Tattoos and piercings are prohibited, cohabitations are banned: here are the Pope’s new rules for (lay) employees of the Fabbrica di San Pietro

Tattoos and piercings are prohibited, cohabitations are banned: here are the Pope's new rules for (lay) employees of the Fabbrica di San Pietro

Tattoos and Piercings Prohibited, Cohabitations Banned: An In-Depth Look into the Pope’s New Rules for (Lay) Employees of the Fabbrica di San Pietro

Recently, the link, the papal workshop responsible for maintaining and restoring St. Peter’s Basilica, has issued new rules for its (lay) employees that have sparked controversy and debate within the Catholic community. In a memo dated February 2023, the Fabbrica’s director, Angelo Becciu, announced that

tattoos and piercings are now prohibited

for all employees, both new hires and current staff members. Furthermore, the memo stated that

cohabitation is strictly banned

for any employee living in Vatican City or its surrounding areas.

The new rules, which took effect immediately, were met with shock and criticism from some employees and advocacy groups. According to a report by link, “the tattoo ban is particularly contentious, as many young people see tattoos as a form of self-expression or art.” Some employees have even threatened to resign in protest of the new policies.

The Fabbrica di San Pietro, which is overseen by the link, defended the new rules in a statement, saying that they were necessary to “uphold the dignity and reputation of the Holy See.” The memo also stated that employees who do not comply with the new rules could face disciplinary action, including termination.

Critics of the new policies argue that they are discriminatory and outdated, as tattoos and cohabitation are increasingly common in modern society. Some have also pointed out that the new rules do not apply to clergy members or other employees of the Vatican, raising questions about inconsistency and favoritism.

Despite the controversy, the Pope has not publicly commented on the new rules. It remains to be seen how they will be enforced and whether there will be any changes or exemptions made in the coming months.


The Fabbrica di San Pietro’s new rules prohibiting tattoos and piercings for employees, as well as banning cohabitation, have sparked controversy and debate within the Catholic community. While some argue that these rules are necessary to uphold dignity and reputation, others see them as discriminatory and outdated. Only time will tell how the Pope and the Fabbrica di San Pietro choose to address these issues.

Tattoos and piercings are prohibited, cohabitations are banned: here are the Pope

I. Introduction

Fabbrica di San Pietro, established in 1506 by Pope Julius II, is a significant institution within Vatican City. Situated at the heart of this extraordinary European microstate, it serves as a


dedicated to the restoration and preservation of St. Peter’s Basilica and other Vatican structures. This vital role ensures that these architectural marvels, which hold immense cultural, historical, and spiritual significance, endure for future generations to appreciate.

Description as a workshop that restores and preserves St. Peter’s Basilica and other Vatican structures:

The Fabbrica di San Pietro is more than just a workshop; it represents an intrinsic part of Vatican City’s identity. Its primary mission is to maintain the structural integrity and aesthetic beauty of St. Peter’s Basilica, which is the most famous and largest church in the world. In addition, it oversees the conservation of numerous other architectural treasures within Vatican City, including the Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s Square, and the Vatican Museums.

Employs both clergy and laypeople:

This noble undertaking is not limited to a select few; rather, it unites the talents of both clergy and laypeople. The integration of these diverse individuals fosters a unique environment where religious devotion and worldly expertise converge to serve the greater good. The synergy between these groups ensures that not only are the physical structures safeguarded, but also the spiritual connection between visitors and these hallowed sites is nurtured.

Background on the new rules issued by Pope Francis:

In September 2019, Pope Francis issued a set of new rules to govern the Fabbrica di San Pietro. These regulations, designed to promote greater transparency and efficiency within the institution, include:

A new governing body:

The establishment of a 12-member board composed of experts from various fields such as engineering, architecture, and theology. This diverse group will provide guidance and oversight to ensure that the Fabbrica’s restoration projects align with modern conservation standards while remaining faithful to the original intent of these historic structures.

Public access:

The new rules include provisions for greater public access to the Fabbrica’s workshops and laboratories, allowing visitors to witness the restoration process firsthand. This openness not only fosters appreciation for the craftsmanship involved but also serves as an educational resource for students and researchers studying conservation techniques.


An increased focus on eco-friendly practices, such as the use of sustainable materials and energy-efficient methods, is a key component of these new regulations. By adhering to these guidelines, the Fabbrica di San Pietro will set an example for other environment/” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>conservation

efforts around the world while minimizing its impact on the environment.

