Papal aide restores Rome building's power to help homeless

Remigio Civitarese
Mag 16, 2019

Cardinal Konrad Krajewski at the weekend climbed down a manhole and turned on a switch that restored electricity to the building, saying he could no longer stand by while people suffered. It now houses more than 400 people, including almost 100 children.

"I intervened personally last night to turn back on the meters".

Matteo Salvini, deputy prime minister of Italy, told a crowd at a rally May 12 that the occupants of the building owed the electric company 300,000 euros (about $337,000) and he would be sending the cardinal the bill. It was a desperate gesture. "There were over 400 people without electricity, families and children", Krajewski, who carries out acts of charity in the name of the pope, told ANSA news agency. "And if one arrives, I'll pay a fine as well".

'I think you all pay the bills by making sacrifices.

Vatican sources are quoted in the media as saying that the cardinal acted "in full awareness of the possible legal consequences that he could now face, in the belief that it was necessary to do so for the sake of these families".

A nun who works with the homeless told Italian radio and television that when workers went to the building to cut off the power again, they found a note from the cardinal asking them to leave it on.

Pope Francis has transformed the centuries-old job of Vatican Almoner into a hands-on, door-to-door charitable mission.

He also assured those living in tent camps as well as local residents that the pope had not forgotten about them.

Salvini was incensed by Cardinal Konrad Krajewski's actions.

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