.- In keeping with an annual tradition, Benedict XVI today received members of the General Inspectorate for Public Security at the Vatican, to whom he expressed his "appreciation and recognition" for their service. While speaking to those entrusted with securing the Vatican for visitors, the Pope recalled that all men and women are “called to be the guardians of our fellows.”
"I well know, also from personal experience, how important for pilgrims and tourists is your discreet presence in the places that constitute the heart of Christian Rome," said the Pope. Many of the people "who visit St. Peter's Basilica or pause under Bernini's imposing colonnade see your faces and not infrequently avail themselves of your help."
"You have the task of protecting and overseeing sites that have inestimable value for the memory and faith of millions of pilgrims, places that contain great treasures of history and art; above all places where, by some inscrutable mystery, the living encounter of the faithful with the Lord Jesus takes place. The People of God, pilgrims, all people understand, as they pass by you, that they enjoy a special and reassuring protection."
The Holy Father concluded with a reflection which, he said, applies to us all: "we are called to be the guardians of our fellows. The Lord will call us to account for the responsibilities entrusted to us, for the good and bad we have done to our brothers and sisters; whether we accompanied them carefully on the daily journey, sharing the anguish and joys of their hearts; whether we stayed beside them discreetly but constantly, helping and supporting them when the path became more difficult and tiring."