Donations From U.S. Rise, in a Year of Scandal

VATICAN CITY, JULY 15, 2003 ( The Holy See expressed gratitude to U.S. Catholics who, despite the abuse scandals last year, continued to donate the most to its budget.

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Cardinal Sergio Sebastiani, president of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See, expressed the gratitude during a Vatican Radio interview. Last week he presented to the press the Holy See’s financial statements for 2002.

Some observers had predicted a drop in the donations of U.S. Catholics because of the clerical sex-abuse scandals and the slowing economy.

In his Vatican Radio interview, Cardinal Sebastiani said the United States is followed in terms of generosity by German and Italian Catholics, respectively.

«This year we received 1 million euros [$1.12 million] more in donations» worldwide, the cardinal said. «This is something notable, as the year has been difficult for all. I was really surprised. In times of difficulty, people don’t just think about themselves but of others. And this is something that is very Christian.»

The Holy See for 2002 posted its second consecutive deficit, this one amounting to 13.5 million euros ($15.2 million). Cardinal Sebastiani attributed the result to the worldwide economic slowdown.

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