The 57-year-old was with the Holy Father and spoke to him on Friday. Cardinal president of governorate of Vatican City also positive.
Polish Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, 57, the papal almoner, is in the Gemelli Hospital with Covid-related pneumonia. Cardinal Krajewski went to the Vatican’s health center on Monday with symptoms and was transferred to the Gemelli.
On Friday, at the last of the Advent homilies preached by Cardinal Raniero Cantalamessa, Cardinal Krajewski was seen speaking with the pope. The day before, which was the pope’s birthday, the poor of the city of Rome, through the cardinal, gave the pope sunflowers. As well that day, Cardinal Krajewski handed out face masks and other medical supplies to the city’s poor, on behalf of the pope.
The Vatican confirmed that anyone who has been in contact with Cardinal Krajewski in the last few days is being tested, though they didn’t specifically say the pope was. However, in the spring, when Italy was hit hardest, the Holy Father was tested on at least two occasions when he was similarly exposed to someone with the virus, so presumably he has been or will be tested.
The Holy Father, in addition to being 84, had part of a lung removed when he was a young man.
Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello, 78, president of the governorate of Vatican City, also tested positive.
What’s a papal almoner?
The position or institution of papal almoner dates back hundreds of years, but under Pope Francis and at the hands of Cardinal Krajewski it has taken on a more visible role.
The cardinal is tasked with carrying out or following up on the initiatives Francis wants for the poor — things that have ranged from installing showers outside St. Peter’s for the homeless, to a luncheon in Paul VI Hall for the World Day of the Poor (also instituted by Francis). The cardinal is known to have turned the electricity back on in a building where it had been disconnected, which provides housing for the poor.
Vatican health authorities have already announced that the City State will begin vaccinating at the beginning of January.
It’s thought that the Holy Father and anyone traveling with him to Iraq in March will have been vaccinated before then.