VATICAN CITY, JUNE 11, 2004 (Zenit.org).- “Peter’s Pence,” Catholics’ donations to the Pope’s charitable and missionary works, has adapted to the times and can now be made with credit cards and fax.
The collection is being taken up in Catholic churches worldwide on the World Day of Papal Charity, June 29, solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, or on the Sunday closest to that day.
In the main index of its Web page, the Holy See’s Secretariat of State has opened a section on the spirit of Peter’s Pence and practical ways to send donations.
In addition to participating in the annual collection, the faithful also may send their donations directly to the Holy Father, whose address is: His Holiness, Pope John Paul II — 00120 Vatican City — Europe.
Credit cards may also be used to send donations (American Express, Visa, Diners, MasterCard), communicating to the Vatican fax (+39-06-6988-3954) the name of the card holder, card number, expiration date, and amount.
“Offerings made by the faithful to the Holy Father are used for the works of the Church, for humanitarian work and social development work, as well as for the support of the activities of the Holy See,” the Vatican Web page explains.
The origin of Peter’s Pence goes back to the end of the eighth century, when the Anglo-Saxons converted to Christianity, and, as a sign of union with the Bishop of Rome, decided to send a contribution in a stable manner to the Holy Father, the page explains.
“It was thus that the ‘Denarius Sancti Petri’ (Alms of Saint Peter) originated and spread throughout Europe,” it adds.
“Like other practices of its kind, this custom underwent many changes in the course of the centuries, until in 1871 Pope Pius IX gave his approval in the 1871 encyclical “Saepe Venerabilis,” it notes.
For further information contact:
Peter’s Pence Office
Telephone (+39) 06-6988-4851
Fax: (+39) 06-6988-3954