The internet promptly destroyed this Catholic priest who begged women to cover their shoulders
Father Kevin M. Cusick, a Catholic priest based in Washington D.C., took to Twitter to complain about a woman whose shoulders were exposed in church. He basically explained that her shoulders were going to make it very difficult for men to contain their sexuality and this is infuriating on about one million different levels.
Cusick wrote on Twitter that a priest he knew had to tell a woman at Mass to cover her shoulders. “Please help the priest to protect the purity of the men at holy Mass by choosing to dress modestly,” he wrote. “The alternative is awkward for all involved. Thank you.”
And he’s not willing to have a dialogue about his opinion, thank you very much. “By the way: I’m not backing down from this,” he tweeted. “I’ve thought about it, I’ve prayed about it and i’m not to going to engage in the endless Vatican II style debate that goes back-and-forth constantly and ends up nowhere.”
The fact that Cusick thinks that men will get turned on by a woman’s shoulders shows that he has very, very low expectations for men. The fact that he’s sexualizing a bit of skin and bone on a woman’s body is also pretty gross and frustrating. A little louder for everyone in the back: We do not have to police what we wear out of fear that some men might have a so-called “impure” thought about us.
ALSO, this whole thinking is just one massive double standard. Some women find men’s backs pretty nice (no? just me?) but you don’t see us asking them to wear a burlap sack to church just in case our mind wanders.
The responses to his tweet perfectly demonstrated the sexist thinking he’s reinforcing, along with the backwards way that he’s treating female congregants.
“Again, thank you for reaffirming my decision to leave the Catholic Church,” @lisastran tweeted. “The obsession with controlling women’s bodies while excusing anything men do with theirs is just one of the many reasons I hope the Church finally dies out due to its refusal to live in reality. Peace out.”
And my personal favorite, courtesy of @AuthorKimberley: “Why? Is the alternative that men will think about sex? Why blame the women for what men think? ‘Purity of men’? What a crock. Why don’t you preach that men should be respectful of women and not treat them as sex objects? Go pray on that.”
Okay, so what should Catholic priests be concerned about, if they’re not panicking about a woman’s bare shoulders? Perhaps the epidemic of children being molested in Catholic churches by Catholic priests. There’s a whole lot of horrible stories to pick from but let’s just point to last year, when it was found that Roman Catholic Church leaders covered up child sexual abuse crimes that 300 priests had committed in Pennsylvania.
“Over one thousand child victims were identifiable, from the church’s own records. We believe that the real number – of children whose records were lost, or who were afraid ever to come forward – is in the thousands,” the grand jury noted. “Most of the victims were boys, but there were girls too. Some were teens; many were prepubescent. But all of them were brushed aside, in every part of the state, by church leaders who preferred to protect the abusers and their institution above all.”
So, yeah a shoulder that’s out in church should be really, really low on the totem pole of Catholic priest’s concerns.