A Polish cardinal has provoked anger from Italy’s deputy prime minister after climbing down a manhole to restore electricity to a state-owned building.
Cardinal Konrad Krajewski was visiting the building in Rome where more than 430 homeless people, 100 of them children, are living. Cardinal Krajewski is the papal almoner, Pope Francis’s special appointee to distribute charity.
The cardinal has been assisting families in the building for some time, bringing food and medicine and helping arrange for doctors to visit. But the building has an unpaid electricity bill amounting to a reported $300,000 (£232,000), and the electricity company recently turned off the lights.
According to reports, Cardinal Krajewski lifted a manhole cover and climbed down in order to restore power to the building. “It was a special situation,” he told Corriere della Sera, Italy’s most-read paper. But deputy prime minister Matteo Salvini criticised the cardinal, pointing out that there was still an unpaid bill. Cardinal Krajewski has said he is happy to pay it.
At Saturday’s March for Life in London, Bishop John Keenan led a prayer of reparation. But not everyone was happy: a lone objector was heard shouting “No Popery!”