Sunday, February 15, 2009

What Is the Difference Between a Bikini Top and Underwear? The Right to Shop.

Casuarina Square is the largest shopping center in Australia's Northern Territory. Australia is a country in which the temperature can get hot and clothes can get scarce. This apparently led to a bit of a misunderstanding.

Barbara Rilatt, a nurse, and her husband Neil, both 28, went shopping. She was wearing a bikini top (see Exhibit A to the right), he a tank top. A lady security guard asked if they had a T-shirt to cover up Ms. Rilatt's upper body otherwise she should leave.

It's not that bikini tops are banned in Casuarina Square, but the security guard thought Ms. Rilatt was in her bra. The shopping center manager, a Mr. Ben Gill, explains, "If someone was wearing underwear, then we would ask them to cover up...If she was wearing a bikini, we have made an error."
I guess you have to draw a line somewhere.

Ms. Rilatt was upset.
"How could you offend someone by being comfortable?" she said. "It is fine to wear your jeans down your crack, but not to wear a bikini top?"

The lady has a point there.

Still I am sympathy for the security guard. With styles' demolishing the distinction between underwear and outerwear, decorum is becoming a tricky concept. Decollage is in (or should I say out?) Pop starlets wear outfits they are mostly out of and even the TV newscasters and the lady with the recipes on cable wear necklines plunging toward their belly buttons.

I would hate to be the one charged with writing the rule leaving bikini tops in and bras out. And what do I do about those tops that look like negligees?

Now if Mr. Rilatt had shown up in the kind of spandex swimming trunks I see men wearing on Aussie beaches, I might have asked him to cover them up with some boxing shorts!

The second picture is of the stalwarts of the Bondi Life Saving Club. I choose these young men to model the style over some other pictures unsuitable for a respectable web site.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Did Benedict Expect Praise?

Did the Pope err in allowing four "traditionalist" bishops back into communion with the Catholic Church? Mary Sanchez thinks so when she writes in today's (2/3/09) Wichita Eagle, that "Healing a schism is one thing, but readmitting right-wing nuts like Williamson is of dubious value to the church."

With Ms.Sanchez I deplore Bishop Williamson's foolish and prejudiced views on the Holocaust and politics as does the Vatican and Bishop Williamson's own Society of St. Pius X. Bishop Bernard Fellay, head of the Society, has forcefully rejected "The position of Bishop Williamson [which] is clearly not the position of our Society. Antisemitism has no place in our ranks. We follow fully God's commandments on justice and charity and the constant teaching of the Church. Antisemitism has been condemned by the Church. So do we condemn it."

Christ gave his church the mission to save sinners and fools as well as those who are more enlightened. Benedict's decision, far from an endorsement of such views, is a courageous attempt to heal a division in the Body of Christ that never should have happened. In too many places the reforms after Vatican II were implemented with great insensitivity toward ordinary traditional Catholics. It is heartbreaking to read the accounts of Catholic intellectuals like J.R.R Tolkien and Evelyn Waugh who suffered through much callousness and sacrilege in the 1970s. Treating those so abused as pariahs led to schism and, tragically, drove some few off into the weird fringes.

Benedict seeks to heal the break by being inclusive. Let us pray he succeeds.