While an official statement from the Holy See has not yet been issued, Italian Media are reporting that all the visits, within Italy, and abroad by H.H. Pope Francis have been postponed to 2022. The Pope is currently working from Casa Santa Marta and according to sources, he is said to be working on a new encyclical.
It is being reported that the decision was taken in the hope that a vaccine would have been found by then. Pope Francis’ last engagement outside of the Vatican, was on the 23rd February in Bari while the last international visit took place in November 2019 in Thailand and Japan.
If a COVID-19 vaccine will not be found in the coming months, November 2021 will mark two years since the Pope would have made an international visit, making this the second time in which a Pope would not have left the Vatican, the first time being between the pontificate of Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul I.
The Pope’s annual Family and Youth meetings in Rome (2021) and in Lisbon (2022) have been moved to 2022, and 2023 respectively, while his visit to Malta, which was scheduled for May 31st has not yet been given a new official 2022 date.