General Audience -Vatican Media Screenshot

Pope: Sorry I Greet from Afar, But Let’s Be Prudent & Follow Recommendations to End This Pandemic

Gives Explanation to Crowds at Conclusion of General Audience

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I apologize for greeting you from afar, but let us follow the safety measures and authorities’ recommendations, in order to end this pandemic.

Pope Francis expressed this toward the end of his weekly General Audience this morning, Oct. 14, 2020, held in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall for the second week in a row due to the rain. The Holy Father continued his catechesis on prayer, this week focusing on the Book of Psalms, where he underscored that our prayers never fall on deaf ears and the Lord never abandons us.

This week Pope Francis greeted from the platform, without walking about and greeting from the recommended ‘safe distance.’

Pope’s Assurance at General Audience: ‘God Is Not Deaf to Our Prayers’

Recently, the Vatican confirmed that four Swiss Guards were tested positive for coronavirus and are now in isolation.

This week, when the Pope arrived in Paul VI Hall, he went directly to the podium.

The interpreters told those present that Pope Francis would not be greeting them personally, as he has done every week, walking through the corridor, shaking hands and greeting faithful and visitors.

“I would have liked to, as usual, come down and approach you to greet you, however, with the new prescriptions,” the Pope told those present, “it’s better to keep our distance.”

“I greet the sick with all my heart from here,” he said.

“You are at a prudent distance, as it should be, but, when I come down everyone comes . . . and there is the risk of contagion,” he added.

If each person wears “his mask, keeping his distance,” he noted, “we can continue the audiences.”

“Forgive me if I greet you from afar today, but I think that if we follow the Authorities’ prescriptions as good citizens, that will help to put an end to the pandemic,” he stressed. The Audience ends with Pope Francis walking around the podium waving to the applause of the participants, themselves seated at a distance from one another and masked.

Also in the Vatican, the 34th Meeting of the Council of Cardinals began yesterday, but rather than meet in Rome, the Holy Father and other members, participated for the first time virtually, after having suspended the encounters for nearly eight months.

Read full text of Pope’s commentary here.

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Deborah Castellano Lubov

Deborah Castellano Lubov is Senior Vatican & Rome Correspondent for ZENIT; author of 'The Other Francis' ('L'Altro Francesco') featuring interviews with those closest to the Pope and preface by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin (currently published in 5 languages); Deborah is also NBC & MSNBC Vatican Analyst. She often covers the Pope's travels abroad, often from the Papal Flight (including for historic trips such as to Abu Dhabi and Japan & Thailand), and has also asked him questions on the return-flight press conference on behalf of the English-speaking press present. Lubov has done much TV & radio commentary, including for NBC, Sky, EWTN, BBC, Vatican Radio, AP, Reuters and more. She also has contributed to various books on the Pope and has written for various Catholic publications. For 'The Other Francis': or

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