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Pope Francis

Pope Francis visits Benedict XVI before his upcoming birthday

April 13, 2017. Vatican releases statement that the pope visited Benedict XVI yesterday.

Swiss Guard: renewal of the world's smallest army


One by one, the Colonel calls them up to take their oath to become a part of the Pope's personal guard. With one hand on the flag of the Swiss Guard and with the other, they raise three fingers, symbolizing their oath before the Holy Trinity.

This year, 35 new Swiss youths will promise before God to defend the Successor of Peter.

Their commitment to the Guard is between two and a maximum of 25 years. Prospective members must be single, Catholic men, under 30 years of age. They must also be Swiss nationals, measure at least 5'8”, and have some higher education.

Their main task is to guard all access points to the Vatican, the security of the Apostolic Palace, and maintain order during the Pope's public appearances.