The new barracks of the Vatican Swiss Guard, the elite and colorfully dressed corps that protects the pope, will be designed to accommodate female guards even though they are not yet allowed, a Swiss newspaper reported, Report informs via Reuters.
Nearly all of the guards are single men who live in a communal barracks just inside the Vatican gates. The commanders and married members live in separate apartments. All members are Swiss citizens.
The 50 million Swiss franc ($54.49 million) project for a new barracks is due to be completed by 2026 and will upgrade the guards’ quarters to single rooms with private bathrooms, Swiss newspaper SonntagsZeitung reported.
“From the beginning, it was important to us that the new building provide space for serving women,” the newspaper quoted Jean-Pierre Roth, who heads the foundation overseeing the project, as saying.
Allowing female recruits would require the pope’s approval. The president of the Pontifical Swiss Guard Foundation, which supports the guard financially, said that would help find new recruits for the 135-strong corps, which needs to hire around 30-35 a year to keep the number stable.
“As soon as female guards are allowed, the guard’s recruitment potential will increase,” foundation President Ruth Metzler-Arnold, told the newspaper.
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