Your beauty should not come from outward adornment such as braided hair or gold jewelry or fine clothes, but from the inner disposition of your heart, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in God’s sight. (1 Peter 3:3 — 4)
Reading these two Bible verses, I was reminded of conversations I have had with nudists.* I was reminded of how people have found going naked to be empowering and liberating.
I don’t believe that these verses are telling people “Go naked.”
What I believe these verses are telling people is “Your value as a human being doesn’t come from your body — from the clothes you wear. Your value as a human being comes from your spirit — from the fact that you are created in the image and likeness of God.”
On a related note:
Dress can…help to accentuate the sexual values in different ways…
What is…immodest in dress is that which frankly contributes to the deliberate displacement of the true value of the person by sexual values…
Nakedness as such is not to be equated with physical shamelessness. Immodesty is present only when nakedness plays a negative role with regard to the value of the person, when its aim is to arouse concupiscence, as a result of which the person is put in the position of an object for enjoyment.
The point of posting those words of St. Pope John Paul II is to say:
I believe that a person who is naked can be more modest than a person who is clothed.
What is more modest?
A piece of clothing that draws attention to a certain body part, that implicitly says “This body part is the most important aspect of who this person is.”
A person who is naked who implicitly (or explicitly) says “Look beyond my naked body and see the person underneath.”
*The reason I talk to people who are nudists is to reach out. (Mark 16:15) As a Catholic, I see it as my mission to spread love and empathy and, thus, I don’t like people being swept under the rug. Which is what I feel like the Catholic Church’s attitude towards nudists is: Just pretend that people who go naked don’t exist. Why do I feel that way? Because how of little I have found written by Catholics about the subject of nudism. Catholics need to be made more aware that “People who go naked exist.” For more about why I write about nudism: Modesty and Nudism