The Dispatch: More from CWR...

A Stripper Pole at the Super Bowl?

Let’s stop pretending sexual exhibitionism is a fun and harmless path towards happiness.

(Image: Eric Nopanen, Dave Adamson | Unsplash.com)

Did you watch the Super Bowl Halftime show with your kids?

I’m wondering at what point my football-loving readers sent their kids out of the room and at what point they joined them in the kitchen. Before or after the almost-naked lady clambered up the stripper pole?

I’m also wondering what women readers my age—a little older than Shakira and a little younger than Jennifer Lopez—thought of the whole spectacle and what might induce us to put on red satin, black leather, or silver-sparkle underwear and flash our crotches at 99 million people.

Twitter seems divided between those who admire Jennifer Lopez and Shakira for putting on such an athletic display at their age, and those who were disgusted by the “racy burlesque show” as CNA’s JD Flynn accurately called it.

I’m also dismayed that grown-up ladies dancing in their underwear or flesh-colored body-stockings is still fashionable 35 years after Madonna Ciccone’s “Open Your Heart” video. Has there been no progress?

It’s disconcerting that, 51 years after women in miniskirts served on the U.S.S. Enterprise alongside men in heavy trousers, that female entertainers still wear tiny costumes alongside men dressed head to toe in sports clothes.

The nadir of Shakira’s own breast-bouncing, hip-shaking, crotch-flashing performance may have been when, at the approach of a man wearing a voluminous silver costume, she sank to the floor and wriggled at his feet. It was either that or when she was embraced from behind by two separate pairs of male hands, two on her hips, and two just above her waist.

I’m hoping your kids were out of the room by then. If they were, they missed J.Lo at the top of a small Empire State Building dressed in a black leather bodysuit and a big piece of pink fabric. She cast the fabric aside to show off her black leather covered crotch. I’m not au courant with the latest fashions, but the new rule may be that if her breasts are covered, a singer must draw attention to her crotch. J.Lo pointed to hers three times before she stripped down to her sparkly naked-suit and headed for the pole.

Let us skip lightly over the sight of scantily clad men and women writhing at the foot of J.Lo’s pole―and the underwear-clad girls performing on other poles as fully-dressed men took to the stage―and think of the children. For, yes, there were also children, little girls performing on stage and in cages, wearing white lace shorts. There followed a chorus of “Born in the USA”―and I’ll stop there. (The whole thing ended with J.Lo and Shakira shaking their bottoms at their audience, but you’ll have guessed that.)

What does it mean for a girl to be born in the USA? It means looking up to successful, popular, influential women in American society for clues to how to be women. Girls want to be loved and admired, and Shakira and J.Lo are certainly loved and admired by many. They’ve sold millions of records, made millions of dollars, and have millions of fans. They’ve also been loved by handsome, famous men. If the girls read Twitter, they will see that  J.Lo is particularly admired today, not for her singing or musicianship, but for putting on that sexy show at the age of 50. I wonder if the girls will stop and wonder if that’s something worthy of admiration, or if sexually provocative dancing usually brings happiness in its wake.

Beyond the obvious crotch-flashing, which I’m praying has not caught on in American clubs and school dances, I was particularly disturbed by Lopez’ and her back-up dancers’ use of  stripper poles. Despite the avowals of Women’s Studies majors who strip to pay their way through college, stripping is a terrible, dispiriting profession, rife with prostitution and drug abuse. Nevertheless, its proven ability to hold male attention has appealed to lonely women who want male attention themselves.

One of the saddest stories I’ve ever heard about Catholics trying to find love involved a young Boston College student who met a young lady who invited him home. Thinking a nice conversation was on the cards, the young man was surprised to discover a stripper pole in the young lady’s living room. She offered to perform for him and did. He told this story later to his mentor, a friend of mine, who asked him how he had felt about it. He said he didn’t know. This and other stories of adolescent confusion led my friend to give her philosophy students an unusual assignment: to go out on actual, old-fashioned dates. Thanks to sex-saturated popular culture, her born-in-the-USA students don’t know how to do courtship anymore.

This professor, by the way, is one of the best women I ever met, a woman of great friendliness but also dignity and self-respect. Whether or not they give birth, women are called to be mothers to the young, to be good examples and to help shepherd them to happiness. I don’t think that’s what Jennifer Lopez and Shakira were doing on Sunday afternoon.

“Hey @NFL, our kids watch football. We all watch football,” tweeted JD Flynn. “Please, stop doing this.”

I’ll go further than Flynn. Please, J.Lo, Shakira, and other influential women that girls look up to: please stop doing this. Stop pretending sexual exhibitionism is a fun and harmless path towards happiness.


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About Dorothy Cummings McLean 26 Articles
Dorothy Cummings McLean is a Canadian writer living abroad. Her first novel with Ignatius Press is Ceremony of Innocence. She is a regular writer for LifeSiteNews.com. Her first book, Seraphic Singles: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Single Life, is a popular work of nonfiction.

81 Comments

  1. “Look! It’s my crotch! And after the show, I will be signing copies of my collected position papers on forty-seven complex issues that divide Americans.”

  2. I don’t think that the halftime show was anything inappropriate. And as far as the comment on “crotch flashing”, who has not been to a very conservative Russian ballet, Swan Lake, lately? Very conservative and centuries old! They lift the prima ballerina, in a total split position and twirl her around. It’s been going on for centuries, my dears. Why are you so adverse to something that the ballet has been doing for centuries? Very professional, beautiful and difficult to achieve only done by the most talented of dancers.

    • Wonderfully said! Also, Dorothy McLean, who wrote the article must have been suffering watching this show so closely that was able to catch every detail she doesn’t even have knowledge about. How sad!

