Pope Benedict and His Swiss Guards
Pope Benedict XVI is presented the flag of the Vatican's Swiss Guards in Clementina Hall, at the Vatican City, Friday, May 6, 2005. Pope Benedict XVI greeted 31 new members of the Swiss Guard, the elite corps that has helped protect pontiffs for centuries. During the later ceremony in the Vatican courtyard, the recruits raised three fingers in the Trinitarian salute and shouted their allegiance to the pontiff in German, French and Italian. The swearing-in ceremony is held each year on May 6 the anniversary of the day in 1527 when 147 Swiss Guards died while protecting Pope Clement VII during the sacking of Rome. The guards outfitted in their trademark halberds, crimson-plumed helmets and gold and blue uniforms provide ceremonial guard duty, assist at Vatican functions and help protect the pope. Some are armed with guns! The vaticanisti approves of their flamboyant fashion. We wish we were Swiss Guards.