If you visit St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican anytime soon, don’t expect to see many tattoos.

New regulations from the Vatican bar workers in the basilica from having visible tattoos or piercings, according to Crux, a Catholic news site.

They also can’t have a criminal record, and they must be a member in good standing of the Catholic Church.

“The rules apply to all employees of the basilica, who include artistic experts and architects in addition to the so-called Sampietrini, meaning laborers who carry out routine maintenance and operations,” Crux reported.

The basilica’s head of communications told Reuters that the new rules codify policies that were already in place in other forms.

Rules for visiting Vatican

Although the new tattoo rules don’t apply to visitors to the Vatican, many guests already cover up their ink before walking into St. Peter’s Square or St. Peter’s Basilica.

That’s because the Vatican requires visitors to wear pants, shorts or skirts that go down at least to their knees and shirts that cover their shoulders and upper arms.

Guards in the area will check to confirm you’re not wearing “shorts or skirts above the knee, sleeveless tops, and low-cut shirts,” according to Vatican City Tours.

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Catholic teachings on tattoos

The Catholic Church does not have an official stance on tattoos.

However, that doesn’t mean church members should feel free to get inked with any and every symbol under the sun, according to the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney.

The archdiocese’s article on tattoos notes that Catholics should take a thoughtful approach to tattooing and choose designs that “communicate a positive message,” rather than an offensive or morally problematic one.


“It is not something to be rushed into,” the article says.

During a 2018 meeting with young adults, Pope Francis was asked by a young seminarian about whether tattoos are a good or bad part of modern culture, according to Catholic News Service.

The pope responded that tattoos should be seen as an opportunity to begin a conversation about values and belonging.

“Don’t be afraid of tattoos,” Pope Francis said, noting that Christians have been getting cross tattoos for centuries, per Catholic News Service.

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