    • “I don’t think”

      You should have stopped your post there, and it would have been far more accurate than the longer version.

    • First, let me emphasize that I DON’T think that what Shakira and J Lo performed on stage was pornography, but it leaned further toward it on the spectrum than not, while ballet falls squarely in the definition of art. Kristen Jenson sums it up very well in her essay: “Art exalts the human form and portrays it with awe and respect. Porn degrades the human body–again, using artificially enhanced bodies to arouse sexual feelings that may cause you want to act out on those feelings.
      Good, true art makes us want to do something positive–for example, right a wrong, reflect on our own mistakes, or appreciate beauty. Pornography, on the other hand, wants to create or intensify sexual feelings and pull us into a self-centered and ultimately destructive lust. (Art vs Porn: How to Explain the Difference to a Child)

      • The halftime show wasn’t porn because it didn’t create or intensify sexual feelings. It didn’t lead to sins of impurity. The women dancers very sadly demeaned themselves. What man in a halfway sane frame of mind would be inclined to sex after watching that rendition of these women’s dark circles of hell? Including one’s own offspring in such an endeavor reveals a sad and pitiful understanding of ‘family.’ The show was coarse and vile.

  3. I missed the stripper pole. Too busy texting (assuring) my friend that, no, no one’s underwear was flashing–if only because no one was wearing any.
    .
    My husband preferred Paul McCartney. I preferred Katy Perry’s.

  4. I’m guessing the Superbowl halftime show would not qualify for Bishop Barron’s “Yellow Check” seal of approval of authentic Catholic teaching/entertaining. However, on Friday, Pope Francis hosted the pro-abortion president of Argentina who received Holy Communion along with mistress at Vatican, which might be a greater sin than pole dancing. And if we asked the German Bishops, they might say both are totally acceptable.

  5. All are only opinions. But criticizing from a Catholic stand point doesn’t really represent Church’s mission. Instead, I think Church should present a guide to show us how to teach our children understand that there is always content that might be offensive for some people, but energetic and entertaining to others who know how to appreciate artistic talent where little clothes are worn; like in valet dancing. Thank you for accepting my comment.

    • “But criticizing from a Catholic stand point doesn’t really represent Church’s mission.”

      I think you just stripped those words of any meaning and left us embarrassed at the sight of your naked opinion.

    • Sir, the Church HAS been, but we are just not listening! Better we teach our kids to listen to the Church…….a skill adults have failed. Recall the recent lack of belief in the Holy Presence. That is simple! What God says IS. It happened all through the Bible. Those who do not believe are just not listening! Listen! A very good learning aid is Bishop Barron’s dvd/cd entitled “The Eucharist”. I defy anyone who “listens” to Bishop Barron’s presentation and still does NOT believe in the real presence is………what? Just not listening! May God bless you and keep you and grant you his peace!

    • In less than ten years, from a “wardrobe malfunction” to big-screen, international crotch-watch. The Superbowl, the NFL and the sponsors have abused a captive audience. Big Bucks. And a few bug-eyed frogs in the kettle detect nothing at least a little bit steamy.

  6. I am 65 years old and a woman that loves football, golf and hockey. My husband appreciates that fact. I am baffled as to why anyone in their right mind would want to watch these halftime shows or even some commercials knowing what could happen, especially with who the entertainers were. Here is the solution. Keep the remote in your hand and pick an alternate channel for a quick change of the channel during those not so lovely commercials, and when halftime comes find something else to watch, like America’s Funniest Videos. Simple as that!

    • Change the channel, sure. But more is required because we are not going to be able to just avoid the undermining of family values and morality indefinitely. This type of response is like an ostrich’s head in the sand. Doesn’t solve anything, doesn’t move things in the right direction. We actually did change the channel…multiple times…because many channels had pure crap on. Some will say turn the TV off. Ok but we already limit ourselves with no cable, no Netflix, no Hulu, no Roku etc. We don’t watch many movies. I don’t allow profanity in music or overly sexualized music. Occasionally I come across magazines with celebrities and I literally have no idea who 85% of the people are. Generally, I think that’s probably a good thing. However, how long will I be able to just turn everything off and retreat from the sludge that is engulfing everything? People need to do something to push for change in our culture in addition to changing the channel. Soon there will be no islands of safety if people don’t do something.

  7. Those gals may have been “fit” physically, but they were “unfit” in every other way…disgusting and unimaginative display of vulgarity. Thank goodness for the remote control.

  8. I’d already signed a petition to boycott the Superbowl because of the transvestite commercial so I missed all this. But folks who watched the halftime show said it resembled Bourbon Street. Which I guess ties in with the drag queen theme also.
    At least people viewing those things in the French Quarter have the excuse of intoxication.

  9. Let’s see, we have Super Bowl pole dancing on the one hand. On the other hand we have the “Me too” movement.

    Just what exactly are American men to make of this?

  10. Super Bowl 55 halftime show will have top this years “bump & grind” to get the proper “Buzz” around the water cooler the NFL desires.Maybe Rodger Goodall can give Bob Iger a call for say a dozen Disney pop-tarts aged 12-16 for a “twerking contest”. The winner being able to go on tour with Miley Cyrus.

  11. Sorry but how on God’s green earth could the lovely Swan Lake be compared to the crotch worship going on in these days? I could see the blessed Mother appreciating the ballet. I have. But not this vulgar stupidity. Is the fact that J.Lo’s 11 yr old daughter participated not child abuse? How so? No modesty, no shame. No wonder her marriages last about 12 hours As for Shakira, I hear some of her nastiness she attributes to authentic Arab meanings, her heritage. Oh yeah she looks and dresses like an authentic Muslim woman. She would live about 10 minutes in their countries. Wont be watching any halftime shows ever. Families, protect your children the NFL isn’t. Caring for the culture we live in is a Catholic duty so only tuning them out or allowing abortion etc, is cowardly.

