By Elise Anne Allen
ROME (Crux) — On May 12, the Vatican announced that with public Masses set to resume in Italy this weekend as coronavirus restrictions ease, Pope Francis’s daily Masses at the Vatican’s Casa Santa Marta guesthouse will no longer be livestreamed.
In a May 12 statement, Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni announced that on May 18, the same day public Masses in Italy resume, Pope Francis will celebrate his daily morning Mass at the tomb of St. John Paul II inside St. Peter’s Basilica to mark the centenary of the Polish pope’s birth.
However, Bruni also said that since public Masses are set to resume in Italy and have already been resumed in many other areas of the world, “the live transmission of the morning Masses in the Casa Santa Marta will cease” as of May 19.
“As he has been able to affirm in recent days, the pope hopes that the People of God will thus be able to return to communal familiarity with the Lord in the sacraments, participating in the Sunday liturgy and resuming, also in churches, the daily attendance of the Lord and his word,” Bruni said.
Pope Francis began livestreaming his daily Masses at the beginning of Italy’s national quarantine in a bid to offer Catholic faithful the ability to “virtually” attend a daily liturgy.
One Vatican official told Crux it is presumed that as of May 18, faithful may again attend liturgies inside the Vatican’s Saint Anne’s parish, as well as St. Peter’s Basilica, assuming Italian authorities allow access to the square.
The Vatican banned guided visits and tourists from visiting the basilica in March, when the nationwide lockdown began, only allowing in faithful who wished to enter the basilica for prayer. However, Italian police barring anyone from entering who did not have what they deemed legitimate work motives.
Despite being a part of the Vatican City State, St. Peter’s Square under the 1929 Lateran Treaty is subject to the authority of Italian police for crowd control, unless the pope is present.
The Vatican statement made no mention of when the pope’s weekly general audiences and Sunday Regina Coeli/Angelus addresses, which have also been livestreamed amid the ban on public gatherings, will again be held in the square with the public.