What the Holy Scriptures Say:
Thou shalt not commit adultery (Exodus 20:14).
Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife (Exodus 20:17).
We also read in the Gospel of St. Matthew that our Divine Savior Jesus Christ reiterated the ninth commandment when He said: Ye heard that it was said, "Thou shalt not commit adultery." But I say unto you that anyone who looks upon a woman to covet her has already committed adultery with her in his heart (Mt 5: 27-28).
The Bible tells us: “Know you not that your members are the temple of the Holy Ghost, who is in you, whom you have from God: and you are not your own? For you are bought with a great price. Glorify and bear God in your body.” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) Immodest dress is an offense to God and does not glorify God, but rather reduces the Christian woman to an object of lust and mocks the laws of God. Modesty in dress, on the other hand, helps safeguard the virtue of purity and is demanded by the moral law of God.
In like manner women also in decent apparel: adorning themselves with modesty and sobriety, not with plaited hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly attire (1 Timothy 2: 9)
What Our Lady Says:
When we reflect on these issues, we come to mind some of the warnings given by the Blessed Virgin in Fatima (Portugal, 1917): "Certain styles and fashions are being introduced which gravely offend My Divine Son [...] More souls go to hell because of the sins of the flesh than for any other reason. " 100 years have passed since the apparitions of Our Lady at Fatima and, how prophetic was her message! With modern technology - television, theaters and videos, and the internet - people are exposed daily to pornography and other immoralities that so much destroy their moral character. Its effects are obvious: fornication, promiscuity and pregnancy of extramarital adolescents, abortions, open promotion of contraceptives and increased rape. How tragic it is to see so many people living as if there were no God, commandments, mortal sin, death, judgment or eternity! However, it is even more tragic to see women and girls who call themselves "Catholic" fall victim to the charms of fashions and indecent styles; And, this way, they become an occasion of sin for many others.
What the Saints Say:
St. John Don Bosco, hearing the bells ring for the death of a young woman who had always dressed badly, exclaimed: "Neither requiem nor glory for her. I am afraid she is already in hell."
St. Bernard: How beautiful then is modesty and what gem is among the virtues!
St. John Chrysostom, Bishop of Constantinople and one of the 32 doctors of the Church, said the following regarding women who dress immodestly: "You carry your snare everywhere and spread your net in all places. You allege that you never invited others to sin. You did not indeed by your words, but you have done so by your dress and your deportment. And much more effectively than you could by your voice. When you have made another sin in his heart, how can you be innocent? Tell me whom does this world condemn? Whom do the judges in court punish? Those who drink poison or those who prepare it and administer the fatal potion? You are more criminal than those who poison the body. You have given the death-dealing drink. You murder not the body but the soul, and it is not to enemies do you do this nor are you urged on by any imaginary necessity nor provoked by injury. But you do it out of foolish vanity and pride."
Unfortunately, today's attire seems to have almost no boundaries. It is a disgrace for Christian women to expose their bodies, which are the temples of the Holy Ghost after baptism. A women who dresses immodestly commits a double sin.
St. Cyprian writes: "Nothing so delights the faithful soul as the healthy consciousness of an unstained modesty. To have vanquished pleasure is the greatest pleasure; nor is there any greater victory than that which is gained over one's desires."
What the Popes Say:
On January 12, 1930, the Sacred Congregation of the Council, by mandate of Pope Pius XI, issued emphatic instructions on modesty of dress to all bishops: “We recall that a dress cannot be called decent which is cut deeper than two fingers breadth under the pit of the throat, which does not cover the arms at least to the elbows, and scarcely reaches a bit beyond the knee. Furthermore, dresses of transparent material are improper. Let parents keep their daughters away from public gymnastic games and contests; but, if their daughters are compelled to attend such exhibitions, let them see to it that they are fully and modestly dressed. Let them never permit their daughters to don immodest garb.”
Pope Benedict XV wrote in his encyclical Sacra Propediem on January 6, 1921: “One cannot sufficiently deplore the blindness of so many women of every age and station. Made foolish by a desire to please, they do not see to what degree the indecency of their clothing shocks every honest man and offends God. Most of them would formerly have blushed for such apparel as for a grave fault against Christian modesty. Now it does not suffice to exhibit themselves on public thoroughfares; they do not fear to cross the threshold of churches, to assist at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and even to bear the seducing food of shameful passion to the Holy Altar, where one receives the Author of Purity.”
Pope Pius XII seriously admonished Christian mothers: “The good of our soul is more important than that of our body; and we have to prefer the spiritual welfare of our neighbor to our bodily comforts… If a certain kind of dress constitutes a grave and proximate occasion of sin, and endangers the salvation of your soul and others, it is your duty to give it up… O Christian mothers, if you knew what a future of anxieties and perils, of ill-guarded shame you prepare for your sons and daughters, imprudently getting them accustomed to live scantily dressed and making them lose the sense of modesty, you would be ashamed of yourselves and you would dread the harm you are making of yourselves, the harm which you are causing these children, whom Heaven has entrusted to you to be brought up as Christians.” (Pius XII to Catholic Young Women’s Groups of Italy)
Pope Pius XII: You will be more elegant and more pleasant if you dress with simplicity and discreet modesty.
Pope Pius XII said in 1954:“Now many girls do not see anything wrong with following certain shameless styles (fashions) like so many sheep. They would surely blush if they could only guess the impressions they make and the feelings they evoke (arouse) in those who see them.” (July 17, 1954)
The immodest dress corresponds to:
Dresses or low-cut blouses;
Skirts or shorts that expose the upper legs;
Dresses or pants too tight.
In the case of men: walking with the torso naked or with tight clothing