More on the Swiss Guard (Happy 500th birthday!)

I still can’t help thinking that the Swiss Guards would secretly love to work in Haifa, and are ripe for a hostile takeover:

New members of the Swiss Guard file into St. Peter’s Square to take their oaths at the Vatican. (Photo from Catholic Press Photo)

The commander also was asked—and not for the first time—whether the Guard ever would include women.

“I cannot imagine that we ever would have women in service,” he said. “We live in a very small barracks, and there would not be room for women.”

“The men are young,” he said, “and I would not want to recruit problems” for discipline.

“Obviously, women are capable of providing security services. That is not the point. It is a matter of discipline,” he said.

Mader said his men have a variety of reasons for seeking a place in the corps.

“It is a mix of motivations, although you will find in all of them a certain religious sensitivity” and a desire to serve the church, he said. Many of the young men say they want to learn another language and culture and meet people from all over the world.

While there is a sense of prestige and honor in being a guard, Mader said, “it is not like it was 30 years ago, when a guard would return home and be seen as one of the pope’s men.”

Swiss Guard to mark 500th anniversary with stamps, Masses, march

I’m convinced these guys will fit right in at the Baha’i World Centre, and they’ll certainly relieve some of the recruitment problems there.

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