A Catholic priest thought he was preaching to the choir Monday when he said women should dress modestly to protect the “purity of men at holy Mass.”
But Twitter didn’t see it that way.
Father Kevin M. Cusick, a former Lieutenant Commander in the U.S. Navy chaplain corps in the Washington, D.C.-area, addressed “ladies” earlier this week, sharing a story that a colleague of his was “forced” to “ask” a woman at Sunday’s service to cover her shoulders.
“Please help the priest to protect the purity of the men at holy Mass by choosing to dress modestly,” the priest wrote in a now-deleted tweet.
Cusick added: “The alternative is awkward for all involved. Thank you.”
The immediate response was overwhelmingly negative.
“It was creepy and inappropriate to say anything,” an Ohio priest wrote. “And rather obviously, shoulders are not immodest. The [message] sent here is that women cannot attend Mass [without] being sexualized, which is gravely wrong. Men need to get it together.”
Another user flipped the script: “Actually, Jesus said if her shoulders are causing u problems, it’s on YOU, not her to fix the situation.”
“Father, I understand your organization is most comfortable covering things up,” another user tweeted.
But some defended the veteran priest.
“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,” wrote Catholic writer, Stephanie Nicholas.
And while Cusick doubled down on his original tweet, saying he thought and prayed about it, the Catholic father deleted his account after saying he wasn’t going to “engage in the endless Vatican II style debate that goes back-and-forth constantly and ends up nowhere.”
Later, he acknowledged Twitter isn’t the venue for his commentary.
“Twitter does not lend itself well to some sensitive subjects,” Cusick told Yahoo Lifestyle, adding “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.”