A close aide to Pope Francis has drawn the ire of Italy’s anti-immigrant Interior Minister Matteo Salvini by climbing down a manhole to restore electricity to hundreds of homeless people living in an occupied building.
Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, 55, whose job is to distribute the pope’s charity funds, went to the disused state-owned building near a Rome cathedral on Saturday night and broke a police seal to re-connect electrical circuit breakers.
To some, he was a hero of sorts by Monday morning as the news went viral. Rome’s left-leaning La Repubblica newspaper ran a banner headline calling him “The Pope’s Robin Hood” and praising him for doing the right thing under the circumstances.
“What can I say? It was a particularly desperate situation. I repeat: I assume all the responsibility. If a fine arrives, I’ll pay it,” Krajewski said in an interview in Corriere della Sera newspaper on Monday.
The building has been occupied since 2013 by Italians who had lost their homes and migrants. It houses some 450 people, including about 100 children.