Highlights from the week online

Meet the banker helping an army

The Swiss guards need a new barracks and they’re getting help from the former head of Switzerland’s national bank, wrote Catherine Bosley for Bloomberg. While many ex-central bankers go to think tanks and academia, she said, “former Swiss National Bank president Jean-Pierre Roth, who oversaw the 2008 bailout of UBS, is now chairman of a foundation working to refurbish the quarters of the Vatican-based unit famous for its Renaissance-style uniforms, including striped pantaloons and helmets festooned with feathers.”

The guards have served the papacy since 1506, but their accommodation is no longer fit for purpose and needs to be rebuilt, Bosley said.

“It’s not only that the buildings need an overhaul, but there’s also the need for more space,” Roth said. “The number of guards will be expanded somewhat in the coming years.”

The sheer practicality of Confession

Fr Dwight Longenecker at the National Catholic Register hailed the “sheer practicality, dignity and grace” of Confession. He recalled hearing Confessions along with other priests at a conference. About 500 to 600 people “were able to consult with (hopefully) a wise, cheerful, well trained man who even for a couple of minutes would give them his undivided attention, help them see things more clearly … and assure them that they were loved.” These people didn’t need “umpteen sessions of psychoanalysis” or “expensive treatments”.

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