Pope Returns Donation to Sri Lankan Cardinal During Apostolic Visit

Asks that Money Be Used by Local Churches to Help Poor

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Pope Francis has returned a gift of a cash donation during his apostolic visit to Asia this January.

A local Sri Lankan church had donated more than Rs. 8.7 million to the Charity Fund of the Pontiff, but the Holy Father refused the check. He returned it to the Archbishop of Colombo, Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, requesting that local churches use it to help the poor, reported the official government news portal of Sri Lanka.

The amount of the donation amounted to Rs. 8,760,690.25 and the contribution from the Archdiocese of Colombo was Rs. 6,323,490.

In the Catholic weekly ‘Messenger,’ Cardinal Ranjith said that just before Pope Francis was about to board the papal flight to Manila, during his January visit, he would not accept the check.

The Pope, the cardinal explained, requested it be used to help the poor and asked to be reported back to with how it was used.

Accordingly, Sri Lanka’s bishops have decided to distribute the money among the dioceses, asking each bishop to use it to help the poor in the diocese and to send a report to the cardinal on how the cash was used.

The bishops will create a comprehensive report that will possibly be sent to the Pope.

Since the start of his pontificate, Pope Francis has spoken extensively on the rights of the poor and has stressed that faithful must help those on the margins.

In his Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, the Holy Father urged for all faithful to have a spirit of “generous openness,” and to care for the weakest members of society, such as the homeless, addicted, refugees, indigenous people, elderly and migrants.

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Deborah Castellano Lubov

Deborah Castellano Lubov is Senior Vatican & Rome Correspondent for ZENIT; author of 'The Other Francis' ('L'Altro Francesco') featuring interviews with those closest to the Pope and preface by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin (currently published in 5 languages); Deborah is also NBC & MSNBC Vatican Analyst. She often covers the Pope's travels abroad, often from the Papal Flight (including for historic trips such as to Abu Dhabi and Japan & Thailand), and has also asked him questions on the return-flight press conference on behalf of the English-speaking press present. Lubov has done much TV & radio commentary, including for NBC, Sky, EWTN, BBC, Vatican Radio, AP, Reuters and more. She also has contributed to various books on the Pope and has written for various Catholic publications. For 'The Other Francis': http://www.gracewing.co.uk/page219.html or https://www.amazon.com/Other-Francis-Everything-They-about/dp/0852449348/

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