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Wearing shorts in church

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Gil A

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2013 Camino Frances
2014 Camino Frances
2015 Camino Portugues
2017 Camino Portugues
Recently I saw a discussion in whether it is appropriate to wear shorts for church and most people tended to agree that it is OK. I realise that many pilgrims are not Roman Catholics or practising Roman Catholics and may not be aware of customs and traditions of the church.

I wanted to clarify this issue quoting from the bulletin of my Parrish; St. Jerome in Brampton, Canada.

"SUMMER ATTIRE: We respectfully ask that all parishioners make an effort to dress appropriately for Holy Mass. Shorts, leggings, yoga pants, tank tops, flip flops, etc are NOT appropriate for Holy Mass. Our respect for the Lord and Holy Mass demands that we dress appropriately."

I think that people in Spain and Portugal may be more conservative than we are in Canada and we are visitors in their country. I am sure no one is going to kick anyone out for wearing shorts at church but I think we should try to comply with customs and traditions.
 
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Anemone del Camino

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"SUMMER ATTIRE: We respectfully ask that all parishioners make an effort to dress appropriately for Holy Mass. Shorts, leggings, yoga pants, tank tops, flip flops, etc are NOT appropriate for Holy Mass. Our respect for the Lord and Holy Mass demands that we dress appropriately."
.
Part time practicing Catholic here. Your quote refers to mass, and in a non touristy area, and non "I carry all my gear on my back" area.

I don't wear shorts on the Camino, so I have never walked bare legged in a Spanish church, but as walking pilgrims visiting churches outside of mass times and for mass, noone blinks.

In fact, you should see what the locals actually wear to attend mass themselves. Saw a parade of women, teens to late 40s, attending one of the Easter week masses and they looked as if they were heading out to a club a man hunt. Super tight low rise pants, with semi transparent tops showing their navel and bra. :eek:

Compared to that, pilgrim walking into a church in mid-thigh/above the knee beige cargo pocket shorts with a merino Tshirt looks super respectful!
 
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2012
@Gil A , thanks for this but I will offer the contrary view. That is that the local people living along the Camino routes are well used and very welcoming to all pilgrims of every denomination and none. While buttock revealing shorts and vest tops may just be a step too far (and yes I've seen both (or is that all three?)) - hiking shorts and short sleeve shirts are accepted without scorn or concern. The Camino is not Brampton, Canada.
 

Gil A

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2014 Camino Frances
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I'm just saying.....
 

SYates

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Recently I saw a discussion in whether it is appropriate to wear shorts for church and most people tended to agree that it is OK. I realise that many pilgrims are not Roman Catholics or practising Roman Catholics and may not be aware of customs and traditions of the church.

I wanted to clarify this issue quoting from the bulletin of my Parrish; St. Jerome in Brampton, Canada.

"SUMMER ATTIRE: We respectfully ask that all parishioners make an effort to dress appropriately for Holy Mass. Shorts, leggings, yoga pants, tank tops, flip flops, etc are NOT appropriate for Holy Mass. Our respect for the Lord and Holy Mass demands that we dress appropriately."

I think that people in Spain and Portugal may be more conservative than we are in Canada and we are visitors in their country. I am sure no one is going to kick anyone out for wearing shorts at church but I think we should try to comply with customs and traditions.

ALL priests on the Camino I ever spoke to have stated 'I prefer a pilgrim in shorts inside my church than one in long trousers outside of it'. Your home parish has a very different situation than the Camino. Please don't discourage any pilgrim to enter a church because they are wearing shorts whilst on pilgrimage. God looks at our hearts, not on what we wear.

Buen Camino, SY
 
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Gil A

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2014 Camino Frances
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My intention is not to discourage anyone from attending church. But we more often than not have choices. I am hoping that my post encourages pilgrims to make the right choice of clothing when attending church.
 
