Pope Francis is facing mounting criticism over his apparent refusal to wear a face mask. Despite rising cases of Covid-19 in the Vatican, Italy and across the globe, the Holy Father has been seen wearing a protective face mask only twice.
Last week, Francis held a private audience with Spanish prime minister Pedro Sànchez. Neither wore a mask, also the latter was pictured wearing a face covering as he entered the Vatican. Similarly, after his general audience in the Vatican auditorium last week, Pope Francis’ face was uncovered despite close interaction – handshaking and conversation – with a number of bishops.
Father Augusto Zampini spoke to the press following a roundtable for the Vatican’s Integral Human Development department. “We are working on that” he said of the pope’s apparent decision not to wear a mask. The pope, said Zampini, “has started to use the mask now and I hope he will use it.”
Last week, Jesuit father Thomas Reese of the National Catholic Reporter wrote an open letter to the pope, in which he condemned the Holy Father’s apparent decision on protective wear. “This is bad on so many levels. You should know better. Please, wear a mask.”