This morning, Pope Benedict met with the 32 Swiss Guards who were sworn in as members of the corps yesterday. In his words to them, he how important it is to experience the love of Christ and how it unites Catholics from all corners of the world.
Addressing the new recruits in French, Italian and German, the Pope reminded them that one of their missions is "to watch over the home of the Pope, the Apostolic Palace, ... yet not only over the building itself and its celebrated rooms, but particularly over the people you will meet and to whom you will demonstrate your courtesy and concern: ... over the Pope himself, over the people who live with him, and over his collaborators and guests in the Palace."
He continued saying that their task "also touches the life you share with your comrades in arms, who ... have the same duty to serve the Supreme Pontiff 'faithfully, loyally and in good faith' and to give, if necessary, their lives for him."
Turning his attention to the city of Rome, the Pope highlighted its "rich history and culture," at the same time noting how "faith and prayer have over the centuries been transformed into stones and buildings. This is the environment in which we live and that inspires us to take as our model the countless saints who have also lived here, and who help us to progress in our life of faith."
Pope Benedict pointed out that "the center of the Universal Church" is located in Rome. Here, he continued, "we encounter Christians from all over the globe. The Catholic Church is international. Yet in her multiplicity she is nonetheless one Church, expressing the same confession of faith and tangibly united by her bond to Peter and his Successor, the Pope.
"The Church brings together men and women from very different cultures," he added in conclusion. "They form a community in which people live and believe together and, in the essential things of life, understand once another. This is a very important experience which the Church wishes to pass on to you so that you can make it your own and communicate it to others: the experience that through faith in Jesus Christ and in His love for mankind, even such different worlds can become a single unit, creating bridges of peace and solidarity between peoples."