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NEWS OF 150 YEARS AGO

November-December 1861

From The Missouri Democrat, Monday, November 4, 1861.

Bishop Timon Pronounces Against Low-Necked Dresses.

Bishop Timon publishes in the Buffalo Sentinel of Saturday a letter addressed “to the honored and pious Christian women of the diocese” upon a subject which he has long refrained to touch--though pressed apparently by divine impulse--low necked dresses. He discourses at much length upon the modesty of dress quoting largely from the Scripture on the score of morality, and from the writings of Catherine Beecher, Dr. Ellis, and others, as respects health, and proceeds to say:

“But whatever may be the sentiment of the learned and wise, on the danger of low-necked dresses to the health; and whatever may be our wishes for the temporal happiness of the Christian women of our diocese; and whatever our zeal for the sacred mission, which women have to cultivate from earliest youth, and form, as only a mother can, the Christian life and spirit, in their sons and daughters, yet we dare not press upon them, in the relations of society, those rules of prudence, when they or their children prefer to wear fashionable low-necked dresses in fashionable circles. But we most earnestly exhort all ladies, the very young as well as those of more mature age, not to appear in church, nor assist at Catholic sacred functions, not present themselves for the reception of the sacrament, without having the neck, shoulders, and breast modestly covered. And we request all pastors of souls and all religious ladies engaged in teaching to use every possible exertion and influence to see that this advice be accepted in the spirit of charity, and of zeal for that which best pleases God, with which it is offered.”

The Bishop trusts that Christian ladies will receive his advice in the spirit in which it is given, and directs that the pastors under his charge touch upon the subject in their discourses.

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