DAILY CATHOLIC    TUESDAY     May 12, 1998     vol. 9, no. 92

NEWS & VIEWS
from a CATHOLIC perspective

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RETIRED COMMANDANT RESUMES ROLE WITH SWISS GUARD; ACCUSATIONS THAT SLAIN GUARD WAS A SOVIET SPY ARE REFUTED

          VATICAN (CWNews.com) -- Colonel Roland Buchs-Binz, the former commandant of the Swiss Guard, has come out of retirement to resume his old post in the wake of his successor's death, in order to assure some continuity in the service of the pontifical corps.

          In a letter published by the Vatican today, Colonel Buchs pledged that the Swiss Guard would continue to serve the Pontiff with devotion, despite the confusion and mourning caused by last week's tragedy. His success, Colonel Alois Estermann, was killed along with his wife; Corporal Cedric Tornay was found dead at the same time.

          The facts produced to date by the Vatican investigation into the deaths all support the initial hypothesis that Tornay committed suicide after gunning down the Estermanns. However, Italian journalists have produced a flurry of conspiracy theories, speculating that the killings may involve elements of romantic passion or international espionage. No evidence has been produced to support such theories.

          In a related story, the former head of the East German intelligence service told an Italian newspaper on Sunday that the Communist country had a spy in the Vatican, but said it was not the Swiss Guard commander who was murdered last week as some reports had claimed.

          Former Stasi chief Markus Wolf told the Turin newspaper La Stampa that Colonel Alois Estermann was not a spy for East Germany. The Polish newspaper Super Express had quoted Wolf as saying that Estermann was spy for the Stasi. Estermann died in a murder-suicide last week when he and his wife were shot by a junior Swiss Guardsman apparently upset at being passed over for decoration.

          La Stampa interviewed Wolf by telephone from his house near Berlin and quoted the ex-chief as saying the Stasi mole was a German researcher working in a Vatican scientific academy. He said the German spy was in his 80s when Wolf left the Stasi in 1986, but refused to say what the mole did. The Vatican has refused to comment on reports about a potential spy in the Vatican or that Estermann was the mole, calling them ridiculous.


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May 12, 1998       volume 9, no. 92
NEWS & VIEWS

DAILY CATHOLIC

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