Pope Francis continues his housecleaning and reform of the Vatican. His most recent, surprising move? The pope has dismissed the head of his security force, the Swiss Guards.
The Telegraph reports that Pope Francis has fired Colonel Daniel Anrig, who has headed the Swiss Guards since 2008. The official Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, made the announcement that Anrig would be leaving the job in January. According to the BBC, the one sentence announcement read:
The holy father has ordered that Colonel Daniel Rudolf Anrig end his term on 31 January, at the conclusion of the extension of his mandate.
While no explanation was given of why the pontiff made this move, The Telegraph says that Pope Francis considers Anrig to be overly strict. According to The Telegraph, the pope emerged from his private suite one morning to find an exhausted Swiss Guardsman, who had been standing watch outside his door all night. “Sit down,” the pontiff reportedly told him.
“I can’t, it’s against orders,” was the guard’s reply.
Pope Francis replied, “I give the orders around here.” He then went to fetch the guardsman a cappuccino.
This move is one of many Vatican reforms brought about by Pope Francis.
The pope, who has earned the nickname, “The People’s Pope,” has signaled a desire to end some of the pomp surrounding his office. He largely eschews the ornamented raiment worn by his predecessors, preferring a simple, unadorned robe. He was seen shaking hands with a Swiss Guard member in October, breaking protocol, which calls for the pope to treat members of the force in an aloof manner.
Pope Francis has made it clear that he believes that much of the security surrounding him is unnecessary. When he has traveled abroad, the pontiff has been driven in a small car, rather than an armor plated limousine. It is reported that he doesn’t care for restrictions on his movement put on him by the Swiss Guard and the Vatican police force. It is also said that he would like the Swiss Guard to become “less military.”
When Daniel Anrig leaves his post at the end of January, he will be replaced by his current deputy, Christoph Graf. The Telegraph describes Graf’s management style as “more paternalistic,” which seems to be more in line with the temperament of Pope Francis himself.
H/T: The Telegraph | Image courtesy: Alessandro di Meo/EPA