    • Lynda Fullerton ,
      I’m no expert on Shakira but I know she was raised Catholic, not Muslim.
      Either way though, she should know better.

      • I’m no expert either Mrscracker but I read she has a Lebanese father and Spanish mother and is proud of mixed race, religion, and cultures. Says she is half Arab. I only saw all this because of the commotion of Superbowl. I guess if one is not interested in one’s true gifts, they grab at what they can and call it talent. and someone is buying it.

    • As a deplorable I have to say that the show is just another leftist attack on traditional American culture and morals, and the NFL is guilty of facilitating it. Know who your enemies are.

  12. The half time show was a little risque, but not enough to send the kids off to the kitchen. I think the Trump rallies where he rants foul expletives would be the time to send the kids to the kitchen. But now the parents will see a warning on the screen saying…

    “The following program contains adult foul language.
    Parental discretion is advised”. Trump truly can do anything he wants.

    • But that is not true.

      President Trump does not use “foul language” at his rallies. Ive been to one and watch a great amount of most of the others. He doesnt use words that will get a kid in trouble if used on the playground.

      He probably says things you and your fellow travels think is foul like “God bless America” and “all children have a spark of the Divine”. But, no, he doesnt use foul language.

      • What planet do you reside on? Open your eyes to the Trump reality. Not only does Trump destroy morality with his screaming vitriol where he disparages and defames his perceived enemies, but his recent praise for Catholic doctrine is duplicity at its’ worst.

  13. At times I read for the pleasure of humor the witty retorts in the combox. Cutting but mostly salutary. Inventive. Beginning from the top down far better entertainment than the bizarre immoral halftime show or grotesque advertisements. Distressing that it gets worse each year. An indicator of our cultural demise. I’ve thought at times like Sol on the halftime and entertainment in general that “the show is just another leftist attack on traditional American culture and morals”. Evil begets evil. The unwary the target.

    • Fr. Morello,
      I started to think about how the Super Bowl is going to top this show next year. But I cut this thought short because I realized that I’ll have to go to Confession if I continue.

  14. “I’m wondering at what point my football-loving readers sent their kids out of the room and at what point they joined them in the kitchen.”

    Children are no more scandalized than adults at immorality and immoral displays. I would argue they are less scandalized because their bodies are immature, so they are less likely to be physically affected. I believe that this myth must be exploded.

    Parents have an obligation to control their children’s dress. The reason that horribly immodest displays are appropriate in public is because of the culture at large. The reason for the bad culture is that parents and husbands either don’t set a good example, don’t know the standards, and/or don’t enforce the standards.

    “A dress cannot be called decent which is cut deeper than two fingers’ breadth under the pit of the throat; which does not cover the arms at least to the elbows; and scarcely reaches a bit beyond the knees. Furthermore, dresses of transparent material are improper.” (Cardinal-Vicar of Pope Pius XI, Cardinal Pompili, on 24 September 1928)

    1. Modest dresses have sleeves extending at least to the elbows, and skirts reaching below the knees.
    2. Modest dresses require full coverage for the bodice, chest, shoulders and back, except for a cut-out about the neck not exceeding two inches below the neckline in front and in back, and a corresponding two inches on the shoulders.
    3. Modest dresses do not admit, as modest coverage, transparent fabric — laces, nets, organdy, nylon etc — unless sufficient backing is added.
    4. Modest dresses avoid the improper use of flesh colored fabrics.
    5. Modest dresses conceal rather than reveal the figure of the wearer; they do not unduly emphasize parts of the body. This prohibits dresses that are tight in the bodice area.
    6. Modest dresses provide full coverage according to the standards from the Vatican after removing any outergarments such as a cape or jacket and after being seated.

    These rules are a minimum and admit of no exception even for clothes for special purposes (e.g. athletics, playing, swimming) or places (e.g. beach).

    It is unfortunate that it must be noted that pants, shorts, or undergarments that are “under” nothing are definitely very immodest.

    Going from Marian apparitions (and Catholic moral theology), the only appropriate parts of a woman’s body that can be uncovered without there, objectively speaking, being an occasion to sin would be hands, feet, and face.

    • I point out to you again, as I did once before, that a statement regarding what is proper for women to wear made by the Cardinal-Vicar of Pope Gregory XVI in 1837 (92 years before 1928, as 2020 is 92 years after) would have differed considerably from the statement which you quoted. Approriate clothing changes.

      The outfits at the Super Bowl show were, from the descriptions I read, indecent even by contemporary standards.

      Objectively speaking an occasion of sin, my foot. You sound as if you find anything short of mummification to the eyes severely tempting. Keep custody of your eyes. http://www.vatican.va/news_services/liturgy/saints/img/20040516_beretta.jpg

      • I wouldn’t say necessarily severely tempted (although it depends on the person), but culpably scandalized. I read of a saint who made sure to rearrange her clothing to be more modest when it had been disarrayed while she was in the process of being martyred by lions in Rome.

        It is NOT true that modesty standards change over time. I have objective proof of this. It can be found online (even as a scanned record of a news publication).

        “ARCHBISHOP PUTS BAN ON WEARING OF “HIKING SUITS”
        ______________
        PRIESTS OF MILWAUKEE ARCHDIOCESES AUTHORIZED TO REFUSE SACRAMENT TO WEARERS.

