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Question from Josie on 6/15/2002:

To start off, I'll tell you right away that I abhor shorts, minis, haltertops, tanktops in church. There is a time and place for everything

Now, Fr, you seemed to praise the mother who originaly wrote and endorsed the Fabiana's comments.

Fr, are the Olympics sinful? Is the sport of bowling sinful? Is watching Ivan Llendl play tennis a mortal sin? Is track and field a mortal sin? Did I sin when I watched Mark Spitz stand there in just his "underwear" (um, swimsuit) getting his record-beaking gold medal in world competition? If bowling is not sinful, what do you think, a woman should wear? Fabiana obviously thinks bowling would be a mortal sin for a woman because a woman couldn't possibly bowl because a woman should never wear pants. OH MY GOSH. Track and field competition.....women must wear the burqa but you can't run or do the pole vault wearing one of those.

Fr, in all this "modesty" issue stuff, let's be real. If we followed this ultra radical view that a female MIGHT, just MIGHT arouse some male becaus the female wears long pants with which to bowl and pants show the shape of the female's body, well, then, think of life.

Fr, should the Ice Capades be eliminated because because spectators, many of whom are children, will obviously see the shape of the skater's body and MIGHT have a fleeting thought? Would the ice capades be more appropriate if women wore old-fashioned nun habits?

What would life be like without exercise (um, we'd all die young). Should we only exercise in our closet behind closed doors? Should good Catholics avoid running and jogging? Should good Catholics avoid tennis? Should good Catholics avoid gymnastics, track and field, swimming, diving, soccer, bicycling, ballet, volleyball, basketball, etc. becuase it's impossible engage in those actvities and wear burqa like clothing?

While I agree with you that Sports Illustrated is simply trying to cater to purient interests with it's swimsuit issue, it is a gross misconception to even remotely think most people immediately think of sex when the see someone engaged in sports.

It think it's getting out of hand to think that purient sex is at the forefront of everyone's minds when anyone, especially a female, is dressed with anything less than---in the example of female dress---anything less than a burqa or old-style nun's habit.

Answer by Fr. Robert J. Levis on 6/16/2002:

Dear Josie, General principles of dress: 1. One dresses for the occasion. One wears the general type of clothing that helps perform whatever is to be done. Reason rules always. 2. One dresses, on occasion, to attract the attention of others. E.g. in courting. Both the boy and the girl want to be attractive to one another. Great! Reasonable. But neither may dress to arouse the other sexually. 3. Times and styles can be followed but within Christian limits. 4. More caution must be observed in mixed company. If girls engage only with each other, or boys with one another, there is no question of sexual arousal, generally. 5. Christians today must be aware of the pan-sexualism of culture, often displayed in sports. The individual conscience and background must come into play here. I know some individual sportspersons who, for their own conscience's sake, will not perform publicly in the briefest costumes they are expected to wear. I surely do not approve of some dress in some Olympic games. Remember, the Olympics originally were pagan games for men who competed naked with no women around. Today, voyeurism is very much a contributor to unchastity. 6. Age should be considered. 7. Reason always should be considered. There are many stages between near nakedness and the burqa. God bless. Fr. Bob Levis God bless. Fr.Bob Levis

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