5.12.08

What next?

I wonder what their uniform will look like?

Swiss Guard's new commander is open to possibility of female recruits.


By Carol Glatz
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Swiss Guard's new commander said he was willing to consider the possibility of allowing female recruits.

Col. Daniel Anrig, a 36-year-old Swiss police chief and former member of the Swiss Guard, officially took office Dec. 1 after being named by Pope Benedict XVI in August. He replaces Col. Elmar Mader, who had led the 110-man corps since November 2002.

When asked in an interview after his appointment whether women would one day be able to join the elite papal guard, Anrig told a Swiss news Web site, www.swissinfo.ch, that although he was unfamiliar with the finer details of the Swiss Guard regulations he believed, "as commandant, one has to be always open to new questions including those relating to recruitment."

In an interview Nov. 30 with the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, the new commander said keeping the pope safe has been the task of the Swiss Guard for the past 500 years. The corps members, however, are professionals who receive specialized and advanced security training in order to meet modern-day challenges, he said.

Even though he served as a Swiss Guard at the Vatican for only two years in 1992-94, he said his qualifications come from his experience serving with the criminal police in Switzerland from 2002 to 2006. He was named a captain in the Swiss Army in 2006 and appointed chief of police for the Glarus canton.

Born July 10, 1972, in Walenstadt, Switzerland, Anrig enrolled in a university in Switzerland after he completed his Swiss Guard service.

He earned a degree in civil and canon law from the University of Fribourg in 1999 and taught civil law there until 2001.

He is the father of four children, ages 10, 8, 6 and 4, and is married to a theologian who is currently dedicating herself full time to her family.

Jhesu+Marie
de Brantigny

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