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Letter to Cardinal William Conway, President of the Irish Episcopal Conference
By Pope Paul VI

The decision of the Irish Episcopal Conference to establish a special Fund to be known as "Trocaire", for works of social assistance especially in developing countries, is a most worthy initiative. On the eve of its inauguration we are pleased to tell you how highly we regard the undertaking, coming as it does at a time when we are making an appeal to the entire Church to be sensitive and responsive to the needs of mankind.

By instituting this Fund, the Irish Church is giving further expression to that concern which, according to the Gospel, Christians must have for their brothers and sisters in need. It is by no means the first time that your people have demonstrated such concern: on several recent occasions they have shown themselves most generous in relief works. Every year, moreover, they willingly contribute in various ways to the missions. But it will indeed be most praiseworthy if while continuing their commitment to the missions and without lessening in any way their much needed support for the works of the Propagation of the Faith, the Catholics of Ireland can also maintain a new agency that has funds readily available for a variety of other human needs. In this way their desire to render loving service will become all the more operative.

Furthermore since it is the nature of all social organizations to exercise a formative influence upon the community which creates them, Trocaire can be valuable not only because of its material contribution towards human betterment, but also because of the spiritual influence it can have upon the Irish people themselves, and especially upon the younger generation, by fostering ever greater good will and love towards others. The law of Christian maturity demands that we lose ourselves in concern for others. One must not wait until all problems at home are solved before beginning to address oneself to those of the neighbour. In fact an awareness of the immensity of the tasks and problems of progress which face humanity as a whole can stir individuals to work more seriously for progress in their own society.

We pray for the success of this courageous enterprise undertaken in the name of Jesus Christ. May it serve both as an inspiration to your people and as an example to others of that fraternity and solidarity which is especially necessary at this time. May it be indeed an effective expression of the Christian virtues of justice, compassion and love.

To you, to your brother bishops, and to all associated in the founding and support of Trocaire we cordially impart our Apostolic Blessing.

From the Vatican, 3 March 1973.

 

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