Catholics at the Beach

As the temperature inched toward 90 this week, I’m sure we all started dreaming about warm, sunny days at the beach with friends and family!

What will you, your friends, and your family be wearing?

I went to Miriam-Webster Online today to look up the difference between equality and equity (the state of being equal vs. justice according to natural law…in case you were wondering). On the homepage was a list of the “Top Ten Words from Place Names.” Here was the first listing:

#1 Bikini

In July 1946, the United States detonated two nuclear bombs at the Bikini atoll, an island in the South Pacific, which of course was big news around the world.

A year later, a French fashion designer introduced a scanty two-piece bathing suit and named it the bikini.

Unable to find a model immodest enough to wear it, he debuted it on a stripper – and it too became big news.

It was debuted on a stripper…and now little girls as young as 4 are sporting bikinis, not to mention blossoming 17 year olds? Hm.

I’ve had conversations with both men and women, Catholic and non-Catholic, about the objective morality of wearing a bikini and have gotten a variety of opinions. Today I’d be interested in discussing it with you all.

If you wear a bikini or allow your daughter to wear a bikini, what virtue do you see in this? What vice do you see in this?

If you do not wear a bikini or do not allow your daughter to wear a bikini, what virtue do you see in this? What vice do you see in this?

(The 1922 photograph above documents Bill Norton measuring a woman after Col. Sherrell, the Superintendent of Public Buildings and Grounds, issued an order that bathing suits at the Washington, D.C. bathing beach must not be over six inches above the knee.)

79 Replies to “Catholics at the Beach”

  1. I don’t wear one nor allow my 3rd-grade daughter to do so, more out of pragmatism than of anything else. I think those skimpy garments have a strong potential for some sort of Wardrobe Malfunction, and I SO don’t want to go there. Two-piece suits _are_ more convenient for er…attending to certain functions, but fortunately (thank heavens for Land’s End) one can find two-piece suits that are modest and unlikely to disappear unexpectedly.

    1. Hi Cynthia,

      Thanks for starting the conversation!

      Yes, there are pragmatic reasons for two-piece swimsuits (long torsos being another one). What about the moral reasons for 1 vs 2 pieces? What would you classify as a modest two-piece?


      1. What Land’s End calls “tankinis.” I don’t know that label is used generally. The top is a tank-top that covers the belly/lower back as well as the breasts. The bottom can be a regular brief or swim shorts.

        I don’t think the morality-of-swimsuits is a one- v. two-piece issue as much of a degree-of-flesh-exposure issue. There are one-piece suits that leave as little to the imagination as bikinis do. (Speaking about leaving little to the imagination, how about those little tiny Speedos some men wear? *shudder*)

        I suppose one could stay that those who espouse the If You Got It, Flaunt It mentality are guilty of the sin of Pride.

        1. I like this talk of virtue and vice! You mentioned pride, JD mentioned vanity and intemperance, and Jan mentioned modesty.

          Now, in your opinion, if it’s not a degree-of-flesh-exposure issue, what is the issue?

          I think that you are saying that someone could go to a beach in, say…Brazil…and as long as they are not proud of their body or are flaunting it, they are still acting morally. Would you agree?

  2. The first and most visible result is the redefinition of what is private. The older view seems to say that everything covered by the swimsuit should have a certain respect, so it was covered. The bikini takes a more minimalistic approach: only the bare essentials (bad pun), the most intimate parts of the body, are covered. Without getting to the morality of the issue, it is usually more attractive to have a certain veil over things that are treasured than to simply lay them out. If you have a beautiful prize diamond and put it in a dirty alley, it’s not going to be nearly as attractive as when it’s encased in a museum display.

    1. Thanks for your comments, Peter.

      “Without getting to the morality of the issue”…but I specificially WANT to get to the morality of the issue! So let’s go back to the discussion on modesty. What is modesty? Is modesty simply covering what is private? If so, then as you said, a bikini serves that function.
      Other thoughts?

  3. The question today seems to center around what is the minimal limit for being modest, and sadly, the issue of modesty in clothing is not even considered relevant by many, or simply a matter of personal preference, as opposed to invoking some objective criteria. I am not familiar with the moral theology discussion on modesty, but would guess that modesty is counter to the vices of vanity and intemperance. Am I wearing something to draw attention to myself, to my body, to certain aspects of my body, and why, etc. IMO, I fail to see how wearing something that covers no more than one’s underwear could be considered modest public attire. Adjusting the moral climate may change the level of moral culpability for some, but it does not eliminate moral culpability.

    1. Hi JD,

      Let’s pretend you are familiar with the moral theology discussion on modesty (because I’m sure you have some sense of it). What would you say? Be bold!

      I like your mention of vanity and drawing attention. Can you expand on that?


      1. I suppose the focus is twofold: I am wearing this for myself because ….; I am wearing this as to others because …. Some reasons favoring myself are good or acceptable (comfort, freedom of movement for purposes of a competition or race perhaps, etc.) provided I do not forget that I am not the only person involved when I wear something in public. That is why it is acceptable for me to bath with no clothes, but not to walk down the street that way. By the same token, someone reasons favoring others are good or acceptable (my spouse loves this outfit, etc.), provided I keep in mind my own motives and that other people will again be involved. Two potential alarms: I am wearing this because I want to attract attention to my ________, and I am wearing this because I like it and I do not care what other people think or how it affects them.

    2. Intemperance is defined as a lack of moderation. Could you share what you believe that moderation in swimwear looks like? I like to keep these terms definited to guide our conversation.

      Thank you!

      1. I think about it like alcohol, but in reverse. If I have a beer after work, that is probably a temperate use of alcohol. Not so if I have 6. If I wear long shorts and a t-shirt that is probably a temperate use of swimwear ….. A thought just occurred to me though, most of the time swimwear is worn when no swimming is occurring; the reasons for non-restrictive clothing are not present. Most beach time for older children and adults is out of the water, so we need swim attire because? The tan is for who to see? And what parts of me to see? At least having a wrap of some type or a shirt to throw over oneself when you are out of the water would be proper.

        1. Good points JD!!!

          Why? For whom? When?

          I don’t think you could find a spouse anywhere who would ever say, “Honey, not tonight…you aren’t tan enough.”

          It’s all about our…vanity!

  4. Bikinis have always and only been about baring as much skin as possible without being nekkid, and for teeny-bopper girls to strut their stuff for the boys. I don’t like them anymore, although when I was a teen in the ’70’s I wore them. My daughters don’t, and it’ll be over my dead body before my sons wear Speedo’s! Two-piece suits are okay, tankinis are great.

    Our rule of thumb, which we are all comfortable with, from the oldest teens to the youngest girl is that if your hip bones are showing, the bottom is too low.

    No, bikinis are not modest by any stretch. Immoral though? I don’t think so.

    1. Hi Jan,

      Thanks for your thoughts. It sounds like you believe that bikinis are objectively immodest. And you believe that bikinis are objectively moral.

      At what point, if any, would a bikini become immoral?

      I think your rule about hip bones is great!! What about the top of a tankini for example? Could you expand on that?


      1. I believe bikinis are subjectively immodest and that they are amoral – outside moral judgement. I guess it’s up to the individual to decide whether or not they are immoral.

        I don’t know what else to say about a tankini – I suppose it’s possible to find some that are immodest, i.e. exposing too much of what should be covered, but I find they are quite modest.

