Ka handshake to greet peace, no preparation of gifts: under Corona conditions, Pope Francis celebrated the traditional Christmas mass in St. At the mass on the occasion of the birth of Jesus Christ, the head of the Catholic Church remembered charity. “Insatiable, we want more and so we rush to the many feeding places of vanity and forget the Bethlehem crib,” he said on Thursday evening at mass in St. Peter’s Basilica.
The Christmas mass had to be brought forward to 7.30 p.m., since stricter corona rules apply in Italy for the holidays and thus also exit restrictions from 10 p.m. With a little more than 100 believers, fewer people celebrated Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica than usual. In the rows of pews, the believers stood at a clear distance from one another and wore masks.
Ecumenical “Word for Christmas Eve” in Germany
Also on Thursday evening, the two highest bishops of the German Evangelical and Catholic Church turned for the first time with a “word for Christmas Eve” to the television audience. It was a special Christmas, declared the chairman of the Evangelical Church in Germany, Heinrich Bedford-Strohm, and the chairman of the German Bishops’ Conference, Georg Bätzing, on Thursday evening after the ARD “Tagesschau”. The coronavirus have “brought immeasurable suffering to humanity, including here in Germany.”
The pandemic has shown people their own vulnerability and made many thoughtful. The question is what is really important in life. “We took a lot of things for granted. Right now we are feeling how valuable life is. ”The current situation can be understood as an invitation to a conscious life and a call to a new solidarity. “It is good if we show consideration for each other these days and protect human life”, emphasized Bätzing and Bedford-Strohm. “The common will to contain the coronavirus is part of this at Christmas this year.”
Christmas more authentic this year?
Pope Francis warned in his sermon not to use one’s lifetime to pity oneself but to “comfort the tears of those who suffer”. The limited scope of this year’s Christmas celebrations obviously upset the 84-year-old Pope. According to Vatican connoisseurs, he is saddened by the way Christmas is being celebrated this year. In addition, cardinals in the inner circle around Francis had recently contracted Corona.
In the run-up, however, Francis had also emphasized that the pandemic was an opportunity to bring the meaning of Christmas back to the fore and not consumption. This makes Christmas more authentic. One should also think of the lonely and sick on the holidays. One phone call, for example, is enough.
“Urbi et orbi” moved inside
This Friday the Christmas celebrations will continue when Francis wants to donate the blessing “Urbi et orbi” in the Benediction Hall of the Apostolic Palace. On this occasion, the Pope also wants to announce his Christmas message. Unlike in previous years, due to the corona pandemic, no crowds can gather in front of St. Peter’s Basilica, so the Christmas blessing has been moved from the loggia of St. Peter’s Basilica to the inside.