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Chaplain: some Swiss Guards have never previously been to Confession

Catholic World News - May 10, 2012

The chaplain of the Swiss Guards has revealed that some Swiss Guards have not been practicing Catholics or made an individual confession before joining the corps.

“Although they are all baptized, confirmed and recommended by their parish priests, they have very different experiences,” said Msgr. Alain de Raemy. “There are individuals who never went to Mass on Sundays and whose families weren’t practicing. However, they discovered the possibility of the Swiss Guard and wondered why they couldn’t deepen their faith.”

“Sunday Mass is obligatory and attendance is controlled militarily, and they know this when they enter the service and when they submit their application,” he added. “They also know that there is a chaplain who will give them religious instruction during the recruits’ schooling … an intensive catechesis that lasts for a month.”

“There is always a great number of confessions, including of individuals who never went to Confession, because , this happens, unfortunately, in Switzerland, given the collective absolutions and similar things,” the chaplain continued. “So they discover this possibility that the Church offers and the Spiritual Exercises, of which they take real advantage.”

“We are the best provider of Switzerland of consecrated lives, given that the average of vocations in one or two a year,” Msgr. de Raemy also noted. “Many times persons who never imagined it when they left for Rome, become religious or diocesan priests.” These priests will be faithful, he said: “they have heard the Pope directly and not [been] deformed by the media; hence, they have a far more positive attitude towards the role of the Holy Father and the spiritual direction of the Pope and the Church.”

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  • Posted by: ColmCille - May. 10, 2012 6:50 PM ET USA

    Interesting. While at first I wondered why parish priests would recommend non-practicing Catholics for the Swiss Guard, it occurred to me that it might be the best thing they could do for these young men. It might just save their souls.

  • Posted by: parochus - May. 10, 2012 5:55 PM ET USA

    Speaking about the Sacrament of Confession in reference to such a small, finite group of men is at the very least imprudent.

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