The Italian Clergyman In Pope’s Residence Has Virus. What Shall The Righteous Do?
“An Italian employee of the Holy See who lives in the same residence as Pope Francis was reported Thursday to have tested positive for COVID-19 and been hospitalised,” AFP writes.
He is not a new face in the Vatican, having lived a long time in Saint Martha’s guest house.
The coronavirus is no respecter of persons as it continues to attack the high and mighty as well as those living below the poverty line.
Applaudably, the ever-empathic Pope has shared new worship strategies, one of which affects the method of confession and Station of The Cross. This is a rather difficult decision to make and understandably so, the Lenten season is a time when faithful around the world reflect on the sufferings and sacrifice of Jesus Christ. It is a season when they are constantly reminded and taken through the stages of his suffering for 40 days.
At the height of the breakout, the Pope like individuals across nations are in isolation. Since coming down with a cold at the end of last month, the seclusion is important. This does not deter his fellowship with the 1.3 billion faithful as he moves to the Vatican library to record live-streamed messages.
Despite the measures undertaken, The La Stampa and Il Messagro newspapers have now stated that the unnamed priest has been hospitalised in Rome due to the virus and efforts to have been taken to disinfect the building. However, the Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni told AFP he could neither confirm nor deny the reports.
As efforts are now being made to avoid public gatherings and practice self-isolation, what shall the faithful especially in Nigeria do?
Since the first Nigerian case was reported on February 27, the first in sub-Saharan Africa, personal healthy hygiene has forcefully and quickly been adapted by Nigerians. As if common sense has been distributed, Nigerians have reviewed some of their decisions to favour online and virtual meetings and fellowships.
It is no news that the Catholic Diocese in Nigeria has shared conflicting views on the virus. While in Lagos, the Lagos Archdiocese in Southwest Nigeria, through Archbishop Adewale Martins, has forbidding handshakes as well as Public Mass until it over, those in the South-East beg to differ.
The Catholic Archbishop of Owerri, Most Rev. Anthony Obinna, at the Maria Assumpta Cathedral, is quoted as saying,
“The position in Owerri Archdiocese remains what it was during the Ebola saga, namely; Keep yourself and your environment clean at home, in the office or workplace and in and around the Church; wash your hands regularly and as the need arises. You may use a sanitizer; carry on clean handkerchiefs for needed cleaning of nose and mouth.
“For Holy Mass and for the reception of Holy Communion, the priests will wash their hands and communicants should brush their teeth and mouth.
“Holy Communion will continue to be given only on the tongue; the hand-shake of peace will continue to be given to those immediately near you.”
As the number of confirmed cases continues to rise in Nigeria (now 51 at the time of writing), and conversations have moved to how prepared the Nigerian state is to control the virus, there is a need to personally question your decision as an individual.
Besides, the new development of disinfecting the Vatican begs the question: What shall the faithful decide?