Pope Francis seemed to be taking extraordinary risks at a Vatican event on Wednesday as he joked with prelates and kissed the hands of newly ordained priests—without wearing a mask despite the number of new coronavirus infections rising across Italy. The 83-year-old pontiff, who is missing a portion of one of his lungs from a previous malady, has rarely worn a mask since the pandemic began and has been increasingly out in crowds where people are not wearing masks or wearing them incorrectly. Several Vatican experts commented on the pope’s seeming ambivalence. Vatican commentator Robert Mickens tweeted a photo of the pope. “Very disturbing images from the Vatican today. @Pontifex without face mask at indoor gathering with large number of people, many pulling their masks down to talk to him. And pope kissing the hands of recently ordained priests…”
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