Pope gives historical “Urbi et Orbi” blessing today
This has never happened in the 2000-year history of the church!
Pope Francis (83) donates a special blessing “Urbi et orbi” (“the city and the world”) to the worldwide victims of the Corona Pandmia in the evening (6 pm March 27) after a prayer in front of St. Peter’s Basilica.
This most important blessing of the Roman Catholic Church with its 1.3 billion members is usually only donated at Easter and Christmas, the highest church holidays, and immediately after a papal election.
Connected with the reception (e.g. by TV and the Internet) according to Catholic teaching is an indulgence, the remission of sins.
Strong symbol, no “magic”
Before that, the Pope wants to pray in front of the Blessed Sacrament alone, in front of the huge, deserted St. Peter’s Square.
“This is not about magical security,” says the Vatican. “Theologically, sacrament and blessing mean the promise to a person that he should live safely and happily, despite all external circumstances.”
Means: The blessing should give confidence to the healthy, give consolation to the sick, take away a little the fear of death from the dying, in the church’s understanding the moment when everyone has to be accountable to their creator for their lives.
At the beginning of the Corona crisis, the faithful were deeply concerned about Francis himself, having coughed several times on public occasions and canceled appointments. A test for Corona was negative.
Priest infected from the papal guest house
Now that there is the fifth confirmed corona case in the Vatican despite foreclosure, the head of the church, who had to have a lung removed at a young age, had to be tested again (again negative). The reason: a priest who, like him, lives in the Santa Marta guest house (just behind St. Peter’s Basilica) has become infected.
Parish priests and friars belong to a special risk group, especially since they are often old and often have contact with the sick. According to the Italian Bishops’ Conference, 67 clergymen have already died from the coronavirus, the youngest at the age of 53.
The case of the priest Giuseppe Berardelli († 72) from Casnigo near Bergamo (northern Italy) made headlines worldwide. He did not use a ventilator for the benefit of a younger patient. It is not yet certain whether the life of the younger patient – who is not personally known to him – could be saved.