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Monday, February 18, 2008


VATICAN CITY, 16 FEB 2008 (VIS) - A communique made public today announces that Cardinal Paul Josef Cordes, president of the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum", the Vatican dicastery that promotes the Holy See's charitable activities, has travelled to India to meet with bishops of that country's episcopal conference who are meeting in plenary assembly at Jamshedpur.

  The assembly is reflecting on the Church's charitable commitments in the light of the Encyclical "Deus caritas est", and will give particular attention to the question of the Christian roots of charity.

  The cardinal's trip to India, which will last until 19 February "will strengthen the witness of the Catholic Church in the field of charity where she continues to make her presence felt through many works of charity. Christians in India run 20 percent of primary schools, 25 percent of support structures for widows and orphans, and 30 percent of centres for the disabled, lepers and AIDS sufferers".

  "India, with its 1.2 billion inhabitants", the communique explains, "is a nation in full economic and social expansion, and this fact has important consequences for the charitable organisations active there. The mission of the 'diakonia' remains indispensable, both for the poor and for the essence of the Church herself. 'Diakonia' being an ecclesial activity, the bishop or ordinary plays a fundamental role. His, in fact, is the final responsibility for charitable activity. It is in this particular field that Cardinal Cordes will encourage the Indian prelates".

  The first stage of the cardinal's visit will take him to the tomb of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta. He will then go on to visit the shelters for the poor she founded.

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