At the start of the new year, a McDonald’s location opened right outside of Vatican City. The McDonald’s franchise is expansive and global and thus it is characteristic of the company to monopolize on the extensive tourism surrounding the Vatican. It is surprising, however, that the Catholic community, the leadership of the Vatican, and the agency that handles its real estate would allow for McDonald’s to utilize that space. Although the McDonald’s has successfully opened their doors, they have not done so without vocal disappointment from its surrounding community. Cardinal Elio Sgreccia called the new location a “disgrace” and also noted that the restaurant clashed with the historic visual appeal of the rest of the Vatican City and disrespects Roman traditions and cuisine. The Vatican will receive approximately 30,000 euros monthly in rent from McDonald’s, proving financial gain to be a significant factor in the Vatican’s approval of the lease. The real estate agency has also approved The Hard Rock Cafe to open it’s doors near the City, which will replace a religious bookstore.
The incoming of McDonald’s and The Hard Rock Cafe is representative of the recent shift in religious traditions. As we have studied in class, although spirituality may be on the rise, involvement in religious organizations has declined significantly. The Vatican City is an emblem of the Catholic tradition and is powerfully symbolic to many who practice Catholicism. The influx of commercial industries near the Vatican exemplifies the notion that the tradition within the organization has become less important, and capitalistic tendencies has began to play a bigger role in its function.