Pope’s Jubilee year off to a sluggish start

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VATICAN CITY: Pope Francis’s Jubilee Year of Mercy has got off to a sluggish start, to the disappointment of Rome’s hoteliers, restaurateurs and souvenir sellers. Far from being flooded with pilgrims, as the Italian authorities had anticipated, the streets around St Peter’s Basilica have been eerily quiet over the end-of-year holiday season, following attacks in France in November. The view from the street is confirmed by official figures from the Vatican, which revealed earlier this week that the number of people attending papal audiences were 30 percent down from the same time last year. During the last Catholic Jubilee year, in 2000, nearly 150 pilgrims went through the doors of St Peter’s every minute and a total of 32 million visited Rome during the year.

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AFP

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