Earlier this week, guards at the Vatican revealed themselves to be even more priggish than previously thought by refusing entry to tourists who were “inappropriately” dressed. In the past, visitors to St. Peter’s Basilica have been required to dress a bit modestly, but the Swiss Guards—the Pope’s private army—decided to extend the rules to the entire Vatican City State. Females had to power shop for shawls and scarves from nearby hawkers to cover their shoulders, and men had to throw down some Euros for long trousers.
Dressing demurely at temples in India, we get. Mosques in the Middle East? Done and done. But Vatican City State? Please. As if the Church has always worn a halo. “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?” said one woman in her seventies, identified only as Maria. Let’s not forget Pope Ratzi failing to act against priests who sexually abuse children — or all those priests. The Vatican City is home to a post office, supermarket, and pharmacy frequented regularly by Romans, who were clearly not happy about the extemporaneous dress code decision.