As an atheist the Pope and his recent passing are of no great relevance to me. The thing I find fascinating though, is the Swiss Guard. The outfits always make me think they serve merely a ceremonial purpose, but on Wikipedia I read the following
After the assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II, a much stronger emphasis has been made of the Swiss Guards' functional, non-ceremonial roles. This has included extended training in unarmed combat and with issue SIG pistols and Heckler und Koch submachine-guns.Apparently they also played a part in the French Revolution, in defending the Tuileries palace in Paris. Some 500 men of the regiment were massacred by the invading mob. So a bit more than just ceremonial then.