It’s all about clothes.
Below is a vintage photograph of guests at Disneyland in the 1950s.
It’s not too great of a leap to compare the fashions at an amusement park to the clothes at church. With a few scenic adjustments, both the pictures above might be set at any Catholic parish, in their respective decades.
Msgr. Charles Pope offers some other observations:
This is where our culture has gone. It is not just Church. Years ago when my family went out to eat we almost always dressed up. Maybe it wasn’t a full neck tie but at least trousers and a button down shirt. Maybe not a formal dress for mom and sis, but at least a skirt and blouse. A restaurant was considered a semi-formal outing. School was also considered a place where things like jeans and informal t-shirts were out of place. Going down town to shop meant we changed out of shorts and put on something appropriate. Shorts were basically for running around the house, playing in the yard and such. But you just didn’t go out to more public settings wearing shorts and flip flops or even sneakers.
Pardon me for sounding like and old fud but I am not really that old. My point is that culture has changed, and changed rather quickly. This has affected the Church as well. What were fighting is a strong cultural swing to the extremely informal. Most people don’t even think of dressing up for most things any more let alone Church.
He goes on to offer some very good advice on what to wear at mass.
And, since it’s almost summer, I’ll re-post this: Bulletin Announcements I’d Like to See.