- Title: Vatican - place of prayer and pilgrimage - now also home to Big Mac
- Date: 3rd January 2017
- Summary: ROME, ITALY (JANUARY 3, 2017) (REUTERS) MCDONALD'S FAST FOOD RESTAURANT CLOSE TO VATICAN WINDOW WHERE POPE FRANCIS APPEARS TO DELIVER ANGELUS / MCDONALD'S SIGN ON STORE FRONT
- Embargoed: 18th January 2017 12:21
- Keywords: Vatican Pope McDonald's hamburger fast-food
- Location: ROME, ITALY / VATICAN CITY
- City: ROME, ITALY / VATICAN CITY
- Country: Italy
- Topics: Human Interest/Brights/Odd News,Society/Social Issues
- Reuters ID: LVA0025XJ0R47
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: The start of 2017 has been a sour one for residents down at the Vatican, many of whom are outraged at the opening of a new branch of McDonald's close to St. Peter's Square.
It is not clear what Pope Francis makes of the decision, or whether he will be popping in for a burger, but some of the clergy have been more than a little surprised that a Vatican-owned building has been rented out to the U.S. fast food chain.
Cardinals have complained to local media that they were not consulted on the decision and fear the appearance of the fast food restaurant will erode the Borgo Pio area of Rome, around the walls of the Vatican.
Work to carry out the opening of the new McDonald's was completed extremely quickly and it stands close to the former residence of Pope Emeritus Benedict and within line of sight of the window where Pope Francis appears for his Sunday Angelus.
The new branch officially opened on December 31, 2016 and several nuns were spotted entering the restaurant during lunch time on Tuesday (January 3). Some clergy said it was not important that the restaurant chain was so near to the Vatican.
"I think there are more serious problems in the world than whether McDonald's is too close to St. Peter's, there are greater scandals," said Father Alessandro.
Whilst others said they would not be eating there.
"I never go to McDonald's, I prefer pizza," said an unidentified nun.
But some local workers and tourists heralded the opening of the new branch.
"I work here, close-by, so for me it is not a problem, anything that is good for the economy of our country is fine by me," said local worker Raffaella Scarano.
"McDonald's is a mark known all over the world. It is not always easy to enter restaurants that you do not know and this is easy for anyone from anywhere in the world to enter here. McDonald's is the same in Iraq, or the Vatican, like it is in Spain or Germany," said Spanish tourist Jorge Fernandez.
The old medieval quarter of Borgo Pio is already littered with stalls selling religious trinkets, and its streets are lined with eateries providing food for the crowds of tourists that visit the Vatican each day. Local restaurant owners fear the new McDonald's will take away their business and make the area even more commercialised.
Whilst locals may be up in arms, many tourists will be relieved that they can now get some cheap and quick fast food in the area and many believe the new branch will have a roaring, if not holy, trade.
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