Many of you have sent questions to me about Green Pass being required for Saint Peter’s Basilica.
First, if you are clicking on headlines that say the vaccine is required to enter Saint Peter’s Basilica, those people are either uninformed or straight up lying to you.
There’s a lot of confusion about the term “Green Pass.” Green Pass here means three things, either you are fully vaccinated, OR you have recovered in the last six months, OR you have a negative COVID test taken in the last 48 hours.
So you will not need to be vaccinated to enter Saint Peter’s Basilica.
But beginning on October 1st a Green Pass will be required for visitors to Saint Peter’s Basilica.
Green Pass is already required for all museums, including the Vatican Museums and the Scavi Tour, and sadly, each day Saint Peter’s Basilica is becoming more like a museum.
It seems this requirement will extend to all Vatican properties, including Saint Mary Major, Saint John Lateran, Saint Paul Outside the Walls, and even Scala Santa.
I am fine with a country requiring a Green Pass if they feel that is what is best for their citizens. I am fine with museums requiring them — most are run by the state anyway. I am even fine with restaurants requiring them for indoor dining (if it’s their choice) — more than a few places in Rome have moved all their seating outside to avoid being forced to ask their customers for a Green Pass.
But, I am not okay with a Green Pass for sacraments, and thankfully, the Vatican agrees.
Here’s the thing, the Green Pass is only required for tourist visits to the basilica.
It’s not required to stand in a line like this, with zero social distancing.
It’s not required for confession, where people (sometimes for 30 minutes) speak inches away from a priest’s ear while sitting in a poorly ventilated box.
It’s not required for official Masses, where the faithful sit for 30 minutes to an hour beside a few hundred other faithful strangers while singing and praying.
It’s not required to receive communion on the tongue.
Remember when the Vatican banned all private upstairs Masses and moved them into the crypt? Well it’s not required to sit in those tiny chapels that hold from 8 – 20 people with little to no ventilation.
No, it’s required to visit and tour the church which looks like this…
I don’t want to have my Green Pass checked for Mass or confession or prayer, but I also don’t want such inconsistent messaging.
Why require a Green Pass for this sacred space at all if it’s going to cause so much confusion?
Why require a Green Pass for this sacred space at all if it’s only needed when walking around the biggest church in the world, not while praying in tiny chapels?
Makes no sense.
But it’s kind of wild to think that during the strictest part of our lockdown, the churches remained open to all, but today Rome had just 44 new positive cases (out of a population of nearly 3 million) and the Vatican is about to require visitors to be vaccinated or tested to enter.