        Let the clergy teach their people that the fashions of the world are never a safe guide for Christian women and girls; that the only safe rule is the law of God and the teaching of the Church. Let the pastors publish as a rule for their parish that no woman or girl with a low cut dress reaching below the collarbone or with naked arms will be allowed to approach Holy Communion.”

        • Your “hiking suits” thing is from 1922.

          And the only site on the web that cites it is a weird and creepy one that looks as if it’s run by one of those Saudi religious police who refused to let schoolgirls leave a burning building because they weren’t “properly” dressed. You should find yourself some better sources.

          • Are you saying that truth changes over time? If it was truthfully acknowledged that immodest dress is an absolute standard regardless of the change in fashions, then it doesn’t matter when it was published.

            This was published by a bishop and you should know that a bishop, while not the Pope, is a part of the ordinary teaching of the magisterium. Even more so than a priest, a bishop should be much less likely to be ignorant of Church doctrine. Nothing contradicts the papal mandate published less than a decade later.

            If you are thinking about the website that I am, then you would know that it is the site of a Catholic and not a Muslim heretic. One shouldn’t expect Muslims to have a proper understanding of these matters.

            Using words like “weird” and “creepy” are signs of an ad hominem attack. Unless the site actually advocates what you say (valuing chastity over girls’ lives), then it should be judged by what it says, not how it makes a person feel or the fact that it is different.

          • Immodest dress is not an absolute standard that does not change over time. The very fact that the Cardinal you quote gives standards for modesty that would have been considered immodest a century before that makes it quite obvious.

            I have no idea which website it is of which you are thinking; and I was not saying that the person who wrote it was Moslem. I was pointing out that his attitude looked as if it was the same as those Saudi religious police. The writer of that website claims to be a Catholic, true, though it does look to me rather as if he’s trying to make a mockery of Catholicism and drive people away from the Church.

            No, it’s not an ad hominem attack. That would be if I said something like “The man is a complete idiot and therefore his arguments have no value.” Which seems to be true, but I was discussing the impression that the website made. And I found it creepy and weird.

          • “The very fact that the Cardinal you quote gives standards for modesty that would have been considered immodest a century before that makes it quite obvious.”

            I would like to see some hard evidence for this statement.

            I haven’t read the book, yet, so I don’t know whether or not it occurred there, but in a movie of “Little Women” (1994) there was an exchange, initiated by the woman, concerning modesty between a woman at an upper-class dance and one of her male neighbors. If I remember correctly, she was wearing a dress that showed some cleavage and bared some of her shoulders. The book was written in 1868.

            Just because people believed in covering up more in the past, doesn’t mean that there wasn’t considered a line between modesty and immodesty. There is a difference between what is considered improper (based on custom) and what is considered immoral. As far as I can tell, the standards of the past were stricter than the Cardinal’s statement in 1928. If there is a certain line that can be crossed and the fashion standards (and those who followed them) of the time never (or rarely) crossed it, then there would be little reason to expect someone to protest the standard as immodest. It was only the progressive uncovering of the body by fashion (and fashion’s followers) that caused the Church to speak against immodesty.

          • Before you try to use a book as evidence, you might read it. The quotation from the book is “He glanced at her frizzled head, bare shoulders, and fantastically trimmed dress with an expression that abashed her more than his answer, which had not particle of his usual politeness in it. ‘I don’t like fuss and feathers.'”

            “As far as I can tell, the standards of the past were stricter than the Cardinal’s statement in 1928. ”

            Which is exactly what I said:

            ““The very fact that the Cardinal you quote gives standards for modesty that would have been considered immodest a century before that makes it quite obvious.”

            “I would like to see some hard evidence for this statement.”

            The Cardinal in 1928 clearly thought that a dress whose neckline was two fingers below the neck, covered the arms to the elbows and reached several inches below the knees was modest. A woman in 1836 who walked into a church in a dress that came only a couple of inches below the knee and arms bared to the elbow would have been considered immodest. You’ve only to look at images of the clothing of the time.

          • “A woman in 1836 who walked into a church in a dress that came only a couple of inches below the knee and arms bared to the elbow would have been considered immodest. You’ve only to look at images of the clothing of the time.”

            I am looking for some written statement by some person of authority. Images can’t speak for themselves.

            You’re assuming that the way that people are visually depicted is a good indicator of what is considered morally acceptable. Given that this whole article is based on the contrary opinion, that assumption can’t be supported.

            It also assumes that what people believe to be morally acceptable is correct. However, the Catholic Church doesn’t agree with this. What other purpose did Jesus Christ come into this world for, but to teach the truth concerning Religion and morality, and establish His Church to continue teaching?

          • Clarify something for me.

            You’ve claimed that “the only appropriate parts of a woman’s body that can be uncovered without there, objectively speaking, being an occasion to sin would be hands, feet, and face.”

            You’ve also quoted someone from 1928 who considers a neckline two fingers before the base of the throat, arms covered to the elbows, and a dress a few inches below the knees to be acceptable.

            Then you argue that standards are unchanging, and in a burst of historical cluelessness seem to think that legs bared nearly to the knees and arms bared to the elbows would have been perfectly fine in 1838 because I didn’t provide a direct quote from a bishop saying that it wasn’t. (I also didn’t provide a direct quote from a bishop saying that it wasn’t acceptable in 1838 to attend Mass stark naked, leaving some missionary territories aside; are you going to claim next that it must mean that it was acceptable?)

            So, as a special favor, would you make up your mind?

          • I have made up my mind. You are being sophistic. Stop it.

            The MINIMUM STANDARD is unchanging. The fact that it wasn’t an issue, doesn’t mean that there wasn’t a line that couldn’t be crossed, it’s just that it wasn’t crossed often enough (due to cultural standards) to merit discussion and sanctions.

