The humble ice-cream, so welcome on a sunny Roman day, is the latest in a long list of material accessories to the crimes of this pope. The delicious treat can now be procured virtually at the front door to Santa Maria Maggiore – so close that pilgrims have taken to traipsing through the church with their melting treats.
The Basilica is administered by Monsignor Rolandas Makrickas, formerly part of the Secretariat of State under the title of “Extraordinary Commissioner.” That tile is apt, as the good Msgr certainly has commissioned an extraordinary income stream for the Basilica. One commentator suggests that a cash business suits those prelates to have no wish to surrender their transactions to the scrutiny of APSA!
Be that as it may, one can now purchase one’s favourite gelati in the courtyard of Santa Maria Maggiore, to be consumed on the way in to the church. The geography of the location means that tourists and pilgrims must pass through the church itself upon returning from the gelateria.
” …security officers are exhausted because they have to spend their day explaining to tourists that they cannot enter the Basilica with a dripping ice cream in their hand and people are forced to finish eating ice cream in a small space in the middle of a parking lot.”
Further, the ice-cream company is a multinational from Switzerland, and its being awarded a tender violates the terms of Francis’ motu proprio on the Holy See and its public contractors. Rather than make an example of Msgr Makrickas, however, the Pope seized an opportunity to “accompany” the plebs and look as much like an ordinary bloke as one can while wearing the papal regalia.