Pontiff Sends Money to Bolivia

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VATICAN CITY, FEB. 7, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Through the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, Benedict XVI showed his solidarity with flood-drenched Bolivia, giving some $50,000 to the relief effort.

The Pontifical Council Cor Unum is the agency that coordinates and promotes the world's Catholic institutions of assistance and volunteering.

Bolivia, along with Argentina and Ecuador, has been soaked with torrential rains since November. Dozens of deaths have been reported and thousands have lost their homes.

In his Lenten message, the Holy Father invited the Church "to reflect about the value and the practice of almsgiving."

"Gospel almsgiving is not simple philanthropy: Rather it is a concrete expression of charity, the theological virtue which demands interior conversion to love of God and of our brothers," he wrote.

According to Bishop Jesús Juárez Párraga, secretary-general of the Bolivian episcopal conference, "The Holy Father's donation is an eloquent sign of his concern for and closeness to the Bolivian people. This aid will be distributed in the upcoming days, through the bishops of the most affected dioceses."