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Report says papal charity exceeded 9 million in 2004

.- The Vatican has published a report citing that aid given by the late Pope John Paul II to poor and suffering in 2004 totaled $9,252,047. The report, written by the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum," noted that the more-than 9 million dollars included aid to victims of both the December 2004 tsunami in Southeast Asia and the internal conflict in Sudan.

It also noted funds allocated for projects of two foundations established by the Holy Father: the John Paul II Foundation for the Sahel and the "Populorum Progressio" Foundation.

The Vatican today said that Cor Unum is the pontifical council charged with dispensing charity to the poor and needy, to victims of natural disasters and to projects approved by the two above-mentioned foundations.

According to the 1988 Apostolic Constitution "Pastor Bonus," these funds are distributed in the name of the Holy Father "to stimulate the witness to evangelical charity." Money is donated to Cor Unum for papal charity through the "spontaneous generosity of dioceses, religious institutes, parishes, schools and individual faithful."

The report also cited that relief sent to victims of the December tsunami totaled $460,000. Pope John Paul II sent Archbishop Paul Cordes, president of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, to Indonesia and Sri Lanka, the two nations struck the hardest by the tsunami, shortly after the disaster--from January 29 to February 4, 2005.

The archbishop also visited Darfur, Sudan in July 2004 to express the pope’s closeness to the populations struck by the internal conflict in that country and to bring aid for the neediest citizens, topping 100,000 euro.

In June, he had visited the people of Haiti and the Dominican Republic, hit hard by devastating floods.

The report noted that aid for other calamities and urgent situations such as earthquakes, typhoons, floods, wars and refugee situations totaled $992,530, and that, financial assistance to developing nations for non-urgent matters in areas like agriculture, education, health care, professional formation and home-building totaled $2,024,532.

The 2004 contribution to the John Paul II Foundation for the Sahel, established in 1984, amounted to $2,296,336 and was earmarked for 169 projects in 9 African countries, while his Populorum Progressio Foundation, founded in 1992, distributed aid totaling $1,881,000 last year.

It was distributed to 19 Latin American nations to be used for 231 projects for indigenous peoples, African-Americans and poor mestizo farmers.

The Cor Unum report stated that, "With regard to the two Foundations, it is important to underscore how Pope John Paul II, in establishing them, wished to give a permanent witness of his love for the populations of the Sahel (region of Africa) and of Latin America, calling on all local Churches, the faithful and men and women of good will to support this precious service aimed at the integral promotion of those peoples."


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