If the Holy Father suddenly felt himself in the mood for a McFlurry, there shouldn’t be any problem now. A McDonald’s Vatican City branch has opened, and it’s causing quite the ruckus among the local cardinals.
Meanwhile, the branch sits just a short walk away from St. Peter’s Square (Though, in the Vatican, everything is a short walk away).
Controversial But Economical
The fast-food restaurant’s opening has prompted some, like Cardinal Elio Screccia, to protest. “It’s a controversial, perverse decision, to say the least,” the Vatican’s Academy for Life’s president emeritus told La Repubblica last October. That was in reference to how the one of the world’s most iconic, religious destinations is blatantly embracing commercialism. It’s not everyday you make a pilgrimage to such a historical destination, just to see the golden arches inviting you to grab a Big Mac.
The opening of the McDonald’s Vatican City branch is just one of many signaling the Vatican City’s acceptance of the Pope’s home state as a tourist destination. Vendors offering souvenirs are already present in the area. A Hard Rock Café is also slated to open in nearby, soon. After all, even the Vatican City runs on an economy, and replacing a religious bookstore with the fast food establishment has got to be an economical decision.
McDonalds around corner from St Peter's sq, open for business in Vatican-owned building, despite resident protests pic.twitter.com/MW6JYVNNrJ
— Sylvia Poggioli (@spoggioli1) December 31, 2016
Legal in the Vatican
Not everyone is making a fuss about it, however. One Cardinal indifferent to the protests is Domenix Calcagana of the APAS, which approved leasing the space out to McDonald’s Vatican City. “I don’t see the scandal,” he said, according to a story by Newsweek. The fast food giant’s move into the ground floor of the building at the corner of Borgo Pio and Via del Mascherino initially caused some concerns in terms of its resident cardinals having to shoulder the cost. That was not the case, however, as the restaurant will be paying rent to do business in the Vatican-owned building.
According to Fortune, that’s about 30,000 Euros (roughly US $31,160) in rent.
But the McDonald’s Vatican City branch is going to be open from 6:30 AM through 11:00 PM all week. It’ll be available to the thousands of Catholics and tourists in Rome. So, they probably don’t mind the hefty rent. It would be a sight to see Pope Francis one day stroll in for some fries.