Dress Code for Parish?

Hello, I attend mass in Camarillo, Ca. I understand that looking at a woman with lust is a sin. So why does my local parish not have a dress code? A lot of women wear very short skirts, and I mean short. They sit next to you , then you have to hold their hand during the Our Father. It is hard enough to live a life without commiting a sin, now I am tested at mass every Sunday. It seems to me that women should be required to wear clothes that cover the whole body , same for men.


Dear Barry,

Thanks for the letter. I understand your problem, tho no doubt it is greater in sunny Camarillo than here in rainy Seattle. I know from other young men (and, heck, even older ones like myself) the way some gals dress can be a distraction. I've tried to say a few gentle words but I am not very convincing on the subject. The problem with a dress code would be writing it - and then enforcing it. In Italy some churches don't allow sleeveless dresses, bermuda shorts, etc. The main culprits are tourists who tend to get pretty upset when not permitted to enter the church. They react by accussing the Italians are being arbitrary or hypocritical.

Also I have seen long dresses that were quite provocative (I don't assume that was the lady's intention but rather a healthy desire to be beautiful). I try to take this approach: First, that the girl or young woman is a daughter of God and a beautiful creation. But as far as my own thoughts, I imagine I am at a bus stop. One arrives that I know is not mine. Just let it go by. Do you know what I mean?

God bless,

Fr. Phil Bloom