Kinds of Scandal
SI11,-1 hesitate to enter the lists with so doughty a champion of Catholic Faith as Fr. Martindale. May I say that I agree with all he says in so far as individually we are tempted by indifferent objects which may become to us an occasion of sin. Any form of scandal thereby afforded may be classed as a species of "scandalurn pharisaeorunt" and no condemnation may be justly passed upon such offending causes. But when in matters de sexto it can be demonstrated that the alleged cause of offence is on the testimony of a substantial number of persons affording a grave occasion of sin, then such a cause can no longer be classed as indifferent but becomes in a sense objectively immoral. As such it is liable to give "scar-Ida/um pusillorum" (scandal of the weak or ignorant) and becomes subject to the condemnation of those who are entrusted with the care of souls.
C. H. PARSONS (REV.). 53, Nether Street, N.12.
For Schoolgirls in Rome
SI.R.—May I refer to the letter of " X of London " in your issue of July 22. He or she refers to the "Instruction of the Sacred Congregation of the Council on Modesty in Dress " which the CATHOLIC HERALD printed two years ago, and says: " The detailed application of this order has been left to the individual conscience" and also " that it would be very difficult for Rome to lay down details of immodest apparel equally suitable for different peoples and climes."
These details can be found in " The Decrees of the C-ongregation of Religious. To the Superiors of Convent Schools in Rome, 1929, on the dress of pupils "—(a continuation of the same leaflet published by the C.T.S. of India). Here, the hardworked Vicar of Christ has stooped to the level of "inches material and colour " and says "a dress cannot be called decent, etc.... " so anxious is he, that we should apply the teaching of the 1st Catechism to our daily lives . . for the 6th Commandment forbids "Immodest," a word not understood in these pagan days.
[The Instruction referred to above is in regard to " the dress of girl pupils of schools ialight by the Sisters in Rome." The point surely was that sorb detailed inetructintis can be given in concrete cases, but that it is difficult to lay them down for all people in all countries. Modesty is a virtue whereby inen and women expreas in their outward demeanour their praetiee and love of chastity. Evidently the mode of this outward expre8siou must to some extent vary according to prevailing habits, climate, temperaments and functions. In some Catholic southern towns a woman could not walk out alone after nightfall without giving the impression that she was " on the street." This is happily not the case in England, and therefore women are not being immodest in walking alone. On the other hand in those same towns mothers will be seen sitting on teps openly suckling their child —a beautiful and most modest picture of motherhood where it is the custom. To do EC) in England would be considered immodest arid repulsive.—Eorrox.]
British Girls Abroad
Su,—Having resided abroad for the laat 16 years I have often seen British girls disembark in costumes resembling those under discussion and from patriotic motives 1 Jiave defended them, using the arguments with which your readers are already familiar from this correspondence.
The general opinion was, I felt, that if things were really so, it was a poor compliment to the virility of the nation,
My own view is that it is well known that any clothes a woman may wear may be made to look suggestive; that when they wear these they well know what they are about; and that the garments concerning which this argument originally arose leave too little to be imagined by the unchaste and are a veritable eyesore to the chaste.
Unless I am mistaken, a single thought, wilfully entertained, though it be for a second, against Holy Chastity, is a mortal sin. In view of this I am inclined to the opinion that the priest who took the census among his young men was entirely right.
S. M. PEARSE.
16, Conway Street, W.I.