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January 01, 2006


Alexandra Foley

I think what I love most here is the very first line from the Catechism that you quote: "Purity requires modesty, an integral part of temperance."

Purity and modesty are not the same thing, though one requires the other. You can certainly be modest without being pure. Also that modesty is part of "temperance" -- modesty is moderation. Modesty is not prudery but it is what temperance is: "moderation and self-restraint." This relates to both kinds of modesty that we commonly think of: modesty in clothing and modesty in view of oneself. To not brag about oneself you have to use self-retraint.

Like all virtues modesty is a mean between two extremes AND is linked to other virtues. Virtue begets virtue. Thanks, Mary.


Hi...first I wanted to say, I've been reading this blog for a few weeks and loving it.

My favorite bit is the second paragraph, "Modesty protects the mystery of persons and their love." This, to me, is the most exciting and lovely part of the wohle idea...that there is some part of each person that is reserved for just one other. Giving and receiving that part, and holding it sacred, give a lot of meaning to life.

I was reading Christina Rossetti the other day (as I do often, she's my favorite poet) and noting all the ways that her writing reflects a beautiful innate sense of modesty - Goblin Market is maybe the most obvious, but so many of her assumptions just sparkle with something that's been lost. It is very refreshing to read, as are these verses from the catechism. For example:

"If love is not worth loving, then life is not worth living,
Nor aught is worth remembering, but well forgot.
For store is not worth storing and gifts are not worth giving,
If love is not;

"And idly cold is death-cold, and life-heat idly hot
And vain is any offering and vainer our receiving
And vanity of vanities is all our lot.

"Better than life's heaving heart is death's unheaving,
Better than the opening leaves are leaves that rot,
For there is nothing left worth achieving or retrieving,
If love is not."

She was right, of course, but to a modern eye, the poem is turned inside out. The assumption in modern culture IS that "love is not;" that lust is the driving force of everything. The middle verse, about vanity, is particularly telling, but to the modern eye, it looks like she's got cause and effect reversed. We embraced the "vanity of vanities" and lost love. Turns into a bit of a vicious circle.

Anyway, that's probably rambling a bit, but such are the thoughts your post inspires.

Erin P


Thanks so much for sharing these thoughts from the Catechism. I remember when I first learned there was a Catholic Catechism and wow - what a Table of Contents! I think Pope John Paul II has done so much to expand on those points in "Theology of the Body" and "Love & Responsibility". It gives me great hope.

I'm really taken with the points about modesty guarding the "intimate center of the person" and modesty as temperance, moderation. Thank you!!


I am a fifteen year-old girl writing a speech on modesty for my speech and debate class. I googled "modesty in thought" (I think that's what I typed...I've done a lot of googling over the few days;) but this link appeared on the second page and I clicked on it. This was very helpful. Thank you.

I think that the first one--modesty protects the intimate center of a person--is the one that is, in a sense, the most important and more people need to realize it. Fortunately I live in a fairly small town, so the extremely immodest and skin-bearing fashions aren't quite as popular...but they're still here. And they're apparent on the covers of magazines. I honestly don't think that many of these girls realize what they're doing when they dress in that manner. When you show that much skin, it leaves little to the imagination. Besides that, those guys who are attracted to you for dressing that way, do you REALLY want to get attention from them?

However, I also liked the third--modesty is of the feelings as well as the body. That is another side of modesty that I've been looking for, because I thought I might lose the interest of my judges if I rant on for ten minutes about feminine modesty and how Hollywood's not helping. ;)

So, again, I'm going to explore this a tad more (I'm not sure if you have many other entries like this, though I'm hoping), but I wanted to drop a quick note so you were aware that there was a highschool girl who appreciates you sharing your analyzing of this topic. Thanks again!


Public School Teenagers Covering Up Too. I welcome your comments on my article on modesty.

Marty Strong

One of the Fruits of the Holy Spirit.

Thanks be to God and you, Mary for this blog'



Modesty of feelings...

Modesty of conversation...

Modesty of clothing..

Modesty of manners..

Modesty in everything..


Here are some more modesty resources.


'The Virgin Mother, all pure and all white, will make her servants pure and white.'

St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori

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