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2002, Toulouse/Aragon 2005, Cami S Jaume/Aragon 2007/9, Mont Saint Michel/Norte/Vadiniense 2011, Norte/Primitivo 2013, Norte/Primitivo 2014. Norte 2015, Cami S Jaume/Castellano-Aragonese 2016
My first Camino was in (I think) 2003 and, over the years, I have seen a notable change in Spanish church wear. Fourteen years ago, jacket and tie was standard for older men and what we call business casual common among (the relatively few) men in their 20s and 30s. On the del Norte last month, I attended masses in four places along the way (Zarautz, Noja, Somo, and Ribadeo) and I only saw one jacket & tie-wearer. In all places there were pilgrims, several of whom wore hiking shorts, and we were made to feel welcome by congregants as well as the clergy.

Fourteen years ago, most women were well-dressed, often coiffeured, and I saw an occasional mantilla. In the past few years I have begun to see clothing, particularly among younger women, which would raise eyebrows in Canada (I recall one young woman whose garb would have sent the eyebrows shooting off the head!).

In my experience, most pilgrims made an effort to clean themselves up; sometimes women pilgrims would wear a scarf or a cloth length à la sarong to be more formal. SYates' observation that priests would rather see pilgrims in hiking shorts in their churches than in long trousers outside them is once which I have heard on several occasions (and once from a bishop). Priests have told me how happy they were to see pilgrims in their churches (they were less enthusiastic about tourists walking around during services and taking selfies). I would hope that baseball-cap wearing pilgrims do try harder to remember that they are to be removed in churches, but maybe that's just me being ancient and querelous.
 

JCLima

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I think that people in Spain and Portugal may be more conservative than we are in Canada and we are visitors in their country. I am sure no one is going to kick anyone out for wearing shorts at church but I think we should try to comply with customs and traditions.
We are not that conservative anymore. You should see what some portuguese wear to church LOL
 
A

Anemone del Camino

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I would hope that baseball-cap wearing pilgrims do try harder to remember that they are to be removed in churches, but maybe that's just me being ancient and querelous.
I wish baseball caps were only worn on the baseball field. I think this is the only item of cloathing that repulses me. And when worn with old, baggy jeans, whote socks and whit running shoes... :eek: Plus, they do little to protect the full head and neck while walking, so not even useful. o_O
 
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AJ

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God looks at our hearts, not on what we wear.

Couldn't agree more. But not everyone would. I have had to cover my sinful legs in several churches in Italy. Also in the cathedral in Barcelona, or maybe that was my sinful shoulders.
 

Terry Callery

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In Porto at the Cathedral Se, I actually saw people taking "selfies" in front of a statue
of Christ on the Cross. I think a respectful attitude (put away the devices!) is most important.
I have taken photos inside old Romanesque Catholic Churches, but only if there seems to be nobody
praying or worshiping. I was educated by Benedictine monks, but had not gotten ashes on my
forehead for 50 years when this Ash Wednesday I went to mass and got ashes at the beautiful
Igreja Carmelitas in Porto. In back of me two women (not locals) were texting and I turned and
whispered (por favor respeito /respect please) this was during Mass!
 
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cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean May/June 2017. Plans to walk Porto 2020
My intention is not to discourage anyone from attending church. But we more often than not have choices. I am hoping that my post encourages pilgrims to make the right choice of clothing when attending church.

Hola @Gil A, as Tincatinker indicated it depends upon the circumstances. If I am in the middle of the day, in full camino garb then I think that is acceptable dress. If I am attending at the end of the day, then a pair of long pants and a clean shirt (footwear of choice) is more suitable. Again thanks for raising this issue - it may help others determine their dress choice. (Loved the comment of SY's priest!)
 

jo webber

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Sept 9th 2017
While I am neither Catholic or religious, in Italy I carried a scarf for my hair if it seemed appropriate at a church. Long pants, long sleeve shirt.

At the mosque in Paris, I covered my hair completely with a large scarf I took just for that reason. There was a modesty dress in my bag, in case it was appropriate.

As a guest in someone's place of worship, I will be respectful.
On the Camino I will wear long pants and a shirt that covers my shoulders - even if it is a t-shirt.
 
