Friday, January 20, 2006

Keeping the pope's Prada shoes safe for the church

Finally the Vatican throws me a bone. How could I have missed it? Today the Swiss Guard is celebrating the 500th anniversary of its service at the pope. What a good opportunity to save a little money and dump some really ugly uniforms. (Contrary to popular belief, those uniforms were not designed by Michelangelo. If they had, it would have been proof that the man was not gay since those uniforms are just too damn ugly for words.) Abolish the Swiss Guards!

I know, I know--they're part of the "pagentry" of the Vatican. No, they're another sign that the Catholic church still has one foot planted firmly in the Renaissance. And besides, the Guards were originally mercenaries hired by Pope Julius II in 1506 to protect him from his many, and I do mean many, enemies. (Like the citizens of Rome!)

Oh, alright, the pope can keep them. With all those grouchy clerics, the Guards--who have to be at least 5 foot 8, Swiss Catholic, male, and evidently good-looking (I haven't seen an ugly one yet)--add some nice eye-candy to the Vatican experience, and I think some actually do provide security.

Asked if women might ever be allowed to serve as guards, though, their current commander responded, "I can't imagine that we would open up the Swiss Guard to women. The barracks in the Vatican are small and cramped, the soldiers are young and I don't want to enlist problems."

Like what? Since they're all Catholic and chaste, I'm sure there wouldn't be any problems on that count. I mean, it is the Vatican. I'm sure there's an alarm or something that goes off if there is any hanky-panky too close to the papal apartment.

And why should those plume-y hats be restricted to men. And don't tell me Jesus only picked men for his Swiss Guards, 'cause I'm not buying it!


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