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Letter from Rome: A day in my 'coronated' life at the Vatican

The Holy See Press Office has been a welcome refuge during the Covid-19 lockdown

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Letter from Rome: A day in my 'coronated' life at the Vatican

A homeless man wearing a protective mask lies asleep on the pavement in Rome's central Piazza Venezia on April 17 during a lockdown aimed at curbing the spread of Covid-19. (Photo: AFP)

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Ionel is my newest friend in Rome. But he was so out-of-his-mind crazy with rage one day last week that I had to keep my distance.

He had left his place to go get some food, but when he came back everything he owned was gone. And he was so angry, almost to the point of becoming violent, that it was useless to even try to talk to him at that moment.

Ionel is a homeless Romanian migrant of perhaps 35 or 40 years of age who suffers from diabetes and probably other ailments, both physical and psychological. He lives on the streets around the Vatican.

And during the coronavirus lockdown he's made his home of cardboard boxes, blankets and a satchel of personal items in an outer nook of a floor-to-ceiling store window.

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