Pope Francis keeps distance at general audience over COVID concerns

Vatican Media

Pope Francis stayed a safe distance from well-wishers at his weekly general audience on Wednesday, saying new rules aimed at curbing the coronavirus meant he had to hold back.

“I would like to, as I usually do, go down and get closer to greet you. But with the new regulations, it is better if we keep a distance,” Francis said from a stage.

During the general audience, Pope Francis continued his catechesis cycle on prayer at the weekly General Audience, focusing on the Book of Psalms. He called the Old Testament book a “gymnasium and home of countless men and women of prayer.” Pope Francis said that God inspired the language of prayer in the books so that those who read them might learn how to praise, thank, implore, and invoke Him.

The Pope spoke on how the Psalmist confronts the issue of suffering, saying it is accepted as part of life and thus transformed into a question. “Until when?” he said, is the question that remains unanswered. “Every suffering calls for liberation, every tear calls for consolation, every wound awaits healing, every slander a sentence of absolution.”

The Pope said that the believer finds an answer to suffering in the Psalms. “He knows that even if all human doors were barred, God’s door is open. Even if the whole world had issued a verdict of condemnation, there is salvation in God.”

The Pope added that the person who prays knows that problems are not always solved, but “if we are listened to, everything becomes more bearable.”

On Monday four Swiss Guards tested positive for COVID-19 during the weekend. Vatican Spokesman Matteo Bruni.said that the four all had symptoms of the coronavirus and had been put into isolation. He said that the new cases were on top of three citizens-residents of the city State who had tested positive in recent weeks and were in isolation at home.