            With regards to occasions of sin, there is a difference between remote and proximate. Only completely banishing a visual representation of any woman (including her physical presence – regardless of how she was dressed) would be close to eliminating any REMOTE occasion of sin for a man regarding a woman. This is not morally possible for everyone (unless one lives a monastic life).

            The MINIMUM STANDARD regards PROXIMATE occasions of sin which are to be avoided to the extent morally possible.

          • You have provided conflicting statements, and you are unable to reconcile them. And then you accuse me of sophistry in a feeble attempt to defend your flawed arguments.

            “The MINIMUM STANDARD is unchanging. The fact that it wasn’t an issue, doesn’t mean that there wasn’t a line that couldn’t be crossed, it’s just that it wasn’t crossed often enough (due to cultural standards) to merit discussion and sanctions. ”

            So you are saying that it would not have been immodest or immoral for a woman to show up at a church at any time in the history of the Church – in the first century, the sixth, the fourteenth, the nineteenth – in a neckline two fingers before the base of the throat, arms covered to the elbows, and a dress a few inches below the knees, because in 1928 a bishop said that that was not indecent.

            If you say that is not true, then you are admitting that what constitutes modest, decent clothing changes over time. If you agree that it is true, then you make quite obvious the irrelevance of your opinion.

            “With regards to occasions of sin, there is a difference between remote and proximate. Only completely banishing a visual representation of any woman (including her physical presence – regardless of how she was dressed) would be close to eliminating any REMOTE occasion of sin for a man regarding a woman. This is not morally possible for everyone (unless one lives a monastic life). ”

            So? You’re the one who said that “the only appropriate parts of a woman’s body that can be uncovered without there, objectively speaking, being an occasion to sin would be hands, feet, and face” in the course of a discussion over what constitutes modest dress. If you were not claiming that it was the standard of modesty, you would not have brought it up – only now, caught in contradiction, are you throwing in the difference between remote and proximate occasions of sin.

            Not merely the visual representation or the physical presence but the very existence of women could be considered a remote (oh, excuse me, a REMOTE) occasion of sin, especially to someone who is determined to blame women for his own failure to control his eyes and his imagination. Which has nothing to do with the fact that what the Church considers to be decent, modest clothing has changed over the centuries and differs according to cultures. And, to bring this back to the topic of the article, by today’s standards and in today’s culture, the performance at the Super Bowl was immodest.

          • “You have provided conflicting statements, and you are unable to reconcile them. And then you accuse me of sophistry in a feeble attempt to defend your flawed arguments.”

            The conflict was either apparent, imagined, or unintentional (which really doesn’t matter). I am fairly certain that I cleared it up in my previous reply. The fact that the Blessed Virgin, in visions, apparently appeared in attire more modest than the 1928 standard merely indicated her perfect virtue and offered to those who believed in the private revelations a very good model for their own dress.

            “So you are saying that it would not have been immodest or immoral for a woman to show up at a church at any time in the history of the Church – in the first century, the sixth, the fourteenth, the nineteenth – in a neckline two fingers before the base of the throat, arms covered to the elbows, and a dress a few inches below the knees, because in 1928 a bishop said that that was not indecent.”

            Yes. That is what I am saying. It is highly doubtful that at any time prior to this statement any apparel that covered the same or less skin would have been considered modest (although it may have been considered improper as it wouldn’t have been customary), nor would it have been worn by any decent woman. Granted, that I am certain that people didn’t start taking out rulers and decrying this or that dress as immodest for being cut a half an inch too low at any time prior (although in hindsight this may have been a very good policy to start and continue-look where we are now). It just wasn’t a big issue because the typical dress worn by most was modest enough.

            “If you were not claiming that it was the standard of modesty, you would not have brought it up – only now, caught in contradiction, are you throwing in the difference between remote and proximate occasions of sin.”

            If I originally believed that it was THE STANDARD of modesty, I wouldn’t have included any of the text before it (as THAT standard is clearly less strict). It is not as authoritative as the 1928 standard, and so shouldn’t be given the same weight.

            Actually, I haven’t seen it presented as any standard at all. It is (to my understanding) a description of the lowest degree of temptation that a bared body part was and is considered to exert on a man.

            This means that while it certainly is possible for a man to think sexually about such exposed skin, it is not something that a woman should be considered remotely responsible for. I suppose that a woman could create a situation where she would be somewhat responsible for exposing such skin, but taking off one’s shoes and socks to walk across a stream while holding up one’s dress (not high) can’t be considered, objectively speaking, immodest behavior.

            By way of full disclosure, I did not just “discover” or learn about the difference between a remote and proximate occasion of sin to save my pride. Nor did I come to a brand new conclusion that the safest woman from a moral perspective is one who is completely out of a man’s imagination by way of physical or other salacious media. (I actually got that one mostly from somewhere else.)

            “Not merely the visual representation or the physical presence but the very existence of women could be considered a remote (oh, excuse me, a REMOTE) occasion of sin, especially to someone who is determined to blame women for his own failure to control his eyes and his imagination.”

            Stop the sarcasm.

            I don’t blame women for my own faults, but women do have a obligation to avoid leading a man into sin. Moral theology and the Church make this quite clear.

            As far as eyes are concerned, unless a person is blind or can’t open his eyelids, then, to a certain extent vision, is involuntary. It is impossible for a man to control everything in his field of view. Now, I do know that a person can keep “custody of the eyes,” but I also know that it is actually evidence of a relatively high degree of spiritual development to do so with any degree of proficiency.

            Control of the imagination is actually an acquired skill. I understand that saints had this ability, but it is not, absolutely speaking, a moral requirement.