        I think it’s too easy to try and compartmentalize clothing and morality. Most of what I wear, especially in the summer, is thought to be immoral by the majority religion here where I live. Since I am modest by nature, that’s a bit of a stretch, still, there you have it.

  5. When it comes to bikinis on little girls, a friend bought up a good point. Bikini tops are meant to cover only the area of the developed breasts – when we put them on five year olds, we’re sexualizing them. Sure, a tank suit covers that area, too, whereas a little boy’s suit doesn’t, but there’s less visual emphasis reminiscent of a grown woman’s bra top. I wasn’t allowed to wear a bikini until I was eighteen. I did for a summer just for the thrill of being allowed to, but quickly grew tired of it.

    Modesty here I think is culturally obvious. There are many modest suits available and many bikinis available. Everyone agrees that bikinis show ten times more flesh than tank suits. We wear bathing suits and let private areas of the body show that we wouldn’t show on the street because otherwise we couldn’t swim well for the sake of the sport (honestly, men, I don’t see how you can swim in big trunks) – but once we’ve attained that mobility I think the need to expose flesh stops and we should too. You don’t need a bare belly to swim. Honestly, as with all modesty, it’s less about the inches of skin showing and more about the attitude inside. Modest bathing suits are easy to get (much easier than a lot of other kinds of modest clothing)- question your motivation when you say “No, I want to show more skin.”

    1. Thanks Francesca!

      What is it about the age of 18? That, in my opinion, would be the WORST time to expose skin: “I’m hot AND legal.” I’m not making light of the situation, in fact I question the message that this sends.

      What do you think? Would you let your daughter wear a bikini when she is 18? Obviously, at some point parents need to allow their children to make their own decisions…though I hope this would come before the age of 18. What vitues should a parent be teaching a child in this area until the age of 18?

      Could you explain what you mean when you say culturally obvious? Sadly, little regarding morality seems “obvious” in our culture.

      Also, in an earlier post someone said that bathing suits cover private parts. But you are saying that we “let private areas of the body show that we wouldn’t show on the street”. What areas are private in your mind? And why do we show them and the beach and not on the street?

      I’d love to hear your thoughts!

      1. Thanks for your reply to my comment!

        I do now think about the problem of being eighteen and wearing immodest clothing, a risk in so many senses. I was a fairly headstrong girl and there was nothing anyone could do to stop me once I left for college. Luckily, everything I wanted to do so badly growing up and wasn’t allowed to do, from wearing bikinis to staying out late to eating candy for breakfast quickly turned out to be not as much fun as I’d always dreamed. I was lucky to have my “mom was right” moment quite fast. Different tactics work on different children; I hope I know the right one for any daughters I might be lucky enough to have some day.

        By “culturally obvious,” I meant that we all generally know the standard gamut of bathing suits in our country. A full body suit made of swimsuit material, including a hair covering, is a product available in the Middle East, but this isn’t our way of life nor generally available to us; it doesn’t surprise us to hear that this is something worn there because it’s culturally obvious. It is culturally obvious that women often go topless in Europe; it is a regular occurrence, and most anyone who has been or even picked up a guidebook will know of such a phenomenon.

        The Catechism tells us that standards of modesty change from place to place and time to time. That’s reasonable. Also reasonable is resisting a culture of oversexualization, even if it’s the current popular thing. What I think of as a way to make sense of all of that is to choose a bathing suit that is the most modest of the type usually worn by women in my country and my era. This can be debated all day long and will vary from person to person, but if I’m truthful with myself I know what the most modest American bathing suits in 2010 look like. There’s no two ways around it.

        When I said that we let private areas show on the beach, I was thinking primarily of a man’s bare chest and the shape (even if not exposed) of a woman’s bottom and upper legs. These are things that raise eyebrows on the street, but not swimming nearly as much. I would never wear pants or a shirt made of material as form-fitting as a bathing suit anywhere but to swim, just as I don’t generally think it’s very modest for men to go around without shirts except to swim. These are simply fairly private regions, though not “private parts” in the euphemistic sense.

        There’s only so much one can do to prevent lust in another. There are people who are, unsurprisingly, lustful about beautiful faces. Many a gaze has been thrown at a person simply because he or she is attractive from the neck up. In fact, in Mauritania, women are prized for being very large because this is the one aspect of themselves that can be detected through a chador – the most modest form of women’s clothing in the world. If the chador can’t stop wanting gazes, no clothing can. An attempt to absolutely squash lust all by one’s self is doomed to fail.

        On the flip side, being modest for one’s time and place sends a message that’s more important than the precise inches bared or covered, the way a chapel veil at Mass sends a message even though we don’t wear it in a way that actually hides our every strand of hair. It says something when you wear a full-bottomed, high-backed, higher-necked tank suit from Land’s End on the beach in our era. It may not cover everything, but anyone from the general American population can read its intention loud and clear: “I’m not here for decoration or attention; I’m here to swim.” (That wouldn’t be the case if you wore a swimsuit walking down the National Mall. You’d definitely be saying “I’m here for decoration and attention.”) Context is extremely important. I think that message – that we aren’t made for visual consumption or decoration – is just as important in flinging sand in the eyes of lust as is the actual square footage of body covering.

  6. Aside from the issue of modesty, on the question of the objective morallity of a bikini, i.e., is the wearing of a bikini, as a matter of moral truth, in and of itself, a moral wrong or a moral good —

    A couple pieces of cloth on the human body is neither evil nor good in and of itself, i.e. objectively. There are hundreds of millions of people, if not billions, who have been on a beach or at the pool and seen a woman in a bikini and thought nothing of it — no sinful, lustful thoughts at all. And a three-year-old boy looking at a three-year-old girl in a bikini would think nothing wrong about it. And then, on the other hand, there are some people who have seen such things and started having sexual fanatisies over it. It is entirely a subjective matter.

    Looking at it objectively — would it have been wrong for Eve to wear a bikini in the Garden before the Fall? Would it have been a per se evil? Remember that they were naked (!) and if that was not objectively wrong — but was objectively GOOD since that is the way God made them — then how could a bikini be morally bad as an objective matter?

    Even today, there are primitive peoples around the world living in mud huts who walk around naked, or nearly so. Are we to condemn them as being objectively evil or lacking in morals?

    Or, considering that we have some in the healthcare field who regularly comment here — would we say that seeing the unclothed patient is objectively immoral? Or are you able to look past and disregard any subjective wrongful thoughts and provide the necessary care.

    No, it is only because of the Fall, only because of our wounded nature, that we might subjectively look upon such peoples or someone wearing a bikini as immoral. It is only because we, as the viewer, have sinful thoughts about the human body and look upon it with lust, or because we, as the wearer, have sinful thoughts about our own body and want to show it off.

    The human body — the nude human body — is objectively a moral good. It is a very good according to Genesis. God don’t make junk or evil things. It is only mankind who has subjectively made it something less than good.

    1. Good points all! Thank you Bender! This is a great direction for this discussion to go in.

      After the fall (which is where we are now so let’s focus on that), Adam and Eve did sew fig leaves to cover themselves. So we can’t go around pretending that we are still in the Garden of Eden and are able to be naked without caution. I do not think the practice of primitive people who remain naked is morally good. (Though I do not judge them, because of their ignorance of the Bible.)

      I agree that the sin is not in the body which is God’s beautiful creation; it is in the eye of the beholder. Therefore we have a moral duty to protect the eye of the beholder. Adam and Eve covered themselves for each other, didn’t they? I mean it’s not as though they had mirrors and Eve looked at herself said “Oh dear, I must cover myself!” No, they were protecting each other from this new wounded nature and disordered way of looking at each other’s nakedness.