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nycwalking

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Ourense to Santiago (2019), CF: (2014, 2004, 2002, 2001). On to Fisterra, (2002, 4, 14).
I attended Mass from Roncesvalles to Fisterra, and I saw all sorts of dress including a Jesus dress-alike in Santiago who'd donned white robe, crown of thorns, and carried a staff, not of righteousness, because he asked for a date mid-service.

Code of dress at my parish in NYC formal in the extreme, ushers wore black tie and tails. Church around corner come-as-you-are. In L.A. parish my dad says parishioners look messy and unkempt.

I truly believe along the caminos the locals appreciate pilgrim attendance far more than concern themselves with our attire.

As an Episcopalian whenever, I stayed in a town for a bit,while volunteering as a hospitalera, I always asked if I could partake of the Eucharist. When trekking point-to-point I did not partake out of respect for Catholic doctrine.

IMHO, go to Mass whenever possible as often as possible as neat and tidy as possible: shorts, t-shirts, and all.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
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My intention is not to discourage anyone from attending church. But we more often than not have choices. I am hoping that my post encourages pilgrims to make the right choice of clothing when attending church.

The right choice of clothing for a pilgrim when attending church is to dress as the pilgrim that you are. This has been the case for centuries. Many mediaeval pilgrims even chose to appear scruffy on purpose, as a penitential discipline.

Anyway, quite apart from that, appropriate church-wear during summer in southern Europe is, very simply, far more relaxed than you may be used to at home, and there is exactly nothing inappropriate about going to church here in your shorts and t-shirt when it's over 30°C outside. This doesn't mean half-naked ; frankly the most inappropriate clothing I've seen is in dressed-up wedding parties looking like they're prepared for a night club party rather than the Mass.
 
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CF 2006,08,09,11,12(2),13(2),14,16(2),18(2) Aragones 11,12,VDLP 11,13,Lourdes 12,Malaga 16,Port 06
Off topic but . . . I was kicked off a public bus one time in Puerto Rico for wearing shorts.
That was in the early 1970's.

I also remember (with horror) flying from Christiansted, St. Croix to visit my parents in Fresno, California wearing a crop top, flip flops, and hip hugger bell bottoms so low they almost touched my pubic hair. To finish off the picture, I carried a 1 year old on my hip. I was 19 and a flower child . . those were the days! I'm surprised they let me on the plane dressed that way!

I try to remind myself of this when I start feeling old and say, "Oh how young people have changed..." because really, they haven't changed THAT much! :p
 

alaskadiver

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
May 2017-Camino Primitivo
April 2019-Camino de Invierno
I wore a short hiking skirt everyday on the Camino. I walked into several churches and attend mass twice in that skirt. My husband had long shorts and so did our friend. We will do it again and God will not care. We are all Catholics, btw. No local even looked twice at us except to wish us a buen camino.
Please leave your own prejudices at home and stop acting like we sill live in the 1800s or belong to some religion where women have to cover their hair or their legs.
 

alaskadiver

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
May 2017-Camino Primitivo
April 2019-Camino de Invierno
My intention is not to discourage anyone from attending church. But we more often than not have choices. I am hoping that my post encourages pilgrims to make the right choice of clothing when attending church.
More often than not we don't have choices. We are walking with a set time frame and I am not going to stop and find a place to get out of my shorts or hiking skirt and put on a pair of pants, especially if mass is about to start.
 
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alaskadiver

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Year of past OR future Camino
May 2017-Camino Primitivo
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ALL priests on the Camino I ever spoke to have stated 'I prefer a pilgrim in shorts inside my church than one in long trousers outside of it'. Your home parish has a very different situation than the Camino. Please don't discourage any pilgrim to enter a church because they are wearing shorts whilst on pilgrimage. God looks at our hearts, not on what we wear.

Buen Camino, SY
Exactly. Giving this idea to pilgrims that they "shouldn't" attend mass because they are walking in shorts is just wrong.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
2012
Its funny isn't it. Even after all these years; two to three thousand for most of the monotheists, much much longer for Old Paganus & his chums, that we still get our underwear in knots about what other people might think.

