40 Swiss Guards sworn in at Vatican

Forty new Swiss Guards were sworn in at the Vatican on Saturday.

The role of the Swiss Guards is to protect the Pope,

Although the Guards have both traditional and modern weapons, Pope Francis told the new recruits they won’t be expected to sacrifice their lives in his service.

Instead, they must serve “the power of faith”.

Saturday’s date, 6 May, when the new recruits were sworn in, is an important anniversary for the Guards.

It was the date in 1527 when 147 Swiss Guards were killed protecting Pope Clement VII during the Sack of Rome.

Because of the Guard’s historical ties to the Pope and the Church, it is important that the recruits selected are practising Catholics with a solid faith life.

These criteria are “fundamental,” to becoming a Guard, their commander, Christoph Graf, says.

The recruits, who enroll for at least two years, must also meet additional entry criteria dating back 500 years to when the Swiss Guards were first created by Pope Julius II in 1506.

The recruits must be Swiss, single, between 19 and 30 years old and at least 1.74 metres tall.


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