Vatican City, 10 January 2014 (VIS) – This morning in the Sala Clementina the Pope received in audience the Gentlemen of His Holiness, the corps created by Pope Paul VI in 1968. They are laymen who are recompensed for their work for the Church and receive this honorific duty on a discretionary basis. They form part of the lay papal household, like the Commandant of the Swiss Guard. They were previously known as the Papal Chamberlains of the Sword and Cape, a role that was either by secret participation or hereditary. Their main current role is to receive heads of Government or State upon arrival in the Vatican and to accompany them to their meeting with the Pontiff.
“The various Authorities and other personalities who visit the See of Peter experience their first contact with this House and receive their first impressions through you, dear Gentlemen”, remarked the Pope. “As your name indicates, the gifts of politeness and cordiality are therefore necessary to put these people at ease. These human qualities find their most authentic root in a life inspired by faith, which bears witness to evangelical coherence unmarred by worldly attitudes”.
Pope Francis commented that the time of the Nativity is now nearing its end, and he encouraged the Gentlemen and their families to ensure that “this inner light is not dispersed, so we may bring to our daily, family and professional lives the joy of faith, which is expressed in charity, benevolence and tenderness”.
“I bless you all and wish you a serene and fruitful year. Let us pray for each other”, he concluded.