Pope aide defies police and climbs down manhole to restore power for homeless

‘It was a desperate gesture. There were over 400 people without electricity’

Alessio Perrone
Monday 13 May 2019 08:40
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Konrad Krajewski, Pope Francis' almsgiver, has gone down a Rome manhole to restore electricity for hundreds of homeless people living in an unused state-owned building.
Konrad Krajewski, Pope Francis' almsgiver, has gone down a Rome manhole to restore electricity for hundreds of homeless people living in an unused state-owned building.

An aide to Pope Francis has climbed down a manhole to restore electricity for hundreds of homeless people living in an unused state-owned building in Rome.

Polish Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, who acts as the pope’s almsgiver, said he went underground, broke police seals and flipped a switch on Saturday to help more than 400 people currently living in the building.

“I intervened personally last night to reattach the meters,” he told Italy’s Ansa news agency. “It was a desperate gesture. There were over 400 people without electricity, with families, children, without even the possibility of operating the refrigerators.

”I didn't do it because I was drunk,“ he reportedly added.

The electricity supplier had cut the power on 6 May after the overdue bills reached €300,000 (£260,000).

The cardinal “was fully aware of the possible legal consequences, and acted in the conviction that it was necessary to do it for the good of those families,” sources close to the Vatican’s alms office told Italian media.

Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, leader of the far-right League party, said Sunday he hopes the papal aide will now pay the €300,000 overdue electricity bills.

Additional reporting by AP

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