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Vatican City

Letter from Rome: Let's get physical

The Vatican holds its first ‘real’ press conference in nearly four months as it struggles to start up again

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Letter from Rome: Let's get physical

Worshipers attend Pope Francis' weekly Angelus prayer at St. Peter's Square in the Vatican on June 21. (Photo: AFP)

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Throughout the long coronavirus lockdown, there were very few signs of institutional life at the Vatican.

Pope Francis kept up his two fixed weekly appointments — the Wednesday general audience and the Sunday Angelus. But they were livestreamed from the seclusion of the Apostolic Palace and without the physical presence of anyone from the public.

The only people in the room with him were several aides — all of them men dressed in cassocks or religious habits. Mind you, neither of these events requires the unique services of an ordained minister. And, yet, priests were the only ones present. Not a woman anywhere to be seen. Not great optics.

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