Protests from clerics and locals haven’t stopped the opening of a controversial new McDonald’s restaurant in the Vatican.
Located approximately the length of a football field away from the Vatican State, less than 100 yards, the restaurant is downstairs in a Vatican-owned building in the Pio Borgo district of Rome.
Quickly dubbed “McVatican” by locals, the restaurant will be open seven days a week and operate from 6:30 am to 11:00 pm, with WiFi available to customers. Other fast food restaurants exist in the area— including two McDonald’s branches, one a few hundred yards from the Vatican Museum and the other at Viale Giulio Cesare, 200 yards away.
However, several cardinals and locals have expressed disgust with this newest McDonald’s, claiming the fast food giant has no business being located inside the Vatican since it does not reflect the values of the Church.
The national newspaper La Repubblica reported that McDonalds will pay the Administration of the Patrimony of the Holy See more than $30,000 a month for the bottom floor of the building. The second floor houses several senior cardinals, including Gerhard Ludwig Müller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
Cardinal Elio Sgreccia, president emeritus of the Pontifical Academy for Life, told the newspaper that he found the idea of renting the space to McDonald’s was “aberrant” and “a perversion.”
“I repeat, selling mega-sandwiches in Borgo Pio is a disgrace,” he said. The rent money could better be used to help “the area’s needy … and suffering, as the Holy Father teaches,” he said.
The fast food chain, which has a presence in 118 countries and territories around the world and serves 68 million customers each day, operates 36,615 restaurants worldwide. It employs more than 420,000 people. McDonald’s serves 1% of the world’s population every day and is the world’s largest distributor of toys. A study by Sponsorship Research International found that 88 percent of people surveyed could identify the McDonalds arches and only 54 percent could name the Christian cross.
Other famous McDonald’s branches include one owned by Queen Elizabeth II of England near Buckingham Palace