back to article Papal crackdown on bare-kneed tourists sparks hypocrisy claims

The Vatican's stripey knickerbocker-clad Swiss Guards have launched a crack down on scantily-clad tourists in and around the Holy See. Reports say that a long-standing modest dress decree has been extended from St Peter's basicilica - the big church - to the whole of the Vatican mini-state. The Pope's halberd-waving steel- …


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  1. Seanmon
    Thumb Up

    I... in in a kilt once. Did it on a dare and it was all a bit anti-climatic.

    But, see Roman girls? See men in kilts? Like THAT!

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I was just wondering what to have for dinner

    >you've got to start somewhere, so why not with spaghetti strap tops

    Spaghetti, but not the strap top variety.

    Once again El Reg has proved to be an inspiration.

    The subject matter of the rest of the article is complete bollocks, suitably covered of course.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Hillarious. Simply hillarious

    >>The crackdown has angered some visitors, who said it was hypocritical for an organisation beset by child abuse allegations to suddenly get all hot and bothered about ladies' shoulders and men's hairy knees

    My thought exactly.

    In fact, when we go back in the church's history; not only do we find actions of evil (Inquisition anyone?); but actions of outright paganism ("Christ"mas anyone?). Crumbs, they even defy God's written word ("go forth and multiply"). Who are they to get all pissy?

    Paris. More pure than the Pope's conscience.

  4. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

    I read the headline

    and wondered about the men in skirts straight away.

    1. Code Monkey

      Cover up

      The church has spent years covering up all that child abuse. It's only fair that the faithful cover up, too.

  5. NogginTheNog
    Thumb Down


    It's their city, they can ask you to where what you like as far as I'm concerned. If you don't like it, don't go.

    And for the 'outraged' to compare this to allegations of child abuse is stretching things more than a bit!

    1. Christoph Silver badge


      If they are saying it is a matter of 'respect' then they had better explain why anyone should respect them. Personally I happen to not respect institutional child abuse.

      1. LuMan


        OK, but you seem quite happy tar the whole Catholic church, its members and all those who have any belief in it with the same brush. Well done. Here are some other pointers you may want to take note of:

        1. All Germans (and associated Austrians) are Nazis

        2. All white people (particularly men) are slave traders

        3. Yes, all men, without exception (even the Pope and Professor Stephen Hawking) are rapists

        4. All Spaniards love to slaughter bulls

        5. All Brits are lager-swilling football hooligans who can't take their beer

        6. All Americans are obese

        Don't worry about facts or anything, Christoph. Just nip out and get yourself a copy of the Daily Mail.

        1. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

          Re: @Christoph

          Mmm. It's sort of a fair point, but your logic is off, considering that list is made of people belonging to groups they did not opt into, or at least could not opt out of. (Race, gender, nationality, religion - one of these things is not like the others.)

          I suppose it's just evidence of how thoroughly the credibility of the Catholic church has been smashed. But then I doubt most commentards, being of a generally atheist bent, would have given it much credibility to start with.

          1. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

            Re: Re: @Christoph

            (Yeah, yeah, so you can change sex or nationality - the point remains and you know it does.)

            1. LuMan

              Not so, Ms Bee

              While I can see where you're coming from (and, to a degree, hold my hands up and say "ya got me") you have, actually, done exactly the same thing - pick a facet of the post and miss the actual point; Christoph has effectively accused the Catholic church of institutionalised paedophilia. Quite a claim, y'honour. I'm not religious at all, but I daresay a (huge) number of Catholics will be angered by the suggestion that they're supporting child abuse by association.

              ....and I'm not sure that all religions are THAT easy to opt out of (certainly not without recrimination or threat of life anyhow).

              As for commentards and religion - well, I totally agree with you. God and Jobs are never well received in these forums. Coincidence...? You never see them photographed together....

              1. Francis Boyle Silver badge

                Not So Quick

                The Catholic Church has over many years shown an institutional tolerance of child abuse in its ranks that goes far beyond mere bad judgement. Time and time again the response of the hierarchy to the discovery of a paedophile priest was to move him to a new area where his crimes were unknown thus materially facilitating his continuing criminal behaviour. In my book that's 'institutional child abuse' as Christoph put it. Will Catholics be angered by the charge. I damn well hope so. Any Catholic who isn't angry and demanding an account from their leaders stands accused of utter hypocrisy.

                As for walking away from the Catholic Church. Yes you can. There's even a formal procedure for it.

