Pope Francis will have to forego meeting Catholics at the annual Advent and Christmas masses in the Vatican owing to the resurgent coronavirus pandemic, the specialist Catholic News Agency (CNA) reported on Monday.
He was deprived of a congregation at Easter when he had to celebrate mass at Saint Peter’s with very few people present.
In a letter to foreign envoys to the Vatican, its foreign minister informed them that Christmas ceremonies would take a private form this year.
Members of the diplomatic corps would not be present, and events would be made available online, a document seen by CNA said.
The pope has scheduled a prayer on Saint Peter’s Square on December 8 in lieu of a public appearance to honour the Virgin Mary, but he is still due to celebrate mass on Christmas Eve and deliver his traditional Urbi and Orbi message to the world.