I'm only ever worried about what my gods might think: and I don't worry a lot about that either. Respect is not about the amount of fabric you have covering your skin, hat on or hat off or whether you know when to stand , sit or kneel. Respect is respect for the fundamental realities of life and human existence and the sheer astonishing fact that we are here at all. Respect is thanks for the light and the heat and the cooling water and the meat and the grain and for the ever transforming fire and for the slow grinding of the stones that made the soil.

I stand naked in my church and no-one questions my fashion choices.

Blessings upon you all. May your costumes bring you comfort.
 

james walter purdum iv

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
camino francés sept 1, 2015
Recently I saw a discussion in whether it is appropriate to wear shorts for church and most people tended to agree that it is OK. I realise that many pilgrims are not Roman Catholics or practising Roman Catholics and may not be aware of customs and traditions of the church.

I wanted to clarify this issue quoting from the bulletin of my Parrish; St. Jerome in Brampton, Canada.

"SUMMER ATTIRE: We respectfully ask that all parishioners make an effort to dress appropriately for Holy Mass. Shorts, leggings, yoga pants, tank tops, flip flops, etc are NOT appropriate for Holy Mass. Our respect for the Lord and Holy Mass demands that we dress appropriately."

I think that people in Spain and Portugal may be more conservative than we are in Canada and we are visitors in their country. I am sure no one is going to kick anyone out for wearing shorts at church but I think we should try to comply with customs and traditions.
It is out of respect but what holds more respect for god than our hearts.. if they banned donations by participants in shorts the second coming would come quicker
 

james walter purdum iv

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
camino francés sept 1, 2015
I was brought up with the idea of wearing one's Sunday Best to church - and when I am on pilgrimage, that is the pilgrim clothes I am wearing every day.
Amen usually 4 ounces... on my knees to the naysayers..
 
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GreatDane

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CF to Burgos Sept/Oct 2014, Burgos to Astorga April 2016, Astorga to SdC 2017
One of the many reasons I wear/hike in a Macabi skirt while I my caminos!
 

Ribeirasacra

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
the highway
Respectful attire? I have had this conversation on another travel forum. It is not true that there is any requirement to enforce any code.
We just had a Fiestas Patronales with a mass in the church next door to me last week. Everyone dressed how they wanted. The two lads who read out some scriptures (sorry but not being catholic nor Galician I do not know exactly what) they were dressed in shorts and trainers. Out of respect I did not take one photo so you will have to take my word on this. Also during the mass two mobile phones rang. The same in a funeral I attend but that time more the two rang.
Last year in La Voz de Galicia reported on the Fiestas Patronales in Monforte de Lemos. Now if there is a ruling about a dress code the two women leading the procession out of the church had not heard about it. I also expect some in the group following these ladies also did not know about this subject either. Link

I also want to add that Spain was the second country in the world to allow same sex marriages, so it is hardly a "catholic" country these days. Even Germany is only just catching up!
 

Gil A

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2014 Camino Frances
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2017 Camino Portugues
Please leave your own prejudices at home and stop acting like we sill live in the 1800s or belong to some religion where women have to cover their hair or their legs.

Ooopsy, it sounds like I touched some raw nerve.

I am sorry if the guidelines from my pastor offend you; still I am sure you will dress according to what your conscience dictates and that is between you and your God. For my part I will try to continue following the guidelines from my priest. By the way, the guidelines are not from the 1800s but from this month and most people at our church comply with them. And yes, we are modern Roman Catholics.
 

james walter purdum iv

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camino francés sept 1, 2015
Ooopsy, it sounds like I touched some raw nerve.

I am sorry if the guidelines from my pastor offend you; still I am sure you will dress according to what your conscience dictates and that is between you and your God. For my part I will try to continue following the guidelines from my priest. By the way, the guidelines are not from the 1800s but from this month and most people at our church comply with them. And yes, we are modern Roman Catholics.
One religion pork ours has become shorts.. god bless
 

alaskadiver

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May 2017-Camino Primitivo
April 2019-Camino de Invierno
Ooopsy, it sounds like I touched some raw nerve.

