Atheist Gives $22.5 Million to Catholic Education

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NEW YORK, MAY 25, 2007 (Zenit.org).- The Archdiocese of New York received a record-breaking gift of $22.5 million from self-styled atheist Robert Wilson to provide educational scholarships for inner-city children.



Wilson, a philanthropist and former Wall Street investor, gave the money to the Cardinal's Scholarship Program, started in 2005, to aid disadvantaged students.

Cardinal Edward Egan, archbishop of New York, has expressed his gratitude for the "historic and far-sighted support from Mr. Wilson for the education and future well-being of our neediest children in the archdiocese."

Wilson, 80, told Bloomberg News, that, although an atheist, he has no problem giving money to fund Catholic schools.

"Let's face it, without the Roman Catholic Church, there would be no Western civilization," Wilson said. "Shunning religious organizations would be abhorrent."

Wilson added, "It was a chance for a very modest amount of money to get kids out of a lousy school system and into a good school system."

Another anonymous donor, after learning of Wilson's gift, gave an additional $4.5 million to the program.