      This is why I believe we can speak about the objective moral truth, right and wrong of nakedness and bikini-wearing. It is not subjective, because we have a moral right to guard each other’s eyes.

      Yes, I would be interested to hear what our ER friend has to say on this subject!

      1. Laura,
        I would ask you to think a little more about your statement regarding “primitive” people. Modesty really is not an objective issue, as I think Bender was trying to point out. It is entirely subjective. There was a time in western culture when a woman’s exposed ankle (and exposed meant you could see her stocking!) was scandalous and according to literature, could inspire lust in a man.

        1. Hi Michael,

          You say that modesty is not an objective issue? Really?

          Sorry, I have to whip out the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the Bible on this one:
          #1832 The fruits of the Spirit are “charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control, and chastity.” Galatians 5:22-23

    2. May I just say that as one of those health care workers, Bender is correct. There really is nothing titillating about a human body that is ill – no matter what it looks like. (In fact, sometimes I wonder how doctors and nurses can so easily switch from professional to intimate at home…but, we do.)

      I don’t think this would be as big of an issue if society wasn’t so sexualized to begin with. I also think that Hollywood and the starlets of old started the whole mess and now everything is distorted and to some degree, perverted.

    3. As another healthcare person, I agree with you Bender. We do see patients all the time not at their best, and it does not compromise my care. I also try to keep the patient as covered as I can when I am doing procedures such as EKG’s, Foley Catheters, or anything where I might have to expose the patient for a time. And I always keep the curtains closed. If it’s a female patient and there are men in the room, I ask the men to step out, or ask the woman if she would prefer them to stay or leave.

      I am also glad that you reminded me that God don’t make junk – I have struggled with body image because of certain experiences for a long time.

      1. What care and respect you have for them! Thank you Katherine! 🙂

        I think this goes to show that modesty is applicable in all environments.

  7. I have worn bikinis before, and i didn’t do it to show off my body. I did it because bikinis are cheaper than one pieces. I tend to wear a bikini with an oversized dark shirt for the beach now. I also tend to wear “sportier” bikinis that cover a lot more. I do think that bikinis can be immodest if worn to show off your body. But it all depends on your attitude towards them.

    1. Hi Katherine,

      Ok…I have to stop the conversation here and say that cost NEVER determines morality. Pardon the extremes but: starving yourself is cheaper than eating healthy foods, aborting a child is cheaper than raising a child, and cheating on your taxes is obviously cheaper than paying them!

      So let’s not talk about whether something is cheap or not; let’s talk about objective moral truth.

      Some people are saying that morality doesn’t have to do with showing skin, but you are say that you wear a “sportier” bikini with a dark t-shirt. How would you answer someone that believes that it’s not about “degree-of-flesh-exposure”? Do you agree?

      PS Check out Bender’s comments for our healthcare professional friend 🙂 That’s you!

      1. Sorry… I was commenting on this from my phone while waiting for a friend, and then she came and I had to hurriedly finish what i was typing. This is my more thought-out response.

        I did buy bikinis for a long time (and I still do), because when I started working I wasn’t making a whole lot, and one-pieces were more expensive. I could pick up a 2 piece bikini for 15 bucks as opposed to 60 bucks for a one-piece (I wasn’t making very much when I first started working – I was 15 when I had paid internships with the hospital, and I was 17 for my first official hospital job. My first real job was training horses, and the horse world does not pay much at all.).

        I am a very modest person when it comes to going out with friends, going to church, etc. I am actually not comfortable in skimpy clothes at all (which will make my next statement seem really strange and possibly funny). I am more comfortable covering up or wearing baggy clothes, because I do have some body image issues from past experiences. Now here comes the funny part: When it comes to working out, or going to the beach, I don’t see an issue with the skimpy clothes. Why? Because when I’m working out, I want to wear the least amount of clothing possible so that I don’t overheat and pass out because of my baggy clothing preference. On the beach, what’s one more person in a bikini? I do wear a big t-shirt overtop, especially when I want to be more modest. If I go to the beach with a bunch of friends, I actually cover up more because I don’t want guy friends thinking immoral thoughts about my skimpy attire. With family, I go on their opinion of my swimwear.

        For degree-of-flesh, I think it really depends on the attitudes and presentations of clothing that could be considered immoral. If you wearing a bikini, say, to be sexy and show off for the boys, that is immoral. But if you wear a bikini because you’ve spent quite a bit of time at the gym and out running, and you are proud of what you’ve got, I don’t see anything wrong with that. I might be a lot more liberal in my thinking than some of my fellow Catholics, and I expect at least a few people to disagree with my statements (or just be wildly confused since I technically contradict myself). The other thing I will do for swimwear is board shorts and a sports bra, that covers up significantly more than a bikini and is still cute. One of the things we talked about in Monsignor Pope’s Modesty blog is that there is a time and a place if people want to wear less clothing. 2 of those times is working out and swimming/going to the beach. However there is also a way of presenting yourself without showing off a lot – but if you do show off a lot, do it for you because you are proud of what God gave you, not for anybody else. I hope that is a better response and answers some of your questions.

        1. Hello again,

          Yes I see how cheaper is always easier.

          “when I want to be more modest” This begs the question, When do you want to be immodest? 😉

          “if you are proud of what you’ve got” I think this goes back to JD’s comments about vanity and care for others: “I am wearing this because I like it and I do not care what other people think or how it affects them.” As I said above with regards to Adam and Eve, the sin is in the eye of the beholder. So to be charitable, we need to guard each other’s eyes, just like you do with your guy friends. Why not do that for all people, friend or not?

          “proud of what God gave you” Again, I reiterate that God gave us these sexual and beautiful bodies for a purpose: to be shared with our spouse. They are not just pieces of art to be paraded around because we happen to be fit, tan, svelt, buff, or whatnot. IF we have a beautiful body, all the MORE reason to guard other’s eyes and protect this gift for your future spouse.

          Additional thoughts?

          1. I agree with your comments. I am still at a point where I struggle with different views on things. I think you can tell how conflicted I am just based on my opinions of what I wear out (very modest) to what I swim in (covering not all that much unless I wear a t-shirt). I don’t know if this is because I am still fairly young at age 22, or if it’s because I have more or less grown up in two separate worlds. Perhaps a combination of the two. I’ve grown up in the Catholic world where modesty is very strongly preached, and I’ve grown up in the secular world where it’s “be proud and show off what God gave ya.” The ER tends to be a very liberal environment, where I have spent the past 6 years of my life, and I can also see the point of view from the Church on things. Like I’ve mentioned before, I have a lot in my past that a lot of people don’t know about that has an influence on how I see things today and explains why I am conflicted on modesty and morality at times. I’m not public about my past because I’m not ready to face the consequences of what people think or what their opinions are. I’m not a strong enough person to handle that yet.

            I do agree that our bodies are beautiful and should be reserved for our spouses and spouses alone, but that also makes me wonder if people want other people who have a rocky past and may not have been very moral in the past? I have this misconception about Catholics that all of them want someone pure and innocent, which I am certainly not. I also have a notion that Catholic men would not want to date me because of what I do for a living, my past, and other things. I would like to eventually date someone Catholic, but I don’t think it will work out that way anytime soon.