            “Which has nothing to do with the fact that what the Church considers to be decent, modest clothing has changed over the centuries and differs according to cultures.”

            I still haven’t seen any evidence for this statement.

          • “The conflict was either apparent, imagined, or unintentional “

            It is indeed apparent. Blatantly so.

            ““So you are saying that it would not have been immodest or immoral for a woman to show up at a church at any time in the history of the Church – in the first century, the sixth, the fourteenth, the nineteenth – in a neckline two fingers before the base of the throat, arms covered to the elbows, and a dress a few inches below the knees, because in 1928 a bishop said that that was not indecent.””

            “Yes. That is what I am saying.”

            Then you are wrong. Do I have the text of a sermon or statement by a bishop that supports this? No, because I don’t have access to a collected copy of all the statements of all the bishops over time. Neither do you. But I do now that if in 1836 women had started showing up in such clothing the local bishop would not have thought, or said, “Well, that’s all right, because it’s the absolute standard.”

            “It is highly doubtful that at any time prior to this statement any apparel that covered the same or less skin would have been considered modest “

            Which is what I said.

            “If I originally believed that it was THE STANDARD of modesty, I wouldn’t have included any of the text before it (as THAT standard is clearly less strict). It is not as authoritative as the 1928 standard, and so shouldn’t be given the same weight. “

            Regarding that 1928 statement: Can you provide the text of the rest of it, or a source for it? I mean a source other than “The Cardinal-Vicar of Pope Pius XI, Cardinal Pompili in 1928;” a book or even a website that gives his entire statement on the matter? Because I notice that on the Internet there does not appear to be one; just that one, brief passage, echoed over and over again by the same type of websites. What’s your source of the quotation, other than “I copied it off the Internet?”

            It it notable that the Vicar of the Pope is his vicar for the diocese of Rome. If the Pope had wished this statement to apply universally, he would undoubtedly have issued it through other channels.

            “Actually, I haven’t seen it presented as any standard at all. It is (to my understanding) a description of the lowest degree of temptation that a bared body part was and is considered to exert on a man. “

            In 1928. In Rome.

            “Stop the sarcasm.”

            You have no authority to order me to do anything. Oh, how will I ever bear up under the agony of knowing that you don’t like my sarcasm.

            “I don’t blame women for my own faults, but women do have a obligation to avoid leading a man into sin. Moral theology and the Church make this quite clear. “

            Dressing in a quite normal fashion, such as wearing slacks and short sleeves, is not “leading a man to sin” unless that man is grimly determined to find an excuse for sin.

            “As far as eyes are concerned, unless a person is blind or can’t open his eyelids, then, to a certain extent vision, is involuntary. It is impossible for a man to control everything in his field of view. Now, I do know that a person can keep “custody of the eyes,” but I also know that it is actually evidence of a relatively high degree of spiritual development to do so with any degree of proficiency.”

            Oh, just practice, and you’ll get better at it.

            “Control of the imagination is actually an acquired skill. I understand that saints had this ability, but it is not, absolutely speaking, a moral requirement.”

            Dwelling on impure thoughts is a sin.

            ““Which has nothing to do with the fact that what the Church considers to be decent, modest clothing has changed over the centuries and differs according to cultures.” “

            “I still haven’t seen any evidence for this statement.”

            “2524 The forms taken by modesty vary from one culture to another. “ http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p3s2c2a9.htm

            John Paul II, before he was Pope, wrote a book called Love and Responsibility. It was reissued after he became Pope.

            “What is truly immodest in dress is that which frankly contributes to the deliberate displacement of the true value of the person by sexual values, that which is bound to elicit a reaction to the person as to a ‘possible means of obtaining sexual enjoyment’ and not ‘a possible object of love by reason of his or her personal value’.

            “The principle is simple and obvious, but its application in specific cases depends upon the individual, the milieu, the society.”…

            “This does not, however, mean that physical shamelessness is to be simply and exclusively identified with complete or partial nakedness. There are circumstances in which nakedness is not immodest. If someone takes advantage of such an occasion to treat the person as an object of enjoyment, (even if his action is purely internal) it is only he who is guilty of shamelessness (immodesty of feeling), not the other. Nakedness as such is not to be equated with physical shamelessness. Immodesty is present only when nakedness plays a negative role with regard to the value of the person, when its aim is to arouse concupiscence…”

            “While we are on the subject of dress and its relevance to the problem of modesty and immodesty it is worth drawing attention to the functional significance of differences in attire. There are certain objective situations in which even total nudity of the body is not immodest, since the proper function of nakedness in this context is not to provoke a reaction to the person as an object for enjoyment, and in just the same way the functions of particular forms of attire may vary. Thus, the body may be partially bared for physical labour, for bathing, or for a medical examination. If then we wish to pass a moral judgment on particular forms of dress we have to start from the particular functions which they serve. When a person uses such a form of dress in accordance with its objective function we cannot claim to see anything immodest in it, even if it involves partial nudity. Whereas the use of such a costume outside its proper context is immodest, and is inevitably felt to be so.”

            https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/liturgicalyear/activities/view.cfm?id=1320 [I do not have a copy of the book, but this is from pp. 189-90 of the 1993 revised edition published by Ignatius Press]

      • “To say that ‘ modesty is a matter of custom’ is as wrong as to say that ‘honesty is a matter of custom.'” – Pope Pius XII

  15. It is always good to avert our gaze at anything that may lead us to sin. At the same time, God does appreciate artistic talent. It is good to dress modestly depending on the circumstances. Pope John Paul II said a mass in Papua New Guinea in which all the parishoners wore nothing. The people in the indigenous tribes can look at nudity without lust. Perhaps these dancers would not get much attention there because they lead simple lives.

