IN Madrid alone, there are 100 priests visiting patients – not all of them believers – in the capital’s hospitals.
“Sometimes they are given protective clothing, if these are available, as well as facemasks and hand-sanitising gel.
“They always keep their distance, often remaining at the door,” a spokesman for the Madrid diocese said. “Families often contact the priests, asking them to pass on messages to their relatives because they cannot visit them in hospital.”
Another 80 are present in the city morgues.
“Our work at present is to look after the sick spiritually, send the dead on their final journey and accompany their families, praying for an end to the pandemic and for the people who are fighting it,” the diocese spokesman explained.
Twenty priests have died from the coronavirus and there are some 10 more in intensive care units, some of whom are seriously ill, as well as many more who are in quarantine after testing positive.