Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service

Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY -- Despite the COVID-19 pandemic that is causing public Mass cancellations worldwide, the liturgies of Holy Week and Easter can not be postponed or suspended, said the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments.

VATICAN CITY -- In places particularly hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic and with severe limits on people leaving their homes, conditions may exist to grant general absolution without people personally confessing their sins first, the Vatican said.

ROME -- About half of the U.S. seminarians and priests living at the Pontifical North American College and the Casa Santa Maria in Rome have left the locked-down city, the rector said.

ROME -- With Italy on lockdown and Rome streets almost deserted, Pope Francis left the Vatican March 15 in a mini-pilgrimage to an icon and to a crucifix associated with miraculous interventions to save the city and its people.

VATICAN CITY -- The Vatican office that distributes free tickets to papal events has posted a notice on its website that "the liturgical celebrations of Holy Week will take place without the physical presence of the faithful."

VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis did not recite the Sunday Angelus from the window of his studio overlooking St. Peter's Square March 8, but he did go to the window to wave and to bless the pilgrims who showed up anyway.

VATICAN CITY -- Days after revelations of sexual abuse committed by Jean Vanier, a Vatican abuse expert said organizations led by a charismatic leader who is followed uncritically and commands or demands control over members are at risk for cases of physical, sexual and psychological abuse.

ROME -- As the number of people testing positive for the coronavirus in Europe continued to grow, the French Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes announced that pilgrims were still welcome, but the pools the sick bathe in hoping for healing would be closed temporarily.

VATICAN CITY -- With the biggest two days of celebration and costume parades left, the famous pre-Lenten "Carnevale" of Venice was canceled as were Ash Wednesday services and even funeral Masses throughout the diocese.

VATICAN CITY -- The decade-long process of updating the laws of Vatican City State is part of the Vatican's support for international commitments to protect people and safeguard vulnerable groups, who are "frequently the victims of new, odious forms of illegality," Pope Francis said.