The Thing With The Poverty
Let us imagine that the Italian Prime Minister, Enrico Letta, were to decide that the wonderful offices in the spectacularly beautiful Palazzo Chigi in Rome (see photo above) were not befitting the modern times of austerity and economic crisis.
Let us further imagine that he would decide to give an example, and move the offices of the Prime Minister in more modest quarters in some conveniently located, but cheaper and far less spectacular office space in, say, the EUR neighbourhood, seat of several Ministries already.
Let us also imagine that, for obvious security and prestige reasons, the Chigi palace were to be left empty.
Finally, let us imagine that the total space occupied by Mr Letta in the new EUR quarters were actually bigger than the space occupied by his former offices.
If all this were to happen, would you say that Mr Letta is acting wisely? Would you see in his move a sign of humility? Would you not rather point out that as the old space is kept and the new space is taken out in addition, additional costs are incurred, for the sake of the appearance of modesty and humility? Wouldn’t you say that the entire exercise is a gimmick meant to fool the gullible and to ride the wave of easy emotionalism, rather than an example of sound husbandry of the resources entrusted to the Prime Minister?
Pope Francis announces with great fanfare he is not going to live in the splendid Papal Apartments. Said Papal Apartments remain henceforward empty. He goes on to occupy an entire floor of the Domus Sanctae Marthae; for a total space, as we are now reliably informed – the relevant reports were never negated by the hyperactive Press Office of the Vatican – bigger than the space he was supposed to occupy in the Papal Apartments; a space, this one, that was built for him, then Popes are not supposed to live in hotels – much less hotels run by homosexuals – as Francis does. This, without considering the additional costs and complications linked with the necessity to provide for the Holy Father’s security in a place with people continuously going in and out.
At the end of the exercise, what you have is more costs, more inconvenience, more occupied space, and a clear waste of resources. But you have the appearance of poverty.
All fine, then.
The crowds will be delighted.