Church Aims to Help Yugoslavia Get Back on Its Feet

"Cor Unum" President to Visit Belgrade

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VATICAN CITY, JUNE 3, 2001 (Zenit.org).- The Catholic Church hopes to relaunch its aid and charity programs in Yugoslavia, in the post-Milosevic era.

German Archbishop Paul Josef Cordes, president of the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum," will visit Belgrade on Monday and Tuesday to study ways that seek "the re-establishment of peaceful coexistence in the country," a Vatican press statement said.

Cor Unum is responsible for promoting the Apostolic See´s charitable works. The archbishop will "give new impetus to the Catholic Church´s action in the fields of aid, education, health and social development" in Yugoslavia, the Vatican statement added.

The Yugoslavian Catholic bishops requested the visit by Archbishop Cordes. He plans to meet with Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic, the bishops and Catholic aid organizations.

During the bloody months of 1999, Archbishop Cordes visited Albania, Macedonia and Kosovo on two occasions, at John Paul II´s request. The purpose was to encourage the creation of a "humanitarian corridor," to respond to the first emergencies resulting from the Kosovo war.

The Vatican statement said: "The Holy See, together with the whole Church, has not ceased to respond to the needs of the inhabitants of Serbia and Montenegro, by sending materials and especially people who, in cooperation with the local populations, have begun the reconstruction. In this connection, Caritas-Italy is among the most committed Catholic organizations."