DAILY CATHOLIC     THURSDAY     May 6, 1999     vol. 10, no. 89

from a CATHOLIC perspective

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On first anniversary of Commander's murder

          VATICAN CITY, MAY 5 (ZENIT).- A year after the murder of Swiss Guard Commander Alois Estermann, and his wife, Gladys Meza, and the suicide of the murderer, Cedric Tornay, the Swiss Guard is being reformed at the request of the Holy Father himself.

          Tomorrow, 35 new recruits will be sworn in. At the same time, three documents will be published establishing new norms which will govern discipline in the Corps. Among other things, there is a change in the criteria for recruitment. Special attention will be given to psychological requirements. Candidates will be administered a professional examination. New directives will be given, which will cover honors and promotions.

          The Swiss Guard is the oldest army in the world. It was established by Pope Julius II in 1503. Its feast day is May 6. On that day, in 1527, the Guards gave proof of heroism by sacrificing their lives in defense of the Pope during the sacking of Rome by the imperial forces of Charles I of Spain. These historic origins, according to Pius Segmuller, Estermann's successor, are the reason why changes are "slow, so as not to destroy important traditions." The reform will also institutionalize contacts with the Swiss army and police.

          The Swiss Guard has taken advantage of its feast day to inaugurate a new site on Internet at http://www.vatican/curia_romana/guardia_svizzera ZE99050505

Articles provided through Catholic World News and Church News at Noticias Eclesiales and International Dossiers, Daily Dispatches and Features at ZENIT International News Agency. CWN, NE and ZENIT are not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provide this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.

May 6, 1999       volume 10, no. 89


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