The Funeral of Benedict XVI: The Guard that Protected Benedict XVI

“Gambetti, Cardinal archpriest of the Basilica, immediately after processing back to the sacristy, re-emerged and ordered all of the lights turned off and the Basilica emptied and closed until the next morning. He literally wanted Pope Benedict’s body to lie exposed on the bier, alone, in the dark, unattended, during the overnight hours for the three days of Pope Benedict lying in state in the Basilica.” (From Barnhardt)

The Swiss Guards refused to leave, even when told that they were now off duty, and would have to report for duty again in the morning. They volunteered to stay with the body of Benedict XVI all night.

They are soldiers. It is a well-known fact that soldiers are trained to carry out orders from their superiors. But the desecration of Benedict XVI’s body was an order too terrible for them to follow.

Their actions remind us of St. Paul’s wish for the congregation regarding those united to the Lord, the clergy.

“We beseech you, brethren, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:12)