The Vatican recently opened a shopping mall called the "Caput Mundi" Mall on March 16, next to St. Peter's Square.
The establishment of the mall, which takes its name from a saying referring to Rome as the "capital of the world," has generated controversy because it is perceived as a contrast to the most illustrious church in all of Christendom and a symbol of Western materialism.
Shopping Mall Opens at St. Peter's Square in the Vatican
According to Crux Now, the Caput Mundi Mall is in a space linked to the last great jubilee. It is situatued in the fifth and the top floor of a large parking garage on Rome's Janiculum Hill, constructed for the Jubilee Year of 2000. It has been under development since 2020, and previously the area was dedicated to a coffee bar and cafeteria to serve the busloads of tourists and pilgrims who arrived at the parking structure.
The Vatican's decision to open a shopping mall, especially under the current Pope, who is a vocal critic of the excesses of capitalism, may seem contradictory. However, the mall will have a unique "Pope Francis" touch, emphasizing sustainability and solidarity. A spokesperson for Gasak, the company managing the mall, believes that the shopping center will become one of the most crucial points of reference for shopping in the center of Rome, offering a boutique experience that makes customers feel like they are at the capital of the world.
Various Roman civic leaders and Vatican officials attended the Caput Mundi Mall. Some nearby shop owners have criticized the project, concerned that it will take away their customers. Some media outlets in Rome have also expressed discontent, stating that the Vatican seems to be taking advantage of a structure built with public funds twenty-five years ago to ease traffic and parking in the area, not to host a commercial space.
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2025 as The Jubilee Year Celebration
A jubilee is a special Holy Year of grace and pilgrimage in the Catholic Church, typically occurring every 25 years. The 2025 Jubilee has the motto "Pilgrims of Hope" or "Peregrinantes in Spem" in Latin. According to Catholic News Agency, Archbishop Fisichella announced that 294 entries from 48 countries were submitted for the Jubilee logo competition, with participants ranging in age from six to 83 years old.
Many of the entries were hand-made drawings by children worldwide, which he found touching. A panel selected three finalists, and Pope Francis ultimately chose the winning logo design created by Italian artist Giacomo Travisani.
The Catholic Church has declared that 2025 will be the 27th ordinary jubilee year, also known as the Holy Year. In the story in Angelus News, Pope Francis has urged Christians to prepare for the Holy Year by embracing universal fraternity and addressing poverty, including the plight of migrants and refugees who are forced to flee their homes.
He emphasized that the pastoral richness of the Holy Year can only be experienced if the Christian people can promote a sense of brotherhood and not ignore the tragedy of poverty that deprives millions of people of their human dignity. As the first 25 years of the new century come to a close, Pope Francis calls for preparation to ensure that the Holy Year will be a spiritually enriching experience for all.
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