Spirit and prayer come in handy for the "delicate" and unique mission of helping protect the pope and maintain law and order on the Vatican's perimeter, said the head of an Italian police force's special unit.
Performing police and security duties "in the heart of Christianity" is a
one-of-a-kind operation, Enrico Avola, general director of the
Inspectorate for Public Security at the Vatican, told Pope Benedict XVI
during a special papal audience with the police force Jan. 14.
It's like following the Rule of Benedict where work and prayer merge in
perfect harmony, which is not easy given that police work means having
to face "evil in its most varied expressions: from crime to the violence
of terrorism, to desperation or even simply the folly of insane and
fanatical people," he said.
The chief inspector's comments came one day after his officers had to
restrain and forcibly carry away four young women who had stripped down
to bare torsos to protest the church's stance against same-sex marriage.
Avola did not mention the incident in his speech to the pope.
The Italian police officers are in charge of providing security and law
enforcement in St. Peter's Square and the entrance area of the Vatican
The special Italian police unit also guarantees and coordinates all
armed escort for the pope, some top Vatican officials and important
heads of state every time they leave or head to the Vatican.
The pope told them in his speech, "May your presence always be a more
effective guarantee of that good order and tranquility, which are
crucial for building a peaceful social life, and that, in addition to
being taught by the Gospel, are a sign of authentic civility."