Vatican City, 7 January 2015 (VIS) – The Pontifical Council “Justice and Peace” today publishes its document “Expanding the Catholic Church's commitment to the Ebola emergency response”, in which it describes for the first time its pastoral response to a relatively new disease which has devastated communities above all in the countries of Western Africa, especially Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.
According to the document, “The Holy See wishes to express its appreciation to the local Catholic Church in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone for its timely response to the Ebola crisis. In order to strengthen these efforts, and as a practical response to the emergency, the Holy See is making a financial contribution. The funds will support Church-sponsored structures with a view to increasing the assistance they offer via healthcare institutions, community initiatives and pastoral care of patients and healthcare professionals. The Holy See encourages other donors, whether private or public, to add to these funds as a sign of solidarity with our brothers and sisters who are suffering gravely in the areas affected by the disease.
“The monies contributed by the Holy See will be used to purchase much-needed protective supplies, to assist with the transport of patients, and to pay for the renovation of buildings, among other things. A portion of the Holy See’s contribution will be directed towards residents in targeted communities so as to develop and enhance strategies needed to stop the spread of Ebola. Funds are also earmarked for the support of afflicted families and orphaned children. As part of a pastoral response, the Holy See will contribute to the care of people in affected areas by training and supporting clergy, men and women religious as well as lay pastoral workers, ensuring that they are better equipped to attend to the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of the sick and the suffering. The Holy See will focus on parishes,because so much of the Church’s work takes place at the level of the parish, and it is an important grass-roots institution in fighting the Ebola-related stigma now emerging as a serious problem, particularly for survivors”.