Saturday, April 11, 2020

As They Console Coronavirus’s Victims, Italy’s Priests Are Dying, Too

Doctors and nurses on the front line have become symbols of sacrifice, but priests and nuns have also joined the fight, often at great risk.

The Rev. Claudio Del Monte preparing for a private Good Friday procession in Bergamo, Italy.Credit...Fabio Bucciarelli for The New York Times

By Jason Horowitz and Elisabetta Povoledo

Italy’s coronavirus outbreak is one of the world’s deadliest, and while the doctors and nurses on the northern Italian front line have become symbols of sacrifice against an invisible enemy, priests and nuns have also joined the fight. Especially in deeply infected areas like Bergamo, they are risking, and sometimes giving, their lives to attend to the spiritual needs of the often older and devout Italians hardest hit by the virus.

Across Italy, the virus has killed nearly 100 priests, many of them retired and especially vulnerable to a scourge that preys on older people, whether it be in nursing homes or monasteries. Avvenire, the newspaper run by the Italian bishops conference, is honoring the dead with the hashtag “PriestsForever.”  Read more >>