Sunday 17 December 2017

Pope allows homeless man to be buried in Vatican

Pope Francis.
Pope Francis.

Nick Squires

Pope Francis has taken his embrace of homeless people a step further by allowing a man who had slept rough in St Peter's Square to be buried inside the Vatican.

Willy Herteleer, who is thought to have been Belgian, had been well known for years around St Peter's Square, sleeping rough and begging from passers-by.

The Flemish-speaker died last month at about the age of 80 and the Pope, who has made concern for the poor and disenfranchised a keynote of his papacy, consented to him being buried in the Teutonic Cemetery, in the shadow of St Peter's Basilica.

The unusual request came from Amerigo Ciani, a monsignor, who had befriended the homeless man during church services and told the Pope about his death.

"Holy Father, we don't know where to bury him," Msgr Ciani said.

"Give him a dignified burial in the Vatican," the pontiff replied, according to reports.

A Vatican insider said: "It is without doubt the first time that a homeless person has been buried within the walls of the Vatican."

Irish Independent

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