    • I remember reading somewhere about a missionary (though I think it was a Protestant one) over a century ago who was showing pictures of a religious service in the place where he was doing his missionary work, in which all the attendees were naked. A woman stood up and demanded indignantly, “Do you mean to tell me that you allowed those women to attend church *without hats*?” 🙂

    • Rogers Raman: I don’t believe Pope Pius XII would have been too happy with you or with what Pope John Paul II allowed at that Mass in New Guinea: “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

  16. I wonder why parents/adults think that their children should be quickly dismissed from the room while they run back to watch the event and are able to critique in detail every lewd event that we knew was going to happen. Me, I refused to watch the entire Super Bowl as Fox would not even show the slightest interest in a Pro_Life commercial submitted, but would promote this entertainment in which the LGBT community drooled over.

  17. I decided to take myself and my 10 year old daughter out of the room during the halftime show as soon as I saw the previews leading up to it. I could tell by those snippets that it was going to be risqué to say the least. I love to watch sports but I hate the commercials and haven’t watched the halftime show in years because in my humble opinion, it’s usually trash. The remote control does come in handy as well as DVR and fast forwarding.

  18. Shawn ,
    I’m all for modesty but as others have mentioned, the concept has varied in different cultures & eras.
    We like to think of pre-20th century women’s dress as covering up everything but there were periods of semi-transparent clothing (Empire) & extremely low cut dresses in the 17th & 18th centuries. These were generally among the upper classes.
    Modesty’s always been a moving target I think. It’s a virtue that’s better to practice than to spend too much time thinking about. Whenever it comes up in comment boxes the conversation tends to get a bit creepy. Just my 2 cents as a woman.

    • “the concept (of modesty) has varied in different cultures and ages.”

      “To say that ‘modesty is a matter of culture’ is just as wrong as to say that
      ‘honesty is a matter of culture.'” – Pope Pius XII

        • Dear Leslie, he was probably speaking in the same “context” that Blessed Jacinto Marto was speaking when she said: “Certain fashions will be introduced which will offend Our Lord very much. Persons who serve God must not follow fashions. THE CHURCH DOES NOT HAVE FASHIONS; OUR LORD IS ALWAYS THE SAME. The sins of the world are very great….”

          • J. Bilbee, You provided a quotation, and I would like to know the source of it, so that I can check the context. If, for example, the next sentence was, “Bear in mind, however, that while modesty, or dressing so as to avoid encouraging sexual attraction in others, does not change as a concept, the manifestation of this concept in the form of clothing that is considered modest does vary according to culture and over history,” then your isolated statement would not be supporting your argument. As I remember hearing someone quote about the Bible, “A text without a context is a pretext.”

            “Certain fashions will be introduced which will offend Our Lord very much.”

            Of course. The question, however, is “Which ones?” Saint (not Blessed) Jacinta did not say that all fashions introduced would offend Our Lord.

          • Sadly, reading the comments of Leslie and a few other “catholic” women during this discussion on modesty I conclude that they have been influenced and CORRUPTED by freemasonry’s attempt to “destroy Catholicism”. And here’s two quotes that helped me come to that conclusion;
            1) ” … ‘in order to destroy Catholicism, it is necessary to commence by suppressing woman’… but since we cannot suppress women, let us CORRUPT her…” – Letter between two leading Freemasons (August 9, 1838).
            2) “Religion does not fear the dagger’s point; but it can vanish under CORRUPTION. Let us not grow tired of CORRUPTION: we may use a pretext, such as sport, hygiene, health resorts. It is necessary to CORRUPT, that our boys and girls practice nudism in dress. To avoid too much reaction, one would have to progress in a methodical manner: first, undress up to the elbow; then up to the knees; then arms and legs completely uncovered; later, the upper part of the chest, the shoulders, etc. etc.” -International Review on Freemasonry, 1928

          • Asking for the source of a quotation is not un-Catholic.

            After you provide a source for the alleged quotation from Pope Pius XII, could you also please provide sources for your two other quotations. I don’t seem to be able to find information about a publication called “International Review on Freemasonry,” and presumably you read that letter in a book, unless you happen to have found it in an antique shop or something.

            Parroting unsourced statements that may or may not ever have been made simply because they were found on a website that mirrors your opinions
            does no service to the Church or to the truth. It makes one look like a gullible fool who, having no real argument, resorts to lies.

          • Hi again Leslie, someone once said to me “don’t tell me WHO said it but tell me WHAT they said.” The point being is that based on objective truth the quotes I used stand on their own merit based on even a rudimentry understanding of the basic biology 101 and sexual nature of man that has existed since the beginning of time regardless of who, when or what “context” they said it in. I or anyone else with even a half an ounce of common sense and logic could care less if Joe Shmoe said it because it makes 100 % perfect sense and always has made perfect sense for a sane, moral society only up until till these decadent sinful times. Maybe, just maybe there’s some kind of connection there.
            Than on the other hand I noticed you quoting earlier, a Who, that is PJPII basically saying it’s never immmodest unless the intentions of that woman is to be immodest and that it’s the fault of a man if he sees a 90% naked lady working or bathing in public and falls into immodest thoughts. So because a woman doesn’t intend to cause this reaction apparently PJPII believes the man should or will have a different reaction to an unitentionally immodestly dressed woman from one that is dressed immodestly intentionally as if it really makes a difference from a man’s standpoint. Maybe we should go up to women and ask them before we look at them immodestly whether it is intentional or not. Now if this makes sense to you I happen to have a Koran in Phila. to sell you since, believe or not as JPII’s catechism teaches us, it’s written by the same exact God us Catholics worship.
            So my final conclusion after this long discussion with Leslie and others that agree with her is wrapped up in this quote from the “Song of Bernadette” only substituting the word Modesty for God.
            “For those that believe in Modesty no explanation is necessary, for those that don’t believe in Modesty no explanation is possible.”

