Vatican City, 20 January 2014 (VIS) – This morning, for the first time in his pontificate, Pope Francis received in audience the workers and agents of the General Inspectorate for Public Security at the Vatican. It is an entity within the Italian police force, responsible for the protection of the pontiff during his visits within Italian territory and vigilance in St. Peter's Square, in agreement with the authorities of the Holy See.
The Holy Father thanked them for their work, especially in St. Peter's Square. “We are all aware of the need to guarantee the protection of the special characteristics of this unique place, ensuring its nature as a sacred and universal space. This requires a discreet but attentive vigilance. Indeed, in St. Peter's Square people are serene, one moves calmly and is able to appreciate a feeling of peace”.
He also referred to the work carried out by officers during events attended by large numbers of faithful, who come from all over the world to see the Pope or to pray before the tomb of St. Peter or those of his successors, “especially those of John XXIII and John Paul II”. It is a task that requires “technical and professional preparation, along with careful vigilance, politeness and dedication. Pilgrims and tourists, as well as those who work in the various offices of the Holy See, know that they are able to count on your cordial assistance”.
The Bishop of Rome did not neglect to thank them for their efficient activity during the days preceding the Conclave following the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, and he took the opportunity provided by today's meeting to renew his sincere thanks, and those of his collaborators, to those who “offered their contribution to ensuring that everything took place with order and calm”.
Finally, he expressed his wish that their service at the Vatican be for each member of the Inspectorate “an opportunity for growth in faith. Faith is the most valuable treasure that your families have entrusted to you, and that you are called upon to transmit to your children. It is important to rediscover the message of the Gospel and to welcome it in the depths of your own conscience and in the reality of everyday life, witnessing God's love with courage in every environment, including the workplace”.