After Man Tells Bishop He Smells, Vatican Takes Action

3 public showers to be installed
By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 14, 2014 1:30 AM CST
Updated Nov 14, 2014 7:55 AM CST
Vatican Installs Public Showers For Homeless, Pilgrims
Pope Francis arrives for his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican on Oct. 29, 2014.   (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Pope Francis made headlines last year when he said that he would like a "poor church, and for the poor." Now, after a man declined an invitation to dine with a bishop because, the man said simply, "puzzo"—or "I smell"—the pope is installing three public showers at St. Peter's Square to allow the homeless and any pilgrim or visitor to wash themselves or their clothes. Konrad Krajewski, a Polish bishop who's in charge of delivering charity to the poor, was apparently strolling down the Via della Conciliazione after hearing confessions in the Church of the Holy Spirit when he crossed paths with a homeless man. "He told me that he was turning 50 that day and that he had been living on the street for 10 years," the bishop, affectionately called "Father Konrad," tells Italian newspaper La Stampa.

Though the man initially declined an invitation to dinner, the two eventually talked over Chinese food, and the man said that while he found Rome to be good about feeding the hungry, it was difficult to find a place to wash. The pope gave Konrad the go-ahead to add showers, and a construction firm volunteered to install them, including one just feet from the pope's apartment. Tenor Andrea Bocelli also pitched in with a "substantial" donation, reports ABC News. As for whether the well-heeled dislike sharing toilets with the homeless, the bishop says, "The Basilica exists in order to keep the Body of Christ, and we serve Jesus' suffering body by serving the poor." (See why Pope Francis also recently called for the end of life sentences.)

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