Last Friday the American fast-food giant McDonald’s opened a new restaurant a stones throw away from St. Peter’s Bascilica amongst much controversy.
Locals were upset having a Mcdonald’s would disrupt the “artistic, culture and social identity” of the area.
As part of the Vatican community, the franchise will dispense 1,000 free lunches to the local homeless population every Monday beginning this coming week, a statement released on Thursday said.
Lucia Ercoli, director of the Italian charity, Medicina Solidale said the organization approached McDonald’s to hand out weekly hamburger meal food donations to homeless living right outside of Vatican city.
Volunteers with Medicina Solidale will collect and distribute them in St. Peter’s Square.
McDonalds giving away daily 1,000 cheese burgers to the homeless.https://t.co/3T5A3KATQ3
— Catholic Doors (@CatholicDoors) January 12, 2017
Ercoli explained that, “providing a meal guarantees an appropriate supply of proteins and vitamins to many men and women who live on the street.” The director added that,“I am very happy with this agreement with McDonald’s.”
Ercoli’s response comes after local cardinals and business owners showcased frustration over McDonald’s being able to open a location in a building owned by the Holy See, a jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome.
Last year Cardinal Elio Sgreccia, president emeritus of the Vatican’s Academy for Life, which leads the church’s fight against abortion and euthanasia said to the Italian outlet, La Repubblica that “The mega sandwich shop on Borgo Pio is a disgrace” and “It would be better to use those spaces to help the needy of the area, spaces for hospitality, shelter and help for those who suffer, as the Holy Father teaches.”
Business owners of the area wrote letters of concern to Pope Francis saying that the opening of McDonald’s “would upset the artistic, culture and social identity of the neighborhood,” The Independent reported.
Another letter submitted from Codacons, a local consumer group and their committee focused on protecting the religious area said that there are already many shops and places to eat and bringing in more tourist eateries could be a possible “security risk.”
The group also used legal action to close the McDonald’s but it was rejected by a Roman court.
Others in the community have applauded the well known chain and its desire to be in a historical area because of its ability to bring possible economic growth. It has received praise for its mission to help those less fortunate, a matter important to Pope Francis.
“We have been working with the pope’s almoner” — Polish Archbishop Konrad Krajewski, who provides meals and services on behalf of the pontiff — “for a while to provide these people with medical visits and care,” RNS reported. So this gesture will be another positive addition.
According to Italian media, the McDonald’s pays $32,000 a month in rent for its new location.
The food giant has issued a statement about their location and desire to follow cultural order, “As is the case whenever McDonald’s operates near historic sites anywhere in Italy, this restaurant has been fully adapted with respect to the historical environment.”
(H/T Religion News)