Latest News

Italian Church to help families pay off utility bills during Year of Mercy

Vatican prelates read excerpts from a papal bull in which Pope Francis proclaimed an extraordinary jubilee Year of Mercy (Photo: AP)

The Italian Church plans to help struggling families pay overdue utility bills for the Jubilee Year of Mercy.

Bishops have launched an initiative to help people who face having their utilities being cut off because they cannot afford to pay their bills as part of the Jubilee tradition of forgiving debts.

“We are starting a project for the Jubilee that sees mercy as debt relief,” said Fr Paolo Gentili, director of the Italian bishops’ conference’s office for the pastoral care of the family.

Fr Gentili launched the initiative on the Italian channel TV2000, explaining that his office was concerned about the growing number of Italian families who find it hard to make ends meet due to the economic crisis over the last few years.

He said daily expenses were a struggle, with families making every effort to pay the necessary bills to live but still facing problems.

“The last bill becomes excruciating, a tear that turns into a river,” Fr Gentili said.

He added that he was trying to get in touch with various companies that handle everyday utilities.

Fr Gentili said the Church has “always given, but is now called to give something even more concrete, to forgive debts, to give oxygen to the families”.

He added that the initiative will start off with Rome, because of the Jubilee, but the conference will look at other large cities to see if the same scheme can be introduced elsewhere.

The Year of Mercy runs from December 8 to November 20, 2016.