              2. Stevie Silver badge


                The point, surely, isn't that every member of the Roman catholic church is a pedophile, but that the head of that church, years before becoming the Pontiff, actively covered up the activities of at least one priest who was a notorious repeat offender, and under common law in most of the western world would be guilty of aiding and abetting at the very least and in some would be as guilty as if they themselves had perpetrated the acts (plural).

                Or, to put it bluntly, the head of the organization, the one who apparently is Spoken to by God, is in it up to his white baseball cap.

                Just as you can't move on with your oil drilling until you've dumped the whining idiot who made everyone even madder at you than a gaziggaliters of oil in the ocean did, you won't clean the image of the RC church until those who were involved in feeling up the altarboys are removed from public view.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward


            Glad you mentioned "at least could not opt out of", considering religion demographics (

            For the too bored to read the link, what religion you will end up as after birth has more to do with where you are born than anything else. For example United Kingdom demographics show a 71.6% of the population are christians of some sort.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward


              >>For example United Kingdom demographics show a 71.6% of the population are christians of some sort.

              There are about 3800 denominations of Cristian religions, each following their own dogma. There's probably a couple score of catholic based religions alone.

              So.. 71.6% doesn't really make any bones from what I can see.

    2. mego


      It's not really their city. According to law, they are more like.. tenants with a lease stipulating their rights. What they DO have is "the right to manage freely the geographic area legitimately owned."; as according to law and statute. the quote above is from a paper discussing ownership of the Vatican city and is from Carlo Lottieri (University of Siena and Istituto Bruno Leoni). Law is law - the Vatican may THINK they own the city (and claim ecclesiastical authority as a basis of that faulty thinking), but they don't in law.

      It's not abnormal for the catholic church to claim things it does not own either. A few hundred years ago, the Vatican claimed to own all the kingdoms that wanted to be "good Catholics". In fact, when this did not work out in some cases, they simply turned to another country and claimed God wanted them to be burnt to the ground.

  6. Rob Crawford

    Well they have covered everything else up

    Yeah the one with the Bumper Book of Snide Comments in the pocket

  7. CatNinja

    Re: News?

    I think you meant wear .... but I agree with the sentiment, if you go to another country you should repect the local laws.

  8. Anonymous Coward

    Vatican: no knees, no shoulders.... Saudi Arabia:


    You know... just to keep things in perspective....

  9. Dunstan Vavasour

    Can't Understand some people

    I see two possible solutions here:

    1) You want to visit the Vatican because you consider it a special place. So you dress modestly

    2) You want to expose your flesh, so you visit other attractions in Rome

    Demanding the right to visit a holy place in camel hoof shorts and a boob tube seems unnecessary.

  10. Z80

    I misread the headline

    and couldn't think why Paypal would have anything against bare-kneed tourists

  11. Anonymous Coward

    Gotta love it

    I got barely half-way down the article when the thought " it's ok to shag little kids, but bare knees is taboo", and the saw that this very point had been addressed.

    But yes - it's good to see that the traditions of an archaic, anachronistic, repressive organisation with a self-imposed deity status of its own is keeping up with the times. That's fine, as long as it doesn't mean being obliged to report to the police any activity involving buggering the choirboys.

    It reminds me of the story last month when the pope described the police raid of some church in Belgium as "deplorable". I love the way the raid is considered in such light but the actual abuse claims being made hardly got a mention. A response of "Oh shit! What can we do to help your investigations" would have been a more civilised response.

    [Concluding rant and verbal abuse of the Catholic church omitted]

  12. Tigra 07 Silver badge

    Didn't see that in the Dulux range...

    "The pope himself generally wears a floor length cassock, which this week he has apparently been teaming with a baseball cap in pontifical white"

    I personally think they should go back to the old robes they had in baby bottom white

    It was a much nicer shade

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    Damned Liberals

    They should go down the Mecca/Medina route and insist that you need to be a Catholic to enter the city.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My house, my rules

    And if you don't like them, you can fuck off.

  15. Winkypop Silver badge

    Knees are sooooo obscene

    I mean, that god fella, what was he thinking?

  16. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

    Can we institute this at Heathrow?

    I'm sorry sir, you can't come in, you're wearing trainers! Lowers the tone of the country.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      Well, the UK Visa system

      already lowers the tone of the country.. more of a pain in the arse than the USA visa process. I don't blame tourists rocking up in badly thought out attire out of protest.