          • “Hi again Leslie, someone once said to me ‘don’t tell me WHO said it but tell me WHAT they said.’”

            You posted, repeatedly, what you alleged to be a quotation from Pope Pius XII, appealing to his authority to bolster your position. You wrote that Pope Pius XII would not have been happy with one of the people who posted here or with Pope St. John Paul II. If you truly believed “Don’t tell me *who* said it but tell me *what* they said,” you would simply have posted it without Pope Pius’ name attached to it.

            “The point being is that based on objective truth the quotes I used stand on their own merit based on even a rudimentry understanding of the basic biology 101 and sexual nature of man that has existed since the beginning of time regardless of who, when or what “context” they said it in.”

            Then you should have said so, instead of providing unsourced statements in an attempt to claim support from Pope Pius. And the context to which I referred was literally the con-text: the words with the sentence. I gave an example of a sentence that, had it been part of what Pope Pius wrote or said, would have shown that your quotation did not mean what you thought it meant. (If it was indeed a quotation, and I am still waiting for proof of that). The same sort of out-of-context quotations are often provided when Protestants are arguing against the Church; the example that I remember best is from Steven Ray’s discussion of “Faith Alone?” in which he points out that those who pluck one verse from the first Epistle of St. John, fifth chapter (“These things I write to you that you may know that you have eternal life: you who believe in the name of the Son of God”) and from it believe in eternal security, are ignoring the many things that are included in the “these things” that St. John wrote in the first four chapters were necessary for salvation: in other words, the context.

            Also, you said “the quotes [not quote] I used stand on their own merit.” That leads me to assume you are also referring to those purported quotes from Freemasons. They are not the sort of statements that can stand on their own merits, since their entire purpose in your post was to show that the Freemasons are behind the change in women’s clothing styles, and they do not fulfill that purpose unless they were ever really made; and you have still provided no source for them in order to prove that they are real quotations and not fabricated by you or someone who shares your particular opinion.

            In addition to which, you say “based on objective truth,” “based on even a rudimentary understanding of the basic biology 101 and sexual nature of man.” In other words, you are claiming that anyone who disagrees with you is ignoring objective truth and has no rudimentary understanding of biology and the sexual nature of man. You are appealing to your own authority. FYI: You have none.

            “ I or anyone else with even a half an ounce of common sense and logic could care less if Joe Shmoe said it because it makes 100 % perfect sense and always has made perfect sense for a sane, moral society only up until till these decadent sinful times.”

            You mean you couldn’t care less, presumably, not that you could care less.

            It makes perfect sense to you, perhaps. Others disagree; and I know of nobody who has appointed you to be the ultimate arbiter of what constitutes “perfect sense,” or having “common sense and logic.”

            You appealed to the authority of Pope Pius XII on the basis of a quotation for which you provide no source and which in fact does not appear to have been actually written or said by him. Then you sneer at an actual statement by Pope St. John Paul II (written before he was pope, but republished afterwards so it is clear that he had not altered his views), and further you denigrate the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

            “So my final conclusion after this long discussion with Leslie and others that agree with her is wrapped up in this quote from the “Song of Bernadette” only substituting the word Modesty for God.
            “For those that believe in Modesty no explanation is necessary, for those that don’t believe in Modesty no explanation is possible.””

            You falsify the discussion. Neither I nor anybody else who has posted to agree with me does not believe in modesty. We believe in modesty; but we disagree with your belief that what constitutes modest apparel is an absolute standard that does not vary from one culture or one historical period to another.

          • Good Evening Leslie, to post a quote without giving credit to who said it doesn’t make any sense and naming Pius to the quote doesn’t contradict my belief that “WHAT they said is more important than WHO said it.” So again, I don’t believe it’s true because of WHO said it (Pius), but that WHAT was said is true regardless of who said it and Pius just happens to be the one that is credited with saying it therefore his name should be put next to the quote. Hope that helps you understand.

  19. In our little Oregon town, the big health club has group fitness classes in “Burlesque” and “Pole Fit.” Women only to attend (as if that makes it okay?). After objections they changed the name to “Women’s Empowerment” yada yada. Classes still ongoing. So the major networks didn’t put this on without knowing it was fairly mainstream. Unfortunately.

  20. Never put on the front porch what you don’t want to sell! Wise words. Selling sex has been around since creation and it is not about to go away any time soon. Just don’t be a customer and you will be all right. Trust God and at least you will know what is right for you and your family.

  21. Children in cages? Women tied up for sacrifice? Jennifer Lopez wearing an outfit with a large face of Baphomet on the front? The whole performance looked like an ancient sacrificial dance.

    • Brilliant. Right. Yes, she could have pole vaulted. She could have built a pole barn. She could have erected a tipi. But, instead, she exposed most of her body and engaged in moves that everyone knows are used by strippers in strip clubs, and in fact are the same moves J-Lo used in her recent movie “Hustlers”, which is described as being about “a crew of savvy former strip club employees who band together to turn the tables on their Wall Street clients.”

      • Dancing around a pole used to be performed by little boys & girls in their best clothes on May Day. I feel like an antique because I remember that from my school days. We had a May Queen & attendants, too. No strippers.
        🙂

  22. Sad that a catholic website only acknowledges the obvious stripper pole and leaves out the satanic symbolism such as jlos baphomet outfit.

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