Italy’s homeless to get showers at the Vatican

Pope Francis has given the go-ahead for three showers to be installed within a public restroom under the colonnades of St Peter’s Square for homeless people.

Italy's homeless to get showers at the Vatican
Three showers will be installed for the homeless at St Peter's Square. Photo: Julie Faris

The decision was made after Franco, a homeless man from Sardinia, turned down a dinner invitation to celebrate his 50th birthday from Archbishop Konrad Krajewski, the Vatican almoner, because he “smelled”, La Stampa reported.

Krajewski met Franco on Rome’s Via della Conciliazione in early October.

“He told me that he was turning fifty that day and that he had been living on the street for ten years," he was quoted in La Stampa as saying.

 “I took him [to dinner] with me nonetheless. We went to a Chinese restaurant. During dinner, he explained to me that you can always find some food in Rome. What is missing is a place to wash."

Work on the showers will begin on November 17th. A further ten have already been built at parishes across Rome, La Stampa reported.

Krajewski, 51, was appointed almoner – a centuries-old role that involves helping the poor and needy – last November.

Known as ‘Don Corrado’, he has been taking aid and provisions to the homeless for years, which is why he was chosen by Pope Francis, La Stampa said.

Krajewski said at the time of his appointment: “The Holy Father told me at the beginning: 'You can sell your desk. You don’t need it. You need to get out of the Vatican. Don’t wait for people to come ringing. You need to go out and look for the poor'."

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Pope appoints French woman to senior synod post

Pope Francis has broken with Catholic tradition to appoint a woman as an undersecretary of the synod of bishops, the first to hold the post with voting rights in a body that studies major questions of doctrine.

Pope appoints French woman to senior synod post
Pope Francis has appointed Nathalie Becquart as undersecretary of the synod of bishops. She is the first woman to hold the post. Photo: AFP

Frenchwoman Nathalie Becquart is one of the two new undersecretaries named on Saturday to the synod, where she has been a consultant since 2019.

The appointment signals the pontiff's desire “for a greater participation of women in the process of discernment and decision-making in the church”, said Cardinal Mario Grech, the secretary-general of the synod.

“During the previous synods, the number of women participating as experts and listeners has increased,” he said.

“With the nomination of Sister Nathalie Becquart and her possibility of participating in voting, a door has opened.”

The synod is led by bishops and cardinals who have voting rights and also comprises experts who cannot vote, with the next gathering scheduled for autumn 2022.

A special synod on the Amazon in 2019 saw 35 female “auditors” invited to the assembly, but none could vote.

The Argentinian-born pope has signalled his wish to reform the synod and have women and laypeople play a greater role in the church.

He named Spaniard Luis Marin de San Martin as the other under undersecretary in the synod of bishops.

Becquart, 52, a member of the France-based Xaviere Sisters, has a master's degree in management from the prestigious HEC business school in Paris and studied in Boston before joining the order.