Women as Swiss Guards? They could make this look good…

The Swiss Guard.jpgAnd they say the Catholic Church never changes…Which is why when the commandante of the Swiss Guards suggests women could be Swiss Guards–the all-male corps that has protected popes since 1506–opens the possibility, it makes headlines.

VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican’s Swiss Guards will swear in 32 new recruits Wednesday amid suggestions from their new commander that women might one day join their ranks.


Col. Daniel Anrig said Tuesday he was open to the idea of women serving in the elite, 500-year-old papal security force, reversing the long-held position of his predecessors.

“Personally, I could imagine it for one job or another, surely,” Anrig told private Mediaset television. “One could think about it.”

He acknowledged there might be logistical problems, since the Vatican barracks housing the Swiss Guards are already crowded. “Sure, there could be problems, but every problem can be resolved,” he said.

The housing crunch has long been cited by previous commanders as the reason why women couldn’t join.

Anrig, a former Swiss police commander with a degree in civilian and church law, was tapped by Pope Benedict XVI to head the Swiss Guards last August.


The 110-strong force provides ceremonial guard duty, assists at Vatican functions as well as helps to protect the pope. The guards are ubiquitous around the Vatican, in their trademark blue-and-gold uniforms, halberds and crimson-plumed helmets.

Currently, each recruit must be a Catholic male, between the ages of 19 and 30, have completed mandatory Swiss military service, have an impeccable reputation and agree to sign up for at least two years.

Sounds like the debate that preceded the race and then gender integration of the military–and the current one over gays in the military, which won’t last for long. Military men I know don’t seem wigged out by it at all. They can handle themselves, in my experience.


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Mere Catholic

posted May 7, 2009 at 1:00 pm

Make what look good? I hope you didn’t mean the uniforms, because I think I don’t think most women would even approve of them. God bless the Swiss Guards but this woman thinks that the wardrobe needs updating.

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posted May 7, 2009 at 1:21 pm

wow …calling for wardrobe update too… didn’t Michaelangelo design them? In the ‘rag trade’ that’s call chuzpah..
Same uniform for women is a must.. no skirts … to many in Vatican already..

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Your Name

posted May 7, 2009 at 2:22 pm

I think this is a good idea; I’m sure that there are many women willing to give their LIVES to protect the pope,as I myself would, No matter what I was wearing! This is a wonderful breakthrough, as well as unexpected I’m sure.None the less;WHAT AN HONOR!!)Thank You. J.S.

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Guy Selvester

posted May 7, 2009 at 2:29 pm

Why is everyone ignoring this phrase:”Personally, I could imagine it for one job or another, surely,” Anrig told private Mediaset television. “One could think about it.”
1. Anrig doesn’t make this decision. He was expressing a personal opinion.
2. He said he could imagine it for one job or another as in, office staff, maintenance of equipment, etc. NOT in a uniform out in front on duty.
This is a NON-story but the world media has picked it up like it’s really going to happen. It isn’t.

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posted May 7, 2009 at 4:12 pm

Guy Selvester is one of those guys that expands the ‘doctrine’ to fit his idea of church in 1956.. a good year but….maybe Guy is Swiss!!!
I still say no skirts

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posted July 12, 2009 at 7:37 pm

Won’t happen in terms of them carrying a lance and direct guard duties. Anyway, they would first have to qualify and remember the Swiss Army has one of the toughest’s reqruitments standards and training in the world making them amoung the toughest out there. Then, only a very small fraction of the applicants get picked up for the Papal Guard Unit. Their level of physical connditioning and training is noteworthy, despite being unknown and shrouded in secrecy. They are a very deadly, elite and can handle themselves amoung the most elite fighting forces in the world. I saw a training video and the skill with the staff and lance is trully astonishing, they could disarm and slice a person to pieces in an instant!

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