The devil is taking advantage of the pandemic, Pope Francis said during Palm Sunday Mass.
Leading services witnessed by only about 120 people in a side wing of St. Peter’s Basilica, rather than the throngs who normally gather outside the cathedral for the start of Holy Week, the pope said after a year under the virus, the pressure is growing.
“Last year we were shocked,” he said. “This year we are more under pressure and the economic crisis has become heavy.”
During both his homily and in comments afterward in his traditional Sunday address, Francis said the pandemic made it more important to take care of the poor and suffering.
“The devil is taking advantage of the crisis to sow distrust, desperation and discord,” he said, adding that the pandemic had brought physical, psychological and spiritual suffering.
Palm Sunday is the first day of Holy Week, the lead-up to Easter, the most important day on the Christian calendar. The rest of the pope’s services this week, including Holy Thursday and Good Friday, will also include just a handful of the normal participants.
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