  8. I personally have no problem with nudity in public for a non-sexual purpose. I think the human body is beautiful thing that God made and I wish more people would be comfortable with their bodies of all shapes and sizes and colors. There is nudity in religious art and I think it is part of what gives the art its particular message. My father is from Europe and whole Catholic families go to the beach naked and no one is the worse off.

    There is a picture of me when I was 3 at the beach with an ill fitting bikini that I also chose to wear on my 4th birthday party (my birthday was in the summer and we lived in the inner city so everyone down the block probably saw my bright white butt coming out of it). I don’t think my parents were immoral people for it. My brother and I are successful, well adjusted adults.

    I seriously don’t think anyone really going to care about naked little kids running around. That’s what they do. When I started really needing the top of the bathing suit, I myself chose one piece suits that covered me because I, personally, am not comfortable letting it all out there (and I had a lot to try to hold back). Now that I have the money to pay for a custom bikini that I actually like, I can choose to get something that covers me in the manner that I feel comfortable being covered. However, I am not offended and I don’t care if my children see if the woman or man next to me is topless at the beach or naked. However, if you don’t want your children being exposed to it, it is totally fine, but I think that they should have some area of the beach where naturalism (nudity) is all right.

    Let’s face it, this is primarily an issue for men because they are so visual in how they get their juices flowing. One might hold the same standards for men who wear Speedos or something similar, but a woman is just less likely to hold the same “value” on nudity when they are making decisions about who they like and who they don’t like. Normal men are not going to be tempted by naked children.

    What I do have a problem with, are really really skimpy clothes, that ARE for a sexual purpose or just make the person (let’s face it) look bad with their stuff hanging out. I feel like if people were just naked, instead of having the illusion of a few pieces of fabric, it would actually be less sexual. For example. I would let my kid wear a bikini, but I would not let my kid wear a bikini with the Playboy bunny on it- why? Because of the context of the message. It would also depend, honestly, on what the girl looked like and what she acted like. If my kid was like me when they were 12, they were already shy about their body and they weren’t going out trying to seek attention. That’s where judgement as a parent comes in. If you see your kid run away in horror if an older boy approaches her on the beach, you probably don’t have much to worry about. Also if you’re on the beach or at the pool it’s in the context of swimming or hanging out with your family, not walking down a catwalk or being on a pole. I personally wish that people would wear more clothing in street context, but that’s because I don’t think it’s practical or useful to be naked, or nearly naked in the general public. My parents also talked to us about what to do if an adult acted inappropriately towards us- tell them or tell a teacher or law enforcement person. I even got a coloring book about it.

    We are made in the image of GOD- your body and your neighbor’s body are BEAUTIFUL. You don’t have to apologize if you choose to live an au natural lifestyle. There is an excellent naturalist magazine in Sweden that celebrates bodies of all types and all ages.

    Can you still be a Christian and be a naturalist? Yes. For me nudity does not equal sex, or thousands or millions of pieces of church artwork could be called pornography. What is pornographic? I’ve always liked the Supreme Court definition: I know it when I see it.

    1. Hi Diana,

      Thorough post! Thank you for sharing your experiences!

      I’ve commented on these points above (see my response to Bender), and here’s the thing: We aren’t in the garden of Eden anymore. We need to cover ourselves for the sake of others and our love and care for each other. (Especially men, as you mentioned.) I would love to hear your response to my comments.

      As far as religious art goes, most of the naked people in religious art are in either in the Garden of Eden or in Heaven. Take the Sistine Chapel for example: On the ceiling we have Adam’s naked creation…above the altar we have the final judgement and naked people all over. Around the room, however, you will NOT find a naked Jesus, a naked David, or a naked St. Paul. You will find beautiful naked Cherubim…again in Heaven. Earth is not a place for public nudity.

      When we talk about nudity, we are talking about exposure of the reproductive and nurturing organs, so yes they do “equal sex”. What other purpose do these private parts have? You cannot separate the form and function, so I disagree with you on that point.

      ALL bodies of ALL ages and ALL colors are beautiful…and the most beautiful parts have been created as a gift to a spouse in marriage. The thing is that the body “gets the juices flowing” in both men and women (to some degree) whether the person is your spouse or not! So why start the process with strangers at the beach? I don’t see this as loving or charitable.

      What do you think?

    2. Diana,

      I’m glad you have triumphed over matters of the flesh, and you see nudity with God’s eyes, not in a sexual context.

      Unfortunately, many in our society are not yet at that point where they can see a nearly bare beautiful body and not think of the person in sexual terms. In the past, I’ve had my itty-bitty bikini days myself, and do not condemn those who do such themselves.

      Men are wired to be much more visually stimulated than females are. As I have learned this, I wear more modest clothing (including throwing away my short-shorts) to make it easier for the men in my life to see my true inner beauty, not just my body. Chasity is a virtue that I can help the men who see me have, simply by not showing too much skin.

      1. Hi MG,

        Thank you contributing to the conversation.

        What prompted your decision to go from “itty-bitty bikini” to “chastity”? The decisions of you past and your present are different. What caused this change?

        With regards to nudity, how would you answer my response to Diana? “When we talk about nudity, we are talking about exposure of the reproductive and nurturing organs, so yes they do “equal sex”. What other purpose do these private parts have? You cannot separate the form and function.”

        As seen with God’s eyes, the body is beautiful and sex is beautiful. God created us sexually as male and female incarnate souls.

        What I am proposing is that this sexual and beautiful body should only be bared for our spouse as a gift. Not for the general public.

        What do you think?

      2. Long story short, this was a three year process as I learned about Theology of the Body (Christopher West has a great book for beginners) and about the sacrament of marriage, and I made a choice that I want my body to be for my future husband’s eyes only.

        Probably even more major was I began dating an on-fire Catholic male, and we very clearly defined how we both want to be chaste before marriage (although chastity does not end with marriage). One great rule we instituted that quite honestly changed the way I dressed is that any skin that is not covered up by my clothing he is allowed to touch. Although by the point we began dating, I wasn’t dressing immodestly, this still greatly changed my wardrobe (no more plunging necklines!), and I was amazed to get his opinion on how my clothing affected how successfully he is able to fight the good fight and keep chastity a priority.

        God made our bodies, and He made them very beautiful. One day, I very much look forward to more fully understanding how this is so after I get married, God willing. However, because marriage, and our bodies, are so beautiful, that’s one of the first places the devil attacks. The large success of magazines like Playboy and Cosmopolitan show how easy, and how many people in our society struggle with separating our bodies and sex.

        Our male and female bodies are designed to be one with each other. The body is designed to be beautiful, to renew our wedding vows, to feed babies, and to be a gift to our future spouses. These parts are not bad, nor do they deserve to be “banned” because they are shameful. In fact, it’s simply because our bodies and private parts are so valuable that we cover them up, and save them for someone special’s eyes only – our spouse!

        My mother has a really beautiful opal ring passed down from my great grandmother. Growing up, I had seen the ring only a few times, because my mother kept it in a special place in her jewelry box, and only rarely took it out and wear it, because it was a treasured possession. Our bodies are like that ring. Our bodies are so wonderful, and so amazing that we ought to treat them as a treasure, one we keep in our jewelry box (aka covered) until we married, and then for our spouse’s eyes only. It’s not because our bodies are shameful, it’s because they are so wonderful, amazing, and a gift from God!

        1. Thank you for sharing your experiences! It seems God has revealed a lot to you in three years! 🙂

  9. Let’s restate the question a bit —

    Is it immoral for a woman to appear in public in anything less than a full head-to-toe burka? There are some who insist that the showing of any skin by a woman is immoral because even the tiniest bit will cause a man to look upon her lustfully. Are they wrong? Is there any moral difference between showing one’s forearm and one’s midriff?

