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Spotlight on Pope's Guardian Angels

John Paul II has more than one guardian angel watching over him, according to the author of a book on the Pope's bodyguards that sets out to reveal the hidden world of guards, bodyguards and intelligence staff dedicated to protecting the Holy Father and the Vatican.

Gli angeli custodi del Papa Author Glauco Benigni told Zenit that the personal security of the Pope exists on many "levels" and is organised according to security at home and security on the road. He says there are visible and invisible security agents.

"The members of the first level cannot be described as secret" though undoubtedly they are very discreet," he said. "Additionally, those of the invisible level are clearly hidden and, therefore, to speak about them is inappropriate and impossible."

The 'visible' include the Swiss Guards, the Pope's personal bodyguards, and the Vatican Gendarmerie. Outside the Vatican walls, in the Italian territory, inspection agents of the Italian police operate, a commando dedicated in particular to the defense of the Holy See.

Benigni said the 15th century job description - to "defend the sacred person from furors and enthusiasm" - still applies. He added that while the 1981 assassination attempt reinforced papal security, a more significant reform occurred in 1970 under Pope Paul VI.

However, in the end Begnini admitted that the Holy Father entrusts himself more to Divine Providence than his security forces.

Many Guardian Angels Watch Over John Paul (Zenit 13/2/05)

Gli angeli custodi del Papa (
Guardian Angel (Catholic Encyclopedia)

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«Gli angeli custodi del Papa» (Avvenire 13/1/05)

15 Feb 2005