Papal aide restores Rome building’s power to help homeless

Cardinal Konrad Kajewski

"It was a desperate gesture", Krajewski, who is Vatican almoner and Francis' "charitable arm" told ANSA.

Cardinal Konrad Krajewski broke a police seal to turn the electricity back on in the Rome building, where 450 people including some 100 minors had been living without light or hot water since May 6, the reports said. It now houses more than 400 people, including almost 100 children.

Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has taken aim at a Vatican cardinal who climbed into a utility manhole to restore electricity to squatters in a government-owned building, pitting Pope Francis' humanitarian priorities against far-right Italian politics.

"I intervened personally last night to reattach the meters".

The politician of the center-right populist party Lega Nord added at an electoral meeting: "I think you all are making sacrifices to pay your bills; if someone is able to pay the bills of those Italians in difficulty, we are happy". "And if one arrives, I'll pay a fine as well".

The question people should be asking, he said, is not who will pay the electric bill, but why there are more than 400 people, including small children, living like that.

A nun who works with the homeless told Italian radio and television that when workers went to the building to cut off the power again, they found a note from the cardinal asking them to leave it on.

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

The almoner is in charge of the pope's charities and helping the poor.

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