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Archive for Thursday, July 24, 2003

Reasonable rules

July 24, 2003

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Other public and private entities should follow the Vatican's example by enforcing reasonable standards of dress and behavior.

Congratulations to Vatican officials who have stood firm on the dress rules for those wishing to get into St. Peter's Basilica.

Recent news reports tell of many tourists being denied entry into the Basilica because they were dressed inappropriately, wearing shorts, miniskirts, tank tops, etc. Apparently this has been an issue in previous years, but it has attracted far more attention, disappointment and anger this year because of the unusually high temperatures Europe is experiencing this summer.

Tourists tell of traveling substantial distances to visit the Vatican and, because of the heat, wearing outfits that don't meet the church's dress code. Some who have been turned away say they thought the dress code applied only when the pope was present but learned they were in error.

According to an Associated Press report, not only the Vatican but the diocese of Rome and its hundreds of churches require what church officials believe is appropriate dress. However, unlike the Vatican, most of the churches do not have guards, and dress codes often have been skirted.

But, again, it's good to learn Vatican officials are standing by their dress policy. In far too many cases, there may be rules, policies or regulations on various matters but officials find it easier to look the other way and permit violations in order to avoid a confrontation.

Almost anything goes these days concerning dress, manners and language. One has to wonder just how much lower standards can slip before the general public says enough is enough.

It is a puzzle why so many individuals think they have a right to dress and behave however they wish and that the owners of an establishment -- public or private -- don't have the right to set policies about how people will be required to dress or behave if they wish to use those facilities.

It would be good if more officials at more institutions and businesses had the courage to enforce reasonable standards.

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