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    Pope Benedict XVI resigns: A Swiss guard stands in front of the Vatican. IMAGE (Getty Images: Christopher Furlong)

  • Vincenzo Patricolo

    Pope Benedict XVI's last general audience - The Big Picture -

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Holy See - Pontifical Swiss Guard - The Swiss constitution, as amended in 1874, forbade all military capitulations and recruitment of Swiss by foreign powers, although volunteering in foreign armies continued until prohibited outright, in 1927. The Papal Swiss Guard remains an exception to this prohibition, reflecting the unique political status of the Vatican and the bodyguard-like role of the unit.