The Vatican Swiss Guards
- The new barracks of the Vatican Swiss guards will be built to accommodate female members if Pope Francis or his successors allow women to join.
- The force, whose principal mission is to protect the pope, has been exclusively male Swiss citizens since its founding in 1506 citizens.
- Officials of the Swiss foundation signed a memorandum of understanding with the Vatican’s Secretary of State on Wednesday.
The new barracks of the Vatican Swiss guards will be built to accommodate female members if Pope Francis or his successors allow women to join the elite and colourfully dressed force.
Officials of the Swiss foundation that is raising the estimated 45 million Swiss Francs ($46 million) to replace the current 150-year-old barracks signed a memorandum of understanding with the Vatican’s Secretary of State on Wednesday.
” An executive from the foundation said that the project included single rooms and private bathrooms.
” There are two main reasons. Boscardin stated that Covid was present at the start of the project and that the other reason is Covid’s potential integration into the guard.
“But, this decision isn’t ours. It belongs to the Vatican and Pope.” he stated.
The force, whose principal mission is to protect the pope, has been exclusively male since its founding in 1506. All men in the force are citizens of Switzerland.
Francis, 85, has named women to a number of senior posts and management positions in the Vatican administration and in March he introduced a landmark new constitution that will allow any baptised lay Catholic, including women, to head most Vatican departments.
The Foundation of the Pontifical Swiss Guard, which supports the guard financially, has already raised about 37 million francs and needs to raise about 7.5 million more, Boscardin told Reuters.
He said work was due to start in January, 2026 so the guards would not be displaced during the 2025 Holy Year, when millions of pilgrims are expect to visit the Vatican.
Due to building restrictions that affect historic buildings, the side facing Rome which is the border of the sovereign Vatican-state will remain or be rebuilt exactly the way it is now.
Constructing a totally new, ecologically friendly and energy-saving building, even if it resembles the old one externally, would cost much less than renovating the existing one, Boscardin said.
Never miss a story. Choose from our range of newsletters to get the news you want delivered straight to your inbox.