Church's Aid Agencies Seen as Exemplary
Cardinal: Low Operating Costs Mean Dollars Get to Needy
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VATICAN CITY, JAN. 29, 2008 (Zenit.org).- The Church's charitable organizations are models to imitate, in the sense that their low operating costs mean nearly all donated monies go directly to the needy, said a Vatican official.
Cardinal Paul Cordes, president of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, the agency that coordinates and promotes the world's Catholic institutions of assistance and volunteering, affirmed this today when he presented Benedict XVI's 2008 Lenten message.
In a press conference, the cardinal said that despite the fact that "the fight against misery, from the financial point of view, registers successes, […] it is necessary to highlight that, for example, the structural costs of aid organizations are sometimes surprisingly high."
"On occasions," he continued, "internal costs represent just under 50% of revenue."
The cardinal said it would be useful if appeals for aid launched after disasters like the tsunami, "would not only indicate the bank account to deposit donations, but also the percentage which the agencies retain to maintain their institution."
This, he said, "would help the donor to discern how his gift arrives to the needy."
However, Cardinal Cordes affirmed, "The internal costs of the Church's aid agencies can be considered exemplary."
He offered as an example the 2006 administrative costs of Caritas Italy, which represented 9% of donations; the Sovereign Order of Malta, 7%; and Aid to the Church in Need, 6%.
The John Paul II Foundation for the Sahel and the Populorum Progressio Foundation in 2006 both spent only 3% of donations on logistic and operating costs.
The Pontifical Council Cor Unum, born from the initiative of Pope Paul VI in 1971, distributed some $2 million in 2007 in direct help from the Pope to populations that had suffered human or natural disasters.