A Catholic priest took to Twitter to ask women to dress modestly for church services to “protect the purity of the men”— and people online are not having it.
Father Kevin M. Cusick, an ordained Catholic priest and veteran, wrote a tweet addressed to “ladies,” writing that a fellow priest was “forced” to ask a woman at a Catholic mass to cover her shoulders. Cusick went on ask women to “please help the priest to protect the purity of men at holy Mass by choosing to dress modestly.”
Cusick added, “The alternative is awkward for all involved. Thank you.”
Ladies, a priest I know was forced on Sunday to ask 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. The alternative is awkward for all involved. Thank you.— Fr. Kevin M. Cusick, LCDR (Ret.) ✝️ (@MCITLFrAphorism) June 3, 2019
The tweet faced almost immediate backlash, with both men and women arguing that women shouldn’t have to cover up their bodies to protect the sensibilities of their male counterparts while attending a church service.
“A woman's shoulders are not provocative. Women's bodies are not grenades, liable to explode at any moment,” replied Australian novelist Jane Caro, adding that this is why she “hates organized religion.”
Other women argued that the issues lie not with women’s clothing choices, but men’s inability to “control themselves.”
Men who are not able to control themselves around women's bare shoulders/arms/legs/abdomens -- and the men who defend them -- should not be permitted to be in public spaces with women.— Kimberley Johnson (@AuthorKimberley) June 4, 2019
“I love how men can’t control their own bodies and the solution is to control women’s instead,” wrote Allison Galbraith, a Maryland woman who ran for Congress in the 2018 midterm election.
Kimberely Johnson, a feminist and activist writer, called Cusick a “crock,” advising that he preach that men should be respectful of women instead.
“Why blame the women for what men think? ‘Purity of men’? What a crock,” Johnson wrote. “Why don't you preach that men should be respectful of women and not treat them as sex objects? Go pray on that.”
In response, one Twitter user took the suggestion to cover up as a call to action to do the exact opposite and wear tube tops to church instead. “I will show my shoulders to every man in the establishment, i won’t stop until my collarbone has caused countless erections, and it will all be your fault,” one user replied.
hi kevin!— jen merritt!!! (@jennifermerr) June 4, 2019
in honor of this tweet, i will now be taking up the hobby of attending church in only tube tops. i will show my shoulders to every man in the establishment, i won’t stop until my collarbone has caused countless erections, and it will all be your fault.
Others pointed out the irony in Cusick’s call for women to protect male purity, particularly in the wake of an international reckoning for the Catholic Church in which priests are being charged for molesting children.
Father, I understand your organization is most comfortable covering things up.— A.R. Moxon (Julius Goat) (@JuliusGoat) June 4, 2019
“Something is really wrong in any religion that is more concerned with women wearing their shoulders out than priests sexually assaulting children,” Evette Dionne, the editor in chief of Bitch Media replied.
“You've spoken louder about women's shoulders than about SEXUAL ABUSE OF CHILDREN in the Church. Disgusting,” Kelly Ellis, a former Google software engineer, wrote.
Out of the countless critics online, there were a few women who came to the priest’s defense arguing that women should “help men live chaste lives.”
I am honestly very saddened by how many women take a “not my problem” stance when it comes to how men feel when exposed to the way most women dress today. Have you considered speaking to good, Godly men and seeing what they think?— Stefanie Nicholas ☩ (@StefMNicholas) June 4, 2019
Despite the widespread backlash online, Father Cusick refused to apologize for the the tweet, and instead stood his ground.
“By the way: I’m not backing down from this. 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,” Cuscik later replied.
By the way: I’m not backing down from this. 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.— Fr. Kevin M. Cusick, LCDR (Ret.) ✝️ (@MCITLFrAphorism) June 3, 2019
In an email to Yahoo Lifestyle, Cusick wrote that “Twitter does not lend itself well to some sensitive subjects.”
He added that, “another factor is that even though we may have a very valid point to make sometimes it just happens that we don’t express it in a way that takes into account certain sensitivities and so because of that somebody becomes offended when that wasn’t intended at all.”
See all the reactions to Father Cusick’s tweets below:
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.— Kimberley Johnson (@AuthorKimberley) June 3, 2019
Something is really wrong in any religion that is more concerned with women wearing their shoulders out than priests sexually assaulting children. Make it make sense.— Evette Dionne 🏁 (@freeblackgirl) June 3, 2019
And this is why I despise organised religion. A woman's shoulders are not provocative. Women's bodies are not grenades, liable to explode at any moment. Men's sexual/emotional/paranoid reactions to other people are entirely their own responsibility.— Jane Caro (@JaneCaro) June 4, 2019
What’s awkward is Catholic priests crying on twitter about the “purity of men” being damaged by catching a glimpse of a woman’s shoulder while their church has for decades facilitated, enabled and covered for child rapists.— The Church Of Satan (@ChurchofSatan) June 4, 2019
Jesus *didn't* say— AC 🛐✝️⛪️👨🏼✈️🤓☧ 🎼🎵🎹🎶🏃♂️🆒🆗 (@TheCouchman) June 4, 2019
"If your eye causes you to stumble, it's the woman's fault."
Jesus *actually* said
"If your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out."
I'm sorry that this rubbish still exists. Some of us in organised religion are trying to pluck it out... with a blunt spoon.
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