MANILA, Philippines - Saying the summer heat should not be an excuse to ignore a dress code in church, Church officials the diocese of Tagbilaran in Bohol province are set to drive home their point - with shawls.
Tagbilaran, Bohol Bishop Leonardo Medroso said the shawls will be draped on women who wear "backless" shirts when attending mass in church.
"Mahirap naman papuntahin sa sastre, bigyan na lang ng shawl, bahala na paglabas ng simbahan, hindi lang sa simbahan [It's hard to send a tailor to church, so we're going to cover their backs with shawls. They can wear whatever they want outside the church, but they must observe a dress code while inside]," Medroso, who chairs the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines Episcopal Commission on Canon Law, said in an interview on Church-run Radio Veritas.
He said he has asked parishes in the diocese to supply the shawls.
Medroso reminded churchgoers that a church "is a place of worship and therefore it has to be respected accordingly."
Short shorts and plunging necklines are also a no-no, he added.
"Dito sa aming Diocese nagpagawa kami ng kuwan tarpaulin na inilagay namin kung ano ang bagay at kung ano ang hindi bagay na isuot sa pagsimba [Here in our diocese we have a tarpaulin where we list what the appropriate clothing is]," he said.
In 2007, the Manila Archdiocese issued a set of guidelines on proper dressing in church, following complaints that some churchgoers had not been clad properly for church.