Cardinal restores power to hundreds of residents in occupied Rome building

Salvini blasts "illegal" actions of the Vatican's papal almoner.

Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, the pope's apostolic almsgiver, took matters into his own hands by personally reconnecting the electricity to an illegally-occupied building in the S. Giovanni district of Rome, which houses 420 people, including 98 children.

On the night of 11 May the Polish cardinal broke a police seal and descended a manhole to restore power to the occupied building, known as Spin Time Labs, whose homeless residents had been without electricity or hot water for a week.

Italy's deputy premier and interior minister, Matteo Salvini of the right-wing Lega party, has blasted the cardinal's "illegal conduct", challenging the Vatican to pay the €300,000 of unpaid electricity bills at the building on Via S. Croce in Gerusalemme which has been occupied since October 2013.

Cardinal Krajewski says he is "unrepetent" for his "desperate gesture", saying that he "did it for the children." He also said he assumes all responsibility for his actions, adding: "From now on, I'll pay the bills", according to Italian news agency ANSA.

Vatican sources are quoted in the media as saying that the cardinal acted "in full awareness of the possible legal consequences that he could now face, in the belief that it was necessary to do so for the sake of these families”.

The 21,000-sqm building, which once housed the offices of the state's former social security agency INPDAP, is owned by a real-estate branch of the Banca Finnat group.

In addition to housing homeless families, the building contains a multi-purpose cultural centre providing workshops in music, theatre and carpentry, as well as hosting a craft beer laboratory and offering a safe space “open to all, in particular the youth and the needy”.

Under Pope Francis, the papal almoner plays an increasingly hands-on role in helping the city's needy and homeless.

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Address Spin Time, Via di S. Croce in Gerusalemme, Roma, RM, Lazio, Italia

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Cardinal restores power to hundreds of residents in occupied Rome building

Spin Time, Via di S. Croce in Gerusalemme, Roma, RM, Lazio, Italia