WASHINGTON, D.C. – Soon-to-be former Speaker of the House John Boehner visited the Embassy of Switzerland in Washington this week where he officially applied for Swiss citizenship, The Washington Post reported today.
Boehner, who announced his resignation shortly after meeting privately with Pope Francis last week, told Fox News the encounter left him questioning his role “not just in the political sense but in life itself.” The Republican congressman said he took a night to reflect and pray before reaching the decision to resign as Speaker of the House and apply for Swiss citizenship.
“I’ve been called upon by God to live out my remaining years in service to the Holy See,” Boehner told Fox News, adding that once he’s granted citizenship he intends to enlist in the Swiss Armed Forces. “In a year’s time I’ll be eligible to apply for the Pontifical Swiss Guard,” Boehner said, referring to Vatican City’s de facto military force.
The Pontifical Swiss Guard has been responsible for the safety of the Pope and the Apostolic Palace since 1506 and consists of approximately 110 foot soldiers. In addition to Swiss citizenship, admission into the Swiss Guard requires that applicants are Roman Catholic, between the age of 19 and 30, and are unmarried.
When asked by this reporter if he was aware of the age and marital requirements necessary for service in the Swiss Guard, Mr. Boehner declined to comment.
Speaker Boehner announced Wednesday that the House will hold elections on October 8th to determine his replacement. Congressman Kevin McCarthy of California, currently the second-ranking House Republican, is considered to be the top candidate for the job.