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Friday, May 6, 2011


VATICAN CITY, 6 MAY 2011 (VIS) - This morning the Holy Father met with the thirty-four recruits of the Pontifical Swiss Guard, accompanied by their parents, who will be sworn in during a ceremony to take place this afternoon.

  Referring to the "infamous Sack of Rome, during which the Swiss Guards valiantly defended the Pope, even giving their lives for him", the pope said that "the memory of that earthly pillage makes us reflect that there exists the threat of an even more dangerous pillage, one that can be called a spiritual attack. In today's social context, many youth run the risk of falling into an progressive impoverishment of the soul because they are chasing after the ideals and perspectives of a superficial life that only seeks to fulfill material needs and demands".

  "Act so that your time in Rome", he continued, "be a propitious time for you to make the most of the innumerable possibilities that this city offers in order to give an ever more solid and profound meaning to your lives. ... Take advantage of the opportunities offered you to widen your cultural, linguistic, and above all spiritual horizons. The time that you will spend in the 'Eternal City' will be an exceptional moment in your lives. Live it with a spirit of sincere fraternity, mutually helping one another to live an exemplary Christian life that corresponds to your faith and your unique mission in the Church".

  Benedict XVI noted that this encounter offered him the "possibility to show the new recruits my profound gratitude for your decision to be, for a period of time, at the disposition of Peter's Successor and to thus contribute to guaranteeing the necessary order and security within Vatican City".

  "May your meaningful presence at the heart of Christianity, where crowds of faithful are constantly arriving to meet Peter's Successor and to visit the tombs of the Apostles", he concluded, "arouse more and more in each of you, the purpose of intensifying the spiritual dimension of your lives, as well as the intention of deepening your Christian faith, joyfully bearing witness to it by the coherent conduct of your lives".
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