Joined: May 2002
Strangely, the "humans are animals" contention didn't seem to bother Wiker a few years ago...
Don’t Wear That Mini to Mass
By Benjamin D. Wiker
As I have not received nearly enough hate mail of late, I thought it best to write something else on modesty, this time modesty at Mass (see my first article, "Drawing a Hemline: Sexual Modesty and the Pursuit of Wisdom," July/August 2000). I realize, of course, how delicate this subject is, but I also know that I am not the only one disturbed by immodesty. I am certain that more than a few priests grind their teeth every week in anticipation of having to minister to the inadequately dressed.
First, we had better be clear about what is meant by immodesty. Immodesty is—and here I hope to quash any gainsaying—the opposite of modesty. Modesty is a sub-virtue of temperance, the virtue concerned with "desires for the greatest pleasures," as St. Thomas Aquinas said. We are animals, Aquinas noted, and as animals we have a natural desire to preserve ourselves as individuals "by means of meat and drink," and as a species "by the union of the sexes." Simply put, like all animals, we naturally desire food and sex—not in the raw, contemporary sense of uncontrollable appetites that must be sated at all costs, but in the ancient, sane sense of desiring to preserve ourselves by nutrition and our species by procreation. Modesty is concerned not with the sexual act itself, but with the public presentation of our sexual nature.