Pope Francis’ personal doctor, Fabrizio Soccorsi, died of “complications due to COVID-19”, reported the Vatican’s newspaper L’Osservatore Romano on January 10. The cleric had chosen Soccorsi as the personal doctor five years ago, in 2015 and was 78-year-old when he succumbed to the highly-infectious disease. As per reports, Pope Francis’ personal doctor was hospitalised in Rome on December 26 for the pre-existing oncological disease. However, it still remains unclear when the 78-year-old had contacted the Pope.
Soccorsi’s death came after Pope Francis told a local news channel aired on January 10, that the Vatican will begin COVID-19 vaccinations next week and he is also scheduled to receive the jab. In the same interview with Italian broadcaster, the cleric urged everyone to get the vaccine and called it an “ethical option, because you are playing with your health, life, but also with the lives of others”. It was also the first confirmation by the 84-year-old ope who is reportedly missing part of one lung will be vaccinated.
The Vatican had previously also said that it is “morally acceptable” for the faithful people to receive COVID-19 immunisation even though vaccine research used tissue obtained from abortions. Vatican City has reported at least 27 COVID-19 cases.
Meanwhile, on January 10, Pope Francis also prayed for the people who lost their lives in the United States when pro-Trump protesters stormed inside the Capitol building on January 7. Not only did the cleric called for calmness to prevail in the region but during his traditional Sunday noon remarks at the Vatican, Francis noted that at least five died when the mob engulfed chaos in one of the most secure buildings of the US.
"Violence is always self-destructive," Francis said, before appealing to a "high sense of responsibility" by leaders to "calm souls" to prevent further violence. He then prayed that the Virgin Mary, who is the church's patron of the United States, to help keep alive "the culture of caring as the superior way to build together the common good" with all those who live in that land."