Italy TravelSwiss Guards Now “Off Duty” As The Pope Leaves Post

Swiss Guards Now “Off Duty” As The Pope Leaves Post
Published on Thursday, February 28, 2013 by
pope-benedictAs of 8 p.m. local time, the Vatican’s Swiss Guards are a protection force without a Pope to protect. Pope Benedict officially retired from the Papacy today as the Vatican is slated to announce Friday the date for the conclave to elect his successor.
According to  the Associated Press reporter who was at the Pope’s summer/weekend residence, “As bells tolled, the Swiss Guards standing at attention in Castel Gandolfo shut the doors of the palazzo shortly after 2 p.m. EST, symbolically closing out a papacy whose legacy will be most marked by the way it ended — a resignation instead of a death.””In a changing of the guard, the Swiss Guards in their yellow-and-blue striped uniforms handed over responsibility of protecting the 85-year-old Benedict to Vatican police as some of the faithful outside shouted ‘Viva il papa!’ — Long live the pope!”

Benedict will spend some time at the Apostolic Palace at Castel Gandolfo, in the hills outside Rome before retiring to a monastery in Vatican City. He said of his transition, “I will simply be a pilgrim who is starting the last phase of his pilgrimage on this earth.”

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