At the Vatican, a controversy seems to have been solved. McDonald’s had opened a restaurant near the Vatican that several cardinals complained was too near St. Peter’s Basilica. There was a discussion, and McDonald’s announced this week that it will provide a thousand free lunches every Monday to homeless people in Vatican City. As cold weather continues to sweep across Italy, the pope and his staff have taken other steps to help the homeless. Sleeping bags have been distributed and Vatican vehicles have been left open so some homeless can use them as shelter.
Pope Francis also addressed the Vatican diplomatic corps this week (January 9). As he spoke to representatives from more than 180 countries, he urged political and religious leaders to do more to stop the rise of “fundamentalist terrorism.” The pope said radicals are misusing God’s name “in order to disseminate death.” Last week the pope made headlines by reiterating his support for breast-feeding in public. As he baptized 28 babies at the Sistine Chapel, Francis told the mothers gathered there that they could calm their crying babies by nursing them, just as the Virgin Mary nursed the baby Jesus.