  10. Somewhat related to the discussion, here’s an AP article:

    FAIRFAX, Va. – A man charged with indecent exposure after two women said they saw him naked inside his own home was acquitted Wednesday by a Virginia jury.

    Erick Williamson, 29, has argued since his October arrest that he should not be punished for being naked in the privacy of his own home.

    Police and prosecutors, as well as the two women who testified against him, said he intended to expose himself and made no attempt to conceal himself in a residential neighborhood filled with children.

    It’s really a weight off my shoulders after these last six months,” Williamson said after his acquittal. “I think (the verdict) kind of sets the record straight. It was an innocent action.”

    In December, a judge in Fairfax County’s General District Court convicted Williamson of misdemeanor indecent exposure, but imposed neither jail time nor a fine. Still, Williamson appealed his case to the county’s circuit court, risking a maximum punishment of a year in jail to clear his name.

    “When you know you’ve done nothing wrong, it’s hard to take these kind of accusations and not stand up to it,” said Williamson, an out-of-work commercial diver who racked up thousands of dollars in legal fees.

    At the time of his arrest, Williamson was sharing a home in Springfield with other commercial divers. He testified Wednesday that his roommates had gone to work and left him alone in the house for the first time in months. He was moving out, and decided to pack his belongings and make breakfast in the nude.

    Two women testified that they saw him naked that morning. The first, a school librarian, said she heard a loud moan and drunken singing. Then, as she drove by Williamson’s house at about 6:40 a.m., she saw him in the buff and called 911.

    A police officer came by the house, saw nothing unusual and left.

    Drunken singing alleged
    Then, two hours later, Yvette Dean testified that she was walking her 7-year-old son to school when she saw a naked Williamson standing in an exterior doorway on the side of his home with the screen door wide open.

    Dean testified that she made eye contact, angrily gave him the finger and hustled her son away. As she turned the corner, she looked back and saw Williamson from a front window, again completely naked.

    Williamson did not dispute that the women may have seen him, but said he did not see them and did not make eye contact with Dean. He testified that if he had known he’d been seen, he would have put his pants on and gone outside and apologized.

    Under Virginia law, indecent exposure occurs when a person intentionally makes an obscene display of his or her private parts. The law does not necessarily require the exposure to be in a public place — it allows for prosecution when the exposure occurs in a “place where others are present.”

    1. Before going off on this tangent, and to summarize what I stated months ago when this matter was discussed in places like Ann Althouse and Pajamas Media, as far as the law is concerned, the conduct engaged in by this defendant will indeed support a conviction for indecent exposure. There is a large body of case law upholding convictions for people who exposed themselves to the world through a window while being naked in their own home.

      The acquittal in this particular case is clearly a case of jury nullification.

  11. Maybe the topic should be less about how much skin one sees (we all see A LOT everyday) and more about how one responds to it. It doesn’t seem likely that society is going to change in regards to the expanded norms of modesty, so (MAYBE) we should worry less about bikinis and more about (male) reaction to the over saturated sex market, of which most of our bikini wearing women have no part!

    I’m sorry, but my 14 year old daughter’s bare shoulders shouldn’t set any male on edge- CONTROL yourselves and STOP putting the burden on women! As has been said before, some 2-pieces are more modest than some one pieces, and my daughters’ (I have four) wearing of a 2-piece is not ever meant to titillate or entice, nor should they- given what one could see in any red carpet highlight reel.

    Every time spring comes along, it seems that there are notices to women to remember their modesty, but I don’t see those same notices to men to remember modesty of the eyes, and they have much more to look at than most of our Catholic girls would ever bare! Don’t put the burden of the greater society on them.

    1. Good point!! Perhaps we will follow up with a blog calling MEN to guard their eyes, control their thoughts, and love their sisters in Christ more purely!!

      Now, a lot of people have noted that there are two-pieces that are more modest than one pieces. Yes, but a modest one-piece will always be more modest than the most modest two-piece…correct? So if that’s the case, why not love our brothers in Christ more by wearing a modest one-piece?

      1. “Good point!! Perhaps we will follow up with a blog calling MEN to guard their eyes, control their thoughts, and love their sisters in Christ more purely!!”
        Prayers will be much appreciated!

  12. A couple of comments. About Adam and Eve, it is not just that they used fig leaves on their own because of shame (which God did not discourage); also “for the man and his wife the Lord God made leather garments, with which he clothed them. Then the Lord God said: ‘See! The man has become like one of us, knowing what is good and what is bad!” Gen. 3: 21-22. Notice God further clothed them and I find it interesting that this clothing immediately precedes further commentary on their knowledge of good and evil. It is not that the body is evil, it is good, but it is out knowledge of good and evil which requires different action than we would have if we had no such knowledge.

    Also, notice that the cursing of Ham related to his seeing his drunken father’s nakedness; in contrast to the blessing of Shem and Japheth who “took a robe, and holding it on their backs, they walked backward and covered their father’s nakedness; since their faces were turned the other way, they did not see their father’s nakedness.” Gen. 9: 20-27

  13. Just a thought from St Paul in 1 Cor 12:22-23: Indeed, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are all the more necessary, and those parts of the body that we consider less honorable we surround with greater honor, and our less presentable parts are treated with greater propriety,

    Hence in this sense modesty is a form of reverence for the body. Reverence of course is sorely lackiing in our culture today 🙁

  14. My daughter’s class will be going on a trip next month to a water park. Bathing suit guidelines were strict- girls must wear “real” one pieces. There was even talk about the wearing of shirts over suit for the girls who were more developed. No guidelines for the boys- no “real” swimming trunks, instead of racing suits or, heaven forbid, Speedos! No “shirts must be worn.” The girls has a separate meeting with the chaperones who talked to them about how guys struggle with sexual thoughts and they, as sisters in Christ, must help them by not heaving boldly. NOTHING was said to the boys about controlling themselves. C’mon now!

    Apparently, it is okay for men to openly flex their muscles and sport their six-packs, even wear spandex over places where none should ever be, but women should cover from head to toe because men might become aroused at the sight of curve or a belly button. Our girls are taught to be responsible for our boys’ reactions.

    We put a greater burden on our young women than young men, and the message is clear- it’s easier to teach our girls to cover up than our boys not to look. We have an expectation that men can’t be the master of themselves, and (to me) that is a bigger problem than skimpy clothing. We need to teach our young men how to be modest too, in words and deeds, in controlling their eyes and also their desires. The origin of all sexual sin is not the female body, but often the male ego.

    1. YES! And I just had a thought!!

      Who chaperoned this trip? Who are the teachers at your daughter’s school. Mostly women right??

      What we need is men and fathers to come and speak to the boys!! Not just priests, but also married men and single men, ie ROLE MODELS!

      Anon, are you married? Would you husband be willing to teach a class to the boys at your church or school??

      And anyone else reading this, do you know men who can be role models of chastity? 🙂

  15. I’ve been doing alot of thinking on this today…
    I think you need to first define the purpose of both a swimming garment and define the purpose of the Catholic Church’s teachings of Theology of the Body (TOB.) Swimming garments are both functional and fashionable and come in many forms, 1 piece, 2 piece, skirts, no skirts, etc. Their purpose is to protect our bodies when in the water. As well, they have evolved to be a part of “fashion.” (There are plenty of people that go to the pool and don’t swim.) When fashion superseeds function is where I think the immorality line can get drawn. (That doesn’t mean that functional baithing suits can’t be fashionable.) When the garment’s sole purpose is to “look good” and not necessarily protect our bodies, we are seeing this garment as a way to display ourselves, not protect ourselves.

