In his weekly general audience on Wednesday, Pope Francis went without a mask and shook hands in meetings with the faithful, despite the Vatican’s imposition this week of an outdoor mask mandate to protect against the coronavirus pandemic.
Francis praised “the pastoral zeal and creative concern of priests” who helped the faithful during the lockdown, but he insisted on obedience to political leaders, who this week extended Italy’s state of emergency to 2021 and required outdoor mask-wearing.
Last month, the Daily Mail noted the pope’s disregard for mask-wearing with photos showing him with face uncovered in close proximity with crowds. This week, the Associated Press (AP) also noted the double standard: “The Vatican imposed an outdoor mask mandate this week in the tiny city state in the center of Rome. Pope Francis, however, didn’t wear a mask during his indoor general audience Wednesday, even as he greeted well-wishers and shook their hands.”