  17. Llanfair

    Someone had to do it

    Head, shoulders, knees and toes.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    second comment on this silly article

    I hate the catholic church but I see much prejudice in many of the comments above. Since the church is full of peadophiles then do you expect them to allow tourists to shag on the floor of St Peter's? No I guess not. So where do you draw the line? It's their state (they have even a seat at the UN - and that's definitely ridiculous) so they make the rules. If you don't like the rules just don't go. At least they are not jailing the half naked tourists, which is still better than what happens if you kiss your girlfriend in Dubai.

    Reading the article halfway through and commenting "they are all peadophiles, why should they care" is rather silly.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The object in this case

      Is that they claim the rule is one of decency; when the act of showing one's knee or shoulder hasn't been indecent in the civilized world for a very long time. And the comments seem to center around the irony that the church is claiming this in the name of decency when they themselves are not..

  19. JMB


    I wonder if we can expect Jeremy Clarkson to tell us next week how he saw the pope trip up and expose his underwear :=)

    Though I expect with all the rest of the goings on at the Vatican it would be no surprise if he wore suspenders and stockings under his cassock.

  20. John A Blackley

    Odd argument

    So, if I undershtand thish touristy argument correctly it goes like thish: Because some of you lot are guilty of paedophilia, I'm allowed to dress anywho I pleash?

    I must be drunk.

  21. The Priest

    So given his previous...

    a nazi uniform will be fine...

  22. RW

    Would a burqa be acceptable???

    One of those ones with only a little mesh window for the eyes, otherwise all-enveloping, similar to a nun's habit. After all, it covers shoulders and knees — and all else, for that matter.

  23. Anonymous Coward


    Does this mean France is going ot ban knee coverings now?

  24. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Dress code

    They have a point, throughout history generally the ones in nice shiny uniforms have been the good guys while a few scruffy weirdos in a bedsheet and sandals have caused all sorts of trouble.

  25. Stevie Silver badge


    He's telling us to cast off knees!

  26. JayB

    ... sort of see the point but...

    I kind of get where the Chief Sky Fairy Prayer Man is coming from, but the entire institution is on kind of a sticky wicket. They're busily jumping up and down telling everyone how they must be respectful and not do anything to upset the Catholic Church whilst simultaneously hiding stuff that has kind of pissed off the rest of the world.

    Moral of the story - people in glass houses really should lay off chucking stones. When the Sky Fairy supporters can prove that they really are whiter than Pontifical White (new from Crown, the Papal range "Pope in a Pot", Pontifical White, Ecclesiastical Yellow, Magdalene Maroon, Papal Purple), THEN I'll start listening to their slightly whacky edicts.

    Sorry, I digress.....

    Mine's the one with the colour matching charts in the pockets

  27. Paul Hates Handles

    One word...


    Though I'm disturbed they don't own the land though; I suppose that means my dream of being deported from The Vatican will never happen :/

  28. Anonymous Coward

    Another option

    While I agree with most of the accusations being leveled at the Vatican (they like to pretend they are holier than everyone else, but they have consistently failed to maintain any levels of decency), I personally suspect the decency crack down has little to do with being offended by knees and shoulders and probably more to do with someone organizing a kick back from the local clothes merchants for increasing their sales.

    I'm reminded of this latin phrase: Liberate tuteme ex inferis

    1. Sooty

      slightly double standard

      As if they are offended by showing knees and shoulders, then they really wouldn't want to be present at a papal inauguration.

      That would be the ceremony requiring the pope to expose his genitals to prove he is male!

  29. Anonymous Coward

    Dress code idea!

    "This is the Vatican City and for reasons of respect, you are not allowed in with uncovered shoulders or wearing shorts."

    What next? They'll be making everyone wear burkahs.

    Actually that might not be such a bad idea - if we all wore one then the priests wouldn't know the difference between a midget, a young boy and a young girl. Then they couldn't choose who to abuse and might leave everyone alone...

  30. Mad Dave


    Are all of the anti-catholic bigots on this thread aware the rate of incidence of child abuse is lower for priests than for the rest of society?

    1. Anonymous Coward

      And are you aware

      that the rate of systematic institutional cover up of child abuse is higher for priests than for the rest of society?

  31. skeptical i

    Didn't the pope warble something about reaching out to other faiths?

    Maybe the new dress code is intended to create more common ground between Catholic extremists and Muslim ones.

  32. Anonymous Coward

    So statistically Non Catholics Abuse more children

    So why the hype about catholics, they seem to be a minority who do this. There are more childrens homes run by non catholics so we should address those Institutional Council Child Abuse or Church or England or Church of Scotland... Just pick your flavour

    We should address the bigger faction who abuse children.

    Down with Non Catholics

    Viva La Revolution

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