Priest faces backlash for asking women to dress modestly at mass: ‘You can’t be serious’

Fr. Kevin M. Cusick faced backlash after taking to Twitter to ask women to dress modestly when they go to church to preserve the purity of men. (Photo: Twitter)
Fr. Kevin M. Cusick faced backlash after taking to Twitter to ask women to dress modestly when they go to church to preserve the purity of men. (Photo: Twitter)

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.”

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.”

“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.

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.

“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.”

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.

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:

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