'm reading The Imitation of Christ for the next few Saturdays over on my audioblog, and hooboy, is it topical for me.



If men used as much care in uprooting vices and implanting virtues as they do in discussing problems, there would not be so much evil and scandal in the world, or such laxity in religious organizations. On the day of judgment, surely, we shall not be asked what we have read but what we have done; not how well we have spoken but how well we have lived.


So I think I'll shut up now.

5 Comments:

  • At 7:25 AM, Blogger Steven said…

    Dear Banshee,

    Yes, Thomas a Kempis can do that to you. All the good arguments in the world don't hold a candle to keeping one's peace and working on our imperfections.

    However, we're human and we get stirred up. And I like the good, foundational common sense of what you write when stirred. It reminds me of one of my favorites, St. Teresa of Avila who, when confronted with the problem of nuns having visions said, "If you think you are having visions, perhaps you should eat more."

    shalom,

    Steven

     
  • At 11:19 AM, Blogger Elinor Dashwood said…

    You do realize that this Bishop Williamson that Beerboy gushes over in his post about pants on girls is that Bishop Williamson? The SSPX raving-schismatic Bishop Williamson. Why am I not surprised? LeFebvrists are always going on about what's wrong with women. We're immodest, and we're disobedient, and we're this, and we're that, and THAT'S why they're all underemployed little creeps with no life. It's all our fault! Heaven help us.

     
  • At 12:22 AM, Anonymous Second Best said…

    "'I sometimes think,' said Joan, 'that these fascinating theories are a little strained. Your friend Misysra told me the other day that women had the highest freedom in Turky; as they were allowed to wear trousers.'"

    G K Chesterton, The Flying Inn

     
  • At 4:09 AM, Blogger Julian said…

    Even Bp Williamson may have the occasional good point. And I think Ian was entitled to raise the issue. As it happens I don't think pants are less modest than skirts. But I have found some of the responses to Ian very strident indeed.

     
  • At 6:32 PM, Blogger Ian Andrew Palko said…

    Elinor,

    Just like your post on my own site, this comment here and pretty much everything you posted at your own blog are quite the example of Christian Charity aren't they!

    You've only once used my actual name. If I could only count all the other names you've called me: Beerboy, schismatic, underemployed, creep, no life, etc. Then you've insinuated I had some moral problems, associated me with someone you call a raving-schismatic (not just a schismatic, mind you).

    And that Chairty you exude really does carry over to others too as I can see from your comment boxes.

    That's okay, criticize all you want and call me names, I have another cheek if you care to start hurling more insults.

    I do think you might think a bit about common decency and Christian Chairity next time you disagree with someone.

     

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