Of public works

At Crux there is a story about the opening of a papal sponsored laundry available to the poor and homeless in Trastevere.  At the end we read…

When a new McDonald’s opened a few months ago just a few yards from the entrance to Vatican City, many cardinals and Vatican officials who lived in the area complained. Soon after opening, and working with the Office of Papal Charities, the fast food restaurant started offering thousands of meals a week to the homeless who live in the area, which dampened the opposition.

Francis is the latest in a long line of popes to take an interest in Rome’s poor. The famous Trevi Fountain, for example, was commissioned by Pope Urban VIII to bring fresh water to the impoverished citizens of the city.

Urban VIII’s public works project to help the poor.  Bringing Acqua Vergine to the people!


Here’s Er Fontanone on the Gianicolo, provided by Paul V.  It hooked up to another fountain by the Tiber at the Ponte Sisto to provide Acqua Paola.


Sixtus V brought “happy water” to the folks of this area when it was severely run down.  How he decorated Acqua Felice.


So… McDonald’s and a laundry.   I’m all for the free market, and I’m not saying that a laundry isn’t useful, but … Crux… c’mon!


vatican macdonalds


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Gerard Plourde says:

    Maybe part of the problem is that the modern sensibility requires that useful things be strictly utilitarian. The contributions of Urban VII, Paul V, and Sixtus V all brought necessary water to the poor of the city but the art that embellished the fountains nourished the eyes and ears as well. In that spirit, perhaps Whirlpool could be persuaded to pay for some photographs or inexpensive poster reproductions of art to hang on the walls.

  2. Grant M says:

    Leftover McDonald’s food? Err…Better than nothing, I suppose.

  3. Stephen Matthew says:

    Why is there a Texas flag flying at the McDonalds at the Vatican?

  4. gaudete says:

    @Stephen Matthew
    If I’m not mistaken that’s the Chilean flag, as there is among others also the Embassy of Chile to the Holy See in that building (on one of the upper floors).

  5. un-ionized says:

    Grant, it isn’t leftovers or food that has been held.

  6. Stephen Matthew says:

    You are entirely correct, that is a Chilean flag, which happens to be rather similar to the Texas flag. Mea culpa.

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