Cardinal told to pay homeless shelter’s £260,000 electricity bill

Cardinal told to pay homeless shelter’s £260,000 electricity bill

May 13, 2019

Hero cardinal is told to pay homeless shelter’s unpaid £260,000 electricity bill after climbing down manhole to switch on power in a ‘desperate gesture’ to help the hundreds inside

  • Polish Cardinal Konrad Krajewski broke a police seal to flick the switch in Rome 
  • As many as 450 people had been living there for week without light or hot water
  • The £260,000 bill had stacked up since building was taken over in October 2013 
  • But Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini said the cardinal should pay the bill 

An aide to Pope Francis who climbed down a manhole to restore electricity to hundreds of ‘desperate’ homeless people has been told to pay £260,000.

Polish Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, who is head of the Vatican’s alms office, broke a police seal to flick a switch in the Rome building on Saturday night.

As many as 450 homeless people – including 100 children – had been living there for a week without light or hot water.

Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, who is head of the Vatican’s alms office, flicked a switch to turn on the electricity in building in Rome. As many as 450 people had been living there, but had been without light or hot water for a week

The aide to Pope Francis (pictured yesterday in the Vatican) said his intervention was a ‘desperate gesture’ and reportedly added  ‘I didn’t do it because I was drunk’

The unpaid electricity bills reportedly amount to £260,000, which had stacked up since the building on Via di Santa Croce was taken over on October 12, 2013.

‘I intervened personally to turn the metre back on. It was a gesture of desperation. There were over 400 people without electricity, families and children,’ the cardinal told ANSA news agency.

He reportedly added: ‘I didn’t do it because I was drunk.’ 

But Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini said the cardinal should pay the bill.

Italian Deputy Premier Matteo Salvini (pictured) has said he expects the cardinal to pay the £260,000 bill for the building

‘I expect that the Pope’s almsgiver, who intervened to turn the power back on in a busy building in Rome, will also pay 300,000 euros in back bills,’ he said.

‘I think you all pay the bills by making sacrifices. If someone is able to pay the bills of the Italians in difficulty, we are happy.’

A source close to the the alms office said the cardinal ‘was fully aware of the possible legal consequences and acted in the conviction that it was necessary to do it for the good of those families’, AdnKronos news agency reported.  

Sister Adriana Domenici, who works with the homeless, told Italian broadcaster RaiNews24 that after the building’s electricity was cut off May 6, she called Krajewski for help.

She said that when utility workers returned to disconnect power again, they found a note from Cardinal Krajewski and left the electricity running. 

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

Cardinal Krajewski’s actions come after a visit to Lesbos last week (pictured), where he went to a refugee camp to show Pope Francis’s solidarity with refugees

Cardinal Krajewski had just returned from the Greek island of Lesbos, where he travelled to deliver financial donations to projects helping refugees.

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

Cardinal Krajewski hit headlines in February when he advised the Pope to open a barber shop for homeless people in St Peter’s Square.

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