McDonald's plan to open restaurant next to the Vatican criticised by cardinals

'It's a controversial, perverse decision to say the least,' says Cardinal Elio Sgreccia

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The Independent Online

Roman Catholic cardinals have hit out over plans for the Vatican to rent out a property next to St Peter's Basilica in Rome to US fast food chain McDonald's.

The Catholic Church would recieve 30,000 euros (£27,000) a month if they allowed the company to use part of a building in a square adjacent to the Vatican as the site for the new restaurant.

Cardinals, who live in apartments above the location of the proposed McDonald's, have protested the move and described it as a "perverse decision", the Evening Standard reports.

The proposed deal was announced earlier this year by the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See (APSA), which oversees the Vatican's assets.

Cardinal Elio Sgreccia, the former Bishop of Zama Minor, has written a letter of complaint to Pope Francis over the agreement.

Speaking to Italian newspaper La Repubblica, Cardinal Sgreccia said: 'It's a controversial, perverse decision to say the least, not at all respectful of the architectural and urban traditions of one of the most characteristic squares overlooking the colonnade of St. Peter visited every day by thousands of pilgrims and tourists.

"[It's] a business decision that, moreover, ignores the culinary traditions of the Roman restaurant." 

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The cardinal added that the "mega sandwiches" on offer at McDonald's are damaging to customers' health and, as such, such "questionable practice" should even be considered in Vatican rooms.

Cardinal Domenico Calcagno, President of APSA, has so far refused to scrap the deal, claiming that it is legally valid and without negative consequences.