Podcast: Can Italy’s bishops and government agree on reopening public masses?

Sacristan Elias Taveras uses a disinfectant as he cleans the ambo between Masses April 26, 2020, at the Co-Cathedral of St. Joseph in Brooklyn, N.Y. In an effort to keep its parishioners connected to the Sunday liturgy during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Diocese of Brooklyn televises Masses celebrated in English, Spanish, Italian, Polish, Creole, Korean and Mandarin from the co-cathedral every weekend. (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz)

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has announced that Italy will transition into “phase 2” of its coronavirus lockdown, re-opening the manufacturing and construction industries on May 4, followed by libraries, museums, and some stores May 18. Not included in the re-openings were churches, causing outcry from the Italian bishops, who demanded a plan to resume public Masses. On this episode of “Inside the Vatican,” America’s Rome correspondent Gerard O’Connell explains what negotiations are happening between the bishops and the Italian government.

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At his daily Mass on Tuesday, April 28, Pope Francis seemed to respond to the situation, praying, “In this time, during which we are beginning to have the possibility to come out of quarantine, let us pray that the Lord will give his people the grace of prudence and obedience to the instructions so the pandemic will not return.”

The pope has had his eye on the coronavirus response outside Italy as well, speaking with French president Emmanuel Macron two days before a major meeting of European Union leaders to discuss the E.U.’s response to the pandemic. On the show, Gerry and I discuss Francis’ call with Macron along with his other priorities for the multilateral meeting, and we give an update on what decisions came out of the meeting.

Pope Francis has also called the world’s Catholics to pray the rosary in the month of May for an end to the coronavirus pandemic. Gerry and I take a look at the two new prayers the pope penned to accompany the Rosary and discuss Pope Francis’ spiritual leadership throughout the crisis.

Links from the show:

Italian bishops demand plan for resuming public Masses

Pope Francis speaks with French President Macron about coronavirus, international debt relief

Read: Pope Francis’ rosary prayers in the midst of coronavirus

[Explore America’s in-depth coverage of Pope Francis.]

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