Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Pentecostals, Hair, Makeup, Jewelry, and Dresses

Q: I have a Pentecostal friend who says that women shouldn’t cut their hair, wear make-up, or wear jewelry, and that they should only wear dresses because of something in the Old Testament. Is that true?

A: This is not a teaching of the Catholic Church. Some denominations see things differently. Even though God and his teachings do not change, many things like this have to do with the Old Testament Jewish culture and customs. Culture and custom do change.

There is also the consideration of biblical translation. For example, Deuteronomy 22:5 reads, “A woman shall not wear anything that which pertains to a man, nor shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord your God.” Now, this passage doesn’t clearly prohibit pants on women, even though some Christian denominations say that it does. We need to also take into consideration the cultural time. The Hebrews wore a long, sleeved garment similar to a nightshirt. Pants didn’t appear for many centuries after Deuteronomy was written.