INTERNATIONAL -- Less than a month after upsetting cardinals and cultural heritage guardians by opening a fast food outlet near St Peter’s Square, McDonald’s is to hand out thousands of burgers to homeless people who live around the Vatican.
Also read, Despite Protests McDonald's has opened in Vatican City.
The charitable act was seen in Rome as a way to win back public opinion and atone for the resentment caused by the unveiling of the McDonald’s in a street just a stone’s throw from the gates of the Vatican.
Starting next week, McDonald’s will dole out double cheeseburgers, apples and bottles of water to the many people who live rough in and around St Peter’s.
Every Monday lunchtime, more than 1,000 meals will be given free to the homeless by volunteers from a charitable organisation called Medicina Solidale.
The charity will work with the Pope’s chief alms-giver, a Polish cardinal, who in the past has helped set up hot showers for the homeless in a block of public lavatories just off St Peter’s Square.
There was consternation from locals and prelates when McDonald’s opened its restaurant not far from the Porta Sant’ Anna or St Anne Gate, one of the entrances to the sovereign city state.
Elio Sgreccia, an Italian cardinal, called it a “controversial, perverse decision” and said the presence of the fast food restaurant was “not at all respectful of the architectural traditions” of the area.
There was similar resistance in Florence last year when McDonald’s proposed opening a new branch a few hundred yards from the Duomo or cathedral.
Pope Francis has come up with several initiatives to make life for the homeless a little more comfortable, including free haircuts by volunteer barbers and the distribution of sleeping bags on winter nights.
Not everyone is thrilled with his generosity – journalists who work at the Vatican’s press office often have to step over homeless people who sleep directly outside the entrance to the building in Via Della Conciliazione, the broad boulevard that leads from the River Tiber to St Peter’s Basilica.
SOURCE Nick Squires, The Telegraph
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