VATICAN CITY, FEB. 5, 2002 (Zenit.org).- Just under $2 million was donated by people worldwide Dec. 14 in response to the Holy Father´s appeal for a day of prayer and fasting.
The figure was reported today by Archbishop Paul Joseph Cordes, president of the Pontifical Council “Cor Unum,” the institution entrusted by John Paul II with the collection of those funds and its allocation to victims of terrorism and war.
This was one of the Pontiff´s responses to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and the aftermath.
In evaluating the activity of the pontifical council, Archbishop Cordes revealed that “Cor Unum” during its 30 years has allocated $87.5 million in charitable papal gestures. The council, founded by Paul VI in 1971, also coordinates and fosters the assistance work of Catholic institutions worldwide.
“Cor Unum” is “not a simple charitable institution,” Archbishop Cordes said. “Our intention is not to be an emergency service. […] All of us need something more than bread and a roof.”
“Cor Unum” published a book entitled “Ars Caritatis” which summarizes the council´s activities, and includes addresses delivered by Paul VI and John Paul II to its plenary assemblies.
The council also administers two foundations created by the current Pope.
The John Paul II Foundation for the Sahel, created in 1984 to combat drought and desertification, financed 312 projects over the past year, amounting to a total of $2.99 million.
The “Populorum Progressio” Foundation, created in 1992 to help the Indian, mestizo, Afro-American and peasant population of Latin America and the Caribbean, financed 215 projects over the past year, to the tune of $1.77 million.