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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Colombo cathedral enforces dress code: women asked to veil

Published Date: September 20, 2010
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Women wearing veils at Colombo's St. Lucia's Cathedral. Priests there are insisting that young women cover their heads while at Mass.
Priests at St Lucia’s Cathedral in Colombo are insisting that young women cover their heads while at Mass.

The move is part of a drive to have churchgoers dress appropriately during religious ceremonies.

Many Catholics have complained that churchgoers in Colombo turn up for services in short skirts, halter tops, low cut blouses and shorts.

In a recent Sunday homily, Father John Paul Vinoth, an assistant parish priest at the cathedral, said that modest dressing would help create an atmosphere that is more “conducive to a spiritual experience.”

Appropriate dress in church is as important as flowers, decorations and incense in creating the right setting, he said. “It is essentially preparing a devotee for coming to church,” Father Vinoth added.

Meanwhile, the administrator of the Madhu Marian shrine has also appealed to pilgrims to dress modestly.
“Modest dress is beginning to disappear,” said Father Anthony Victor Sosai, who is also vicar general of Mannar diocese.
The shrine follows traditional Catholic norms and customs on dress, Father Sosai said, noting that Hindu, Buddhist and Muslim places of worship have enforced a strict dress code for centuries.

Laypeople have also expressed concern over declining dress standards.

“Who is going stop these abuses in churches?” asked Lawrance Gonsalvaz Coonghe, a senior Catholic reporter.

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