Father Kevin Cusick, a Catholic priest and retired Navy chaplain, tweeted on Monday, June 3, that women in church should cover their shoulders to protect "the purity of men."
Needless to say, Twitter responded to his suggestion with a never-ending wave of disagreement.
In his tweet, which has since been deleted, Cusick wrote:
"Ladies, a priest I know was forced on Sunday to ask a woman at Mass to cover her shoulders. Please help the priest to protect the purity of the men at holy Mass by choosing to dress modestly. The alternative is awkward for all involved. Thank you."
The tweet immediately received a slew of negative responses from both men and women who thought it shouldn't be women's responsibility to cover their shoulders so that men would remain "pure."
@MCITLFrAphorism Men who are not able to control themselves around women's bare shoulders/arms/legs/abdomens -- and… https://t.co/Rw9CfUEQ0N— Kimberley Johnson (@Kimberley Johnson)1559608069.0
@MCITLFrAphorism And this is why I despise organised religion. A woman's shoulders are not provocative. Women's bod… https://t.co/ZPJMm2YhSH— Jane Caro (@Jane Caro)1559609839.0
@MCITLFrAphorism hi kevin! in honor of this tweet, i will now be taking up the hobby of attending church in only t… https://t.co/lq3LqOGqlx— jen merritt!!! (@jen merritt!!!)1559608568.0
Other Twitter users pointed out the hypocrisy of Father Cusick calling for women to cover their shoulders so men's minds would remain pure while also part of an organization that covered up decades of sexual abuse against children.
@MCITLFrAphorism Father, I understand your organization is most comfortable covering things up.— A.R. Moxon (Julius Goat) (@A.R. Moxon (Julius Goat))1559613226.0
@StefMNicholas @Illusionalist36 @ZeldaAGabriel @MCITLFrAphorism Because when you say that women are "willfully refu… https://t.co/gmYoBDh2cb— Tara Meyer-Robson (@Tara Meyer-Robson)1559659453.0
There were some Twitter users who defended Father Cusick's perspective, believing women should dress "modestly" in church.
Shoulders are apparently quite scandalous in their minds.
@tarameyerrobson @Illusionalist36 @ZeldaAGabriel @MCITLFrAphorism I am honestly very saddened by how many women tak… https://t.co/oYsIH0XZnX— Stefanie Nicholas ☩ (@Stefanie Nicholas ☩)1559659565.0
@TheCouchman @JaneCaro @MCITLFrAphorism I agree with Father Kevin. Women should dress modestly when going to the ch… https://t.co/E3zJkAYsiR— Kevin (@Kevin)1559731617.0
Cusick would later double down on his previous statement, posting:
"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."
Shortly thereafter, however, it seems Father Cusick was banned from Twitter for violating its rules against "abusive behavior" (though that likely has more to do with his frequent transphobic tweets than his call for covering shoulders).
.@ProtecttheFaith Twitter account Fr. Kevin M. Cusick was deleted by Twitter. https://t.co/BcFa688xmc— Liefde&Trouw (@Liefde&Trouw)1559751319.0
The priest also commented in an email to Yahoo! Lifestyle:
"Twitter does not lend itself well to some sensitive subjects...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."
Cusick's words didn't stop Twitter from shredding him, however.
@MCITLFrAphorism Why? Is the alternative that men will think about sex? Why blame the women for what men think? "Pu… https://t.co/sgMlgDxTJM— Kimberley Johnson (@Kimberley Johnson)1559594473.0
@MCITLFrAphorism Something is really wrong in any religion that is more concerned with women wearing their shoulder… https://t.co/3vi8AZP3Nd— Evette Dionne 🏁 (@Evette Dionne 🏁)1559598794.0
You know your argument is bad when the Church of Satan seems like the most logical voice.
@MCITLFrAphorism What’s awkward is Catholic priests crying on twitter about the “purity of men” being damaged by ca… https://t.co/ucYg91S0Zt— The Church Of Satan (@The Church Of Satan)1559661596.0
@JaneCaro @MCITLFrAphorism Jesus *didn't* say "If your eye causes you to stumble, it's the woman's fault." Jesus *… https://t.co/I5Q1vBYrnW— AC 🛐✝️⛪️👨🏼✈️🤓☧ 🎼🎵🎹🎶🏃♂️🆒🆗 (@AC 🛐✝️⛪️👨🏼✈️🤓☧ 🎼🎵🎹🎶🏃♂️🆒🆗)1559610980.0
Even other Catholic priests couldn't defend Cusick's stance.
@MCITLFrAphorism He was not forced. It was creepy & inappropriate to say anything. And rather obviously, shoulders… https://t.co/QYVdOE9UNQ— Fr. Stuart Wilson-Smith, CSP (@Fr. Stuart Wilson-Smith, CSP)1559585488.0
@swilsonsmith @MCITLFrAphorism Father Kevin Cusick will probably ask that all children coming to mass ensure they a… https://t.co/ZlK3XkqGW8— John Dalton (@John Dalton)1559652927.0
What would Father Cusick's words look like if he was a woman?
@swilsonsmith @4_the_babies @MCITLFrAphorism One has to wonder, given the lack of cloth coverage seen draped across… https://t.co/0gKl2KTXKM— (((DonnaZimmerman))) (@(((DonnaZimmerman))))1559596108.0
It's unlikely, since he's been banned from Twitter, that Father Cusick has gotten a chance to read the wisdom given to him by many internet users in the comments.
One can only hope, or pray, that he's learned something from this.