What has become of us?

A recent article in The Seattle Times is entitled “America, a nation of slobs”.  I would dear to say that most of us, over the age of 40 can remember the days when people dressed for many occasions.  As a young boy, my parents would put me in my little suit to go to Sunday Mass.  Even today, my parents put on their Sunday’s best to attend Mass.  At times I am still shocked by the demeanor of some people at Mass, or at at funeral home, or at a wedding, or even in the local grocery store.  The most common form of dress has become those disgusting sweat pants with a ratty t-shirt.  To be honest with you, I wouldn’t be caught dead in public wearing sweat pants.  I think they are the most degrading form of clothing people wear today.  Yet, we see them in church, at the market, in the funeral home, at weddings, everywhere you can imagine and, Oh, did I forget anywhere else!  Here is an excerpt of the article below.

Froma Harrop / Syndicated Columnist

America, a nation of slobs

We’ve become a nation of slobs, writes columnist Froma Harrop. A modicum of care in dress and grooming would seem a basic minimum just about everywhere — or it used to be. It seems that the richer this country gets, the more slovenly people have become. It’s a grim scene.

Syndicated columnist

Had George Washington joined me outside a Chili’s at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport recently, he would have shuddered at the sight. There, a nation of slobs paraded through the crossroads of America. Frayed denim hems swept the filthy floor. Cleavage poured out of T-shirts bearing vulgar messages. Big bellies flowed over the waists of jeans. Mature women waddled in stained sweat suits. Some passers-by stuffed their mouths with pizza as they walked.

Washington was a stickler for good manners, and that included dignified dress. As a youth, he hand-copied a text called “Rules of Civility&Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation.” They included: “Wear not your Cloths, foul … or Dusty but See they be Brush’d once every day at least and take heed that you approach not to any Uncleaness.”

Some observers suspect that a collapse in grooming and attention to dress has contributed to the decline in civility on our streets and in our politics. People don’t care what they look like in public because they don’t care about the public. They have little notion of, or interest in, playing a supportive role in their civilization.

Might we write a new article and call it, “Catholic, a Church of slobs”!  You’ll have to read the whole article.  I think dress tells us a lot about who we are, what we think of ourselves and what we think of others.  When I was a newly ordained deacon/ priest, I was always picked on by older priests.  They often said that I was placing my self above the people and who did I think I was wearing French Cuffs and a cassock.  My answer was simple for me.  I came from a family of dry cleaners.  My grandfather began his dry cleaning business before the great depression.  Many from my family continued in that business for their whole lives.  My father and his brother had their own dry cleaning plant for over 40 years.  Each day as I was growing up, my close went into a pile to be cleaned.  I was always clean and well dressed, why would I not do the same as a priest – I am a professional!

Read the whole article and let me know your thoughts?

Read the article here.

2 thoughts on “What has become of us?

  1. We need more priests wearing cassocks on a daily basis. The clerical suit makes clergy more in touch with the world and less “set apart” i.e. less sacred. Not only is America dressing more and more casually, but so are priests. People nowadays take a more “whatever” attitude towards everything and those poor morals are reflected in the way they dress. So we get nuns and priests in pants when they should be in habit and cassock. You can see how much respect someone has for him/herself and others (including God) in the way they dress. Proper gentlemen wear tie to Mass and ladies a veil, but now people insist on dressing casually, which goes hand in hand with practicing the faith casually.

  2. I’ve actually had a few photos ruined by people (usually teenagers) who didn’t feel the need to dress appropriately for Mass. When I was confirmed last year, there was a kid wearing sneakers, a hoodie, and khaki shorts – slouched down in the pew, no less, right in the front row – who you can see in the background of just about every picture that was taken. I’m not trying to judge, but it really annoyed me that there I am all dressed up (the whole outfit bought just for the day) and there’s a kid in the background who looks like he’s just stumbled out of bed.

    I have to say that my priest has gotten much better about wearing his collar. I only expect to see the cassock a couple of times a year (usually Christmas and Easter), but it really is an improvement that he’s actually wearing a collar at all now. I gave him a pair of cufflinks last year to provide incentive for at least dressing up the suit a little with French cuffs. And I must say, it is hard to expect the parish priests to wear cassocks when the archbishop and auxiliary bishop are not often seen in theirs.

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