Scene: The vestibule of a church after Sunday noon Mass.
A middle-aged woman – let’s call her the Good Catholic – approaches a like-aged woman who is leaving the church with her 15-year-old and 17-year-old sons. The latter has the look of someone who spends lots of time at the gym. She is wearing high heels and a short skirt over her bare legs. She is the Bad Catholic.
Good Catholic: “Hi, my name is Cathy. I just want to tell you that I like your outfit. But don’t you think that skirt is too short to wear to church?”
Bad Catholic: “N-no, I don’t think so. Anyway, it’s a hot day, and I can’t stand wearing pants in this heat. Besides, I really don’t think that anybody notices what I wear.”
Good Catholic: “You think so? I’ll bet that a lot of the younger guys in the congregation were noticing.”
The Bad Catholic’s teens start to look self-conscious. One of them laughs uneasily.
The Bad Catholic herself forces a smile, then mutters something and walks away. Her boys follow.
The Good Catholic feels well-satisfied with her evangelization efforts. The Bad Catholic will probably think twice before wearing that skirt to Mass again. As for the Good Catholic, well, she’s going to attend Mass at a different church next week. The people here are just too impious.
Readers, this conversation actually happened. The Good Catholic/Bad Catholic designations, though unspoken, were clearly applied by the so-called evangelizer. And the “Good Catholic” really is continuing her search for a worthy parish.
Did you ever speak to someone at church about his or her inappropriate dress? Do you think that a conversation about proper dress can open the door to fruitful evangelization?
How would you modify the Good Catholic’s approach in this scene?
What would you say about her decision to attend Mass elsewhere?
Let’s start our own conversation right here on this blog!
Copyright © 2013, Celeste Behe
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