VATICAN CITY, JUNE 19, 2002 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II has given financial assistance to Afghan refugees in recent months, as well as made contributions to the victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
The Pope allocated $950,000 to Afghan refugees, victims of the Middle East conflict, and Iraqi fugitives, as well as a $50,000 contribution to a New York hospital for medical treatment for Sept. 11 victims.
The Holy Father also offered a scholarship to an orphan of the September tragedy, although the Vatican did not wish to reveal the child´s identity.
These sums are part of a fund the Pope established when he convoked the Day of Fast and Prayer for Peace, held last Dec. 14, following the terrorist attacks in the United States and the ensuing military action in Afghanistan.
The Pontifical Council “Cor Unum,” which manages this fund, at present amounting to $1,719,360, published a statement today giving a detailed account of how the funds have been spent, as well as the list of papal charitable donations made over the past year.
Among these is a $100,000 donation given in May to refugees in Azerbaijan, when the Pope was in Baku, the country´s capital.
The Holy Father can carry out his charitable work thanks to donations from the faithful worldwide sent to “Cor Unum.” Pope Paul VI set up the council in 1971 to offer aid to developing countries and to victims of natural disasters.
Last year this fund allocated over $2 million. The dicastery that administers papal charity has assigned a total of $1,209,700 for people affected by natural calamities and war, and $841,200 for integral human development among the neediest in various countries.
For example, $100,000 was sent to El Salvador, and an additional $100,000 to India, for the victims of the January 2001 earthquake.
Both Peru and Poland also received $100,000 last July, after having suffered an earthquake and floods, respectively.
The report further indicates that the administrative council of the John Paul II Foundation for the Sahel, instituted by the Pope in 1984, approved financing in the amount of $2,333,308 for 230 projects to combat drought and desertification in sub-Saharan Africa, and to train specialists in that field.
Finally, there is the administrative council of the “Populorum Progressio” Foundation, established in 1992 to foster the integral human development of poor Indians, mestizos and Afro-American rural peoples in Latin America and the Caribbean. The council analyzed 294 projects and decided to finance 216, amounting to a total of $1,773,700.