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Vatican row: Angry cardinals ask Pope to stop McDonald’s opening near religious site

A row has broken out between Catholic cardinals over plans to open a McDonald’s next to the Vatican in Rome.

The plans for the fast food chain in a piazza to the right of the iconic St Peter’s Basilica has caused outrage among cardinals living above the proposed restaurant site.

The Pope has received a letter from one angry cardinal asking the religious leader to intervene in stopping the plan, it has been reported.

It was revealed earlier this year the APSA, the part of the Church which looks after the Vatican’s assets, had agreed to rent part of the building to McDonalds.

The Vatican would receive 30,000 Euros, or around £27,000, a month in the proposed deal.

But cardinals living above the site hit out at the plan, including Cardinal Elio Sgreccia who told daily Italian newspaper: “It’s a controversial, perverse decision to say the least.”

He said opening the fast-food restaurant is “by no means respectful of the architectural traditions of one of the most characteristic squares which look onto the colonnade of St. Peter’s.”

The square in front of St Peter’s Basilica is where the Pope holds his weekly papal audiences on a Wednesday with thousands of Catholics.

Many cardinals also live in the area, which is often crowded with large numbers of tourists.

The head of the committee in charge of protecting Borgo, the historic district around the Vatican, said the planned McDonald’s would be a further blow to the area.

Moreno Prosperi said in recent years “the identity of this area has been lost” because of an increase in illegal souvenir stands and mini markets.

Cardinal Sgreccia said the proposed McDonald’s site should be used to be used to help those in need.

Cardinal Domenico Calcagno, who is the head of APSA which is the part of the church which deals with assets, said he was ’not going to back down’.

He said the deal is legally valid and he didn’t see ’anything negative’ about the proposals.


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