The Dignity of Women Lies in
Moral and Physical Purity
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Nothing could be more opportune for the formation of girls than to remind them and their parents that the essence of the dignity of a single woman is her purity. This truth, unfortunately, has stopped being preached by the Church since she was engulfed by Progressivism at Vatican II. Against all modern innovations and fashions which since then have been “blessed” in the confessionals, from the pulpits and at the World Youth Days, we bring to our readers the eternal Catholic truth applied to our days. Pope Pius XII is addressing Italian young women.
Pope Pius XII
Moral purity must proceed from faith, if it is a living faith. Youth must be formed to think always in a holy way of the mystery of new life and its natural sources, remembering that it is a work of the Creator and recalling that, just as Christ raised marriage to the dignity of a Sacrament, so also by taking life in the womb of the Blessed Virgin He sanctified motherhood and conferred on it such a high dignity.
From this you may deduce how the attitude of the Catholic youth should be strong, active and constant against publications and movies in which one finds only bold sensuality, a web of violations of conjugal fidelity, equivocal language, and openly licentious scenes. To oppose these manifestations, which at least in many cases also transgress the provident laws of the State, there is always one powerful weapon: absolute abstention. If you direct toward this end your work and apostolate among youth, your zeal and prudence, a great victory will crown your labor and efforts favoring the supremacy and sanctity of marriage, and hence also the well-being of your country!
Therefore, form young Catholic women in that sublime and holy dignity which is so clear and powerful a safeguard of physical and spiritual integrity. This virtuous and indomitable valor and pride constitute a great glory for the one who does not allow herself to be reduced to slavery. It enriches the moral vigor of the woman who gives herself intact only to her spouse for the founding of a family, or else to God. It proclaims as her mark of glory her vocation to the supernatural life and to eternity, just as St. Paul wrote to the early Christians: “You have been bought at a great price. Glorify God and bear Him in your body” (1 Cor 6:20).
How great is the dignity and liberty of the woman who does not allow herself to be enslaved, even by fashion! This is a delicate but urgent subject, in which your unceasing action permits us to hope for beneficial gains. Your zeal against immodest forms of dress and behavior, however, must not content itself with reproving, but also with edifying, by showing in practice how a young woman can in her dress and deportment harmonize the higher laws of virtue and the norms of hygiene and elegance.
(On the Apostolate of Girls in the Renewal of Society,
Speech to the Italian Feminine Youth of April 24, 1943
Documentos Pontificios, Petrópolis: Vozes, 1954, nn. 21-23)
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