JULY 2007

MY WIFE AND I completely agree that it is important to dress decently for Mass. But I do not see what is wrong if a lady wears spaghetti tops to church if she covers up when receiving Communion.

In Singapore, weekends are the only times when people can go out to unwind; thus the need to wear something which they may use for their outings and gatherings.

The very fact that many Singaporeans, unlike their counterparts in Europe, make an effort to still keep their religion and go for service, speaks well for us. Let us not resort to measures such as telling people off; thus driving people away from the 'House of the Lord'.

Bernard Jimmy Farrel Fernando

Singapore 520885

From CN Online:

TIME AND TIME again we see priests and notices saying that we should dress properly for Mass but we still see the same old people dressing shabbily. Must we really stop people who come skimpily for Mass before they start to cover up?

Oliver Ong

I REMEMBER THE days when my father and mother would dress us all (eight of us children) very nicely for church. My mother would have her veil in her purse and dap a little perfume on herself and a dap for us if we wished. My father always had his Sunday shirt starched and pressed. That's why we call them our "Sunday best"!

Although we don't need to wear grand attire on Sundays to church, it is necessary to dress decently. Women who think that it is OK to come to church with their spaghetti straps, tight jeans and low hip waisted pants need to rethink.

You show disrespect not only to God but to the rest of the congregation. It is distracting and not very decent in a church.

It would be nice to see men and women come to church again in their Sunday best. I still see theolder folk who still do. Its such a pretty sight.

June Wheatley

WHY DO YOU judge people by how they dress? How do you know if they are any less God-loving then the other person who dresses himself in his "Sunday best"? If we continue to have this view, how do we reach out to people who are not like you? I'm just hoping you would see beyond their appearances.


IF YOU CAN afford (to dress properly), don't use the poor as an excuse so that you can dress as you please. Even some hotels, restaurants and pubs have got dress codes.

Desiree Ling

MANY YEARS AGO when I was first baptized, I remember my godmother telling me of a certain priest who refused to give Communion to a lady who was dressed in halters and mini skirts.

These days when I see ladies dressed in halters, spaghettis, strapless tops, some of whicheven proudly  displaying the owner's tattoos, or tops that barely reach the navels, skirts and/or shorts that leave nothing to the imagination as their owners noisily drag their flip-flops down the aisle for Communion, I wish our priests will do likewise.

As for the men, some attend Mass looking like they have just rolled out of bed - unshaved, uncombed hair, singlets/dirty tees and, again, flip-flops.

In France, wardens hand out shawls to worshippers whom they feel are inappropriately (i.e. skimpily) dressed. Perhaps we should consider adopting this practice. However, being Asians, our wardens may end up being insulted by the guilty parties instead.

Closer home, Protestant churches have been reminding their congregations time and time again to put on their "Sunday best" when they attend their Sunday service. Some even stipulate long sleeved shirts and ties for the men and sleeved blouses and knee-length skirts (no pants) for ladies. I wish the archbishop will address this issue.

Julie Jam

DRESSING DECENTLY SHOWS good example, and helps the weaker of us who tend to let our eyes wander towards uncovered flesh.

It is important to avoid extremes. Dressing well merely to attract peoples' admiration is wrong, but not trying at all is laxity. Lastly, if the beggar has no clothes, let us clothe him.

Ian Finian

THIS DEBATE CAN go on but it will always fall on deaf years if the leadership does not want to "enforce" it for fear of discouraging people coming to church!

I suggest our archbishop write a pastoral letter addressed to all Catholics to give loving advice on the proper code of dressing while attending Mass.

Francis Ang

EDITOR'S NOTE: We will not be publishing any more viewpoints on this subject. However the discussion will continue at CatholicNews Online at www.catholic.org.sg/CN.

I'D JUST LIKE to share my own thoughts and feelings from reading the articles regarding the Chinese martyrs - especially the testimonies from the descendants of those who survived.

I'd started reading in an informational mode, but as I read on, the stories moved me to tears and touched me deeply. I thought about my own mortality and how I would feel facing an impending death, and my emotions overcame me. The deep faith and courage displayed by fellow Catholics in such harrowing circumstances is an inspiration and a beacon for me, as I struggle with my own weak faith. Thank you for sharing them.

Benedict Wee

(via CN Online)

HIS LIFE WAS a witness to God's own love pulsating within the depths of his heart that sent P.J. to the utmost bounds of our island in search of some lonely broken person waiting to be healed and restored to wholeness.

P. J. was one of the pioneers of the Roman Catholic Prison Ministry. We drove many miles to help ex- offenders, P. J. had that simple yet profound touch that made them respond to his radiant smile and decide to change. He would lead them to his community in Nallur Rd, journey with them and bring them back to a normal way of life. P. J. can boast of many successes in this area. With a group of dedicated volunteers we visited the Hawkins camp when many Vietnamese refugees found a true friend in P. J..

He nurtured some good vocations among them. He started a seminary for those who went to Australia, training them in their studies and giving to the church some dedicated priests who today continue the mission of Jesus. P. J. was a family man. He enjoyed a home cooked meal and never forgot the kindnesses of his friends.

Every time he came to Singapore, his good friend, Sister Victorine would have a red rose to welcome him. He would miss it if she forgot! She never did. It was a gesture of gratitude to one who gave so much of himself to others. A well deserved eternal rest is yours.

Sister Gerard Fernandez, rgs


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HOW CAN THE canonization of Chinese martyrs foster hatred?

The fact that there were martyrs willing to die for God in a country under an evil system like communism is a tribute to the love the Chinese martyrs had for God. Maximilian Kolbe also gave his life for God during the cruelty of Hitler's Third Reich.

Martyrdom in any country inspires the people of God to keep on fighting for what is truthful and just. Of course, the communists who have yet to accept the Vatican's authority are against it, as it might mean that more people might convert to Catholicism. That is their fear. It's as simple as that.

Basil Pereira

(via CN Online)