02 October 2020, The Tablet

The souls of the young are being 'stolen' warns Pope

The souls of the young are being 'stolen' warns Pope

Pope Francis welcomed 38 recruits to the Swiss Guard at the Vatican today.
CNS photo/Vatican Media

Pope Francis has warned against the danger of “spiritual pillage” in which the young are in danger of having their souls stolen by the excesses of today's world.

“In today's social environment, many young people are in danger of having their souls stolen if they follow ideas and lifestyles that only satisfy material desires and needs,” Pope Francis said as he welcomed new recruits to the Swiss Guard in Rome.

The Swiss Guard, set up in 1506 at the time of Pope Julius II, consists of unmarried Swiss Catholic men between 19 and 30 years old and who have served in the Swiss Army. After the 1981 assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II, they are trained in armed and unarmed combat.

The Pope referred to the Sack of Rome in 1527, when many lost their lives defending the Pope during a battle known as the “Stand of the Swiss Guard” which was almost annihilated.

Pope Francis said: “I warmly greet the new recruits who, following the example of many of their compatriots, have decided to devote a certain time of their youth to serving the Successor of Peter. The presence of your family members shows the solidarity of the Swiss Catholics towards the Holy See as well as the moral upbringing and the good example with which the parents passed on the Christian faith to their children and conveyed a sense of generous service to others. I also extend a grateful greeting to the representatives of the Foundation of the Pontifical Swiss Guard.

Recall the “glorious past” of the troop, he continued: “We are thinking above all of the Sacco di Roma, in which the Swiss Guards courageously defended the Pope.” 

Commemorating this made today's guard alert to “spiritual pillage”, he said.

“The time that you will spend here is a unique experience in your life: live it in a spirit of brotherhood by supporting one another to lead a meaningful life marked by Christian joy.

“Through the oath that you will take the day after tomorrow, you may also prove your fidelity to your baptised vocation, that is, your fidelity to Christ, who calls you to be people and Christians who really shape their own lives. With his help and with the power of the Holy Spirit you can calmly face the obstacles and challenges of life. Do not forget that the Lord is always by your side. So I wish you from the bottom of my heart that you will always feel his presence and his support.”


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