Vatican Swiss Guards Resign Over Vaccine Mandate

( Last week, the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, signed a decree requiring all employees of the Vatican to show either proof of vaccination against COVID or a negative COVID test. Under the decree, anyone who doesn’t have the “necessary certifications” will be unable to enter the Vatican and will be “considered inexcusably absent.”

In response three members of the Swiss Guard resigned their positions rather than comply with the Vatican’s vaccine mandate. Three other Swiss Guardsman have been temporarily suspended from duty until they get vaccinated.

According to Lt. Urs Breitenmoser, all Swiss Guards were told to be vaccinated to “protect their health” and the health of anyone they come into contact with as part of their service. Breitenmoser confirmed that the three who refused to comply are “voluntarily leaving the corps.”

The decree signed by Cardinal Parolin is part of the Vatican’s overall “Green Pass” initiative that went into effect on October 1. All citizens and visitors of the Vatican will be required to show either proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test. Any visitor who has a negative molecular or antigenic test will also be granted entry.

The Swiss Guard has served as the Pope’s protective detail since 1506. All members are Swiss Catholic men with a “firm conviction” to serving “Christ’s Church and his Vicar on Earth.”

As the Swiss Guard work in close proximity to the Pope and others, they were asked to get vaccinated. Of the 135 members, only six initially refused. The three that were suspended, finally did agree however, but will remain on suspension until they are fully vaccinated.

At the height of the pandemic a year ago, eleven Swiss Guards tested positive for COVID-19.

Pope Francis, who has been fully vaccinated against COVID, has repeatedly stressed both the altruistic and health value of receiving the shots.

Lt. Breitenmoser noted that in September, the head of the Pontifical Commission of Vatican City State issued an ordinance that people entering Vatican areas either need to be vaccinated or provide a recent negative test. That includes tourists wanting to see the Vatican’s treasures, including the frescoes of Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel.