Vatican

Vatican lets homeless sleep in church amid cold

Icicles adorn one of the fountain of St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2017, as large areas of Italy are affected by strong winds, snowfall and low temperatures. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

Icicles adorn one of the fountain of St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2017, as large areas of Italy are affected by strong winds, snowfall and low temperatures. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)  (Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

The Vatican is letting homeless people sleep in a Rome church during a spell of unusually cold weather for the Italian capital.

In Rome lately, nighttime temperatures have dropped below freezing.

The Vatican say that around 30 people, Italians and foreigners, have accepted the invitation to sleep inside St. Calixtus church, whose foundations were laid near a well where Pope Calixtus I was martyred in 222.

Inside the church, which is Vatican property, the homeless are using sleeping bags or blankets. Since the stone interior of the church is cold itself, electric heaters have been placed on the floor.

Pope Francis has stressed helping those on society's margins. The Vatican has also let homeless people get warm in some of its vehicles parked near St. Peter's Square at night.