Skip to comments.Catholic Word of the Day: NOBLE GUARDS, 07-02-14
Posted on 07/02/2014 9:38:21 AM PDT by Salvation
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The highest ranking corps of the papal ministry service. It originated in the light cavalry that was a mounted guard for the Pope and had been reorganized many times. Pope Leo XIII gave them their modern name. The Pope appointed the commander, who was always a Roman prince. All members were to show a sixty-year line of nobility recognized by the papacy. They appeared with the Pope at public functions and left always with him. They were privileged to convey the tidings to newly appointed cardinals of their appointments. The Noble Guards were abolished in 1970.
All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.
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I suppose it only makes sense, in these days. Back in the day, it was probably a good idea, because aristocrats had real power, and giving them positions like this in the Church was likely to help them respect their religion, attend Mass, and behave themselves.
My Aunt had a friend, Fabrizzio Colonna, who would have been a Roman Prince if his title hadn’t been abolished some time earlier, I suppose by Mussolini. I met him and his wife a few times, once in Rome and a few times in America, and he agreed to act as Godfather to one of my children. I think he was commander of the Papal Guard at one time. I know he held some kind of honorary position in the Church.
Now, of course, there has been an effort to make the Vatican less Roman or Italian and more international, and nobles no longer have any political significance in Italy.
Small world sometimes, isn’t it?
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