    TOB’s purpose is to protect the body…preserve it’s intention in a world that is flooded with messages of immorality. Are bikini’s immoral? There is no YES or NO answer. We can only apply the knowledge given to us through the Church’s teaching, pray about it and make the best decision for ourselves and our daughters.

    Here is a question, can dressing overly modest at the beach create the same problem? An attractive woman wears a full skirted baithing suit for moral reasons. She’s protecting her body for her spouse, however more men notice her because she is wearing something so modest. Drawing attention to your body, good or bad, still causes men to be weak and see your body for it’s parts, not it’s heart.

    1. Thanks for joining in, Erica!

      Perhaps someone can’t make a blanket statement and say “Bikinis are immoral” but I think I’ll repeat what I said to Anon: “A lot of people have noted that there are some two-pieces that are more modest than some one-pieces. Yes, but a modest one-piece will always be more modest than the most modest two-piece…correct? So if that’s the case, why not love our brothers in Christ more by wearing a modest one-piece?”

      Why chose a bikini when you can wear a modest one-piece? I don’t think anyone needs to pray about that. Are we tryring to be a little bit moral or as moral as possible? I think Jesus wants us to make the most moral choice in each situation.

      About the modest woman on the beach: Yes, humans will always be more attracted to truth and to beauty and to good than to falsehood, ugliness, and evil. Therefore every man will notice this modest woman and if he has a brain he will ask himself, Wow why am I so attracted to her? And it will be because of truth, goodness, and beauty…and in that moment God, the Creator, will be made known to him (provided he is open to grace). So yes let’s all dress modestly and be a witness for God, our Creator!

        1. Ohhhhh! Thanks, this is is even more modest than a tankini! I didn’t know Land’s End sold these. Great!!

          1. Thanks for the link, Cynthia! This is what I do to my bathing suits- add shorts. I’m always caring for kids and like to have that extra bit of covering. I just placed my order for the bottom and two tops. Very cool!

  16. Other than to show off the body, what is the purpose of wearing a bikini? While the articles of “clothing” that comprise the bikini are morally neutral (but certainly immodest) in and of themselves, the wearing of a bikini, when it arouses unlawful passions or is a near occasion of sin for others, is objectively immoral and, I would submit, an objective mortal sin.

    In theory, I suppose it’s possible that a woman wearing a bikini in public may have no intention of showing off her body or arousing passions, but I can’t believe that a Catholic woman, authentically informed in the faith and wishing to uphold her dignity, would “unveil what should be hidden” (CCC, #2521; see below) and willingly allow herself to potentially become an object of “unhealthy curiosity” (CCC, #2522; see below) or be a potential near occasion of sin for so many (at a beach, for example).

    Probably better than anyone, Holy Mother Church knows all too well our fallen human nature and the negative consequences we suffer as a result, but at the same time provides us with antidotes. We would do well to heed Her advice (from the Catechism of the Catholic Church):

    2521 Purity requires modesty, an integral part of temperance. Modesty protects the intimate center of the person. It means refusing to unveil what should remain hidden. It is ordered to chastity to whose sensitivity it bears witness. It guides how one looks at others and behaves toward them in conformity with the dignity of persons and their solidarity.

    2522 Modesty protects the mystery of persons and their love. It encourages patience and moderation in loving relationships; it requires that the conditions for the definitive giving and commitment of man and woman to one another be fulfilled. Modesty is decency. It inspires one’s choice of clothing. It keeps silence or reserve where there is evident risk of unhealthy curiosity. It is discreet.

    Jesus also warned us to protect our purity: “You have heard that it was said, you shall not commit adultery. But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Mt. 5: 27-28, RSV). While it’s true that we must all keep custody of our eyes, the immodestly of the bikini, and the temptation it potentially offers, isn’t particularly helpful in this regard.

    And to those who commented that men should also practice modesty, custody of the eyes, etc., you’re absolutely correct! Both women *and* men are called to strive for purity of heart and mind and live lives worthy of their God-given dignity.

    1. Thank you Rich! Perhaps these beautiful and clear passages should have been shared earlier in the conversation, so I’m glad you mentioned them!

    2. Not intending to start an argument, but there are plenty of reasons to wear a bikini. I am of age wear I purchase my own clothing, and I have to admit that with my skinny and long torso, one pieces either make me feel uncomfortable, or don’t actually fit me. I have found that a bikini (not the skimpy triangles on a string but the halters) are not only more comfortable, but fit me much better. I should not have to account and be responsible for what other people might do. It is NOT my fault if an immoral pervert of a man is aroused by my body. I can not help him. Me wearing a non fitting one piece or a bathing suit that I am uncomfortable in is not going to make him any less aroused.

      1. Very nice. Only problem, life isn’t just about you and men who are attracted to women (in various stages of undress) aren’t just “perverts”

    1. Yes. Many of these are very nice. I especially like the ones with the skirt attached at lower part. As a man I not only find suits like these more helpful to my own chaste thinking, but I actually find them more attractive overall.

  17. I am a man, and I do not wear a bikini. In fact, I think a man should never wear a bikini! It would take the virtue of courage to put one on, and the gift of wisdom to take it off!

    1. Dan,

      On behalf of us all I want to thank you for not wearing a bikini. I am prepaing a post for early next week however on modesty and how it relates to men and what we wear. This is due to requests of several of the commentors.

    2. A couple of summers ago, my husband, who is tall and overweight, commented that he has never and will never ever ever wear a Speedo. My daughter asked what a Speedo was.

      I googled Speedo, and showed her the results…my then-first-grader was quite horrified!

  18. I’d just like to point out the picture — a bathing beach in Washington, DC? Who would even consider doing that nowadays?

    I know it’s off topic, but just wanted to point that out 🙂

  19. Girls 4 Sport has some great suits as well…this is where we shop (Kim Ruby is the owner and has always gone ABOVE and BEYOND in customer service!!!)

    For my daughters, I prefer to have them in short sleeved rash guards and shorts (a hipster). That way, I don’t have to worry about (pardon the term) wedgies or straps falling off. Let’s face it, kids play hard and that stuff happens. When I’m going to be in the pool with my kiddos, I will also wear the short sleeved rash guard (that way I don’t have to worry about something falling off..or out…) I always wear the shorts though…I’m more comfortable in them and never have to worry about places being seen that only my husband gets to see. However, when I’m not in the pool with my kids (for example, laying out in the sun), then I opt for a bikini top.

    On the issue of morality….I really don’t know my answer. Whenever I get dressed (whether in a bathing suit, formal wear, or everyday casual wear), I ask myself, “What are your intentions?” I’m only responsible for my actions…not those of others or how they judge what I’m doing.

    1. Great link! Thanks Brittany!

      This conversation goes back to what JD said:
      “Most of the time swimwear is worn when no swimming is occurring. Most beach time for older children and adults is out of the water, so we need swim attire because? The tan is for who to see? And what parts of me to see? At least having a wrap of some type or a shirt to throw over oneself when you are out of the water would be proper.”

      My response to him was:
      “Good points JD!!! Why? For whom? When? I don’t think you could ever find a spouse who would say, ‘Honey, not tonight…you aren’t tan enough.’ It’s all about our own…vanity!”

