Angry Cardinals Not Saying 'I'm Lovin' It!' As New McDonald's Store Opens Near the Vatican

A McDonald's sign is seen at Via della Conciliazione street in Rome, Italy in front of Vatican City's St. Peter's Square on Jan. 3, 2017.Reuters

The usually pensive cardinals at the Vatican are uncharacteristically angry. They don't like it at all. They are totally opposed to it. In fact they want to get rid of it.

What are they so upset about? No, it's not a major religious or political controversy they're suddenly faced with.

The subject of their anger is no other than ... McDonald's, the new fast food restaurant that opened last week just 100 yards from St. Peter's Square and the ancient basilica, The Daily Mail reported.

The cardinals are definitely not saying McDonald's slogan "I'm lovin' it!" even though the Catholic Church will receive £25,000 a month from the company in rent for using the church-owned Borgo Pio building.

When McVatican (the name of the new McDonald's branch) opened, there was reportedly little public protest as customers—including nuns—packed the restaurants and enjoyed the food served.

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But seven cardinals who have residences on the upper floors of the building have no appetite to sample the burgers and other food served at the restaurant.

Cardinal Elio Sgreccia, one of the seven, told Italian newspaper La Repubblica: "It's a controversial, perverse decision to say the least."

He said having a McDonald's at the heart of the Roman Catholic Church is "by no means respectful of the architectural traditions of one of the most characteristic squares which look onto the colonnade of St. Peter's."

"It does not offer guarantees for the health of the consumers, foods I would never eat," the cardinal added.

Sgreccia even called McVatican a "disgrace," adding that it would have been better if the rented space was used to help the needy of the area.

Critics said the new McDonald's branch would further mar the area's cultural landscape, with one of them noting that over the last few years "the identity of this area has been lost" due to an increase in illegal souvenir stands and mini markets.

However, top Vatican officials say there's nothing wrong with having a McDonald's in the area. Last year, Cardinal Domenico Calcagno, who is the head of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See, said he was "not going to back down" because the deal with McDonald's is legally valid, adding that he didn't see "anything negative" about having a fast food restaurant near the Vatican.

McDonald's will not be the only chain restaurant opening not far from St. Peter's Square. Vatican officials also approved plans for a Hard Rock Cafe on Via della Conciliazione, the street leading to St. Peter's Square. The restaurant will occupy the space previously rented by a religious bookstore.

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