During Mass, we’ve been addressing some of your more complex questions about the Catholic faith in our message series, Faith Answering Questions. Here are a few less weighty but still interesting answers to a question we received (and one we didn’t!). Here are the responses from our staff bulletin writer, Claire Kosewic.
1. Can I wear sweatpants to Church?
Sneakily, this question is quite loaded, and can quickly lead to pretty heated discussions on other standards of behavior at Mass. Basically, though, there are two main schools of thought on this issue. Some people say that because Mass is a formal celebration of our highest sacrament, the Holy Eucharist, we should dress formally and respectfully, as we would for a job interview or formal social gathering. Some churches don’t allow men to enter in shorts, or women to enter without their shoulders covered — the rules can get pretty extreme and can even be a deterrent to Mass attendance. On the other hand, however, some people take the saying, “come as you are” a bit too literally. They believe that all kinds of clothing — sweatpants, jeans, leggings, even pajamas — are welcome in Church. These people emphasize that the clothing you wear should not preclude you from attending Mass.
Not being allowed into Church because of the clothing you wear seems a little extreme, but so does allowing any attire for Mass. Pajamas for consuming the Body and Blood of Jesus? I think not. There isn’t really a rule of thumb to follow on this one, which complicates things, but a happy medium between these two options definitely exists. The “easy” answer: no sweatpants, no denim, no leggings, and definitely no pajamas. Instead, non-denim pants, modest tops, modest skirts and dresses, and button downs and polos are all great options. That being said, don’t ever let your clothes stop you from coming to Mass — your attendance at Mass is really the most important thing. After all, the disciples didn’t go home and change clothes before they hung out with Jesus.
Father Roger says: “But I love jeans!”
2. Should I turn off my phone at Mass?
As a young person, I find it incredibly annoying when I am constantly lectured on the dangers of my phone and how it’s turning my brains into scrambled eggs. There are so many positive reasons for having and using a cell phone. But, my friends and I all know that there is immense value in disconnecting from our electronics regularly and making space for quality in-person interactions.
One of those times to definitely disconnect: Mass. It’s impossible to make space in your mind for God when you are connected to the entire world through your pocket. And while there are many fabulous faith-centered apps, Mass isn’t really the best time to take advantage of them. So, power off, and listen up — Fr. Roger’s homilies, though long, are actually pretty interesting!
Father Roger says: "But what about techie priests?"
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