updated 8/19/2008 5:44:11 PM ET 2008-08-19T21:44:11

Miniskirts made some Mexicans livid with indignation.

The outrage was directed at the Roman Catholic Church for warning women that the skimpy clothing could provoke sexual violence.

Rev. Sergio G. Roman sounded the alarm against miniskirts in an online publication to prepare Catholics for a church family-values forum next year in Mexico City.

"When we show our body without prudence, without modesty, we are prostituting ourselves," wrote Roman, a Mexico City priest.

Mexican newspaper columnists lampooned the article, and women's rights advocates have assailed it.

Women dressed in miniskirts and low-cut shirts have rallied at the doors of Mexico City's Cathedral during Sunday Mass, carrying signs that read: "Clothed and naked, I am the same."

Guadalupe Loaeza, a renowned Mexican social commentator, said she worried the priest's statements would be taken seriously.

"It gives rapists permission to say, 'Well, she had on a miniskirt,'" Loaeza said. "What the church says has credibility — that's why this type of statement is so dangerous."

The archdiocese said the news media twisted Roman's words and that the article was meant only to provide "moral guidance for the Catholic community."

Skimpy outfits are a common sight on national TV broadcasts in Mexico, but are still frowned upon in most social settings.

Roman's statements echoed recent comments by government authorities elsewhere in Latin America and the Caribbean.

A police superintendent in Jamaica called on women last week to dress with greater modestly to curb rapes on the island.

After an 8-year-old girl was gang-raped by five men at a market in Montego Bay, Steve McGregor blamed rapes this summer partly on girls wearing short shorts and tiny bathing suits.

McGregor was criticized by a Jamaican group that monitored the portrayal of women in the media.

"It's time we stop penalizing the victims," said Afola Shade, the director of Women's Media Watch. "There are men raping babies. Can babies dress skimpily? I think it's time we stop this foolishness now."

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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