- Jan 20, 2021
Though he was not physically present for his New Year’s Eve liturgy due to what the Vatican has described as a “painful sciatica,” Pope Francis offered a message of hope for those searching for meaning at the end of a trying year marked by the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
On Thursday the Vatican announced that due to a “painful sciatica,” Pope Francis, who has long struggled with the condition, will be unable to celebrate the traditional papal events on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.
According to local media reports, there was a significant presence of Catholic traditionalists and conservatives at the demonstration, including protesters who carried a version of the gold-and-white papal flag with an image of Benedict XVI. Another demonstrator who came dressed as a Catholic priest burned a photograph to Pope Francis to applause and cheers.
For those in Rome who follow Francis closely, the revelation that an 83-year-old Argentinian male has a temper wasn’t exactly a thunderclap.
Pope Francis on New Year’s Day apologized for his “poor example” the night before, when he angrily slapped the hand of a woman in the crowd in front of St. Peter’s Basilica attempting to draw the pontiff to her.
In a special New Year’s Eve liturgy Tuesday, Pope Francis offered a rare direct message to Rome, encouraging locals weary after a year of political bickering that has left many more confused than clear about their future.