Pope Francis compared priests who defied lockdown measures to 'adolescents'

Pope Francis said that priests who opposed health and safety measures during the pandemic behaved like young people.
Agence France-Presse / Alberto Pizzoli on Getty Images
In a note to Vatican health workers, Pope Francis compared priests who defied health regulations during the pandemic to "adolescents".
Although countries around the world introduced social distance laws to slow the spread of the corona virus, some priests continued to hold services.
The Pope praised the service of medical staff and priests who were creative rather than defiant.
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Pope Francis praised healthcare workers and "obedient and creative" priests who served during the novel coronavirus pandemic. For priests who acted against security measures and guidelines, Francis compared their behavior to that of children.
The Pope made his remarks on Sunday at the Vatican, speaking to an audience of doctors, nurses, and health workers from the northern Italian region of Lombardy, the Religion News Service reported.
Lombardy was one of the regions most affected by the pandemic in the country.
"The pastoral zeal and creative care of the priests helped people on their faith trips and kept them company in the presence of pain or fear," said Pope Francis.
Many priests worked hard to stay close to their congregations when they couldn't be physically close, Francis said, according to the Religion News Service.
"They were fathers, not teenagers," said Francis.
At the height of the pandemic, countries around the world introduced social distance and stay-at-home laws that prohibited personal worship.
Some priests opposed these commands, in which Francis referred to as "youthful resistance".
Avvenire, the media company of the Italian Bishops' Conference, reported that more than 120 Italian priests died during the pandemic. More than 9,800 Italians have succumbed to the virus.
In his Sunday speeches, Francis noted examples of "tenderness" for medical personnel, from holding the phone to dying so that they could say goodbye to prayers and caresses from their loved ones, the Religion News Service reported.
"Dear doctors and nurses, the world could see the good you have done in a time of great challenge," he said. "Even though you were tired, you continued to be committed with professionalism and self-sacrifice."
As more countries relax the security measures imposed during the pandemic, Francis urged people to remember what they learned in months of closure.
"Now is the time to appreciate all of the positive energy that we have invested. Don't forget!" he said according to the Religion News Service. "The pandemic has deeply shaped people's lives and the history of communities."
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