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.

Improperly-dressed Vatican visitors receive a stern warning, but men in frocks are saluted by the Swiss Guards

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

24 responses to “Immodestly-attired Vatican visitors get a dressing down from the Swiss Guards”

  1. Arnold Lane says:

    To help them get about the popetown attractions the Swiss Guard should be issued little bicycles, preferably with horns on them so they can announce themselves.

  2. Russell W says:

    I think that this article is unfair to His Holiness,the Church has to maintain its high standards of sexual morality.

    Arnold Lane,

    Perhaps your suggestion should apply to priests as well,although priests with horns have already been a problem haven’t they?

  3. Buffy says:

    Neck-to-toe garments have never stopped clergy from diddling children, so why is the Vatican so uptight about shorts and sleeveless dresses?

  4. barriejohn says:

    There are, however, times when a Swiss Guard may actually request that you divest yourself of your clothing!

  5. barriejohn says:

    They may on occasions also remove more of their own clothing than might be deemed appropriate:

    A Vatican report on last year’s murder of a Swiss Guard commander and his wife by a junior officer who then committed suicide has done little to quash rumors the killings were a crime of gay passion. The Vatican reported that Cedric Tomay, 23, killed Lt. Col. Alois Estermann, 43, and his wife, Gladys Meza Romero, after Estermann passed him up for a promotion. But the new book God’s Word, Gay Word suggests the two men were lovers, The New York Times reported. Author Massimo Lacchei said he had attended a party at the home of a gay politician where Estermann and Tomay were also guests, and there was no doubt the men were involved in a love affair.

  6. ZombieHunter says:

    Well i suppose it’s about time the swiss gaurds had something to do, I’m curious though are they actual bodygaurds/mercenaries who can fight and are tained in fighting and stuff or are they just there for show??

    it looks like all the major religions are becoming embroilled in a pissing contest to see who can be the most fundamentalist, I’d only go into the vatican city if I was wearing one of those t shirts that says “I like the pope the pope smokes dope” OR the now infamous cradle of filth t shirt that says “jesus is a cunt” on the back even though I don’t actually like cradle of filth 😛

  7. MotoWebbi says:

    John 8:7

  8. Peter Hearty says:

    Many years ago I was refused entry to St Peter’s because I was wearing shorts. I’m going to go back one day, wearing a nun’s habit and wimple, but with fishnets and frilly panties underneath.

  9. Broadsword says:

    I doubt any clergy would be aroused at the sight of ladies in their summer flimsies. Young men in shorts however…..
    It’s tempting to say, “I’ll give it a miss”, but I suppose if you’d spent all that money on your holiday you’ll comply. I wonder if they’d let you in dressed as Andy Pandy?
    Some pics:

  10. barriejohn says:

    Peter: That is my usual attire, and I can confirm that you will gain entry with no problem. Hope that is of help.

  11. barriejohn says:

    ZombieHunter: The Swiss Guard do act as bodyguards, but have a ceremonial role as well.

    To say that there have been rumours of homosexual activities would be an understatement of massive proportions!

  12. stargraves says:

    MotoWebbi – I think it’s fair game to point to people dressed like that to guffaw – as I NEVER dress anything like them, and I am indeed free from sin, so I’ll chuck stones wherever I see fit – metaphorically of course – the people in your vile story book threw them to murder.

  13. Angela_K says:

    It looks as though the old perv in the photograph is leering at the young men in their panto outfits? Improperly dressed: pot-kettle-black!

  14. Deacon Titter says:

    Simple solution is dont go there.

    Thanks for the clowns on bikes comment. I now have circus music and images of swiss guards with big red noses and floppy feet going around in my head.

  15. Arnold Lane says:

    Russell, as all Victorian ladies knew well riding a bicycle can be very tricky in a frock.

    Side-saddle might work

  16. barriejohn says:

    I have posted a response to Arnold’s comment, but I think I addressed it to Deacon Titter. As it has disappeared completely now, I can’t be absolutely sure what I said, but I had better post this information now, otherwise when it does appear the two comments may well be nowhere near one another!

  17. Ivan says:

    All stripey like that – those guards look like humbugs.

    I wonder if the Pope has ever sucked one?

    A humbug, I mean……

  18. Janstince says:

    ZombieHunter – I wouldn’t suggest picking a fight with the Swiss Guard. Not only do they have training in modern weaponry (I think they have pistols concealed in their uniforms, somewhere), as well as hand-to-hand combat, but they also receive training with the sword and pike/spear/halberd. They can use those things, to great effect, if need be.

  19. Arnold Lane says:

    barriejohn, you have guessed my “strange hobby”

  20. barriejohn says:

    Mine too, Arnold! Doing anything this weekend?

  21. ZombieHunter says:

    I did some snooping around the net too and apparently along with pistols they are also trained in the use of submachine guns and assault rifles and are trained in close quarters combat among other things these guys are packing some series heat though I found claims that they faught off nazis during world war 2 I find that claim a tad bullshit.

    However I wonder who would win in a fight between the swiss gaurds and the iranian women ninja squad.

    maybe it’s something for the next series of deadliest warriors 😛

  22. Bob Hughes says:

    Never a problem to have a bash at the Vatican, of course. But I would point out that the Italians have always, to my knowledge, frowned on the scruffier visitors, more from the point of view of style than religion. Years ago, in Milan, I had my collar felt by guards at the Brera gallery for slouching around in travel-shabby denims. Actually, they hauled me out and chucked me down the steps – but then, I had been lurking around for hours jotting notes (I had to justify my travel grant with an essay on Renaissance Art); and my itinerary was unfortunately in the wake of a bunch of thieves who had struck a week before. Conversely, when I went back and showed them my sketch-pad (copies of stuff I’d seen, including their own Mantegna’s “Dead Christ”), they took me back in, set me up with a chair and let me carry on scribbling while they brought me coffee and a panino. They also bought me a pack of cigarettes. You might think of it as “tough hospitality.” On the same trip, in Assisi, I was asked to roll my sleeves back down before going in to see the frescoes in the basilica. And I admit to a wry smile when, a couple of years ago, the mayor of Venice got the local police to start issuing warnings to tourists (and locals) whose vests, shorts and so on were considered unrepresentative of la dolce vita. The Italians in general are great because they care about this stuff; quality control, basically, whether it’s the way you dress, when and how you drink your coffee, the sheer unthinkability of a bad pizza or gelato. So I’d cut them a bit of slack here.

    Just for perspective. The pope’s still a joke, natch.

  23. Robster says:

    The poop and his crazy cronies have really set the standard for krazy klothes. Those funny men in their flowing robes, silly but gorgeous hats, oh the hats! The church should set up a clothing kiosk near the turnstiles and make a further shekkel from the deluded as they pass over…I mean through…