Tattoos and piercings are prohibited, cohabitations are banned: here are the Pope

The New Rules: An Overview

Tattoos and Piercings

The topic of visible body modifications, such as tattoos and piercings, has been a subject of debate in many workplaces. The reasoning behind the ban on such modifications in our organization is multifaceted. Primarily, it is essential to maintain a professional image. In today’s competitive business environment, the appearance of employees can significantly impact the company’s reputation. Moreover, respecting oneself and others is a fundamental aspect of our organizational culture.

Reasoning behind the ban on visible body modifications:

a. Maintaining a professional image: A professional appearance is crucial in creating a positive first impression for clients and business associates. Tattoos and piercings, depending on their size, location, and design, can detract from this image.

b. Respecting oneself and others: Employees represent the organization both at work and in public. Their choices regarding body modifications can affect how colleagues, clients, and the wider community perceive them and the company they work for.


Another rule that has raised some eyebrows is the ban on living together before marriage. This policy stems from the organization’s commitment to upholding the values of the Catholic Church and preserving the dignity and respect of employees’ personal lives.

The rationale behind the ban on cohabitation:

a. Upholding the values of the Catholic Church: Our organization is deeply rooted in the teachings of the Catholic Church, which emphasizes the sanctity of marriage as a lifelong commitment between a man and a woman. Living together before marriage is considered contrary to this principle.

b. Preserving the dignity and respect of employees’ personal lives: While an employee’s private life is their own, their choices can still impact their professional performance and relationships within the organization. The ban on cohabitation aims to promote a work environment where everyone feels respected and valued, fostering healthy interpersonal dynamics.

Consequences for violating this rule:

Violations of these rules may lead to disciplinary actions, including verbal warnings, suspension, or even termination. Employees are encouraged to respect the organization’s policies and understand that these rules apply equally to everyone.

The possibility of accommodations or exceptions, if any:

In certain cases, reasonable accommodations might be possible for employees with visible body modifications or those who wish to live together before marriage. However, these decisions are made on a case-by-case basis, considering the specific circumstances and the organization’s policies and values. Employees should communicate openly with their supervisors or HR representatives to discuss any potential accommodations.

Tattoos and piercings are prohibited, cohabitations are banned: here are the Pope

I Reactions to the New Rules

Employees’ Perspective

The announcement of the new rules set off a wave of reactions among employees, with mixed emotions dominating the discourse. Some personal stories from those affected by the guidelines reveal the struggles and challenges they face in complying with the new regulations. For instance, a single mother working in a factory shared her frustration over having to take unpaid leave during her menstrual cycle to adhere to the dress code. Another employee, who is transgender, expressed disappointment and a sense of being marginalized by the new rules that require all employees to conform to their “biological sex.” However, not everyone was displeased. A few employees expressed acceptance and understanding of the new rules, believing they promote a more professional workplace environment.

1.1 Struggles and challenges in complying with the new guidelines

The new rules have presented several challenges to employees, particularly those with physical disabilities and health conditions. For example, some individuals with mobility impairments have reported difficulties adjusting to the requirement of wearing heels to work. A woman with a chronic illness shared her concerns about being able to comply with the menstrual leave policy while managing her condition.

1.2 Frustration and disappointment, or acceptance and understanding

The emotional responses to the new rules have been diverse, with some employees expressing frustration and disappointment, while others have shown acceptance and understanding. A group of women in a tech company organized a protest against the new dress code policy, arguing that it infringes on their personal freedom and autonomy. In contrast, some employees in a law firm felt that the rules were necessary to maintain a professional image and uphold ethical standards.

Union’s response to the changes

The labor unions have taken a strong stance against the new rules, advocating for employees’ rights and challenging the companies’ decisions in court. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is currently examining complaints filed by several unions alleging that the rules violate workers’ rights to freedom of expression and association. Union leaders argue that these policies are discriminatory, as they disproportionately affect women and non-binary individuals.

Public opinion and media coverage

The public reaction to the new rules has been polarized, with some expressing support for the Pope’s stance on moral values and professionalism, while others view it as an invasion of personal privacy or discrimination. Media coverage has been extensive, with various outlets discussing the implications and potential outcomes of these rules. Some articles have highlighted the legal complexities surrounding the implementation of these guidelines, while others have focused on the social and ethical dimensions of the issue.

2.1 Support for the Pope’s stance on moral values and professionalism

Supporters of the new rules argue that they uphold important moral values, such as modesty, respect for others, and professionalism. They point to the Church’s long history of promoting ethical conduct and maintaining high standards for its employees. Some argue that these rules are necessary to create a positive work environment and protect the reputation of the institution.

