It was a condition that Cardinal Konrad Krajewski simply could not accept: because 150 families had to live without electricity and hot water in a occupied house in Rome, the pope's alms-master violated the law and repaired the electricity himself. While the Italian media celebrates the 55-year-old now as “Robin Hood of the Pope”, the network operator Areti has reported against Unknown for power theft reimbursed.
The neglected building owned by the city of Rome has been occupied since 2013 by activists of the association Action, which campaigns for social housing in favor of low-income people, as the ORF reports. According to Italian media live in the house in the city center about 450 people, including about 100 children. Many of them are refugees, but also Italians, who have been waiting for years for a social housing, lived there. In addition, the former office building houses art workshops, a carpentry, a tavern, a library, an auditorium with 180 seats for theatrical performances and concerts and several alternative theatrical and cultural associations. Due to unpaid bills in the amount of 300,000 euros, the residents had been turned off on May 6, the power.
Cardinal Krajewski speaks of “act of despair”
The situation was really unsustainable, said Sister Adriana Dominici, a lay missionary who lives in the house herself and works for the inhabitants of the building, Italian media. “We have more than a hundred children here, and more than a third of the population is old, some seriously ill.” There were crashes and medical equipment could not have been used. That's why she contacted Krajewski and asked for help
After an ultimatum of the Cardinal to restore the supply of electricity had passed unsuccessfully, the 55-year-old had gone late Saturday night personally in the distribution shaft of the house, have removed the police there attached security seals and the power back on, it said. “He went down personally because he had experience with such activities before becoming a cardinal,” Dominici told Corriere dell Umbria. “He stayed more than two and a half hours, when the light came, there was a cry of joy.”
“I personally intervened and turned the meter back on, it was an act of despair,” Krajewski told Ansa News Agency. “More than 400 people were without electricity, families and children.” He was convinced that “it was necessary for the welfare of these families”. “I'll take responsibility for that, and if there's a penalty, I'll pay you.”
Krajewski wants to pay electricity bill
Theoretically threatens Krajewski according to the display of network operator Areti even more than a fine: The manipulation of security seals on electrical equipment in Italy is considered a crime. According to the media reports, the law provides for imprisonment of six months to three years and a fine.
In Italian media Krajewski is now celebrated as “Robin Hood of the Pope”, which prevails against tendencies to displace the arms more and more. In Rome there are many occupied houses where needy people pay a small rent. They are often organized by leftist communities. Especially the right interior minister Matteo Salvini, these are a thorn in the eye. Salvini promptly called on the cardinal to settle the unpaid bills amounting to 300,000 euros.
Apparently Krajewski also wants to do that: He is ready to take over the electricity bill for the up to 500 inhabitants of the house, he said, according to ORF the Italian newspaper “Corriere della Sera”. For the motivation for his act, he referred to the last blackout in Rome: “For a few hours lacked the light, and it was a drama Now imagine what it means to be without electricity for six days.”
According to Krajewski, the Vatican has long supported the residents with medical aid and food. Forced evictions, families without homes and people who could barely make ends meet in Rome are a reality, said the Pole. The first question was not about unpaid bills, but how it could be that families were in such situations.
Cardinal is passionately committed to the poor
Under Pope Francis, the centuries-old ministry of the almoner became a practice-oriented charity work, and with Krajewski, the pontiff set up a man who is passionately committed to the poor. According to the “Frankfurter Rundschau”, the cardinal not only donates to homeless people and makes trips with them. He was also the one who had ensured that Francis in 2015 had set up washrooms and a hairdressing salon for the homeless in St. Peter's Square. Two years ago Krajewski had left his official residence to a Syrian refugee family, since then he has lived in his office.
Swell: “Corriere dell Umbria”, ORF, “Frankfurter Rundschau”, Katholisch.de,