      Ok so perhaps you want your stomach and chest area to be tan for your husband…but in tanning your stomach and chest area in your bikini…your neighbor and his son also see your stomach and chest area…thereby nullifying the fact that your body is somehow a special gift for your husband only.

      Ok so what if you sun-bathe in private? Fine.

      But then I ask…WWJD? Yes, what would Jesus do? Is it important for our eternal salvation, the salvation of our families, the salvation of our friends to be…tan? Nope. I bet Jesus would like us to spend that time doing something else…while wearing more clothing 😉

      What do you think?

      At this point many might say, Laura you’re making a big deal out of this. Yes I am! Eternal salvation is a big deal, and I want everyone to enjoy it…even my neighbor and his son.

      1. I have a few thoughts and they’re coming out random so bear with me 🙂

        How about the Good Wife in Proverbs 31:22 “She makes coverings for herself; her clothes are made of linen and other expensive material.” The Bible does not make her out to be vain here, but rather a woman worthy of praise (notice in other parts of 31 the things she does). Granted it’s not talking about modesty here…but my point about vanity is seen.

        “I bet Jesus would like us to spend that time doing something else…” Not that you presume to know what Jesus is thinking 😉 but I will be sure to keep an ear out for what He is calling me to do 🙂

        I’m reading Driven By Eternity by John Bevere…it’s a good book about eternal salvation. I believe that
        eternal salvation is not earned through good works (or whether I’m wearing a bikini or not) is earned by accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and personal Savior and having a relationship with Him. Just to throw that out there….

        I don’t know what else to say…the only thing that keeps coming to mind is my earlier response, “What are your intentions.” My intentions are to make my husband feel like he’s the luckiest guy in the world…not that he has some old hag for a wife. Perhaps that’s the issue of pride then…lol.

        1. Good point about the Good Wife! Yes, a woman does want to make herself desireable for her husband and tanning could be part of that. I would just caution that in making your body more desirable you do not share your desireable body with other men. That would lessen the specialness of the gift for your husband.

          When we have a relationship with Jesus and accept Him as our Savior, we are called to do his Will. Obedience is a way to trust and praise Him each day of our lives. Even in the little things, we must pray to do His Will, and your question “What are my intentions?” is a great place to start!

  20. I saw this article posted on another bb. Unfortunately the poster didn’t provide a link, so I don’t know the original source:

    LONDON – A major British clothing retailer withdrew a children’s bathing suit from sale Wednesday after a front-page tabloid story criticized the store for selling padded bras on bikinis aimed at 7-year-olds.

    The bikinis also angered children’s advocates and top candidates in Britain’s upcoming national election, who say it was yet another product that sexualizes children and encourages them to grow up too fast.

    “It’s a shame it was ever put on the shelves in the first place,” said Justine Roberts, founder of the Mumsnet, a parenting Web site that attracts a large, vocal audience. She nonetheless praised the decision to pull the bathing suit from the shelves.

    Primark, a popular discount chain, is not the first retailer to draw criticism for offering padded bras for kids younger than 10. But the outcry of protest is prompting a growing number of companies to pledge support for Mumsnet’s “Let Girls Be Girls” campaign.

    The popular online forum said such clothing indoctrinates the idea that sexiness is the most important quality for girls and “encourages a culture in which children are viewed as sexually available.”

    Announcing the immediate withdrawal of the product, Primark promised to donate any profits already earned from the item to a children’s charity. The product line, it added, “sells in relatively small quantities.”

    Community outrage
    The retailer acted within hours of a front-page article in The Sun denouncing the product as a “paedo (pedophile) bikini.” Politicians swiftly joined the clamor.

    “Completely disgraceful,” Conservative Party leader David Cameron said of the bikini. “The sort of country I want is one where it is not just the government (that) feels outraged about the early commercialization and sexualization of our children, but companies should stop doing it, they should take some responsibility.”

    Primark refused to discuss the bikini’s padding but a source familiar with the product said the extra fabric was designed to preserve a girl’s modesty and prevent any signs of a developing breast from showing through. She spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the topic.

    There has long been a global concern that products and images may encourage the sexualization of children or direct sexual abuse at them. Barbie dolls have often been criticized for being unrealistically curvaceous. Teenage Disney star Miley Cyrus’ bareback picture for Vanity Fair magazine was slammed for being too sexualized, as was 15-year-old Brooke Shields’ ad for Calvin Klein jeans in which she said: “You want to know what comes between me and my Calvins? Nothing.”

    Too sexy?
    The American Psychological Association, in a 2007 report on the sexualization of girls, raised concerns about other ad campaigns, such as Skechers’ “naughty and nice” ad in 2004 featuring Christina Aguilera dressed as a pigtailed, lollipop-licking schoolgirl. The association also fretted about thongs for 7- to 10-year-olds with slogans such as “wink wink.” “If girls purchase -or ask their parents to purchase -products and clothes designed to make them look physically appealing and sexy, and if they style their identities after the sexy celebrities who populate their cultural landscape, they are, in effect, sexualizing themselves,” the report said.

    Researchers such as Penny Nicholls of The Children’s Society, a British charity, say their studies show that commercial pressures toward premature sexualization and unprincipled advertising damage children’s well-being.

    “The evidence shows that adults feel children are more materialistic than in past generations, while children themselves feel under pressure to keep up with the latest trends,” Nicholls said. “We need a significant change at the heart of society where adults stand up for better values.”

    A British government-commissioned report in February on the sexualization of young people called for retailers and parents’ groups to jointly set guidelines for what is appropriate for different age groups. “By over-emphasizing their sexuality through fashion, it may make it harder for girls to value themselves for other aspects of their identity,” the report by psychologist Linda Papadopoulos said.

    Primark, owned by Associated British Foods, has 138 stores in the United Kingdom, 38 Penneys stores in Ireland and shops in Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium. The Penneys stories in Ireland have no relationship to JC Penney stores

  21. I love these articles on this blog(especially on modesty). lots of the reply’s were nice too(I know its old but I just found this site like a week ago), sadly I cant read all the reply’s, so sorry if some one else posted something similar(I am at work so I only have so much time to read), but there are many things I cant completely agree with. Like with the bikini, covering the least amount(and most private) is not enough. You also have to study history a little and see the trend and what fashions and culture evolve into from letting certain things now exist. Like the bikini, whats next? I think we already see a lot of the next step. I think I got this saying from a movie but I cant remember, but it should illustrate a point I want to make(whether this example could happen or not I don’t know, but that’s beside the point). Take a frog, and chuck him in a boiling pot of water, and he will quickly jump back out, put him in a pot of cool water he will stay, now very slowly boil that water and he will stay in it till he boils to death, he wont notice quick enough the raising temperature because its happening to slowly. This is what happens in our society, take women’s fashion through the last century, and you will notice through out, A little bit more is reveled each decade(it actually really started big time in the early 1900’s). what I mean is, first the skirt is raised a little, then the sleeves, drop the neck line a little, get rid of the sleeves, etc. etc.. And thanks to all this we have many problems that we are suffering from today because than we allowed it, and now we allow a little more. I know things have gotten too far like many of you. I’ve been around a lot, and as I was getting at earlier, now it is actually normal in many places(even here in the USA) to have women walk the beach topless, 10 year old children walk around the mall in outfits that would make a 1920’s prostitute blush. Now I know that immodest dress alone isn’t the sole cause or sometimes even the start of many of these problems that he have and attitudes people develop and bad thoughts, but to me it is a big one. But don’t take my word for it, for me, on what proper modesty(i.e. the proper way to dress), our Blessed Mother knows best, and the Church, I will send you some links to see for yourself, here is one, a great book

    I have a free book you can download and read, but its at home and I’m at work so I will post it later. the book above is excellent how ever and a great start(though today a little old, some of the websites in the book may no longer be around). agree with me or not doesn’t matter, I an simply taking God’s side and the Blessed Mother’s side best I can.

    though I must apologize, I am not to good at this stuff so sorry if any of this is a little confusing, and i am sure some of you may misunderstand me, I don’t mean anything in a bad way or mean to imply anything hurtful, but things now are bad and I want to do what I can to help, still the links I provide should help you understand what I’m getting at much better than I ever could, and yes I posted this reply on a couple different articles, only because some of them(the articles) are old. And like I said, sorry but I’m sure what I typed is a bit of a mess, I am kinda strained under work time, speaking of which I gotta go. Please be gentle and God Bless.

