Pontiff Warns Against Danger of Spiritual Pillage

Greets New Recruits for Swiss Guard

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VATICAN CITY, MAY 6, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI is expressing gratitude to the Pontifical Swiss Guard for their physical protection, while warning against a «more dangerous» attack on a spiritual level.

The Pope emphasized this point today while meeting with 34 recruits along with their parents shortly before the ceremony in which the new guards were sworn in.

The Pontiff recalled the Sack of Rome on today’s date in 1527, in which the Swiss Guards «valiantly defended the Pope, even giving their lives for him.»

He continued, «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,» the Holy Father said, «many youth run the risk of falling into a 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.»

He encouraged the guards to reflect on the «luminous face of Christ, who calls you to be real men and real Christians.»

The Pope urged his listeners to take advantage of the time in Rome so that it will 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.»

«The time that you will spend in the ‘Eternal City’ will be an exceptional moment in your lives,» Benedict XVI stated. «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.»

He expressed gratitude toward the new recruits «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.»

The Pope stated, «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, 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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