Sunday, March 30, 2014

Jorge and the Swiss Guard

The Pontifical Swiss Guard goes back to the 15th century and Sixtus IV.  They are responsible for the safety of the Pope and the security of the Apostolic Palace.  The Swiss Guard is the de facto military of the Vatican City State.  Since Jorge has declined to live in the Papal Apartments and has chosen to live in the Domus Sanctæ Marthæ (Vatican’s hotel) they are to protect him there.  Sometime in late April 2013, Jorge left his room in the hotel and was surprised to see a Swiss Guardsman standing watch at his door.  The conversation was as follows*:
Jorge: Have you been up all night?
Guard: Yes.
Jorge: Standing? Aren’t you tired?
Guard: It is my duty, your Holiness, for your safety.
 Jorge paused went back into his room and returned with a chair.
Jorge: At least sit down and rest.
Guard: No, the rules do not allow it.
Jorge: The rules?
Guard: My Captain, your Holiness.
Jorge: Well I’m the Pope, and I’m asking you to sit.
Jorge leaves but returns later with some ham and bread which he gave to the bewildered guard.
Jorge: Bon apetit, my brother.
Jorge then turned and left.

Is Jorge trying to stop this Swiss guardsman from doing his duty or is he simply showing compassion for a fellow human being?  A further look at the behaviors of Francis should tip one off as to which is the case.


*The original story Fuera del protocolo: Francisco obligó a un guardia a sentarse y le llevó comida appeared online at on 24 April 2013.


  1. A very touching article. It brought tears in my eyes. God bless the Holy Father Pope Francis.

  2. So, what would he say to Christ on the cross. That looks uncomfortable, why don't you come down and have a ham sandwich? Sorry, Christ would ignore him and stay on the cross. This Swiss Guard should do the same. We must take refuge in the Cross, not in the easy chair and the ham sandwich.

  3. It will depend on whether the Guard is permitted to remain at his post for any other watches, I guess. Either way, few people are permitted to keep their watch.

    Sister Lucy once wrote:

    "Concerning the repetition of the Hail Mary’s, it is not as they would have you believe, that it is an outdated practice. All the things that exist and were created by God are maintained and preserved by means of repetition, continued always from the same acts. And nobody thinks to call the sun, moon, stars, birds, plants, etc. outdated because they revolve, live and sprout always in the same way! And they are much older than the prayer of the Rosary! For God nothing is old. Saint John says that the Blessed in Heaven sing a new song, repeating always: Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord, God of Hosts! And it is new, because in the light of God everything appears with new brilliance."

    Concerning the repetitions of our Swiss Guard - perhaps the sun will go down on them once and for all too.

  4. I think our not so surprising fellow is making a point here (again): who are you protecting, soldier?

    Most of the time he is not even trying hard to play the pope.