Making the rounds on Facebook today was a picture of a group of bridesmaids. Wearing strapless dresses and photographed from behind while sitting in a pew in church, the viewer might easily imagine that the poor things were wearing nothing at all. Of course I was amused; many times I have endured the jarring experience of observing a group of bridesmaids while presiding at a wedding, unable to recognize the anxious creatures as continuous with the group of pretty young women I had met in the same role two evenings before at the wedding rehearsal, so transformed they were by unflattering dresses, fussy hairdos, and too much makeup.
The picture was presented as evidence that more attention needs to be paid to dressing modestly in church. I've never been able to make up my mind on this one. Here in Rome one experiences the phenomenon of the wrapping up of people (women usually, but not exclusively) who show up at the basilicas with too much of themselves exposed. Having observed this procedure many times since living here, I have to say that something about it just doesn't sit right with me, though I haven't been able to articulate just what.
Nevertheless, in observing the picture of the immodest bridesmaids--what a fine title for a parable that would make--my priestly gaze could not help but notice the church's tabernacle, which was also visible. A tabernacle veil of muted, liturgical gold hung before it. I remarked to myself that the tabernacle was the one who had come to church modestly dressed.
So then I got to thinking. I don't think there are any rules about the veiling of tabernacles anymore, and in my current situation I don't have much opportunity to research such a thing easily. But could there be any connection--liturgically, theologically, pastorally--between the veiling or non-veiling of the tabernacle and the question of dressing modestly for church?
What do you think?