A Brave Stand
Gene Tunney was the world heavyweight boxing champion from 1926-1928. This is a true event from his life… a courageous true event from his life.
In a midwestern city, a group of businessmen were entertaining Tunney at a dinner at which he was the keynote speaker. After the meal several women came out to put on a floor show that was indecent. They didn’t get far into their number when Tunney, who was trained from childhood in the high standards of Catholic modesty, made up his mind to do one thing—his duty.
Rising from his seat at the speakers’ table, he simply said, “Gentlemen, I don’t care for this kind of show. I find it indecent and offensive. You’ll have to excuse me.”
You could have heard a pin drop, because the silence was deafening. Tunney walked quickly from the room with every eye on him. Soon other chairs began to scoot back from tables as one man after another began to get up to leave behind him. Finally, the half-dressed dancers rushed out in shame.
Gene Tunney fought many a battle in World War I and in the boxing ring, but he never fought a braver fight than this. Indecent entertainment in the form of books, videos and television, as well as immodest dress lower the ideals and twist the standards of Catholic men and women. The most precious thing in your soul is your purity, but most Catholics today pay little attention to little things like purity and modesty.
Today Versus Yesterday
Did you pick up on the contrast between the standards from the 1920s and the standards of today? I’ve seen my share of burlesque pictures from the golden age of Vaudeville in the ‘20s, and what was considered immodest then is common today. What’s happened?
In Hebrews 13:8, St. Paul wrote, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” The 13th chapter of Hebrews is the last chapter of that book. Throughout the previous twelve chapters, Paul wrote about the Catholic priesthood and Jesus’ divinity. Let’s focus for a moment on His divinity.
Jesus is God, the second Person of the Holy Trinity. That’s a dogma of faith. God is perfect. That’s a dogma of faith. Something that’s perfect can’t change. If it could, it wouldn’t have been perfect in the first place. This is why Paul says of Jesus that He’s the same yesterday (from all eternity), today, and forever (into all eternity). Therefore, His laws and teachings must remain the same forever; since He can’t change, He can’t, say, later change His mind.
So when did Jesus change His teachings on sexual morality and modesty, which is covered by sexual morality? Short answer: He didn’t! Because Jesus is the same forever, so are His teachings on modesty. The teachings on modesty are the very same today as when Jesus established the Catholic Church 2000 years ago, and when the Father gave us the Ten Commandments 5000 years ago.
With these things in mind, I have to ask why modern day Catholics act like the standards for modesty have changed? I don’t have any idea what the state of anyone’s soul is, and I don’t want to know. I’m not in the business of judging anyone’s soul. That’s God’s job. But I can be a fruit inspector; I can judge the fruits of souls from what I see and hear. Based on what I see, hear and read, I can get a pretty good idea of how seriously Catholics take our holy and ancient faith.
There’s no such thing in the modern world as privacy, and there’s always some organization out there that wants to violate your privacy by asking you things that aren’t any of that entity’s business in the first place. What really amazes me about this nosiness is that when people are surveyed or polled, they expose themselves figuratively like a pervert exposes himself literally. However, those surveys and polls are helpful in this case.
Did you know that 99% of Catholics who get a divorce admit to using contraceptives? Did you know that nearly 70% of Catholic men view pornography on a regular basis? And here are some things you don’t need a survey for: modern dress is, more often than not, immodest (especially for women and teenage girls), we regularly watch movies and TV shows that are immodest at best (producers wouldn’t make them if they weren’t watched), and we pay more attention to “style” than God’s laws.
Let’s just get really frank here. Like you, I go to Sunday Mass. I can’t walk to Communion anymore, but when I could I’d have to do so with my eyes averted from the person in front of me, because that person was usually a woman with a dress so short or pants so tight that nothing was left to the imagination. That’s immodest. That’s immoral.
All too often, when a woman at church wants to speak to me, I have to avert my eyes again. Why? Cleavage, ladies, you’re showing too much cleavage. Why do you do that? Do you want men to objectify you and lust after you? Maybe you just want their company in hell?
I’m not letting you guys off the hook either. Fellas, try being a man in your home. For 2000 years, the Catholic Church has always taught (even if you don’t hear it today) that you are the head of your household—the head of your family. It’s very difficult for anyone to respect a man who’d allow his wife or daughters to dress immodestly. In case you’ve never thought about it, a pimp makes the women working for him dress immodestly so he can more easily sell their services. I’m just saying.
Sins of Omission
Some of you might be saying, “Joe, I can honestly say that none of what you’re talking about applies to me.” Sure it does. You’re equally guilty, if only by omission. We’re all morally obligated to practice the works of mercy. One of the spiritual works of mercy is to admonish the sinner. So when was the last time you said anything to a Catholic who was immodestly dressed? Admittedly, you certainly won’t be the most popular person in your parish, as I can tell you from experience, but popularity is highly overrated. Would you rather be popular with people or obedient to God? That’s really a no-brainer.
We’re getting a lot of mixed messages about moral issues from Rome, most bishops and a lot of priests right now, but we need to remember two things. The first is that the pope and the bishops in communion with him are only in charge of the Catholic Church as it exists on earth, but that Jesus is the head of the whole Catholic Church. The second thing we need to remember is, even if the pope, bishops and priests won’t do their jobs, Jesus is the same forever, so His moral laws are also the same forever. That means His punishments for our sins of both commission and omission remain the same forever as well. Jesus doesn’t change with whatever is in vogue or politically correct. Jesus isn’t PC.
Most of you know I host weekly webinars online. In the Sharing the Catholic Faith series, I have one called Sexual Purity In a Sex-Saturated Culture. This particular webinar is always the most heavily attended. Why? Because sex sells, and everyone’s curious about anything pertaining to sex. While I’m glad that this webinar is heavily attended, the curiosity that drives that attendance is dangerous. Folks, Our Lady of Fatima told us that more people go to hell for impurity and immodesty than anything else, and Jesus let us know that far more people go to hell than go to heaven. Heaven after death isn’t automatic; it’s not even probable. Think about that a while.
Two popular rock songs sum it up real well. If there’s a Highway to Hell, but only a Stairway to Heaven, what does that say about anticipated traffic numbers? Get serious with God and our faith. You’d be doing yourself a big favor to visit JoeSixpackAnswers.com and sign up for the free email course and begin attending the free webinars I host every week. I certainly can’t tell you my webinars will keep you out of hell, but I can tell you that you’ll have a much better chance of getting to heaven.