By Vatican News English Service
Pope Francis, on Monday, expressed his "affectionate" greetings to a group gathered in audience representing the Inspectorate of Public Security at the Vatican on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of its foundation. Among those present were the Interior Minister, Luciana Lamorgese and the Chief of Police, Franco Gabrielli.
He noted that this anniversary celebration of the founding of the Inspectorate is an occasion to thank the Lord for the work of the many men and women of the Italian Police, who for 75 years have competently and passionately kept the bond alive between the Holy See and Italy.
History of service
Pope Francis recalled that the Inspectorate’s mission finds its origins in the Lateran Pacts of 1929. In addition to creating the Vatican City State, this accord also provided for particular arrangements for St. Peter’s Square, with free access for pilgrims and tourists under the supervision of the Italian authorities. Subsequently, in March 1945, the "St. Peter’s Special Office of Public Security" was created.
“From the day of the establishment of that office…a path has unfolded as a sign of the fruitful collaboration between Italy and the Holy See, and between the Inspectorate and the Vatican bodies responsible for public order and security of the Pope,” he said.
The Pope gave the example of the nine-month occupation of Rome by German troops from September 1943 which hindered the faithful from visiting St. Peter's Basilica to pray. He explained that since Rome's liberation on 4 June 1944 and the return of pilgrims to the Basilica, the new office of the State Police at the Vatican has been able to respond to the new needs and has provided this important service of security to both Italy and the Holy See.
Pope Francis noted that even though the institution has taken on other names till its present one, and national/international scenarios, as well as security arrangements have changed, the spirit of the men and women of the Inspectorate has remained the same.
He expressed his gratitude to the officials for their service characterized by diligence, professionalism and sacrifice, particularly exhibited in their patience in dealing with people from diverse backgrounds and cultures.
He further thanked them for their commitment in accompanying him during this travels within Rome and to other dioceses in Italy, acknowledging that is "a difficult job" ensuring that the Pope's travels do not lose their specific character of "encounter with the People of God."
Call to highest values
Pope Francis encouraged the security personnel to see their work as a constant reminder of the highest values - the human and spiritual values that need to be accepted and witnessed daily.
He also hoped that their hard work, accomplished through sacrifice and risk will be driven by a Christian faith which is the “most precious spiritual treasure” entrusted to them by their families which they are called to pass on to their children.
“May the Vatican Inspectorate of Public Security continue to operate according to its distinguished history, knowing how to draw new and abundant fruits from it,” Pope Francis said.
Concluding, the Pope prayed through the intercession of St. Michael the Archangel – the Inspectorate’s patron saint – and Our Lady, that the Lord may reward and protect them and their families.