Pope Francis’ decision to forgo wearing a mask was noted, with some concern, by the Vatican expert commission he appointed to help chart the path of the Catholic Church through the coronavirus pandemic and its consequences
The Rev. Augusto Zampini, one of the key members of the Pope’s Covid-19 commission, admitted on Tuesday that at the age of 83 and with part of his lung removed after an illness in his youth, Francis would be at high risk of complications if he became infected with Covid-19
« He has started using the mask now, » Zampini said in response to questions from reporters. « And I hope he will use it in the general public, when he is close to people If you are in a open space, we know it’s different But hey, we’re working on that «
Francis has courted some critics for refusing to wear a mask indoors, even though Vatican regulations require masks indoors and outdoors when social distancing cannot be guaranteed Although the Francis’s lung condition could help explain his decision to forgo the mask, he donned one for over two hours last week when he chaired an indoor and outdoor interfaith prayer service in downtown Rome
Yet the next day Francis went maskless to his general indoor audience in the Vatican auditorium, including when he shook hands with a handful of similarly maskless bishops and walked away. bent over to speak privately to each On Saturday he met Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, who arrived wearing a mask only to remove it for the public from the Pope’s library
Photos of unmasked leaders caused slight unrest in Spain over the weekend, but the PM’s office rejected it saying the delegation was following Vatican protocol rules Spain last week became the first country in Western Europe with more than a million confirmed cases of the virus
Zampini said the recent spike in infections in the small town-state worried members of the commission and the Vatican as a whole Thirteen Swiss guards and a resident of the hotel where Francis lives have recently tested positive
« We are very worried, » Zampini said, noting that the Vatican has strict regulations to maintain social distancing and to wash hands in the territory « We have all the protocols in place, but we still have cases »
He admitted, however, that the contagion in the Vatican only pushed back the danger of the virus so that the Vatican itself could witness what the rest of the world is going through and help be part of the solution.
The commission strives to meet the current needs of the Church around the world through concrete acts of assistance, while developing policy recommendations on how governments and institutions can rethink economic, environmental structures , social, health and others to be more equitable and sustainable
Pope Francis, Wilton Daniel Gregory, Cardinal, Catholic Church
World News – AU – « We’re working on it: » Pope Covid-19 advisers and the mask
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