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The Dangers of Fashion
Should Not Be Underestimated

We continue to transcribe parts of Pius XII address on fashion.

The Pope gives general principles that are useful for our readers to evaluate the seriousness of dressing modestly according to one’s social level. Today, we post the first of those principles.

Pope Pius XII

To achive this goal [of being a faithful interpreter of civil and Christian tradition], some principles are useful to apply to the problem of fashion, from which some concrete norms can be deduced.

The first principle is to not underestimate the importance of fashion’s influence either for good or for evil. The language of dressing, as we have already noted, is all the more efficient the more it is understood by everyone. Society speaks, as it were, through the dresses it wears. With clothing it reveals its secret aspirations and it utilizes dress, at least in part, either to build its own future or to destroy it.

But, given the coherence that must exist between the doctrine a Catholic professes and his external behavior, the Catholic – be he fashion designer or the client – should not underestimate the dangers and spiritual ruin sown by immoral fashions, especially the public ones.

He should remember the elevated purity the Redeemer demands from His disciples, even regarding gazes and thoughts. He also should remember the severity shown by God toward those who commit public scandal.

That strong page of Isaiah comes to mind in which he presages the shame destined to the holy city of Zion for the impurity of its daughters. (cf. Is 3:16-24) And another passage where the Italian Poet [Dante] expresses with fiery words his indignation for the rampant impurity in the city. (Divine Comedy, Purgatory, 23, 94-108)

Pius XII, Allocution to the International Congress of High Fashion,
November 8, 1957, Petrópolis: Vozes, 1958, pp. 14-15.


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Posted July 15, 2017