Immodestly-attired Vatican visitors get a dressing down from the Swiss Guards
IN what looks suspiciously like an attempt to ape the activities of the Islamic world’s Commissions for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, the Vatican has extended the powers of its Swiss Guard to impose a modesty dress code across the entire city state.
Tourists entering St Peter’s Basilica have long been required to dress modestly, but from early this week Ratzinger’s private army appeared to have extended the rules to cover all of Popetown.
The guards – who wear ridiculous striped blue and gold uniforms, carry halberds and trace their service to the papacy back to 1506 – have been targeting men in shorts and women with uncovered shoulders and short skirts, telling them that they were improperly dressed.
Some of the female visitors bought shawls and scarves from nearby hawkers, while a few men had to wander off to the nearest shops to buy long trousers.
The tough dress code also applies to Romans using the Vatican’s pharmacy, supermarket and post office.
Others were refused entry altogether, and accused the authorities of double standards. Said one woman in her seventies, identified only as Maria:
Given all the scandals the Church has been involved in, what possible right can it have to be preaching about the morality of sleeveless dresses?
The crackdown on inappropriate clothing comes at a time of almost unprecedented crisis for the Vatican, with senior figures, including Pope Benedict XVI, accused of failing to act against priests who sexually abused children.
Hat tip: PaulEd