Pope Francis did not attend a traditional penitential service with priests of the Diocese of Rome due to a mild cold, the Vatican has said.
Matteo Bruni, director of the Vatican press office, said that due to “a slight indisposition,” the Pope preferred to remain close to the Domus Sanctae Marthae, where he lives.
However, “other commitments will proceed normally,” Bruni said. According to the Vatican, the Pope met with members of the Global Catholic Climate Movement in one of the meeting rooms of the Paul VI audience hall.
News of the Pope’s cold comes as Italy has been on high alert due to the spread of the coronavirus. According to the Italian civil protection service, 528 people have been infected with the virus so far. Twelve, and perhaps, 14 people have died, the office said. The majority of people infected are located in the northern Italian regions of Lombardy and Veneto.
During his weekly general audience on February 26, the Pope reduced his contact with people in St Peter’s Square, shaking hands with only a few people before beginning his talk. The Pope circled the square in the popemobile, waving and blessing people from afar, and the driver and the Pope’s security detail did not stop to pick up any children as is customary.
At the end of his audience, the Pope assured all those affected by the coronavirus of his closeness and prayers. He said his prayers were also with the health care professionals and public officials who were working hard to help patients and stop the spread of the disease.
Lazio, the region surrounding the Vatican, has had three confirmed cases of coronavirus infection, including a married couple from Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the outbreak. All three have recovered from the virus and will soon be released from the hospital, the health ministry said.
Having been unable to sell in churches for well over a year due to the pandemic, we are now inviting readers to support the Herald by investing in our future. We have been a bold and influential voice in the church since 1888, standing up for traditional Catholic culture and values.
Please join us on our 130 year mission by supporting us. We are raising £250,000 to safeguard the Herald as a world-leading voice in Catholic journalism and teaching. For more information from our chairman on contributing to the Herald Patron's Fund, click here
Make a Donation
Donors giving £500 or more will automatically become sponsor patrons of the Herald. This includes two complimentary print/digital gift subscriptions, invitations to Patron events, pilgrimages and dinners, and 6 gift subscriptions sent to priests, seminaries, Catholic schools, religious care homes and prison and university chaplaincies. Click here for more information on becoming a Patron Sponsor. Click here for more information about contributing to the Herald Patron's Fund