Workers operate a crane to lift a Christmas tree in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican on Nov. 30. (Photo: AFP)
Pope Francis is being forced to cancel or curtail, one by one, special Christmas holiday events that have long been favorites of the people of Rome and Catholics around the world.
The first victim of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, which has roared back with a vengeance in Italy, was announced in late October when the Vatican informed foreign diplomats that they were not invited to the pope's Christmas Eve Mass.
Ambassadors accredited to the Holy See are usually expected to be present at major papal ceremonies, but this year they are being told they will not be allowed in St. Peter's Basilica for that liturgy.
In fact, just as he did during Holy Week and Easter, Francis will preside at the Christmas Masses in the presence of only a very small representation of the clergy and lay faithful.
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