I am sorry if the guidelines from my pastor offend you; still I am sure you will dress according to what your conscience dictates and that is between you and your God. For my part I will try to continue following the guidelines from my priest. By the way, the guidelines are not from the 1800s but from this month and most people at our church comply with them. And yes, we are modern Roman Catholics.
Nope , no raw nerve touched. I just don't give a hoot what your pastor orders you to do. just don't bring it into this forum.
 
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Ribeirasacra

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the highway
I really do not like this information/request.
Has anyone been thrown out of a church or cathedral for what they are wearing?
I consider Spain in a number of areas to be a more open and accepting society then in other European countries.
If your church/priest has decided on their principles to which you have to live to that is great for your community.
However please do not bring them outside your community and certainly not to Spain.
 
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still I am sure you will dress according to what your conscience dictates and that is between you and your God.
When people ask on this forum whether it's ok to visit a church in Spain or attend mass in Spain in shorts and/or their pilgrim garb, and/or with uncovered hair or shoulders if female they simply want to know whether they will comply with current local customs, with the current local dress code. Whether their outer appearance will make the local congregation or the local priest uncomfortable or not. The very fact of asking such a question shows already that they are sensitive to this issue.

That's why contributions from the (very rare) Spanish and Portuguese residents or foreign residents in Spain or forum members familiar with current Spain, especially along the popular Camino routes, are particularly valuable. At least to me. In this respect, I've not gained much insight from your pastor's message. Other than that there's apparently a congregation somewhere in Canada with dress code issues.
 
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Micah26

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino France's (2018)
In general yrs one should "dress" for Mass. However, the Camino is a pilgrimage requiring a 500 mile trek as an act of faith ( if Catholic). In this case you dress in the clothes you have and act respectfully in Mass. It is more important that people are present than be worried what they are wearing. In the summer we have Mass on the St Lawrence for campers and tourists we are happy when they attend shorts sandals are fine. In winter we used to camp snowmobile to Church. No ione was concerned we weren't dressed up but happy we showed up in our snowsuits after an 8 mile ride!
Long and short respectful presence is appropriate circumstances may prevent attending in "dress attire".
Micah
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
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also want to add that Spain was the second country in the world to allow same sex marriages, so it is hardly a "catholic" country these days. Even Germany is only just catching up!

ewww, now that's really over the line as to what degree of religious discussions are possible, sorry

I shan't compound it by saying what I think about that, except that I disagree significantly, and there are good solid reasons why there's a rule about not discussing religion
 
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now that's really over the line as to what degree of religious discussions are possible
Before the thread gallops off into that direction: I am certain the poster mentioned the example of the legal status of same sex marriage in two European countries (Spain and Germany) simply to indicate to which extent religious belief / belonging to a faith of a part of the population shapes civil society as a whole and and to which extent they can (no longer) impose their rules / beliefs / convictions on everybody's lives. Not easy to keep apart, I know.

Both countries (I think) have managed a status that's commonly called separation of state and church/laicite to a large degree. I don't know too much about Spain but in Germany the recent parliamentary decision was about civil marriage and legal rights flowing from it, based on the German constitution, not about religious marriage based on teachings of the major faiths present in the country. I don't know about other countries but in Germany, unlike in the UK for example, you will never find a civil registry in a church, and as far as I know, you need to get married first at the town hall before a priest or vicar is allowed to marry you in church. I cannot detect expression of religious beliefs in the post but your reaction shows (at least to me) how differently seemingly not-religious comments can be interpreted as religious.
 
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Kanga

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Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
Discussion of religion is not allowed on the forum. The original post comes close to crossing that line. It is helpful for future pilgrims to know what is acceptable while visiting a church or attending mass on the Camino. I think that is as far as the discussion should go. And, if the point has not already been conveyed, normal hiking gear, including hiking shorts, are quite acceptable.

I think, on that note, it is time to close the thread before it runs off into discussions about religion and marriage equality.
 
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