With Rome bankrupt, sainthood of popes in Peril
The historic city of Rome, the seat of the Vatican City, is struggling with a budget deficit of €816 million, threatening the city’s plans to make the double canonisation of popes John XXIII and John Paul II an event to remember.
But if Italian lawmakers’ Thursday vote on a bailout package turns out positively for Rome, then the city could receive a cash injection of €570 million.
According to Internet news agency Agenzia Nazionale Stampa Associata (Ansa), Rome Mayor Ignazio Marino feared the city’s sainthood programme for 27 April will be put at risk if the Italian government doesn’t release funds for the city.
Senior Vatican analyst John Allen Junior from American newspaper National Catholic Reporter projected that the event may be attended by 6–7 million people that make up the devotees of the two popes plus the regular crowd in St Peter’s Square. ‘The turn out will be staggering,’ said Allen.
If Rome remains unfunded, then providing basic public services for the pilgrims may be too overwhelming and will force the city at a standstill. At present, Rome is also struggling with garbage collection since the closure of Europe’s largest landfill Malagrotta in October.
Rome’s council said the vital funds, if approved, will be used to restore historic sites like the Seven Halls. The funds will also allow the city to push through with its canonisation plans like the pedestrianisation of some of its roads, opening the metro for longer hours and making special edition bus tickets.
In exchange for the bailout package, Rome will loan some of its priceless artworks.