Walter J Allan (Letters, 21 September) asks why the Vatican has not previously been offered to the homeless of Rome.
The Vatican is based in Vatican City, with a population of approximately 450. It already offers showers and haircuts to the poor, and there are plans to open a homeless shelter with 30 beds. Rome, on the other hand, has a population of 4.3 million and is served by 334 parishes providing assistance to the poor in their area.
While Mr Allan may call the Pope’s offer of accommodation a “token gesture”, it must be put into the context of the geography of Rome, a call on every parish to provide a home to refugees, and the constant teaching of Christ to be a neighbour to those in need.