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Francis Bans Vatican Employees from Displaying Tattoos

New rules for St. Peter's Basilica workers threaten suspension for wearing body piercing

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Pope Francis has banned employees at St. Peter's Basilica from displaying tattoos, and has ordered them to "observe exemplary religious and moral conduct, even in private and family life, in accordance with the doctrine of the Church."

The new disciplinary regulations issued on the Feast of St. Peter and St. Paul also prohibits employees from displaying body piercing in compliance with decorum and work environment, and requires them to "wear decent clothing appropriate to the activity to be performed."

The rules also forbid employees from cohabitating outside of marriage and having a criminal record. They must be baptized and confirmed in the Catholic Church and must also produce a letter from a parish priest testifying to their good standing.

Employees are also prohibited from moonlighting while on duty; from using office supplies, tools and equipment, or computer software owned by the Basilica for personal use; and, from receiving or sending private correspondence through the office. 

The basilica's personnel are also banned from giving interviews to the media without prior authorization, and from sharing any information covered by the "pontifical secret."

In a reiteration of the Church's ancient ban on Catholics joining Masonic sects, the regulations also prohibit its employees from "joining institutions or associations whose aims are not compatible with the doctrine and discipline of the Church" or even "participating in their activities."

The "Sampietrini," as the workers are called, will also be required to make a Profession of Faith and take the Oath of Fidelity and Observance of Official Secrecy when they are made permanent after a period of probation. 

The Profession of Faith requires employees to affirm the Nicene Creed and declare that the employee believes "with firm faith all that is contained in the Word of God, written or transmitted, and which the Church, either by a solemn judgment or by the ordinary and universal Magisterium, proposes for belief as divinely revealed."

Permanent employees are also required to "firmly accept and hold each and every truth regarding the doctrine regarding faith or morals proposed by the Church in a definitive way." 

Notably, the staff must "adhere with religious submission of will and intellect to the teachings that the Roman Pontiff or the College of Bishops propose when they exercise their authentic Magisterium, even if they do not intend to proclaim them with a definitive act."

In 2018, Francis famously told a gathering of young people: "Don't be afraid of tattoos," when Yulian Vendzilovych, a seminarian at Holy Spirit Seminary in Lviv, asked the pope how a young priest is to judge which parts of modern culture are good and which are not.

"Of course, there can be exaggerations," Francis elaborated, noting that tattoos were "a sign of belonging," and a priest could "approach the culture of the young" by asking a youth about his or her tattoos as a point to begin a dialogue about priorities, values, and belonging.

The pope also noted that Eritrean Christians had received tattoos of the cross on their bodies for centuries. 

However, the new rules state that St. Peter's personnel could be suspended if they display tattoos. 

In addition, employees are also barred from "taking part in activities, or attending rallies, which are inappropriate for a Vatican employee," an indication of the Vatican's reluctance to be associated with the Gay Pride parade which was staged in Rome on June 15 and has mocked the pontiff multiple times.

In a culture that thrives on nepotism, the new rules prohibit the hiring of close blood relatives of current employees without the express consent of the cardinal in charge of St. Peter's Basilica.

Dr. Jules Gomes, (BA, BD, MTh, PhD), has a doctorate in biblical studies from the University of Cambridge. Currently a Vatican-accredited journalist based in Rome, he is the author of five books and several academic articles. Gomes lectured at Catholic and Protestant seminaries and universities and was canon theologian and artistic director at Liverpool Cathedral.

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4 comentários

good, tatoo's are ugly and disgusting.


Abigail Smith
Abigail Smith
03 de jul.

Does Francis have to follow these rules too?


Can I LOL? Not that I think that is a great tattoo, but it's strange how selective the whole idea is. Ruptnik the porno artist has his disgustig art all over the place, but tatoos gotta go?


02 de jul.


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