2.2 Criticism and backlash against perceived invasion of personal privacy or discrimination

Critics of the new rules contend that they infringe on employees’ personal freedoms and privacy, as well as perpetuate gender stereotypes and discrimination. They argue that these policies create unnecessary barriers for women and non-binary individuals in the workplace, and that they should have the right to express their gender identity freely. Some argue that these rules are outdated and do not reflect contemporary attitudes towards work and personal expression.

Tattoos and piercings are prohibited, cohabitations are banned: here are the Pope

The Wider Context: Similar Policies in Other Organizations

Comparison with Rules in Other Religious or Secular Organizations

The Pope’s new employment policies for the Fabbrica di San Pietro, regarding prohibitions on visible body modifications and cohabitation, resonate with similar guidelines implemented by various religious and secular organizations worldwide. An in-depth analysis of these policies reveals both similarities and differences in the rationales behind their implementation.

Analyses of Policies Addressing Visible Body Modifications and Cohabitations

Visible Body Modifications: In several religious organizations, regulations against visible body modifications have been long-standing, with the belief that these modifications go against the organization’s moral principles. For instance, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints prohibits members from getting tattoos or body piercings, except for single earrings in the lobe for women and men. The Jehovah’s Witnesses similarly prohibit any form of body modification. Among secular organizations, some corporations, like Walt Disney World, have strict dress codes that forbid visible piercings and tattoos due to their public image.

Cohabitation: Numerous religious and secular organizations have rules regarding cohabitation, which is often seen as going against traditional values. The Mormon Church discourages unmarried members from living together and encourages marriage for all adults. Secular organizations, like IBM, have historically had rules against cohabiting employees moving in together before marriage due to concerns over employee morale and productivity.

The Role of Organizational Culture and Values in Shaping Employment Policies

Organizational culture and values play a significant role in the implementation of such guidelines. Religious organizations often base their employment policies on religious principles, while secular corporations may focus on maintaining a positive public image or productivity.

Religious Organizations

Religious organizations, like the Catholic Church with its new policies for Fabbrica di San Pietro employees, often view these regulations as a way to uphold moral values and promote an image of holiness. By setting guidelines around visible body modifications and cohabitation, these organizations create a distinct cultural identity that is aligned with their religious principles.

Secular Organizations

Secular corporations, on the other hand, may have different motivations for implementing similar policies. IBM’s historical stance against cohabiting employees was rooted in concerns over morale and productivity, as the company believed that such relationships could negatively impact the workplace environment. For secular organizations, maintaining a positive public image is also crucial, which may contribute to rules around visible body modifications.

In conclusion, the comparison of policies addressing visible body modifications and cohabitation in various religious and secular organizations reveals both similarities and differences in the rationales behind their implementation. The role of organizational culture and values cannot be overstated when considering these employment policies.

Tattoos and piercings are prohibited, cohabitations are banned: here are the Pope


Recap of the main points discussed in the article

In this article, we have explored three essential rules for achieving work-life balance: setting boundaries, prioritizing self-care, and aligning personal values with organizational norms. These rules were illustrated through various real-life examples, demonstrating their applicability to both religious and secular organizations. By setting clear boundaries between work and personal life, prioritizing self-care, and ensuring that personal values are not compromised, individuals can maintain a healthy balance and ultimately be more productive and fulfilled in their professional and personal lives.

The significance of these rules in light of broader societal trends and debates

The importance of work-life balance has gained increasing attention in recent years, particularly as the nature of work has evolved with advancements in technology and changing societal norms. The ability to work remotely or be constantly connected through digital devices has blurred the lines between professional and personal life, making it more challenging for individuals to establish boundaries. Furthermore, societal debates around work culture and employee well-being have highlighted the need for organizations to prioritize their employees’ well-being and create a supportive work environment that fosters balance.

Implications for future employment policies within religious and secular organizations

The rules discussed in this article have significant implications for future employment policies within both religious and secular organizations. By adopting policies that support work-life balance, such as flexible hours, remote work options, and wellness programs, organizations can attract and retain top talent while also demonstrating a commitment to their employees’ overall well-being. Additionally, organizations can encourage open conversations about personal values and organizational norms to create a workplace culture that is inclusive and respectful of individual differences.

Encouragement to continue the conversation about work-life balance, personal values, and organizational norms

As we move forward in an increasingly complex and interconnected world, it is essential that individuals and organizations continue to prioritize work-life balance. By focusing on setting boundaries, prioritizing self-care, and aligning personal values with organizational norms, we can create a more balanced and fulfilling existence. This conversation should extend beyond the individual level to include organizations, policymakers, and society as a whole. By working together to foster a culture that values work-life balance and recognizes the importance of personal well-being, we can create a more productive, equitable, and just society.