“The devil is using the crisis to sow mistrust, despair and discord,” Francis said at St. Peter’s Basilica, which was nearly empty due to coronavirus restrictions.
He added that the pandemic had caused physical, psychological and spiritual suffering.
Francis acknowledged that this year was the second time Christians were forced to experience Holy Week amid the pandemic. He said that while people were “shocked” last year, this year communities are “more under pressure”.
“Last year we were shocked. This year, we are under more pressure and the economic crisis has become severe, ”said Francis.
About 120 members of the practicing faith joined the pope and about 30 cardinals in the basilica to attend Sunday mass, according to Reuters, which is an extreme reduction from the tens of thousands who would normally fill St. Stone for an exterior. ceremony.
According to Reuters, almost everyone who took part in the mass, apart from the Pope and the choir, wore masks.
New lockdown restrictions took effect in Italy earlier this month. During the Easter weekend, the whole country will be bound by a nationwide lockdown.
In January, the Vatican announced that Pope Francis and his predecessor, Pope Emeritus Benedict, had received their first doses of the coronavirus vaccine.