The image of these days is that of the Argentine Pope leaning out the window of the pontifical palace to give a blessing to a completely deserted San Pedro square
The coronavirus Forced Francisco, accustomed to skipping all the protocols and security measures, to stop the popemobile to give hugs, take the mate they offer him and receive hundreds of thousands of people, to become a telematic pope.
The image of these days is that of the Argentine Pope leaning out of the window of the pontifical palace to give a blessing to a completely deserted San Pedro square, but with hundreds of thousands of people following the Sunday Angelus for Internet.
Even during World War II, on July 19, 1943, after the American bombardment of Rome, Pope Pius XII went to the San Lorenzo neighborhood, where more than 4,000 bombs fell and 3,000 people died and more than 11,000 were injured, to hug people.
He left the Vatican with his car, reached the affected area and was surrounded by thousands of people. It is said that he returned with his robes stained with blood.
With all trips canceled, Francisco’s only departure was on March 15 in an empty Rome that he did not know that the pontiff walked along the central Via del Corso.
He went to the Church of San Marcello to pray before the wooden crucifix that was left intact in a fire in 1519 and that three years later it was carried in procession through the neighborhoods of the city to invoke the end of the plague that devastated it, so which is considered “miraculous”.
Previously, Francis had gone to the Basilica of Santa María la Mayor to pray before the Byzantine icon of the Virgin “Salus populi romani”, highly appreciated by the faithful and venerated over the centuries in times of war, plague or famine.
The damned virus does not allow Francisco, 83, to approach the faithful, but tries to be close to them thanks to technologies.
Many people have discovered that the mass 7:00 a.m. that the pope celebrates at his residence, Casa Santa Marta, and which was reserved for a few, and is now broadcast live on the Vatican television channel and in Internet. A consolation for many Catholics who can no longer go to mass.
Francisco is dedicating these masses and his prayers every day to one of the categories of people who are suffering the most in this pandemic.
The general audiences that gathered 25,000 people from different countries every Wednesday, in which the pope offered his catechesis, greetings in different languages and some appeal regarding particular situations that occur in the world, continue.
There is no longer an opportunity to greet the pope, make him kiss the children or offer him mate: they are held in the library room of the papal palace, where the heads of state and government are received and are also broadcast live
It is a cold moment, without applause, without music bands, without the performances of artists, but the pope continues to pronounce catechesis and send his messages.
He has also canceled all the hearings with the groups that were being held either in the Pauline Chapel or in the great Paul VI classroom, and he only maintains personal meetings with the members of the Curia.
To maintain closeness with Catholics, this Wednesday he called all the faithful of the world to pray the prayer of our Father at noon, a gesture with which he wants to universalize prayer to fight the pandemic of the coronavirus.
In addition, on Friday, March 27, another surreal image will be produced again when at 18:00 local time the pope goes down to Saint Peter’s Square for a moment of prayer in the face of total emptiness and will give the Urbi et Orbi blessing in an authentic desert.
This is how it is expected to be the Vatican Holy Week, with the Pope Francisco that officiates the rites without the presence of the faithful and without the traditional Way of the Cross of the Colosseum.
Again technologies will help the Pope reach all Catholics.