  22. I am a young woman who loves to stay active. I run a lot, swim a lot, and most of all I surf. I wear sports bras without a shirt when I run because I find it more efficient. It is not in the way like a shirt is. Less constrictions. Its great. I enjoy running with a bare minimal amount of clothing on ( that sounds wierd but its the truth). When I swim I wear bikinis because i feel more comfortable in them as well. Everyone around me wears them. It is completely normal and I am not wearing it for a dirty or sexual purpose.
    However if I had a daughter and she was a skanky girl and wore bikinis because she wanted to get attention from the boys i would strongly be against allowing my daughter to wear one. It’s the reason that matters.

  23. Just to throw everybody here for a loop on the whole bikini/one piece debate.

    I’m a 34 year old male, and I’ll admit that bikinis can tempt me lust after the woman wearing them. Obviously I control my feelings and don’t act on them, but there is a hard-wired reaction that must be brought under control.

    However, tank suits aren’t much better for me–the lower part is still the same as a bikini–it’s still like the women are walking around in their underwear. If you want to get more modesty “bang for the buck” I’d actually recommend switching to board shorts. At least for me (and I think for many other men) the upper thighs are much more sexual than the belly. Even with a sports-type bikini top it makes me think of joggers in the park, and it’s not as sexual. Combined with a tankini top it’s almost street clothes. Plus board shorts can look really good on women too. Even board shorts and topless (which I have seen in Europe) seems more modest to me on women than a one-piece suit.

    I’ve been thinking about modesty for a little while now, and I’m trying to reconcile why it is that we consider it acceptable to wear less clothing near the water than we do in other locations. I’m starting to conclude that there is no valid reason. Wearing tighter fitting clothing makes sense for serious swimming or cycling to cut down on water and air resistance, but I can’t see any legitimate reason to wear less. Even competitive swimmers now usually wear full-body suits. As for me, I’ve started wearing swim shirts with my swim shorts, because I never otherwise walk around without a shirt. The swim shirts are breathable and have the added bonus of saving the trouble of putting on more sunscreen.

    How does everyone else reconcile the wearing of less clothing in the water than they do elsewhere?

    1. People are more concerned about “comfort” and what looks “good” than about what men might think.
      Funny thing is, if us women actually took a moment to look at every single man we walk by, the way I do… We might actually be able to see the lust in their eyes. It seems that women are so oblivious to these things.
      We think it’s about US and our intentions, but Jesus said to LOVE our neighbor, and if wearing an immodest swimsuit just might cause men to sin, why even bother?
      You see… Whether or not 99% of men aren’t lusting, that 1% still matters to God.
      That temptation might have sent that man to hell.
      Nobody takes modesty seriously anymore. It’s not about YOU, it’s about others.
      That is the difference between a true believer and someone who believes at their own convenience… Aka hypocrites.

  24. The times may have changed, but the church has not.
    It is our duty as catholic women to not only prevent men from lusting, but to influence other women to be modest. When did Jesus preach about comfort? Why are Catholic women these days so self-righteous?
    If science is not enough to prove this, I don’t know what will…
    Not all men are “perverts”, but that does not mean that their brain does not react in a certain fashion.
    Do women realize how many men they might tempt? A young, developing boy, somebody else’s husband, a religious figure, an old man, even a lesbian woman…
    Stop being so self-righteous ladies! It’s not about us anymore.

    The famous words of Our Lady of Fatima:
    Our Lady of Fatima:
    More souls go to hell for sins of the flesh than for any other reason.
    Our Lady of Fatima to Jacinta:
    Certain fashions will be introduced which will offend Our Divine Lord very much. Those who serve God ought not to follow these fashions. The Church has no fashions. Our Lord is always the same.
    Our Lady of Fatima to Jacinta:
    Woe to women wanting in modesty.
    Our Lady of Fatima to Jacinta:
    Many marriages are not of God and do not please Our Lord.

    Is it God’s rules that have changed, or society’s?
    Who will you choose to follow?

    ‘I urge you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship. Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.’

    Romans 12:1-2

    ‘The Mother of God wants more virgin souls who bind themselves to her by the vow of chastity.

    ‘To be pure in body is to keep chastity. To be pure in soul is not to commit sins, not to look at what one should not see, not to steal, never to lie, always to tell the truth however hard that may be.’

    Bl. Jacinta Marto of Fatima, age 9, from her last words

    ‘We must practice modesty, not only in our looks, but also in our whole deportment, and particularly in our dress, our walk, our conversation, and all similar actions.’

    St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori, Doctor of the Church

    ‘Be neat, Philothea; let nothing be negligent about you. It is a kind of contempt of those with whom we converse, to frequent their company in uncomely apparel; but, at the same time, avoid all affectation, vanity, curiosity, or levity in your dress. Keep yourself always, as much as possible, on the side of plainness and modesty, which, without doubt, is the greatest ornament of beauty, and the best excuse for the want of it.’

    St. Francis de Sales, Doctor of the Church

    ‘How beautiful then is modesty and what a gem among virtues it is.’

    St. Bernard of Clairvaux, Doctor of the Church

    ‘Frequent not the company of immodest persons, especially if they be also impudent, as is generally the case; . . . these corrupted souls and infected hearts scarcely speak to any, either of the same or a different sex, without causing them to fall in some degree from purity; they have poison in their eyes and in their breath, like basilisks. On the contrary, keep company with the chaste and virtuous; often meditate upon and read holy things; for the word of God is chaste, and makes those also chaste that delight in it.’

    St. Francis de Sales, Doctor of the Church

    ‘You carry your snare everywhere and spread your nets in all places. You allege that you never invited others to sin. You did not, indeed, by your words, but you have done so by your dress and your deportment. . . When you have made another sin in his heart, how can you be innocent? Tell me, whom does this world condemn? Whom do judges punish? Those who drink poison or those who prepare it and administer the fatal potion?

    You have prepared the abominable cup, you have given the death dealing drink, and you are more criminal than are those who poison the body; you murder not the body but the soul.

    And it is not to enemies you do this, nor are you urged on by any imaginary necessity, nor provoked by injury, but out of foolish vanity and pride.’

    St. John Chrysostom, Father and Doctor of the Church

    ‘In all your movements, let nothing be evident that would offend the eyes of another.’

    St. Augustine, Father and Doctor of the Church

    To validate your own “personal” modesty, would be to deny the bible, our lady, and the saints.

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