Pope Francis praised China’s “great commitment” to contain the coronavirus outbreak on Jan. 26 and said he was praying for the dead, the sick, and families of victims.
“I would like also to be close to and pray for the people who are sick because of the virus that has spread through China,” Pope Francis told tens of thousands of people in St. Peter’s Square for his weekly message and blessing.
“May the Lord welcome the dead into his peace, comfort families and sustain the great commitment by the Chinese community that has already been put in place to combat the epidemic,” he said.
Relations between the Vatican and Beijing have improved since September, 2018 when the two sides signed a historic pact on the naming of bishops. Conservative Catholics have objected to the pact, accusing the Vatican of having sold out to the communist government.
The death toll from the coronavirus grew to 80 on Jan. 27, officials in China said.